An Analysis of Sanjuanist Teaching and its Philosophical Implications for Russell, Bertrand, and Copleston, Frederick C.: , ‘A Debate on the Existence of God,’ in Sanson, Henri: b, Saint Jean de la Croix entre Bossuet et Fenelon. Bertrand Russell and Frederick Copleston: A debate on the existence of God. Sep 23, Histórico debate entre Bertrand Russell y Copleston (subtitulado ).

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The debate between Copleston and Ddbate would typify the arguments presented between theists and atheists in the later half of the 20th century, with Russell’s approach often used by atheists in the late 20th century. Whether he was an agnostic or atheist is a question he had addressed before; while technically agnostic with debaye to the Christian God, as with the Greek Gods, to all intents and purposes he can be considered an atheist.

Histórico debate entre Bertrand Russell y Copleston (subtitulado)

Copleston argued that the existence of God can be proved from contingency, and thought that only the existence of God would make sense of human’s moral and religious experience: First, that the existence of God can be philosophically proved by a metaphysical argument; secondly, that it is only the existence of God that will make sense of man’s moral experience and of religious experience.


That is, of beings no one of which can account for its own existence. You say that the series of events needs no explanation: I say that if there were no necessary being, no being which must exist and cannot not-exist, nothing would exist. The infinity of the series of contingent beings, even if proved, would etnre irrelevant.

Something does exist; therefore, there must be something which accounts for this fact, a being which is outside the series of contingent beings. If you had admitted this, we could then have discussed whether that being is personal, good, and so on.

Copleston–Russell debate

Russell however found both arguments unconvincing. He contended that Copleston’s argument from contingency is a fallacy, and that debafe are better explanations for our moral and religious experience:.

First, as to the metaphysical argument: I don’t admit the connotations of such a term as “contingent” or the possibility of explanation in Deebate Copleston’s sense. I think the word “contingent” inevitably suggests the possibility of something that wouldn’t have this what you might call accidental character of just being there, and I don’t think is true except in the purely causal sense.


You can sometimes give a causal explanation of one thing as being the effect of something else, but that is merely referring one thing to another thing and there’s no—to my mind—explanation in Father Copleston’s sense of anything at all, nor is there any meaning in calling things “contingent” because there isn’t anything else they could be.

A Debate on the Existence of God: The Cosmological Argument — F.

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He contended that Copleston’s argument from contingency is a fallacy, and that there are better explanations for our moral and religious experience: Twentieth-Century Philosophy of Religion: Copleston Debate the Existence of God, “.

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