Did the universe begin to exist? If so, did it have a cause? Or could it have come into existence uncaused, from nothing? These questions are taken up by the medieval-though recently-revived-kalam cosmological argument, which has arguably been the most discussed philosophical argument for God's existence in recent decades. The kalam's line of reasoning maintains that the series of past events cannot be infinite but rather is finite. Since the universe could not have come into being uncaused, there must be a transcendent cause of the universe's beginning, a conclusion supportive of theism. This anthology on the philosophical arguments for the finitude of the past asks: Is an infinite series of past events metaphysically possible? Should actual infinites be restricted to theoretical mathematics, or can an actual infinite exist in the concrete world? These essays by kalam proponents and detractors engage in lively debate about the nature of infinity and its conundrums; about frequently-used kalam argument paradoxes of Tristram Shandy, the Grim Reaper, and Hilbert's Hotel; and about the infinity of the future.
The two volumes of Copan's The Kalam Cosmological Argument, without a doubt, constitute an excellent collection of essays that for years to come will be the place to start for those interested in a profound analysis of the problems and merits of the Kalam cosmological argument. * Reading Religion * The best possible collection on the kalam cosmological argument one could wish for. The contributors to the book, who represent some of the most profound thinkers of our time, tackle fundamental questions concerning the existence of God and the origin of the universe through their discussion of the simple yet extremely powerful argument. * Yujin Nagasawa, Professor of Philosophy, University of Birmingham, UK * This collection brings together some of the most important recent criticisms and defenses of a crucial step in the much-discussed kalam cosmological argument. The question at issue is whether the universe (that is, all of contingent reality) must have a finite past. Here, one will find contemporary philosophers alternately defending and attacking the idea that the past could have been infinite. The essays are well-chosen and interlocking, with the exciting thrust-and-parry of an ongoing philosophical debate. The volume is the ideal place to start for anyone contemplating this fascinating question. * Dean Zimmerman, Professor of Philosophy, Rutgers University, USA * The kalam cosmological argument remains an intriguing theistic argument that raises numerous critical philosophical questions. This must-read volume brings together leading edge figures to address key issues surrounding this argument and in doing so has genuinely broken new ground. * Michael Murray, Senior Vice President of Programs, John Templeton Foundation, USA *