I'm aware this question assumes our universe isn't an infinite regression. The logic is as follows:

A is the source of everything. B exists. B came from A. Therefore B is an attribute of A.

A being the absolute source to our universe here ( A could be 2 universes colliding in the multiverse, some higher dimensional structure, etc. Just some type of outside source that was able to "cause" the Big Bang ). And B is consciousness.

If someone observes consciousness to exist in our universe (specifically high level consciousness in humans - but any conscious being works here). And this person also believes the universe clearly has an ultimate source; does this then:

1) Mean this person has to accept that consciousness came from this ultimate source,

2) And does this mean that consciousness had to be an attribute of this ultimate source? (meaning this source has to also posses consciousness because conscious beings came from it)?

The point of this question is to find if someone believes both an ultimate First Cause to the universe and doesn't buy into the infinite regress school of thought - does this mean they are also admitting that their "first cause" had to be a conscious and sentient being? Why?

  • 7
    No and no. "B came from A. Therefore B is an attribute of A" is fallacious, birds come from eggs, but eggs do not have wings. Identifying the first cause with God is a well-known non-sequitur of the cosmological argument, see SEP. It is usually interpreted as an inference to the best explanation for those who already believe in human-like God, so using it as an argument for his existence is circular.
    – Conifold
    Apr 18, 2020 at 8:43
  • The argument might work for a fundamental consciousness, but God would still be an optional speculation. .
    – user20253
    Apr 18, 2020 at 12:24
  • 3
    You got a wrong idea about this. If you think an argument works you have to explain why its inferences are valid, not ask others to explain the why they are fallacious. Not all of fallacies have special names, btw, there is too much fallacy out there to name it all. If eggs without wings produce birds with wings I do not see why something inanimate can not produce something "conscious". And it makes no difference whether it is "God of a religion" or something else "conscious" or "unconscious", none of that is implied by being the first cause.
    – Conifold
    Apr 18, 2020 at 21:23
  • 2
    Your first two sentences contradict each other. If the egg "does not have physical wings" then it does not have "all the attributes" of a bird. Any natural law is an "instruction" for how a system evolves. Aminoacids have "instructions" for making something alive, and apes for making humans, so the "absolute source" can have those "instructions", and still be as blank as they are inanimate or non-human. Having "instructions" does not help, this anthropomorphic language already presupposes its anthropomorphic conclusions, so the reasoning is circular.
    – Conifold
    Apr 18, 2020 at 21:57
  • 1
    @AruynDregh - I feel your argument basically works. Clearly consciousness is present in the Source at least as a potential. Whether consciousnesss can emerge from matter is much debated but as nobody can figure out how this would be possible even in principle I'd say your argument is reasonable. Underneath the details Penrose puts a roughly similar argument. But, so it seems, there is no logic that can finally prove that consciousness is not a product of matter (or even exists). Chalmers' arguments have failed to change many minds on this issue.
    – user20253
    Apr 19, 2020 at 10:58

2 Answers 2


You can find something like that in Descartes, Meditations, III :

(1) I am aware of myself.

(2) And in particular, I am aware of doubting, having desires, ignoring many things, etc.

(3) So I am aware of myself as an imperfect being.

(4) Hence, my self awareness requires the idea of perfection, and therefore, of absolute perfection ( for imperfection is a derivative concept).

(5) But it is not possible that I be the cause of this idea: the cause has to be at least as perfect as the effect.

(6) Only a perfect being can be the cause of the idea of perfection I have in my mind.

(7) Therefore, God exists.

  • 2
    Very similar to the ontological argument, with the same flaws. What distinguishes the concept of perfection from that of the unicorn? May 27, 2020 at 14:19
  • The concept of unicorn is the concept of a substance while the concept of perfecton is the concept of a quality.
    – user37859
    May 28, 2020 at 17:57

Your argument seems to be that if an entity that arises at the end of a long chain of causes and events has a particular attribute, then that same attribute must have been possessed by whichever entity-without-a-cause activated the start of the chain.

If that argument were valid, why would it be limited to consciousness? Why would it not apply also to other attributes, such as red-hair, the possession of a trunk and large ears, zebra stripes, a mass of less than 0.83 grammes, a dislike of Donald Trump, hay-fever, and so on. Your argument suggests that the first cause had to have been a sentient being possessing every possible attribute ever possessed by humans, or, indeed, any other entity that resulted from that first cause. And since different entities can be in possession of mutually exclusive attributes, your original entity must have possessed mutually exclusive attributes, which seems rather an awkward conclusion to have to defend. Given that, I suggest you argument might have a tiny flaw in it somewhere.

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