The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#76

Post by PaulSacramento » Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:15 am

Nils wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:59 am
PaulSacramento wrote:
Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:24 am
Nils wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:43 pm
PaulSacramento wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:45 am
You said that something being the explanation of itself is not logical, correct?
Rather that it isn’t intelligible. To me the rules of logic doesn't seem to be involved.
PaulSacramento wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:45 am
So that means that everything must have an explanation for what it is, that it is, why it is, outside of itself, correct?
I mean, it;s an either /or thing right?
Either somethings are their own explanation or everything has an explanation outside itself, right?
No, my opinion is that either things have an explanation outside itself or there is no explanation at all. The latter is only applicable to things not inside our Universe.
To me something being the explanation of itself is the same as not having any explanation at all, but I know that Byblos and others don’t agree.
Nils
So, everything has an explanation for it existing and that explanation is something other than itself?
Wasn’t I clear enough. I wrote: “my opinion is that either things have an explanation outside itself or there is no explanation at all”.
To clarify further:
I think that all but a few (or one) exeptional case, there is an explanation outside itself.
In one (or a few) cases there is no explanation at all
Nils
I just wanted to be clear and to not misunderstanding you.
I have never actually heard anyone state such an absolute statement like that before.
Scientists will typically ( and honestly) state that they don't know the explanation of something but to state that there isn't one, well...

So, in your view, there is no explanation for the beginning of the universe?

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#77

Post by Byblos » Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:07 am

PaulSacramento wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:15 am
Nils wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:59 am
PaulSacramento wrote:
Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:24 am
Nils wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:43 pm
PaulSacramento wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:45 am
You said that something being the explanation of itself is not logical, correct?
Rather that it isn’t intelligible. To me the rules of logic doesn't seem to be involved.
PaulSacramento wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:45 am
So that means that everything must have an explanation for what it is, that it is, why it is, outside of itself, correct?
I mean, it;s an either /or thing right?
Either somethings are their own explanation or everything has an explanation outside itself, right?
No, my opinion is that either things have an explanation outside itself or there is no explanation at all. The latter is only applicable to things not inside our Universe.
To me something being the explanation of itself is the same as not having any explanation at all, but I know that Byblos and others don’t agree.
Nils
So, everything has an explanation for it existing and that explanation is something other than itself?
Wasn’t I clear enough. I wrote: “my opinion is that either things have an explanation outside itself or there is no explanation at all”.
To clarify further:
I think that all but a few (or one) exeptional case, there is an explanation outside itself.
In one (or a few) cases there is no explanation at all
Nils
I just wanted to be clear and to not misunderstanding you.
I have never actually heard anyone state such an absolute statement like that before.
Scientists will typically ( and honestly) state that they don't know the explanation of something but to state that there isn't one, well...

So, in your view, there is no explanation for the beginning of the universe?
It's not just the beginning of the universe since, for all intents and purposes, the universe could very well have sprung from an eternal murltiverse. It's that they have no explanation for the most fundamental aspect of reality, i.e. an explanation for the contingency of a supposed universe-churning eternal entity. It's a world philosophy built on nothing. It explains the book on the shelf, the shelf attached to the brackets, the screws and anchors holding the brackets (and by extension, the shelf and the book). But there is no explanation for why the shelf is upright and doesn't plummet to the ground. And in order to posit an ultimate non-explanation, the very instrument used to argue against a self-explained necessity would have to be denied, i.e. rationality itself, all the while insisting on intellectual/rational arguments we, theists, supposedly lack. :roll: It's a dizzying array of irrationality but hey, to each their own.
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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#78

Post by Philip » Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:53 am

Byblos: And in order to posit an ultimate non-explanation, the very instrument used to argue against a self-explained necessity would have to be denied, i.e. rationality itself, all the while insisting on intellectual/rational arguments we, theists, supposedly lack. :roll: It's a dizzying array of irrationality but hey, to each their own.
Exactly - they believe in something they have no explanation for why they should believe it - as it's connected to nothing, like an imagined whiff of a fantasized smell. Merely thinking something is possible doesn't make it so. What Nils suggest denies rationality.

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#79

Post by Nils » Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:17 pm

Byblos wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:29 am
Nils wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:32 pm
Byblos wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:22 am
Nils wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:16 am
As you already know, to me self-explanation is not intelligible. How can you say that the reason why an entity is as it is, is that it is as it is – the nature of the entity? So I am of course interested in you explanation.
If that's your position, that there is no such thing as a self-explained thing as that would be the equivalent of the unexplained or irrational, and on that basis you are rejecting my (Feser's) rational argument, then let me ask you this (rhetorical) question: how do you explain the very instrument you are using to reason this out, i.e. reason itself?

You see, in order to explain reason, you would have to use reason itself, which renders reason self-evidently true or self-explanatory. We use the same type of rational thinking with respect to the law of non-contradiction as well, which is self-evidently true. Now you can deny that reason is self-explained and try to appeal to something non-rational to explain it but by doing so you render reason itself non-rational and thereby self-contradictory (hence, utterly fatalistic).
Self-evident (Cambridge: clear or obvious without needing any proof or explanation) is not the same as self-explanatory. Besides,[shadow][/shadow] the law of non-contradiction really isn’t self-evident, see Wikipedia.
As per the same source (Cambridge):

"self-explanatory
easily understood from the information already given and not needing further explanation"

Not much of a difference in definition. There are many examples of self-explanatory things Nils. Take a stop sign, for example. Pretty self-explanatory to me. If you're going to contend one must have certain a priori knowledge to arrive at the self-explanatory nature of a stop sign, we can take that all the way back to consciousnesses and you'd end up in the same place.
Well a stop sign we understand through earlier knowledge that is part of our culture. In other cultures I don’t think a stop sign is easily understandable. But how can you compare this with a God that you say is self-explained by reference to his own nature. That seems to me to be far from the definition you cite: “ easily understood from the information already given”. I have never heard of anything that is explained by reference to it’s own nature (but the God example).
Byblos wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:29 am
Nils wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:32 pm
The truth and the evolution of reason is related to the development of language. It’s true that language and reason are used to describe language and reason. That’s a kind of self reference but I don’t see any big problem with this. It’s part of the evolution of mankind. Some have claimed that there is no guarantee that reason is rational in a world without God, Plantinga for example. I claim that evolution, survival of the fittest, has done the job. It is of great survival value to have a rational reasoning. So the development and use of reason is explained by evolution.
What on earth does this have anything to do with evolution? This is purely a rationalistic argument. But if your contention is that reason and rationality itself is purely the product of evolution then things get a lot worse for you since evolutionary processes are by definition a-rational, which makes reason and rationality itself a-rational. I really hope I don;t have to explain the self-contradictory nature of such a position.
An evolutionary process is in some sense a-rational but it produces rational outputs. That’s is a common method in electronics for instance. It isn’t difficult to show why a biological evolutionary process will generate outcomes that seem to be designed. As I said earlier some Christian philosophers as Plantinga have tried to show that a materialistic world can’t produce rational beings, but they are mistaken. We can discuss that in a separate thread if you want.
Anyway, you wrote earlier in this thread:
“You see, in order to explain reason, you would have to use reason itself, which renders reason self-evidently true or self-explanatory. We use the same type of rational thinking with respect to the law of non-contradiction as well, which is self-evidently true. Now you can deny that reason is self-explained and try to appeal to something non-rational to explain it but by doing so you render reason itself non-rational and thereby self-contradictory “
Reason in a materialistic world is not self-evidently-true or self-explanatory. It may seem that it is self-referring but it isn’t.
You say that self-explanation of God depends on the nature of God. To avoid my objection that self-explanation is unintelligble or special pleading you need to come up with an example where X is self-explained and that depends on the nature of X. Self-references or self-explanations in the trivial senses don’t suffice.
Byblos wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:29 am
Nils wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:32 pm
I insist that there are no examples of self-explanation similar to what is required for a self-explanatory God.
You're wrong on the examples of self-explanations as there are many. You're absolutely right on the uniqueness on the example of a necessary self-explained entity but that's precisely what the rationalist argument concludes in to begin with, so thank you.
So stated you win the debate but to avoid it I tried to make the argument more detailed using a deduction schema. Please relate to them or restate them if necessarily (but you didn’t have any major objections earlier).
Byblos wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:29 am
Nils wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:32 pm
Byblos wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:22 am
So it seems to me the choice is either to accept the self-explanatory nature of necessity on the basis of reason itself being self-explained or to deny the very instrument you use against it. Pick your poison.
I don’t agree.
Nils
Of course you don't agree. It's just that you have no basis whatsoever for doing so. Your position boils down to denying reason is self-evident, which makes it self-defeating; and baseless claims that a self-explained necessity is unintelligible when it is a rational element of a binary system.
Here you postulate that:
- a materialistic rational world is self-defeating. That you have to show.
- “a self-explained necessity is a rational element of a binary system”. Is this a premise or is it conclusion? In the former case you have to argue for it. In the latter case you should show how the statement is included in my deduction schema.
Byblos wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:29 am
So that's where we are. I have no idea how to make the discussion go any further.
If the intelligibility of a self-explained necessary rationality is a premise in your argument we have come to a stale-mate. I don’t agree with you position and you don’t agree with my position. What remains is that we both state the opinion of the other position is intellectual honest and that there is no convincing argument in either direction based on the PSR. I have no problem doing that.

Nils

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#80

Post by Byblos » Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:21 am

Nils wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:17 pm
Byblos wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:29 am
As per the same source (Cambridge):

"self-explanatory
easily understood from the information already given and not needing further explanation"

Not much of a difference in definition. There are many examples of self-explanatory things Nils. Take a stop sign, for example. Pretty self-explanatory to me. If you're going to contend one must have certain a priori knowledge to arrive at the self-explanatory nature of a stop sign, we can take that all the way back to consciousnesses and you'd end up in the same place.
Well a stop sign we understand through earlier knowledge that is part of our culture. In other cultures I don’t think a stop sign is easily understandable. But how can you compare this with a God that you say is self-explained by reference to his own nature. That seems to me to be far from the definition you cite: “ easily understood from the information already given”.
I'm comparing it to God only as related to self-explanation, not as related to its uniqueness or dependency on a priori knowledge. I already stated that. So to state once again, there are many examples of things that are self-explanatory.
Nils wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:17 pm
I have never heard of anything that is explained by reference to it’s own nature (but the God example).


I agree with you, there isn't another example. But if you think that's somehow a defeater to my argument you're wrong. A self-explained necessity cannot, even in principle, have examples. It is unique by its very nature and to state otherwise or demand examples is the very definition of irrationality since you are asking for examples of something that is unique. It is tantamount to asking for how many originals of the Mona Lisa there are. Well, there aren't, because there's only one. Does that make the Mona Lisa irrational? Then you compound the problem by insisting unless given such examples (that we all know cannot even in principle exist) the thing is rendered unintelligible. Says who? Just because there's only one of something does not render it unintelligible. That's just something you pulled out of thin air, or you would have to make a logical case to prove why a set of 1 is unintelligible. I don't believe you can since there is absolutely nothing irrational about it.
Nils wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:17 pm
Byblos wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:29 am
Nils wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:32 pm
The truth and the evolution of reason is related to the development of language. It’s true that language and reason are used to describe language and reason. That’s a kind of self reference but I don’t see any big problem with this. It’s part of the evolution of mankind. Some have claimed that there is no guarantee that reason is rational in a world without God, Plantinga for example. I claim that evolution, survival of the fittest, has done the job. It is of great survival value to have a rational reasoning. So the development and use of reason is explained by evolution.
What on earth does this have anything to do with evolution? This is purely a rationalistic argument. But if your contention is that reason and rationality itself is purely the product of evolution then things get a lot worse for you since evolutionary processes are by definition a-rational, which makes reason and rationality itself a-rational. I really hope I don;t have to explain the self-contradictory nature of such a position.
An evolutionary process is in some sense a-rational but it produces rational outputs. That’s is a common method in electronics for instance. It isn’t difficult to show why a biological evolutionary process will generate outcomes that seem to be designed. As I said earlier some Christian philosophers as Plantinga have tried to show that a materialistic world can’t produce rational beings, but they are mistaken. We can discuss that in a separate thread if you want.
Anyway, you wrote earlier in this thread:
“You see, in order to explain reason, you would have to use reason itself, which renders reason self-evidently true or self-explanatory. We use the same type of rational thinking with respect to the law of non-contradiction as well, which is self-evidently true. Now you can deny that reason is self-explained and try to appeal to something non-rational to explain it but by doing so you render reason itself non-rational and thereby self-contradictory “
Reason in a materialistic world is not self-evidently-true or self-explanatory. It may seem that it is self-referring but it isn’t.
You say that self-explanation of God depends on the nature of God. To avoid my objection that self-explanation is unintelligble or special pleading you need to come up with an example where X is self-explained and that depends on the nature of X. Self-references or self-explanations in the trivial senses don’t suffice.
Again, self-explanations were used as examples of exactly that, self-explanations, of which there are many. If they don't suffice in reference to the uniqueness of the self-explained necessity is, again, no defeater since there cannot, even in principle, be but only one.
Nils wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:17 pm
Byblos wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:29 am
Nils wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:32 pm
I insist that there are no examples of self-explanation similar to what is required for a self-explanatory God.
You're wrong on the examples of self-explanations as there are many. You're absolutely right on the uniqueness on the example of a necessary self-explained entity but that's precisely what the rationalist argument concludes in to begin with, so thank you.
So stated you win the debate but to avoid it I tried to make the argument more detailed using a deduction schema. Please relate to them or restate them if necessarily (but you didn’t have any major objections earlier).
I will re-post your last deduction schema again for clarity.
Nils wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:16 am
If I include the premise that something that explains itself isn’t intelligible in the deduction schema earlier (#1) we get:

Deduction schema #2:
1.Reality is intelligible and there must be a reason for everything. (Premise according to Byblos)
2.Everything in fact has an explanation. (Premise PSR)
3. All explanations have to be intelligible (1 and 2).
4. There are three hypothetical scenarios: (Premise according to Byblos)
a. something is explained by something else
b. something has no explanation
c. something explains itself
5. Scenario b. is not intelligible (Premise according to Byblos)
6. Scenaria b. is not possible (3 and 5)
7. Only having scenario a. is not intelligible (Premise according to Feser)
8. Only having scanario a. is not possible
9. There has to be at least one scenario c. (4, 6, and 8)
10x Scenario c is not intelligible (Premise according to Nils)
11x There is a contradiction (9 and 10x)
12x One premise has to be wrong (11x)
13x If 10x is true the premise to be abandoned is Premise PSR (11x and Nils)

The conclusion is that either
- If PSR is true then there is a God (deduction schema #1)
- If a necessary self-explaining entity isn’t intelligible then PSR isn’t true and there are unexplained entities. (deduction schema #2)

You apparently choose deduction schema #1, I choose #2 and the reason is my premise 10x.
Nils
My answer does not change, you have no basis whatsoever to claim premise 10x. In order to claim it you would have to prove it. prove that a set of 1 is unintelligible. Without that premise your entire schema falls apart.

Nils wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:17 pm
Byblos wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:29 am
Nils wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:32 pm
Byblos wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:22 am
So it seems to me the choice is either to accept the self-explanatory nature of necessity on the basis of reason itself being self-explained or to deny the very instrument you use against it. Pick your poison.
I don’t agree.
Nils
Of course you don't agree. It's just that you have no basis whatsoever for doing so. Your position boils down to denying reason is self-evident, which makes it self-defeating; and baseless claims that a self-explained necessity is unintelligible when it is a rational element of a binary system.
Here you postulate that:
- a materialistic rational world is self-defeating. That you have to show.
- “a self-explained necessity is a rational element of a binary system”. Is this a premise or is it conclusion? In the former case you have to argue for it. In the latter case you should show how the statement is included in my deduction schema.
Byblos wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:29 am
So that's where we are. I have no idea how to make the discussion go any further.
If the intelligibility of a self-explained necessary rationality is a premise in your argument we have come to a stale-mate. I don’t agree with you position and you don’t agree with my position. What remains is that we both state the opinion of the other position is intellectual honest and that there is no convincing argument in either direction based on the PSR. I have no problem doing that.

Nils
Your entire counter-argument to the PSR rests on rationality being a-rational (a self-defeating premise if there is any), and the premise that a set of 1 is unintelligible. Unless and until you prove both It is no stalemate.
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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#81

Post by Byblos » Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:13 am

As I said before, although I do not believe we're at a stalemate in any way, I really don't think I can contribute further to this topic as I see I'm beginning to repeat myself. From the beginning my goal was never to convince you of anything Nils, nor to win any cheap debates, as I am equally certain this was not your goal either.

My aim was always that you take just one thing from all of this, on more than one occasion you've made the claim that you've never been presented with an intellectual argument for the existence of God. I'm hoping I've at least managed to stir up some curiosity to the contrary.

I also want to thank you for a most civil discourse. It is rather refreshing.
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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#82

Post by Nils » Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:32 am

Byblos wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:21 am

Your entire counter-argument to the PSR rests on rationality being a-rational (a self-defeating premise if there is any), and the premise that a set of 1 is unintelligible. Unless and until you prove both It is no stalemate.
1. About rationality.
This is not an argument specifically related to our PSR discussion. It is a general argument you can use in any discussion against any person that bases his/her rationality on an atheist world-view because the main point in your rationality argument is that reason has to be grounded in God to be valid. Of course, I don’t agree, but we cannot discuss that issue in this thread, it is far to complex. Besides, it is not needed, we are discussing PSR and in that discussion we have to assume that both you and I are rational persons and our arguments are not a priori irrational if they are not based on Gods existence. The conclusion is that I don’t have to prove my rationality in this discussion.

2. About that a set of 1 is unintelligible
This is NOT my argument.
a) I may agree that if there is a necessary entity that created the (or all) worlds there is only one. I don’t think that this question is important to our discussion. You misunderstood me at this point. I was asking for other examples of self-explanatory entities that relate to their nature as explanations because that would be a strong argument for your position. But that you don’t have any and even can’t have any doesn’t affect my arguments against your position, se below.
b) Being a necessary entity means by common philosophical jargon that the entity exists in all possible worlds. That implies that you in some way have to show or prove that a world without God is impossible. Of course I don’t think you can do that (otherwise I wouldn’t be an atheist). But if you could prove it, that proof would be the explanation of why the entity exists.
c) I agree that there are cases where the word “self-explained” can be used but that is in a what I call trivial meaning. When you say that X is self-explained you mean that you don’t have to explain X to a normally intelligent person. But you don’t mean that there is no explanation what so ever, you only mean that the explanation is widely known so that you in the current situation don’t have to explain. A synonym is “self-evident”
d) If there were a necessary entity that was explained it wasn’t be explained by it’s own nature but if was explained by a proof of its existence. As there is no such proof (I argue) there is no explanation.

e) What you (Feser and others) do is to attach the word “self-explained” to a necessary entity without any argument why you could do so. It has nothing to do with ontology, it is that I said before, only a semantic trick.
f) As I see it you have three alternatives:
1) There is a necessary entity and there is a proof (=explanation) why there is. All other facts are explained by the necessary entity. (PSR may be valid depending on the proof).
2) There may be a necessary entity but you can’t prove its existence. i.e. it is unexplained if it exists. All other facts are explained by the necessary entity. (PSR is not valid)
3) There is no necessary entity and then there are facts that are unexplained.(PSR is not valid)
I goes for 3). You want 1) but what you get is 2) that is just as unsatisfactory as 3). This is another way to express the stale-mate.

( f) is another way to say that a self-explained entity (in the non trivial meaning) is unintelligible.)

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#83

Post by Nils » Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:39 am

Byblos wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:13 am
As I said before, although I do not believe we're at a stalemate in any way, I really don't think I can contribute further to this topic as I see I'm beginning to repeat myself. From the beginning my goal was never to convince you of anything Nils, nor to win any cheap debates, as I am equally certain this was not your goal either.

My aim was always that you take just one thing from all of this, on more than one occasion you've made the claim that you've never been presented with an intellectual argument for the existence of God. I'm hoping I've at least managed to stir up some curiosity to the contrary.

I also want to thank you for a most civil discourse. It is rather refreshing.
Sorry, Byblos for late response but this matter isn’t simple. I still think that are more to be said on both sides but of course you decide to continue or not.

My initial intention was to find out why you and Faser were claiming that there are proofs of Gods existence, and, which I presumed, which hidden premises there were behind these proofs. It was interesting and a got a better understanding even if I’m not convinced. A second, later intention was making evident that the atheist/materialistic view on the cause of the world is as reasonable as the Christian view (or perhaps as unreasonable as the Christian view). I know that many on this forum like Christianity and the idea of a God but to me it would be fair to admit that there are other views that aren’t implausible.
It was interesting to read Feser, and I appreciated discussing the arguments with you Byblos. If you prefer to stop here I also want to thank you for the discussion (even if I would prefer to continue for a while discussing my latest post).
Nils

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#84

Post by Kurieuo » Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:48 pm

Nils wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:39 am
Byblos wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:13 am
As I said before, although I do not believe we're at a stalemate in any way, I really don't think I can contribute further to this topic as I see I'm beginning to repeat myself. From the beginning my goal was never to convince you of anything Nils, nor to win any cheap debates, as I am equally certain this was not your goal either.

My aim was always that you take just one thing from all of this, on more than one occasion you've made the claim that you've never been presented with an intellectual argument for the existence of God. I'm hoping I've at least managed to stir up some curiosity to the contrary.

I also want to thank you for a most civil discourse. It is rather refreshing.
Sorry, Byblos for late response but this matter isn’t simple. I still think that are more to be said on both sides but of course you decide to continue or not.

My initial intention was to find out why you and Faser were claiming that there are proofs of Gods existence, and, which I presumed, which hidden premises there were behind these proofs. It was interesting and a got a better understanding even if I’m not convinced. A second, later intention was making evident that the atheist/materialistic view on the cause of the world is as reasonable as the Christian view (or perhaps as unreasonable as the Christian view). I know that many on this forum like Christianity and the idea of a God but to me it would be fair to admit that there are other views that aren’t implausible.
It was interesting to read Feser, and I appreciated discussing the arguments with you Byblos. If you prefer to stop here I also want to thank you for the discussion (even if I would prefer to continue for a while discussing my latest post).
Really, on that point in bold -- making evident that the atheist/materialistic view on the cause of the world is as reasonable as the Christian view -- your fathoming of "first cause" only in terms of what ignited our the universe continues to show a lack of understanding of the depth of argument especially in relation to PSR and an adequate explantation.

Ignoring PSR for a moment to step into the cosmological argument, the Atheist hardly has a good explanation for what ignited the "Big Bang"/caused our world anyhow. On a logical philosophical level claiming there exist an infinite regress of cause and effect boggles the mind and is contradictory. There is no way to actually traverse points an infinite series, plus the numerous other logical arguments against an infinite regress of temporal events given we are here and now. So it seems we're logically being asked to believe in something logically unsound -- believing that our universe has an actual infinite causes and effects going back into the past.

As for the scientific explanations, they are no better. When leading secular scientists posit things like an infinite number of previous universes (despite the logical impossibilies of such, not to mention physical impossibilities given finite energy), such are really begging us to believe in their hoodwinking. Or, should we seriously believe the universe actually came from nothing, like with some zero energy universe -- despite in logical terms such really being "something" and not "nothing"? The reason why I think you and many Atheists keep applying Aquinas' arguments and PSR to a "first cause" comological argument, is perhaps because of the difficult position they are in trying to hold up their own cosmological story. They can't see past their pain point, which many think it better left at having faith that science will some day provide the answer rather than to concede the explanation is outside the boundaries of our physical world (and as such science).

Now, getting back onto PSR, some will say we just ought to accept the existence of anything as "brute fact", that physical laws themselves have just always existed. BUT, this ignores old-age arguments of Aristotle on motion. That is, in the here and now, this very instant, there is act and potentiality. My hand moving the the air requires my hand be actual, my arm and whole body is actual, sustained by physical laws and a bunch of other actualities right in the present moment in order to pass from potentiality into a new state of actuality. At some point we must have the the actual actualiser (aka pure act) which has no potentiality, otherwise nothing moves and becomes actualised. This argument has nothing to do with the cosmological argument, while it seems many who don't believe in God like to always apply it there.

So then, on the PSR, until one can resolve Aristotle's arguments on motion, act and potentiality, has an explanation to such, then they really don't have an explanation for why the world exists, nor its laws or anything else.
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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#85

Post by Kurieuo » Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:52 pm

Now, what got me coming back to see where this thread ended, is that Shapiro recently treated his subscribers to a discussion with Ed Feser. It's a real treat and entirely appropriate to this thread and the discussions before it. Ed unpacks certain arguments of Aquinas, and delves into PSR around 10 minutes in. Highly recommend.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FvYwpyFbIQ
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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#86

Post by Nils » Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:26 pm

Kurieuo wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:48 pm
Nils wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:39 am
Byblos wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:13 am
As I said before, although I do not believe we're at a stalemate in any way, I really don't think I can contribute further to this topic as I see I'm beginning to repeat myself. From the beginning my goal was never to convince you of anything Nils, nor to win any cheap debates, as I am equally certain this was not your goal either.

My aim was always that you take just one thing from all of this, on more than one occasion you've made the claim that you've never been presented with an intellectual argument for the existence of God. I'm hoping I've at least managed to stir up some curiosity to the contrary.

I also want to thank you for a most civil discourse. It is rather refreshing.
Sorry, Byblos for late response but this matter isn’t simple. I still think that are more to be said on both sides but of course you decide to continue or not.

My initial intention was to find out why you and Faser were claiming that there are proofs of Gods existence, and, which I presumed, which hidden premises there were behind these proofs. It was interesting and a got a better understanding even if I’m not convinced. A second, later intention was making evident that the atheist/materialistic view on the cause of the world is as reasonable as the Christian view (or perhaps as unreasonable as the Christian view). I know that many on this forum like Christianity and the idea of a God but to me it would be fair to admit that there are other views that aren’t implausible.
It was interesting to read Feser, and I appreciated discussing the arguments with you Byblos. If you prefer to stop here I also want to thank you for the discussion (even if I would prefer to continue for a while discussing my latest post).
Really, on that point in bold -- making evident that the atheist/materialistic view on the cause of the world is as reasonable as the Christian view -- your fathoming of "first cause" only in terms of what ignited our the universe continues to show a lack of understanding of the depth of argument especially in relation to PSR and an adequate explantation.

Ignoring PSR for a moment to step into the cosmological argument, the Atheist hardly has a good explanation for what ignited the "Big Bang"/caused our world anyhow. On a logical philosophical level claiming there exist an infinite regress of cause and effect boggles the mind and is contradictory. There is no way to actually traverse points an infinite series, plus the numerous other logical arguments against an infinite regress of temporal events given we are here and now. So it seems we're logically being asked to believe in something logically unsound -- believing that our universe has an actual infinite causes and effects going back into the past.

As for the scientific explanations, they are no better. When leading secular scientists posit things like an infinite number of previous universes (despite the logical impossibilies of such, not to mention physical impossibilities given finite energy), such are really begging us to believe in their hoodwinking. Or, should we seriously believe the universe actually came from nothing, like with some zero energy universe -- despite in logical terms such really being "something" and not "nothing"? The reason why I think you and many Atheists keep applying Aquinas' arguments and PSR to a "first cause" comological argument, is perhaps because of the difficult position they are in trying to hold up their own cosmological story. They can't see past their pain point, which many think it better left at having faith that science will some day provide the answer rather than to concede the explanation is outside the boundaries of our physical world (and as such science).

Now, getting back onto PSR, some will say we just ought to accept the existence of anything as "brute fact", that physical laws themselves have just always existed. BUT, this ignores old-age arguments of Aristotle on motion. That is, in the here and now, this very instant, there is act and potentiality. My hand moving the the air requires my hand be actual, my arm and whole body is actual, sustained by physical laws and a bunch of other actualities right in the present moment in order to pass from potentiality into a new state of actuality. At some point we must have the the actual actualiser (aka pure act) which has no potentiality, otherwise nothing moves and becomes actualised. This argument has nothing to do with the cosmological argument, while it seems many who don't believe in God like to always apply it there.

So then, on the PSR, until one can resolve Aristotle's arguments on motion, act and potentiality, has an explanation to such, then they really don't have an explanation for why the world exists, nor its laws or anything else.
You say, Kurieuo, that I lack understanding of the issue. You may be right but I think you need to argue better. What you have written above is not a correct interpretation of my view. I admit that a “brute fact” explanation isn’t satisfactory but I argue that Ferser’s PSR argument isn’t satisfactory either. See my parenthesis after the clause you cited: “(or perhaps as unreasonable as the Christian view).” My intention in this thread has primarily been to criticise PSR.
I haven’t possibility to argue in detail now but just a few comments to the rest of your post. I haven’t advocated an infinite regress in explanations of Big Bang even if I don’t understand your argument from logic soundness. I would never refer to science to explain the question regarding a first cause. The Aristotelian argument from potentiality and actuality I haven’t analysed in depth but I find the notions difficult to conform to our modern physics.
If you want to discuss in detail, I can join you, even if I often need a week to answer. But there is no meaning to start a discussion if you quit halfway before we have come to an end - an end where we agree on what we don’t agree on. I hoped that the discussion with Byblos would achieve that end but unfortunately it didn’t.
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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#87

Post by Nils » Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:55 pm

Kurieuo wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:52 pm
Now, what got me coming back to see where this thread ended, is that Shapiro recently treated his subscribers to a discussion with Ed Feser. It's a real treat and entirely appropriate to this thread and the discussions before it. Ed unpacks certain arguments of Aquinas, and delves into PSR around 10 minutes in. Highly recommend.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FvYwpyFbIQ
viewtopic.php?f=6&p=239840#p239840




Feser (about 10:00) argues that PSR implies A necessary being (NB) in step 1 and that this implies God in a second step. In his book he doesn’t argue forcefully for step 1. He argues for step 2 but the argument that a NB has to be immensely powerful is very weak. A can imagine a Multiverse as necessary but it doesn’t be immensely powerful, it just need one power, to start new Universes. Indeed a very powerful thing but far from the power assigned to an almighty God.

(About 19:00) he argues that ”brute facts” theory is incoherent. This theory says that PSR is valid inside our Universe but not outside. I think it is a matter of taste whether this is called incoherent or not. I agree that it is not a perfect view but I claim that the PSR → Necessary being → God -theory is as incoherent.

Stall mate!

Then Feser discusses morality. 36:24 He says that humas like trees need something to flourish and that is the base for morality. That said it is an empirical / scientific question what will make humans flourish. A base for a non-objective morality!

39:27 He discusses if the human intellect is reliable without God. Ben Shapiro brought up the evolutionary argument. Feser said that there is no guarantee that evolution favours true positions. Yes there is no guarantee but it seem extremely unlikely that evolution would favour an intellect that isn’t at least close to reliable.

It was interesting to see Faser in reality, I had only read his book before, but I definitely don’t agree with him.

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#88

Post by Blessed » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:27 am

Shapiro is your new Glenn Beck.

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#89

Post by Nils » Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:08 am

Blessed wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:27 am
Shapiro is your new Glenn Beck.
??

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#90

Post by Byblos » Tue Sep 11, 2018 12:37 pm

Sorry for not being more engaged in this thread but it's for a couple of reasons, 1) I've been extremely busy, and 2) I'm not sure there is much more I can say that I already haven't covered. But I'll try. :mrgreen:
Nils wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:55 pm
Feser (about 10:00) argues that PSR implies A necessary being (NB) in step 1 and that this implies God in a second step. In his book he doesn’t argue forcefully for step 1. He argues for step 2 but the argument that a NB has to be immensely powerful is very weak. A can imagine a Multiverse as necessary but it doesn’t be immensely powerful, it just need one power, to start new Universes. Indeed a very powerful thing but far from the power assigned to an almighty God.
To state that a necessary being must be immensely powerful is a weak argument is to misunderstand the argument entirely. First of all, it is not by implication that omnipotence is concluded, it is by logical deduction. For a necessary being to be, well, absolutely necessary, it means that the NB is not only completely self-contained, self-reliant, dependent on absolutely nothing outside itself, it also means that it is the source of everything that is dependent (contingent) including all power. And if it is the source of all power then, by deduction, it is omnipotent. So, again, to state that the argument is weak shows a deep lack of understanding of the argument put forth.
Nils wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:55 pm
(About 19:00) he argues that ”brute facts” theory is incoherent. This theory says that PSR is valid inside our Universe but not outside.
Says who? You? certainly not Feser. It makes no sense (like literally) to say that the PSR is valid only in our universe. It is the equivalent, no, exactly like, saying rationality is only applicable in our universe. Say what? So if some day we discover other universes and we can somehow communicate with them, we'd first have to suspend rationality? Nonsense. Rationality and the PSR by extension is applicable to reality, irrespective of the existence (or not) of other universes. In fact that is precisely what the PSR says, reality is intelligible, everything must have an explanation. It does not make exceptions per universe. The fact that you want to limit the PSR to just this universe once again shows a deep misunderstanding of the subject matter.
Nils wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:55 pm
I think it is a matter of taste whether this is called incoherent or not. I agree that it is not a perfect view but I claim that the PSR → Necessary being → God -theory is as incoherent.
The PSR rationally and necessarily concludes in a necessary being whose attributes can also be rationally deduced. It cannot be declared incoherent simply on a whim. You must state why the logic fails and you haven't.
Nils wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:55 pm
Stall mate!
You may believe that but it's nothing of the sort.
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Kurieuo (Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:45 pm)
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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