Theory Of Knowledge Essay Research Paper Joe

Theory Of Knowledge Essay, Research Paper

Joe Janszen

Philosophy 390

Paper #1


Theory of Knowledge ? First Short Paper

The skepticism of the existence of God has been a heavily discussed topic since the existence of man. Many philosophers have had many writings analyzing the facts and possibilities to prove this argument. Saint Thomas Aquinas is the philosopher whom best analyzes the facts in a way for me to understand that God exists. Saint Thomas Aquinas can prove the argument of the existence of God in five ways. I have chosen to discuss the first paragraph in his thesis due to the least amount of confusion. The first paragraph contains the following from Saint Thomas Aquinas:

The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is moved is moved by another, for nothing can be moved except it is potentiality to that towards which it is moved; whereas a thing moves inasmuch as it is in act. For motion is nothing else that the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality. But nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in the state of actuality. Thus that which is actually hot, as fire, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves and changes it. Now it is not possible that the same thing should be at once in actuality and potentiality in the same respect, but only in different respects. For what is actually hot cannot simultaneously be potentially hot; but it is simultaneously potentially cold. It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e., that it should move itself. Therefore, whatever is moved must be moved by another. If that by which it is moved be itself moved, then this also must needs be moved by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and consequently no other mover, seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are moved by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is moved by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, moved by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.

In the passage, several arguments are discussed to prove that God exists. The difficulty lies in the understanding of potentiality and actuality. Keeping in mind the focus is to prove that God exists was a good aid in translating some of Aquinas? writing. Saint Thomas Aquinas starts his argument discussing whatever is moved is moved by another. The movements all start with a first mover. The first mover moved another person that was potentially going to be moved by someone (the first mover). Aquinas talks about the movement that could happen, did happen, and how it happened in terms of potentiality and actuality. For ?X? which is in potential form, to become ?Y? which is the actuality of potential ?X?, then the only way for ?X? to have become ?Y? is from something that was already in actuality form. This explains the mover moving things.

In the example of the wood and fire, potentiality and actuality play a key role in the understanding of the existence of God. Aquinas says for wood to go from potentially to actually hot, something must be applied to the wood. In this case, fire would cause the wood to go from potentially hot to an actual hot state. It is impossible for the wood to be simultaneously in a potential hot state and an actual hot state. Although, the wood in the actual hot state could be simultaneously potentially cold when the fire is extinguished. The following statement may be an aid in understanding potentiality and actuality. If an object is potentially ?F,? the only way for it to become actually ?F? is for it to be affected by ?something in a state of actuality.? In another sense, whatever is doing the moving can be the thing that is moved in motion. This demonstrates that this process can be looked at in the shape of a circle. The process consists of change that started from some other change, and the change continues in a cycle. If an object undergoes change, then there must be a cause of that change. The cycle is potential capability of a thing experiencing a change to become the actual. Then the actual will experience a change to go from potential to actual again, a cycle. The entire process of wood becoming hot from fire starts with a first mover causing a chain reaction of movement.

In conclusion, since there is no infinity of action and all moving takes place in a cycle, therefore the person that is the first mover has never itself been moved (God-Y?X?Z?Y?X). In the end, Aquinas proves the unmoved mover is God. God is actually in motion and he causes the second motion. God is the capability of going to potentially hot to actually hot in the movement. God is simultaneously actually hot and cold. God started all the movement and he responsible for all actuality which makes him everything and great.

Saint Thomas Aquinas? argument is a very plausible argument to me. I have been raised all of my life in the Catholic religion and I do truly believe that God exists. It was rather difficult to think of the existence of God in the way of wood and fire. I had a problem understanding the possibility of the movements being the same all the time. If God was the first mover, then all movements should be in his favor. This raises the question of why are there so many religions that do not consider God to be the main first mover or that he even exists. Where did the moving alter people to discover ways of believing different gods? It is obvious that this is not taken into consideration in Aquinas? argument. In the end, after examining all the factors, Aquinas? argument makes complete sense and I believe the main idea is completely true. God is the first mover and he is responsible for the beginning of all moving. Aquinas proves this by explaining the mover of potentiality and actuality and how God is the entire process.

Saint Thomas Aquinas? teachings are highly favored by the Roman Catholic Church. The Church encourages the main message that God is everything and everywhere. Aquinas proves that God started the movement of the world and that God was the originator. The same movement that moved the potential to the actual state continues the same process today, spreading the actuality of God.

Rene Descartes. Discourse on Method


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