Probability, simplicity, and infinity: A critique of Richard Swinburne's argument for theism

by Gwiazda, Jeremy, Ph.D., CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK, 2010, 184 pages; 3396431


Richard Swinburne has presented an extended argument, spanning many works, the conclusion of which is that God likely exists. His argument is a cumulative argument, which means that he considers many pieces of evidence in arguing that God likely exists. The evidence he considers is evidence that is traditionally considered separately (or not at all) in arguments to God's existence.

The purpose of this thesis is to analyze Swinburne's inductive, cumulative argument to the existence of God. In the course of analyzing Swinburne's work, I use his argument as a lens to focus on issues that arise in areas outside of philosophy of religion, such as philosophy of science and epistemology. Some main themes of Swinburne's argument for theism are that the infinite is simple, that God is infinite on several properties, and that simple entities are likely to exist. I closely analyze Swinburne's views on infinity and simplicity, and ultimately suggest that these concepts do not do the work that Swinburne claims they do. That is, by taking a careful look at infinity and simplicity, I suggest that Swinburne's argument fails to show that God most likely exists.

AdviserSteven Cahn
Source TypeDissertation
Publication Number3396431

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