ii The Proof that History Forgot: Samuel Clarke's Cosmological Argument Open Access

Granado, Michael Steven

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/hq37vn730?locale=en


The Proof that History Forgot: Samuel Clarke's Cosmological Argument
In his work, A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God, Samuel Clarke presents
what he considers a single cohesive cosmological argument for God's existence. Closer analysis
of his argument reveals three distinct arguments, however, each of which is dependent upon
three concepts that distinguish Clarke from other modern writers. These concepts include: the
principle of sufficient reason, his unique notion of a necessary being, and his framing the
argument in terms of Newtonian natural philosophy. Clarke's argument represents, in many
ways, a reconciliation of early modern science and natural theology. Clarke brings to the
traditional cosmological argument a keen logical insight and an in depth understanding of
Newtonian natural philosophy, the result of which is the strongest and most articulate
formulation of the argument in the early modern period. Not only does Clarke's argument make
clear the cosmological arguments dependence upon the principle of sufficient reason and the
conception of a necessary being, but also its use of Newtonian natural philosophy represents a
tour de force against early modern naturalistic explanations for the origin of the universe.
Clarke's distinctive views on these topics become evident through an analysis of his argument,
and an evaluation of the argument in light of its greatest critic, David Hume.

The Proof that History Forgot: Samuel Clarke's Cosmological Argument
B.A., Georgia Southern University, 2009
Thesis Committee Chair: David Pacini, Dr
A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the
Candler School of Theology
in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Masters of Theological Studies

Table of Contents


Table of Contents

I: Introduction to Samuel Clarke: The birth of 1
Science and Scientific Rationality

II: The Eternity of the world and the Principle of 12
Sufficient Reason

III: Necessity and the Ontological Argument 26

IV: Clarke's Defense of Newtonianism and 38
the argument from Time/Space

V: Hume and Clarke on the Argument 56
A Priori
VI: Conclusion 71

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