In Robert Arp (ed.), Revisiting Aquinas' Proofs for the Existence of God. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill. pp. 131-140 (2016)

The object of this paper is not arguments from contingency in general, but specifically Aquinas’s ‘Third Way’ as it appears in his Summa Theologica. I will raise three objections to this argument. First, the argument depends on the premise, that if everything were contingent, then there would have been a time during which nothing exists, but this is not self-evident and no argument is given for it here. Secondly, Aquinas tells us that a key premise in this argument, that an infinite order of things necessary through one another is impossible, has been proven just previously (in the ‘second way’) with respect to an infinite order of efficient causes. But this argument fallaciously equivocates between two different senses of the term ‘first’, and the fallacy does not disappear when applied to the ‘third way’. Thus, Aquinas not only fails, in this argument, to prove the existence of a thing necessary in itself, but fails to prove that anything is necessary at all. Lastly, this argument suffers from a puzzling ambiguity as to the meaning of the term ‘necessity’, and either way of interpreting the term consistently in the argument raises difficulties.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

A Cosmological Argument.Kathryn Kreiling Rombs - 2002 - Dissertation, Fordham University
Revisiting Aquinas's "fifth way".Lawrence Dewan - 2004 - Philosophy and Culture 31 (3):47-67.
Thomas Aquinas on Hylomorphism and the in-Act Principle.Kendall A. Fisher - 2017 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25 (6):1053-1072.
A Defense of Thomas Aquinas' "Second Way".Richard Glenn Howe - 2004 - Dissertation, University of Arkansas
The Strangeness of An Unmoved Mover: Aquinas, Wittgenstein, and “The Sense of Life”.John Edelman - 2011 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 85 (4):605-622.
Zeno's Paradoxes and the Cosmological Argument.Jan Dejnozka - 1989 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 25 (2):65 - 81.
Cosmological Argument in the Western Philosophy.Dr A. Hesamifar - unknown - Kheradnameh Sadra Quarterly 23.


Added to PP index

Total views
253 ( #39,178 of 2,455,646 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
61 ( #12,226 of 2,455,646 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes