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3/22/2018 10:51 am  #1

Della Rocca

I've recently been thinking about Della Rocca's argument for the PSR, and I think I found an interesting consequence that could strengthen the argument overall.

Now, Della Rocca starts by showing us all sorts of examples where we use explicability arguments to rule out all sorts of brute happenings.   These include an Archimedian scale where two equal weights are on both sides, two dissolvable tablets both put in a glass of water and other such examples. In both the Archimedian case and Tablet case, we use an explicability argument to rule out one side of the balance moving suddenly for no reason, and an explicability argument to rule out the second tablet failing to dissolve for no reason.   Della Rocca then uses our everyday acceptance of explicability to push us to accept an explicability argument for existence, and thus PSR. He points out how an unprincipled drawing of the line between all other explicability arguments and existence would be question-begging and would result in our having no reason to think that anything is explicable, so the PSR denier had better to come up with a principled reason why existence should be exempt from explicability arguments.

But here is an interesting consequence upon rejecting the idea that existence is explicable: not only would the existence of things be inexplicable, but the possibility that things can pop into existence for no reason is also necessarily a serious possibility. 

And why is that relevant to the Della Rocca argument? Well, if existence really is inexplicable, and since this implies that things can actually pop into existence inexplicably, then this opens the possibility of brute existential intermediaries that can influence the scenarios above where we do accept explicability arguments.   The Archimedian scale with equal weights could fail to be at rest because a powerful magnetic force popped into existence below it and forced it down, or because the force of weight of an unequal balance magically popped into existence at the second side of the scale which forced the scale to act as if a much heavier weight were put on it, or because a force appeared in the scale that forced the other side to lower itself more than it should have.     The dissolvable tablets that are put in water could fail to act accordingly because a tiny microscopic force popped into existence to stop the water molecules from interacting with the molecules of the tablet, or because the tablet's molecules were kept from seperating by a mysterious force that also popped out of nothing.

In all of the cases above, there is a discrepancy between the results, and the discrepancy happened because of a brute effect coming into existence.   In other words, even if an atheist were to give a principled reason as to why existence is inexplicable, he would only be cementing himself into further trouble, as the implication of this is that we actually have a positive reason to not accept explicability arguments at all, since we still have to take seriously brute discrepancies, and thus the atheist is forced into a dilemma of either having to admit that there is no reason to think that anything is explicable ( if he has no principled reason for denying explicability for existence) or that there is a reason to think that anything is inexplicable ( if there is a principled reason for denying explicability for existence).  

The only objections I can think of is that these intermediaries are only ultimately brute and not directly brute, kind of how if a ball were to pop into existence above you and fell on your head, your head being hurt would be directly explicable since the ball obeyed it's nature to fall if it were in the air and thus would be only ultimately inexplicable since the ball ultimately came from nowhere. However, if these brute existential intermediaries are in fact undermining the explicability arguments we already accept, then this could present the PSR denier with a powerful dilemma to accept PSR.

What do you think?



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