Sunday, August 5, 2012

God and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

  1. Either the Principle of Sufficient Reason is true or not.
  2. If it is true, God exists by the Cosmological Argument.
  3. If it is not true, then it is a puzzling fact that all observed things have causes, a puzzling fact best explained in terms of God.
  4. So, at least probably, God exists.

I am told that Reichenbach (I assume Bruce) made this argument or one like it.

8 comments:

Stephen R. Diamond said...

"If it is not true, then it is a puzzling fact that all observed things have causes, a puzzling fact best explained in terms of God."

Why is the principles that everything has a reason less puzzling than the principle that all events have causes?

Moi said...

Very interesting, thanks for this.

Alexander R Pruss said...

Stephen:

Depending on how widely one understands "events", the principle that all events have causes can be used to run a Cosmological Argument, too.

Sam Calvin said...

Norman Geisler's version of the Cosmological Argument appeals to the causality of events without (so he says) granting the Principle of Sufficient Reason.

Noctambulant Joycean said...

Wouldn't this make God's existence logically necessary? If so, then can't we run the following argument inspired by Morriston's "God and the ontological foundations of morality"?:

Most (if not all) arguments for God take the form (or can be re-written in the form): "If P, then God exists. P. Therefore God exists." Most theists then try to defend premise 1 by noting the implications of it's contrapositive: "If it is not the case that God exists, then not-P." But if God's existence is logically necessary, the antecedent is contradictory and thus one can formally derive any statement from it. So if theist think they can make interesting, meaningful claims about what results from God's non-existence, God cannot be logically necessary. So Bruce's argument must be unsound.

Sam said...

If the principle of sufficient reason is true, then there can be no libertarian free will. If there is libertarian free will, then the principle of sufficient reason is not true.

Sam said...

noctambulant Joycean, consider this:

If the law of non-contradiction is not true, then square circles are possible.

The above seems to be true, but does it follow that the law of non-contradiction isn't a necessary truth?

Alexander R Pruss said...

I argue in my PSR book and elsewhere that free will, libertarianism and PSR are compatible. As they had better be given that they're all true. :-)