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5/08/2018 1:00 pm  #11


Re: PSR thread

aftermathemat wrote:

Miguel wrote:

 Every necessary fact or object that is actually the case is by definition possible. An actual necessary being would exist in every possible world, but obviously would also exist in at least one possible world, satisfying the definition.

I think I would have to disagree with that. Necessary facts aren't  "possible",  if by that one means they are like abstract possibilities and contingent beings. Necessary facts come prior to and before contingent facts, and they actually tell us what is possible and what is not possible, since they are grounded in the Divine Nature, and as such are logically prior to abstract possibilities.

 
By that one does not mean they are contingent, obviously. One simply means that a necessary being exists in at least one possible world, which is perfectly consistent with a necessary being existing in all possible worlds. An actual necessary being would be possible, while square circles would not be possible. I don't think that's problematic.

And again if we use epistemic possibility as a guide for ontology (and we normally do and should do that), then it is possible that every contingen truth could have an explanation. Which would entail that every contingent truth does actually have an explanation.

And if one grounds possibilities in the Divine Nature, then PSR would follow anyway; and if we ground modality in actual things we'd instead be using Pruss's argument from powers or the Augustinian argument or something to that effect.

 

5/08/2018 1:05 pm  #12


Re: PSR thread

DanielCC wrote:

Re the Gale-Pruss PSR think of it as the claim that for any contingent being that exists possibley its existence has an explaination (to get away from PSR language for any contingent being that contingent being could have been bought into existence by another). The upholder of this principle could grant Hume’s conceivability argument about the brick as they only need insist that said brick could have been brought into existence with a cause (after all we encounter plenty of bricks that are).

The big problem here is with orgins essentialism. If individual beings have their origins essentially it significantly weakens the case for Gale-Pruss PSR being that different from the normal PSR. Not only would bricks that come to be without a cause have that property necessarily but even bricks produced by regular methods would not have been able to come about in slightly different circumstances e.g. by being the work of a different brick cutter or coming from a different batch of clay.

 
Yes, but how plausible is origins essentialism? It seems more plausible when it comes to individuals like you and me, because we tend to base our identity around the persons we are, being born to specific parents, etc (even then, couldn't we think of ourselves as having had a different hair or eye color, for instance? Wouldn't that go against OE?). But when it comes to things such as bricks, rocks, water molecules, it seems weirder to suggest the origins follow essentially from *this* artisan, *this* rock, etc.

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5/08/2018 1:08 pm  #13


Re: PSR thread

If someone is skeptical of WPSR or WWPSR as a way to argue for PSR, however, then at the very least they would serve to block Humean objections. Because if we accept conceivability even as a defeasible guide for possibility, and if we accept that we can conceive of things coming to be with no cause, then certainly we also could conceive of WPSR or WWPSR, but those would entail PSR. So at the very least we block Hume's conceivability argument, and maybe we even turn it into an argument for PSR.

Last edited by Miguel (5/08/2018 1:09 pm)

     Thread Starter
 

5/08/2018 1:43 pm  #14


Re: PSR thread

Miguel wrote:

If someone is skeptical of WPSR or WWPSR as a way to argue for PSR, however, then at the very least they would serve to block Humean objections. Because if we accept conceivability even as a defeasible guide for possibility, and if we accept that we can conceive of things coming to be with no cause, then certainly we also could conceive of WPSR or WWPSR, but those would entail PSR. So at the very least we block Hume's conceivability argument, and maybe we even turn it into an argument for PSR.

One of the interesting things about the Humean conceivability argument, and one that is closely related to the discussion of possibility here, is that one reason why we should reject it is that it proves too much.

If something is really possible, an actual metaphysical possibility that we should take seriously in the here and now, just because we can conceive of it, then all is allowed.

Because then in order for something to be a serious possibility in the actual world, all that is required is that it be logically possible and not confuse it's semantics (i.e. it is not a strict semantic contradiction to propose that Miguel is actually a prime number, but in terms of essences it would be like saying that peaches are oranges - contradictory nonetheless, though not in a direct semantic sense like a married bachelor).

This means that we then have to take, say, things ceasing to exist for no reason suddenly as a serious option, as well as every other logical possibility under the sun. Which leads to extremely counter-intuitive conclusions which Hume et al. would be at great pains to avoid.
 

 

5/09/2018 2:16 am  #15


Re: PSR thread

That view of conceivability is not tenable. Almost no philosophers who defend conceivability as a guide to possibility would equate it with absence of semantic contradiction. Even imaginability is not taken as directly correlative with it (in any case arguments like Hume’s are not determinate enough for us to tell from the imaginable scenario alone that one has a case of an object coming to be without a cause as opposed to it coming to be without a cause we can see).

Those defenders of conceivability wouldn’t normally go as far as to say conceivability- full scale conceivability - is an infallible guide to something’s being possible anyway, only an argument in its favour should we have no reason think otherwise.

 

5/09/2018 3:09 am  #16


Re: PSR thread

aftermathemat wrote:

seigneur wrote:

I'm not that obsessed with PSR. It may very well be that everything has an explanation, but this does not mean that we are going to find it. Still, the rational way of going about things is with explanations. This is my PSR.

The PSR as argued for by theists does not state that the explanations of things must be understandable or findable in principle.

It just states that everything  has  an explanation, not that we are necessarily able to find it out.

Well, yes. And I was saying the same thing, wasn't I?
 
Moreover, PSR is an epistemic proposition, not metaphysical (ontological). In metaphysics we have causal relations between things. In epistemology we have reasons and explanations as answers to how's and why's.

PSR should not be construed as having something to do with the conceivability or possibility or plausibility of such-and-such existing, but rather as asserting that it's reasonable look for an explanation to such-and-such, where such-and-such is something we both consider worth discussing as a starting point.

Anyway, often enough when one asserts "Everything has an explanation", the other gets into a funny mood asking "Okay, what's the explanation of this? What's the explanation of that?" and when you don't know the answer, the other sees it as a problem for PSR. It's actually his funny mood that is the problem.

Assuming PSR is how individual knowledge can grow. And when knowledge can grow, it obviously does not have all the explanations yet, but is potentially on its way there. Whereas assuming the opposite of PSR hinders growth of knowledge.

 

5/09/2018 4:14 am  #17


Re: PSR thread

I'm reading a lot currently about Gaston Isaye and his succesors, and I think that basically his way to do pure metaphysics is the correct way.
So, given that, I think that the PSR is a first principle, not deductible from anything else. Therefore, we can only defend it by retorsion:I would basically use the two retorsion arguments that Edward Feser uses. First, show that basically, if the PSR isn't true, then nothing at all is intelligible. Second, show that we need to say that the PSR is true if we want our cognitive faculties that we are using right now are at least sometimes functionnal.
Even if the retorsion argument aren't fully correct, we could still be confident in the idea that the PSR is a first principle because of two other things: nothing in the experience contradicts it, and everyone uses it on a daily basis without questionning it.

Last edited by Ouros (5/09/2018 4:14 am)

 

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