Philosophy 102: Introduction to
The Argument From Motion
1. Evident to our senses is motion, the movement from actuality to
potentiality. (Things are acted on.)
2. Whatever is moved, is moved by another. Potentiality can
only be moved by an actuality.
3. Unless there is a first Mover there can be no motions. (To
take away the actual is to take away the potential.)
||Aquinas is not rejecting an indefinite or infinite series as such;
the idea is that a lower element depends on a higher element--a hierarchy, not a series.
Therefore, a First Mover exists.
1. Your being awake depends on eating toast for breakfast, which
further depends on bread, flour, grain, and finally dirt. (Actual dirt, not
2. For Aquinas (and for Aristotle), which came first, the
chicken or the egg?
Summary of Objections:
1. There seems to be an internal contradiction: "Whatever
is moved, is moved by another." Is God something or not?
2. Other a priori possibilities than dependency of one part
to another exist. (E.g., Russell's story of what holds the earth up--"turtles
all the way down.")
3. There are inherent problems with the concepts of actuality and
potentiality. One presupposes the existence of processes with beginning, middle, and
end. Are these in nature or are they or are they drawn from our way of seeing the