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2/06/2018 2:07 am  #1

Does theistic personalism entail that PSR does not hold?

I've been listening to some interviews with Father Norris Clarke and he talks about finite beings being limited and how any limitation on a being (making it less than pure being) calls into the equation a causal explanation ontologically prior to that being to explain said limitation. So every being of a particular kind, everything less than pure being, is an explanandum in need of an explanans. I recall that in the recent symposium with Dr. Craig and Bp. Barron, something like this came up. Dr. Feser brought up how Dr. Craig's idea of God is that he is a particular kind of being, and that particularity entails a causal explanation for why it is particularly one way instead of another. Do you think that holding to a belief in God as being a particular kind of being entails ~PSR? I think I remember that Dr. Craig is a strong advocate of the Leibnizian cosmological argument. I wonder how he juggles his adherence to PSR and his conception of God. 


2/06/2018 5:07 am  #2

Re: Does theistic personalism entail that PSR does not hold?

No, and I have to say I think Thomists engage in rhetorical dishonesty when it comes to accusations of theistic personalism (running together denial to divine simplicity with denial of their account of divine simplicity).

Philosophers who are not Thomist will not accept claims that beings are ‘limited’ and ‘less than pure being’ (unless you buy the Thomist account of esse then plausibley either existence is an all or nothing affair, though of course beings exist in different ways e.g. contingently or necessarily).

Likewise to claim that God is an instance of a kind suggests that God is a particular instance of a universal (something the Nominalist Lane will reject). I’m not sure what to make of that claim that’s God’s particularity needing an explainstion - God is of nature a necessary being ergo if God is an instance of a universal then that universal is necessarily exemplified.

Last edited by DanielCC (2/07/2018 5:43 am)


2/06/2018 10:03 pm  #3

Re: Does theistic personalism entail that PSR does not hold?

To put it another way, and perhaps less polemically...

Not everyone who uses "PSR" in arguments for God's existence agrees on what exactly that principle is (which depends, at least, on background metaphysics).

Some classical theists hold that PSR properly understood implies the existence of God, in particular the existence of the God of classical theism. Classical theism is inconsistent with theistic personalism. Hence PSR, as the classical theist understands it, implies the falsity of theistic personalism; equivalently, theistic personalism implies the falsity of PSR, as the classical theist understands it.

But is that an interesting result? Presumably the theistic personalist already rejects PSR, as the classical theist understands it. He might have a different formulation of PSR, but there is no direct argument that theistic personalism implies the falsity of that.

There's always quite a lot that can be said. The classical theist needs to say lots of things in response to the insistence, for instance, that classical theism faces a dilemma between modal collapse and the inexplicability of God's creation. There is much that can be said, and perhaps it's adequate, perhaps it's not. The same goes for the theistic personalist.


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