Bertrand Russell's Defence of the Cosmological Argument

American Philosophical Quarterly 35 (1):87-100 (1998)
Abstract
According to the cosmological argument, there must be a self-existent being, because, if every being were a dependent being, we would lack an explanation of the fact that there are any dependent beings at all, rather than nothing. This argument faces an important, but little-noticed objection: If self-existent beings may exist, why may not also self-explanatory facts also exist? And if self-explanatory facts may exist, why may not the fact that there are any dependent beings be a self-explanatory fact? And if that fact is self-explanatory, why make recourse to self-existent beings? This line of questioning is surprisingly hard to answer, but I find resources for an answer in Bertrand Russell's logical atomism.
Keywords theistic argument  cosmological argument  Clarke, Samuel  Russell, Bertrand  Rowe, William  logical atomism  principle of sufficient reason  self-explanatory facts
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