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2/13/2018 8:52 am  #11


Re: Assuming PSR is false, in what other ways can we still prove God??

RomanJoe wrote:

Can one even reliably deploy an argument for God (or anything) without PSR? Assuming PSR is false, there's no reason why a specific conclusion follows from certain premises. Assuming PSR is false, we could have no guarantee in any "rational" argumentation.

Correct.

Heck, if PSR is false, then epistemic nihilism could in fact be true, and we cannot even say that it's unlikely. Epistemic nihilism, for those who don't know, is the position that there literally are no epistemic merits or demerits, no epistemic obligations of being rational or providing reasons and evidence, and no proposition is such that it entails anything beyond itself, destroying the possibility of deduction.


Of course, the problem with epistemic nihilism is that it is self-defeating and incoherent, because we literally don't have any reason to believe it if it were true, because we don't have any reason to believe ANYTHING if epistemic nihilism were true. Another problem with epistemic nihilism is that, since it denies any epistemic normativity, it is literally meaningless as a position because, at least according to some analytic philosophers, meaning is normative in nature because it may imply other meanings and exclude certain other ones from consideration. This also implies that epistemic nihilism is basically like eliminativist materialism and denies all semantic meaning as well.


I don't know if the above thesis, namely that meaning is normative in nature because a certain idea may imply other ideas and the rejection of yet other ones, is compatible with  Aristotelianism-Thomism  and/or  classical theism  and  classical philosophy  but if it is, it gives us further reasons to accept PSR.


I think we may even be able to make an argument for PSR on the basis that, if  ~PSR  were true, the possibility that  meaning does not exist  and  epistemic nihilism  is true  would be wide open,  which cannot be because they are self-defeating and incoherent, which by implication means that   ~PSR   is self-defeating and incoherent.


But I'm not exactly sure of that, since the atheist may say that  ~PSR  applies only to coherent possibilities, thus preserving some of the rationality of  ~PSR  (that is, if that position ever even had any  "rationality"  to begin with).


 

Last edited by aftermathemat (2/13/2018 8:58 am)

 

Today 1:44 am  #12


Re: Assuming PSR is false, in what other ways can we still prove God??

Just reaffirming what I said in a previous post here, one can defend inductive cosmological arguments for God without having to even necessarily conclude PSR. And I just feel like saying it, but I think Richard Swinburne's overall inductive case for God is a strong one.

My main reasons for believing in God come from classical deductive arguments (Leibnizian cosmological arguments, thomistic arguments, classical teleological ones, the existence of the soul, eternal truths/augustinian, and so on) which are therefore my favorites, but I think the inductive arguments are strong. If for whatever reason I came to reject classical deductive arguments, I'd still accept an inductive case which I think is very plausible. Though disagree with some of his specific views on God's nature, I think Swinburne is correct when he says that a being like God is probable given the existence of the universe, the order in it, the fine tuning, the existence of conscious (we could add rational) agents, and religious experience. We could also say that the existence of a being like God is the best and simplest explanation to these facts, especially taken together. Sometimes we overlook the fact that there are good cases for the existence of God beyond Aquinas, Aristotle, Leibniz Augustine Al-Gazhali etc.

 

Today 11:10 am  #13


Re: Assuming PSR is false, in what other ways can we still prove God??

Miguel wrote:

Then so much the worse for the PSR denier, and he has to come up with a non-question-begging way to reject PSR.

The rejection of PSR is always question-begging. What the atheist would say is that your acceptance of PSR is just as question-begging as his rejection thereof, both of them being bets.

aftermathemat wrote:

The only way we can make the argument absolutely succeed is to prove that there is literally NO principled reason why explicability does not apply to existence and that there cannot be any grounds whatsoever to say existence is not explicable.

Until we do that, the PSR denier can still stubbornly hold on to his denial.

Of course "there is literally NO principled reason why explicability does not apply to existence". No atheist would deny that. Rather, he would say that there is NO compelling (for him) reason why explicability MUST apply to existence.

So, proving that "there is NO principled reason why explicability does not apply to existence" is not enough to convince a PSR denier. Rather, you need to prove that there is a principled, or compelling, reason why explicability MUST apply to existence.
 

 

Today 12:13 pm  #14


Re: Assuming PSR is false, in what other ways can we still prove God??

aftermathemat wrote:

Atheists often deny PSR on the basis that it's denial doesn't entail a contradiction and that brute facts are logically possible.

Miguel wrote:

I think it's pretty much incontroversial that brute facts should be a last resort. Who even accepts brute facts outside the context of cosmological arguments anyway? Certainly they should at least not be preferred when there is a potential explanation available. Regardless of whether or not we accept PSR, should we really accept that there is an unexplained infinite regress of conditioned beings causing each other where there is nothing guaranteeing the conditions necessary for any of those conditioned beings to exist? Should we just accept that the universe exists for no reason whatsoever, no explanation needed, nothing? It's clearly bullshit to me.

IMV it is important to distinguish between physical brute facts and metaphysical brute facts, or equivalently between physical explanations and metaphysical explanations.

Most scientifically-minded atheists do not accept physical brute facts. They hold that all entities and events within the universe can be explained by previous entities and events through the physical laws. What they deny is that the existence of the universe itself with its laws needs to be explained, not that it can be explained. So, they accept the possibility, necessity and (at least provisional, as was the case of classical mechanics,) "correspondence with reality" of physical explanations of entities and events within the universe, but they do not accept the necessity and "correspondence with reality" of metaphysical explanations.

The weak point of the atheist's position is that current physical observations and established physical laws (not fancy hypotheses) lead to infer that the universe started to exist at some initial time in some initial state which cannot be the result of a previous state, according to those established physical laws. So, the atheist has to either face up to the fact that there is no physical explanation for the beginning of the universe or seek refuge in the fairyland of eternal inflation, the multiverse, and/or the landscape of string theory, hoping that some day a truly scientific model will emerge from there, and moreover that it will be validated by observations.

Alternatively, the atheist can seek refuge in cyclical cosmology, but then he is confronted by the conclusively established finding that the expansion of the universe has been accelerating during the second half of its history, which forces him to postulate:


  • either that some presently unknown mechanism will change the currently accelerating expansion into decelerating expansion, stop, and then contraction,
  • or that something changed between all previous instances of the universe and the current instance, whereby all previous instances decelerated their expansion and reversed into contraction whereas the current instance will expand for ever.

Either postulate is clearly just fanciful thinking.So, we theists are not comfortably at home only in metaphysics, but also in current established physics, while atheists must seek refuge in scientifically-sounding fairyland.
 

 

Today 12:16 pm  #15


Re: Assuming PSR is false, in what other ways can we still prove God??

Johannes wrote:

The rejection of PSR is always question-begging...

Of course "there is literally NO principled reason why explicability does not apply to existence". No atheist would deny that. Rather, he would say that there is NO compelling (for him) reason why explicability MUST apply to existence.

So, proving that "there is NO principled reason why explicability does not apply to existence" is not enough to convince a PSR denier. Rather, you need to prove that there is a principled, or compelling, reason why explicability MUST apply to existence.
 

1) Wouldn't that make the Della Rocca argument work then, and thus force him to hold the position that no explicability arguments are valid / we have no reason to think anything is explicable?


2) How exactly is it that there is no principled reason why explicability shouldn't apply to existence? Della Rocca in his paper refutes certain suggestions as to how such a principled reason would look like, and himself admits that the atheist needs to provide such a principled reason in order to avoid the argument, and says that he isn't optimistic that any such principled reason can even exist, which still implies that the atheist could in the future find a principled reason to deny explicability to existence. Unless we have a decisive argument as to why there is no principled reason and/or can give very strong reason to think that there can be no principled reason to deny explicability to existence, the atheist could just stubbornly deny the argument and hope that some day in the future we may find a principled reason.
 

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