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Fokin Alexey

From rational creatures to the rational Creator: ancient and patristic analogies of the “fine-tuning” argument


Fokin Alexey (2017) "From rational creatures to the rational Creator: ancient and patristic analogies of the “fine-tuning” argument ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia. Religiovedenie, 2017, vol. 73, pp. 30-40 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI201773.30-40

Abstract

In this article the author deals with the proofs of the existence of God, based on the fact of the presence of rational beings in the world. These proofs can be found in Greek and Roman Classical philosophy and early Patristics, and can be viewed as an analogue of the modern “fine-tuning argument”. The author considers the origins and development of this argument in the Greek and Roman philosophy: in Socrates, Plato, Cicero, Sextus Empiricus, and especially the Stoics, who gave to the argument a logical form, based on the relationship between “the parts and the whole”: if the world as a whole produces and contains rational beings as its parts, it should also be rational or contain a rational principle that generates all its parts and governs them, just as human soul governs human body. The correction of this argument was proposed by Sextus Empiricus, who introduced the concept of "spermatic logoi", or rational principles, to explain the generation of the rational beings by the world, so that if the world contains the spermatic logoi of rational and living beings, then the world as a whole is also rational. The author also investigates the reception of the argument based on the existence of rational beings in the world in Latin Patristics: in Minucius Felix, Tertullian and especially Lactantius, in whom this argument has reached the climax of its development. At the same time it was shown, that the ancient argument has undergone a transformation from the postulation of the rationality of the world as a whole or its equation with God himself to a genuine proof of the existence of the one God who is the Creator both of the world and human beings, superior to the both as the all-powerful and transcendent Mind.

Keywords

God, proofs of the existence of God, theology, teleology, ancient philosophy, Platonism, Stoicism, Patristics, fine tuning argument, anthropic principle, rationality

References

  1. Arnim von J., ed., Stoicorum veterum fragmenta, Leipzig, 1903–1905, 1–3.
  2. Evans C. S., Manis R. Z., Philosophy of Religion: Thinking about Faith, Downers Grove (Ill.), 2009.
  3. Evans K. S., Menis R. Z., Filosofija religii: razmyshlenie o vere, Moscow, 2010.
  4. Stoljarov A. A., Stoja i stoicism, Moscow, 1995.
  5. Stoljarov A. A., ed., Fragmenty rannih stoikov, Moscow, 1998–2010, 1–3.
  6. Suinbern R., Sushhestvovanie Boga, Moscow, 2004.
  7. Swinburne R., The Existence of God, New York, 2004.

Information about the author

Fokin Alexey


Academic Degree: Doctor of Sciences* in Philosophy;
Place of work: Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences; Goncharnaya Str. 12/1, Moscow 109240, Russian Federation;
Post: Leading Research Fellow;
ORCID: 0000-0002-2554-005X;
Email: al-fokin@yandex.ru.

*According to ISCED 2011, a post-doctoral degree called Doctor of Sciences (D.Sc.) is given to reflect second advanced research qualifications or higher doctorates.

Acknowledgments

The article is written within the framework of the project № 150300211 "Metaphysics in the intercultural space: history and modernity" supported by RFBR Foundation