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The Issue of Sufficient Argumentation
People have always been trying to find some evidence of the rightness of their conducts. Aristotle, as the first who managed to systematize the criteria and evidence of argumentation, made a solid base for further development of human thinking. Apology of Socrates by Plato, The Five Ways by Thomas Aquinas and An Examination of the Cosmological Argument by William Rowe represent different ways of argumentation of the position these people support. In general, three examples of a certain statements defense should be compared and analyzed in order to find out which argumentation is sufficient and worth considering in philosophical analysis.
When Socrates was blamed for disrespect of gods and Athenss rules, he had to protect himself. Also people thought that he claimed that lie is true and true is lie, additionally teaching the youth to think so. Socrates, as a wise man, did his best to dispel the doubts about his virtuousness without self-abasement. When Socrates was asked whether it was shameful to do what he was doing, he said the following To do this has, as I say, been enjoined upon me by the god, by means of oracles and dreams, and in every other way that a divine manifestation has ever ordered a man to do anything. Socrates constituted that his business was profitable for the Athenians because he was ordered to philosophize by gods, and serving gods is the greatest blessing for the city. Furthermore, he said that he was like a good father or elder brother, who thought the citizens to follow virtue and to obey gods will. Socrates claimed that a good man cannot be harmed either in life or in death, thus, the decision of the court would not be harmful for Socrates. Socrates also mentioned that everyone, independently from his or her status in society, should follow the law. It may be noticed that Socratess defense was rather strange. On the one hand, he wanted to prove his innocence in verdict, but, on the other hand, he did not want to avoid punishment. His evidence was considered sufficient in Ancient Greece, when people believed that serving gods is the greatest piety and happiness. The arguments of Socrates do not seem sufficient enough for the contemporaries, who are excellent in logic and in the rules of argumentation.
The Five Ways by Thomas Aquinas are aimed to prove the existence of God. However, it is worth noticing that the task of philosophy is not to find out whether God exists, but to find out whether it is possible to provide sufficient arguments against or for Gods existence. Aquinas represented five basic arguments for Gods existence. The first evidence is evidence from motion, which is grounded on an assumption that everything should be moved by something else. The things are moved by other things, which create an endless link of movers and moved. But Thomas Aquinas wanted to prove that every motion should have the origin and one thing can not move itself. He concluded Therefore, one has to arrive at some first mover that is not being moved by anything. And this is what everyone takes to be God (Samuel Clarke). The second argument is based on efficient cause that is called god, according to Aquinas. This assumption is proved by the idea that everything has a cause, which leads to previous cause. The third argument is grounded on the suggestion that the existing things may both exist and not to exist. But if there was no necessity in existing, everything would not come to exist previously and would not exist now. As this position is wrong and everything that exists is not necessary to exist, there must be something that is necessary and that has made everything to exist. This necessity is called God. The fourth evidence states that diversity of degrees of goodness means that something maximally true and good should exist. Therefore, there is something that is a cause for all beings of their esse, their goodness and each of other perfections and this we call God (Samuel Clarke). The fifth argument says that all the thing are ordered to end by something intelligent that is called God, because things lack cognition but are directed to achieve it. At first glance, these arguments are sufficient, but they lack the evidence. These thoughts were suggested by a religious person, who tried to make others sure that God exist. Some rules of logic are neglected, and the existence of God is not proven by Aquinas.
The most well-grounded argumentation is given by William Rowe in the article An Examination of the Cosmological Argument. He mentioned the principle of sufficient reason, which was absent or almost absent in the arguments. As far as cosmological argument, it is valid enough, its premises are true and it follows the principle of sufficient evidence, however, it does not prove the existence or not existence of God. The cosmological argument failed to prove that there is self-existing being, the cause of everything. Rowe carefully analyzed the pros and cons arguments for or against Gods existence, he did not aim to prove or deny Gods being. He emphasized the criticism of both premises of the argument, estimating the rightness of the premises. Rowe based his article on logic and critical thinking, therefore, his analysis and argumentation are the most sufficient. He represented the graphical proofs, which are able to help understand and evaluate his assumptions.
In conclusion, the three authors and their works created a hierarchy of argumentation. The most sufficient argumentation is given by William Rowe, the least sufficient by Plato and Thomas Aquinas took medieval position. The evidence should be based on logical rules and facts, which are already proved or can easily be proved. The aim of philosophy is neither to prove Gods existence, nor to deny it, but to evaluate the sufficiency of arguments.