The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

Discussion about scientific issues as they relate to God and Christianity including archaeology, origins of life, the universe, intelligent design, evolution, etc.
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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#31

Post by Philip » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:01 pm

Nils, I've not seen you respond to my questions of Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:01 pm. :)

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#32

Post by Nils » Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:35 am

Philip wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:01 pm
Nils, I've not seen you respond to my questions of Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:01 pm. :)
I wrote it a few days ago, Philip. Now I have posted it here:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=42523
Nils

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#33

Post by PaulSacramento » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:38 am

Nils wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:53 pm
PaulSacramento wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:06 am
*cough* "brute facts" *cough*
*cough* "God" *cough*

Nils
That you say that means you don't understand the classical concept of God.

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#34

Post by PaulSacramento » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:39 am

Brute facts explain NOTHING.
The attributes of the classical God explain why He is the answer.

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#35

Post by Byblos » Tue Jun 19, 2018 7:55 am

Nils wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:24 pm
Byblos wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:50 am
Unfortunately, I think we may have reached that point in our discourse. I am comfortable leaving it with you having the last word.
I think we could discuss in more detail. I am not certain that we agree on what we disagree on, but it’s up to you, Byblos.
Nils
You may be right as these types of discussions tend to often drift into the talking-past-one-another kind but I am honestly at a loss on how to make the conversation move forward. To me at least, when the unexplainable is invoked as a possibility then that's the end of conversation.

If you go back to my books on a shelf example, so long as there is an explanation (even if unknown) as to what grounds the shelf, i.e. the wall it is screwed into, and an explanation for the wall and the ground it sits on, and the planet that houses it, and planetary motions and gravity, and the laws of physics and quantum mechanics, and ....................... what? unexplainable? Because if that's the answer then have I explained why the book sits on the shelf? No I have not. You may be satisfied by that non-explanation but I'm not. And that's where we're at. I'm open for ideas though.
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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#36

Post by Nils » Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:53 am

PaulSacramento wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:38 am
Nils wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:53 pm
PaulSacramento wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:06 am
*cough* "brute facts" *cough*
*cough* "God" *cough*

Nils
That you say that means you don't understand the classical concept of God.
There’s a difference between understanding and accepting.
Nils

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#37

Post by Nils » Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:55 am

PaulSacramento wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:39 am
Brute facts explain NOTHING.
The attributes of the classical God explain why He is the answer.
Yes, if there is a classical God that has these attributes, for instance being self-explaining, he is the answer. But the question if there is? I find that as unintelligible as a brute fact universe.
Nils

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#38

Post by Nils » Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:11 am

In the thread Asking God to reveal himself Byblos wrote
vievwtopic.php?p=238177#p238177
Here is my answer
Byblos wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:16 am
Nils wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:02 am
As I have said to Byblos discussing the Principle of Sufficient Reason I don’t find the idea of a God more reasonable or intelligible then some version of brute fact (e.g. a Multiverse).
Then I don't think you understand the PSR argument.

First, there is absolutely nothing incoherent or unintelligible about a self-explained necessary being, unless and until you show otherwise. Proclaiming it so does not make it so. There is, however, incoherence about brute facts since they have no explanation. That's pretty much the definition of incoherence, something that cannot be explained.
I have never heard about any self-explained entity in philosophy. When I google on “self-explained” and philosophy excluding “self, explained” I get no answers. When I ask you the only reference you give is what the term “self-explained” is meant to prove. It seems reasonable that the burden of proof of intelligibility is on the one that presents a new concept.
Byblos wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:16 am
And second, as I have shown many times, a mutliverse is no substitute for a necessary reality because a mutliverse is still materially contingent and therefore must require an explanation extrinsic to itself. So you have no choice but to kick the can further back to something beyond the multiverse. And so on and so forth ad infinitum into utter incoherence.
Yes, as I wrote: “brute fact (e.g. a Multiverse)”
Byblos wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:16 am
Or you can accept the logical conclusion of the PSR, that of a self-explained necessary being.
But I deny the self-explained part of PSR finding that part just as incoherent as brute fact.
Nils

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#39

Post by Nils » Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:23 pm

Byblos wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 7:55 am
Nils wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:24 pm
Byblos wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:50 am
Unfortunately, I think we may have reached that point in our discourse. I am comfortable leaving it with you having the last word.
I think we could discuss in more detail. I am not certain that we agree on what we disagree on, but it’s up to you, Byblos.
Nils
You may be right as these types of discussions tend to often drift into the talking-past-one-another kind but I am honestly at a loss on how to make the conversation move forward. To me at least, when the unexplainable is invoked as a possibility then that's the end of conversation.

If you go back to my books on a shelf example, so long as there is an explanation (even if unknown) as to what grounds the shelf, i.e. the wall it is screwed into, and an explanation for the wall and the ground it sits on, and the planet that houses it, and planetary motions and gravity, and the laws of physics and quantum mechanics, and ....................... what? unexplainable? Because if that's the answer then have I explained why the book sits on the shelf? No I have not. You may be satisfied by that non-explanation but I'm not. And that's where we're at. I'm open for ideas though.
I agree with you that not having an explanation why we exist rather not exist, that’s unsatisfactory, and the “brute fact” scenarios are without explanation. That includes for instance eternal universes, multiverses and a universe that is created out of nothing. But you can’t stop there. You have to show that there is another scenario that is more satisfactory. If you can’t do that we come to a stale-mate. You thinks my scenario (brute fact) is unsatisfactory and I think that yours (God) is unsatisfactory. The difference between us is that I admit that both scenarios are unsatisfactory, you don’t.

Now, it is up to you to show that you scenario really is satisfactory, That’s where the discussion can continue. I have several times earlier in this thread argued that your scenario with a self-explaining entity isn’t satisfactory or intelligible. To me self-explained is a euphemism for not-explained. Neither you nor Feser have come up with a description of what self-explained is or any example from our experiences.

Nils

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#40

Post by Kurieuo » Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:46 pm

Nils wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:11 am
Byblos wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:16 am
And second, as I have shown many times, a mutliverse is no substitute for a necessary reality because a mutliverse is still materially contingent and therefore must require an explanation extrinsic to itself. So you have no choice but to kick the can further back to something beyond the multiverse. And so on and so forth ad infinitum into utter incoherence.
Yes, as I wrote: “brute fact (e.g. a Multiverse)”
To be entirely specific, not simply a "Multiverse" but rather an Infinite Multiverse.

That is, if there is a "universe" prior to ours, and a universe prior to that, and one prior to that one and so on into an infinite past. That is what you have in mind, right? Some provide logical arguments against the possibility of an infinite regress, yet it is an infinite multiverse theory (not merely a multiverse) that I'd expect many who do not believe in a beginning could only believe in (unless seriously entertaining the absurd that something really did come from nothing).

To such I then ask, are not universes, and as such multiverse, dependant upon X energy? If so, then a question I'd ask you is where does all the energy come from to keep spawning universes without ever running out? Or, how come energy doesn't ever run out, which would appear to contradict workings of physical laws we're familiar with.
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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#41

Post by PaulSacramento » Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:28 am

Nils wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:55 am
PaulSacramento wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:39 am
Brute facts explain NOTHING.
The attributes of the classical God explain why He is the answer.
Yes, if there is a classical God that has these attributes, for instance being self-explaining, he is the answer. But the question if there is? I find that as unintelligible as a brute fact universe.
Nils
Do you believe that something that relies on something else to not only come into being but to stay existing would require that something else to exist?

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#42

Post by Byblos » Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:55 am

Nils wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:11 am
I have never heard about any self-explained entity in philosophy. When I google on “self-explained” and philosophy excluding “self, explained” I get no answers. When I ask you the only reference you give is what the term “self-explained” is meant to prove. It seems reasonable that the burden of proof of intelligibility is on the one that presents a new concept.
You may not have heard the term self-explained before but the idea behind it is precisely what Leibniz had in mind when he formulated the PSR. Leibniz' general mode of proof was to begin by assuming something is false then showing it to be true via the PSR. For example in his Monadology, Leibniz argues for the existence of God in the same way, i.e. assume God does not exist, then the only things we are left with are contingent things/beings. But if all we have are a series of contingent things, the explanation of which cannot be in the same series, otherwise the series would explain itself and therefore not be contingent at all, which was our starting assumption (there is no non-continent things). Therefore, if God (and by that he means a self-explanatory necessary being) does not exist, then we would have something unexplained, i.e. the series of contingent things. But according to the PSR, everything must have an explanation, therefore God (as a non-contingent, necessary being) exists.
Nils wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:23 pm
I agree with you that not having an explanation why we exist rather not exist, that’s unsatisfactory, and the “brute fact” scenarios are without explanation. That includes for instance eternal universes, multiverses and a universe that is created out of nothing. But you can’t stop there. You have to show that there is another scenario that is more satisfactory. If you can’t do that we come to a stale-mate. You thinks my scenario (brute fact) is unsatisfactory and I think that yours (God) is unsatisfactory. The difference between us is that I admit that both scenarios are unsatisfactory, you don’t.

Now, it is up to you to show that you scenario really is satisfactory, That’s where the discussion can continue. I have several times earlier in this thread argued that your scenario with a self-explaining entity isn’t satisfactory or intelligible. To me self-explained is a euphemism for not-explained. Neither you nor Feser have come up with a description of what self-explained is or any example from our experiences.
Fine. Let's press reset and go back to the basics then forward one step at a time. It seems to me that at least we agree on one thing, i.e. that reality is intelligible and there must be a reason for everything. Beyond that, I say brute facts are unexplainable and you agree. But I also say a self-explanatory necessity is explainable and you disagree. Is this a fair summary of where we stand?
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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#43

Post by Philip » Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:07 am

Bottom line, whether a series of events / things or a chain of them, WITHIN them they must have connections to some previous link or thing, and they would either have to collectively be self-existing and eternal, without a beginning or cause. But we have no reason to believe any THING is eternal without a cause - it's the unsupported bookshelf / there's no anchor - that's pure Pop Metaphysics! And so SOMETHING has to have caused the books, chains and series. This is why evolution scenarios ultimately solve nothing without tracing them back to some Ultimate Cause. And so Something is necessarily eternal! And also awesomely powerful and intelligent beyond out understanding.

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#44

Post by Nils » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:23 pm

Kurieuo wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:46 pm
Nils wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:11 am
Byblos wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:16 am
And second, as I have shown many times, a mutliverse is no substitute for a necessary reality because a mutliverse is still materially contingent and therefore must require an explanation extrinsic to itself. So you have no choice but to kick the can further back to something beyond the multiverse. And so on and so forth ad infinitum into utter incoherence.
Yes, as I wrote: “brute fact (e.g. a Multiverse)”
To be entirely specific, not simply a "Multiverse" but rather an Infinite Multiverse.

That is, if there is a "universe" prior to ours, and a universe prior to that, and one prior to that one and so on into an infinite past. That is what you have in mind, right? Some provide logical arguments against the possibility of an infinite regress, yet it is an infinite multiverse theory (not merely a multiverse) that I'd expect many who do not believe in a beginning could only believe in (unless seriously entertaining the absurd that something really did come from nothing).
My favourite cosmological model is a Multiverse where Universes pop up as bubbles in boiling water. An infinite number of Universes with different characteristics / laws and constants and perhaps without any relative time reference. Every Universe is fine tuned in one way or another. Because there are an infinite number of Universes there are also an infinite number of Universes that are fine tuned like ours. But don’t ask me about any evidence, this is speculation only.
But a Multiverse theory solves the fine tuning problem, a problem that I once thought was the most powerful argument for theism - until I heard about the Multiverse theory.
Kurieuo wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:46 pm
To such I then ask, are not universes, and as such multiverse, dependant upon X energy? If so, then a question I'd ask you is where does all the energy come from to keep spawning universes without ever running out? Or, how come energy doesn't ever run out, which would appear to contradict workings of physical laws we're familiar with.
I know very little about astrophysics but I think that the total energy in our Universe is zero. But, independent of that, in my model each Universe is created with its own laws etc so why not some energy as well. I don’t think our physical laws we’re familiar with are valid in the Multiverse
Nils

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#45

Post by Nils » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:27 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:28 am
Nils wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:55 am
PaulSacramento wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:39 am
Brute facts explain NOTHING.
The attributes of the classical God explain why He is the answer.
Yes, if there is a classical God that has these attributes, for instance being self-explaining, he is the answer. But the question if there is? I find that as unintelligible as a brute fact universe.
Nils
Do you believe that something that relies on something else to not only come into being but to stay existing would require that something else to exist?
No, I don’t. If our Universe is created with laws and energy I don’t think that some extra force is need to keep it going. I noticed reading Feser’s book that he thought that something is needed to keep things in motion, an Aristotelian view I think. But I don’t agree.
Why do you ask?
Nils

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