The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

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Nils
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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#46

Post by Nils » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:34 pm

Byblos wrote:
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.
Yes, you describe the Leibniz/Feser theory that introduces the concept of self-explanation. But if there is no other use of the concept it seems to be ad hoc for a proof of God.
Byblos wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:55 am
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?
OK, but I would state it a bit different.
Reality is mostly intelligible and it is desirable that there is a reason for everything.

Then you use the word “explainable”. I would prefer using “intelligible” or perhaps “satisfactory” but that’s not a big deal.
Nils

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#47

Post by Nils » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:39 pm

Philip wrote:
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.
You repeat Feser’s argument without mentioning my counterargument.
Nils

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#48

Post by PaulSacramento » Thu Jun 28, 2018 4:31 am

Nils wrote:
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
So, you think that something that relies on something to being it into being and to keep it exiting doesn't need that thing to exist???

If that thing doesn't exist how can it cause anything to come into being?
If something needs something else to cause it to exist but that something else doesn't exist, how can THAT thing come into being ???

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#49

Post by Byblos » Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:32 am

Nils wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:34 pm
Byblos wrote:
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.
Yes, you describe the Leibniz/Feser theory that introduces the concept of self-explanation. But if there is no other use of the concept it seems to be ad hoc for a proof of God.
Says who? Just because something is unique does not follow that it's ad hoc, it just means that it's unique. This is particularly true for something that is logically deduced as such by its very nature. To ask for other uses of the concept is tantamount to asking for a 3rd element given a binary set; it simply does not exist by the very nature of the given set. In fact, what you are asking for is what is not only ad hoc but also irrational.
Nils wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:34 pm
Byblos wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:55 am
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?
OK, but I would state it a bit different.
Reality is mostly intelligible and it is desirable that there is a reason for everything.

Then you use the word “explainable”. I would prefer using “intelligible” or perhaps “satisfactory” but that’s not a big deal.
Nils
See, that's where we're going to have problems if we can't agree on the terminology. To me, mostly intelligible leaves room for somewhat non-intelligible, which opens the gates for non-intelligibility. As I said, that would be a non-starter for me. No sense in discussing anything when the possibility exists that the discussion may terminate in inexplicable nonsense. So no, there is no such thing as mostly pregnant. It is binary, either reality is intelligible or it isn't. Unless we can agree on that, there really is no point in continuing.
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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#50

Post by Nils » Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:58 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 4:31 am
Nils wrote:
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
So, you think that something that relies on something to being it into being and to keep it exiting doesn't need that thing to exist???

If that thing doesn't exist how can it cause anything to come into being?
If something needs something else to cause it to exist but that something else doesn't exist, how can THAT thing come into being ???
Sorry, I see now that I didn't understand your first question. Please, exemplify.
Nils

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#51

Post by Nils » Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:11 pm

Byblos wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:32 am
Nils wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:34 pm
Byblos wrote:
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.
Yes, you describe the Leibniz/Feser theory that introduces the concept of self-explanation. But if there is no other use of the concept it seems to be ad hoc for a proof of God.
Says who? Just because something is unique does not follow that it's ad hoc, it just means that it's unique. This is particularly true for something that is logically deduced as such by its very nature. To ask for other uses of the concept is tantamount to asking for a 3rd element given a binary set; it simply does not exist by the very nature of the given set. In fact, what you are asking for is what is not only ad hoc but also irrational.
You say that something “ is logically deduced as such by its very nature”. Please describe the logical deduction, which are the premises and what is the conclusion?
Byblos wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:32 am
Nils wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:34 pm
Byblos wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:55 am
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?
OK, but I would state it a bit different.
Reality is mostly intelligible and it is desirable that there is a reason for everything.

Then you use the word “explainable”. I would prefer using “intelligible” or perhaps “satisfactory” but that’s not a big deal.
Nils
See, that's where we're going to have problems if we can't agree on the terminology. To me, mostly intelligible leaves room for somewhat non-intelligible, which opens the gates for non-intelligibility. As I said, that would be a non-starter for me. No sense in discussing anything when the possibility exists that the discussion may terminate in inexplicable nonsense. So no, there is no such thing as mostly pregnant. It is binary, either reality is intelligible or it isn't. Unless we can agree on that, there really is no point in continuing.
Well, I can agree in some respects, so let’s leave this for the moment.

Nils

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#52

Post by PaulSacramento » Fri Jun 29, 2018 4:21 am

Nils wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:58 pm
PaulSacramento wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 4:31 am
Nils wrote:
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

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
So, you think that something that relies on something to being it into being and to keep it exiting doesn't need that thing to exist???

If that thing doesn't exist how can it cause anything to come into being?
If something needs something else to cause it to exist but that something else doesn't exist, how can THAT thing come into being ???
Sorry, I see now that I didn't understand your first question. Please, exemplify.
Nils
Example:
The universe came into being via something, correct? so that something must exist/have existed, correct?
Anything that relies on something else to bring it into being OR to keep it in existence, requires that thing to exist, correct?

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#53

Post by Byblos » Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:54 am

Nils wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:34 pm
Byblos wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:55 am
See, that's where we're going to have problems if we can't agree on the terminology. To me, mostly intelligible leaves room for somewhat non-intelligible, which opens the gates for non-intelligibility. As I said, that would be a non-starter for me. No sense in discussing anything when the possibility exists that the discussion may terminate in inexplicable nonsense. So no, there is no such thing as mostly pregnant. It is binary, either reality is intelligible or it isn't. Unless we can agree on that, there really is no point in continuing.
Well, I can agree in some respects, so let’s leave this for the moment.
Always leaving a little wiggle room, huh Nils? :mrgreen: In the interest of continuing the discussion I will assume that you agree with my version of intelligibility, so let's move on.
Nils wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:11 pm
Byblos wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:32 am
Says who? Just because something is unique does not follow that it's ad hoc, it just means that it's unique. This is particularly true for something that is logically deduced as such by its very nature. To ask for other uses of the concept is tantamount to asking for a 3rd element given a binary set; it simply does not exist by the very nature of the given set. In fact, what you are asking for is what is not only ad hoc but also irrational.
You say that something “ is logically deduced as such by its very nature”. Please describe the logical deduction, which are the premises and what is the conclusion?
One step at a time. Since we've (somewhat) agreed on intelligibility, we can then state that everything in fact has an explanation. That's the PSR in a nutshell.

The next step would be to define the types of explanations and as I see it, there are only 2 possibilities:

a. Something is explained by something else
b. Something is not explained by something else

If something is not explained by something else, there are 2 possibilities:

b1. something has no explanation
b2. something explains itself

But we can rule out b1 by the PSR, which leaves us with b2.

In summary, the types of explanations entailed by the PSR are:

a. something is explained by something else, or
b. something explains itself

I don't see another option, do you?

Post edit: Note that I've not yet described what is entailed by those types of explanations, only that they are the only logical possibilities.
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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#54

Post by Nils » Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:55 pm

Byblos wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:54 am
Nils wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:34 pm
Byblos wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:55 am
See, that's where we're going to have problems if we can't agree on the terminology. To me, mostly intelligible leaves room for somewhat non-intelligible, which opens the gates for non-intelligibility. As I said, that would be a non-starter for me. No sense in discussing anything when the possibility exists that the discussion may terminate in inexplicable nonsense. So no, there is no such thing as mostly pregnant. It is binary, either reality is intelligible or it isn't. Unless we can agree on that, there really is no point in continuing.
Well, I can agree in some respects, so let’s leave this for the moment.
Always leaving a little wiggle room, huh Nils? :mrgreen: In the interest of continuing the discussion I will assume that you agree with my version of intelligibility, so let's move on.
Nils wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:11 pm
Byblos wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:32 am
Says who? Just because something is unique does not follow that it's ad hoc, it just means that it's unique. This is particularly true for something that is logically deduced as such by its very nature. To ask for other uses of the concept is tantamount to asking for a 3rd element given a binary set; it simply does not exist by the very nature of the given set. In fact, what you are asking for is what is not only ad hoc but also irrational.
You say that something “ is logically deduced as such by its very nature”. Please describe the logical deduction, which are the premises and what is the conclusion?
One step at a time. Since we've (somewhat) agreed on intelligibility, we can then state that everything in fact has an explanation. That's the PSR in a nutshell.

The next step would be to define the types of explanations and as I see it, there are only 2 possibilities:

a. Something is explained by something else
b. Something is not explained by something else

If something is not explained by something else, there are 2 possibilities:

b1. something has no explanation
b2. something explains itself

But we can rule out b1 by the PSR, which leaves us with b2.

In summary, the types of explanations entailed by the PSR are:

a. something is explained by something else, or
b. something explains itself

I don't see another option, do you?

Post edit: Note that I've not yet described what is entailed by those types of explanations, only that they are the only logical possibilities.
OK, continue!
Nils

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#55

Post by Byblos » Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:22 am

Nils wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:55 pm
OK, continue!
Assuming there are no objections, the next step is to rationalize the two types of explanations.

What does it mean for something to be explained by something else?

For one, the thing explained is said to be dependent on the thing doing the explaining. In philosophical jargon the thing explained is said to be contingent.

The next question is, can the thing doing the explaining be contingent itself? Logically speaking, there is nothing irrational about something contingent being an agent that explains something else that is contingent.

And so the next logical question becomes, can this series (of contingent things explaining other contingent things) extend back in time to infinity? And once again we see that there is nothing irrational about that, there could certainly be an infinite series of contingent things explaining other contingent things that extends back in time to infinity, whether by infinity we mean a temporal series that endlessly extends backwards in time, or a multiverse or a pot of infinite bubbling universes, or whatever. But does this infinite number of contingent things explaining an infinite number of other contingent things satisfy the PSR? And the answer is no because as we've seen from Leibniz' (and Feser's) arguments, if the explanation of such an infinite series is to be found within the series itself then the series would not be contingent. Since it is in fact a series of contingent things (though infinite), its explanation must be found outside of the series itself. So any kind of infinite series of contingent things explaining other infinite series of contingent things does not not satisfy the PSR unless its explanation is found outside the series.


What does it mean for something to NOT be explained by something else?

If something is NOT explained by something else (and no explanation as an option is ruled out by the PSR), it means it is something that is NOT dependent on anything else other than itself. And again, in philosophical jargon it is said to be non-contingent or necessary.

Can a non-contingent thing explain itself? Of course, that's precisely what non-contingent means. It means the thing's explanation is wholly contained within the thing's own nature because it is dependent on no other. Can a non-contingent thing explain other things? Since contingent things must find their ultimate explanation outside themselves, the only other option left for an explanation is a non-contingent, necessary thing.

Can a necessary explanation fail to exist? Since the potential for existence is contingent and since a necessary explanation is non-contingent, it cannot even in principle, not exist.

Can a necessary explanation go out of existence? Since the potential to go out of existence is contingent and since a necessary explanation is non-contingent, it cannot even in principle, go out of existence.


To once again summarize the rational argument so far:

1. There is an explanation for everything (PSR)
2. Something can be explained by something else (contingent), or
3. Be self-explained (necessary)
4. A necessary explanation not only explains everything including itself, it cannot in principle fail to exist or go out of existence (eternal)


I'll stop here for comments/objections.
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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#56

Post by Philip » Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:54 am

"There is an explanation for everything" (PSR)
So, the question becomes, what, exactly, is the PSR or the explanation behind all contingent things? What are the candidates with evidences?

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#57

Post by Nils » Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:17 am

Byblos wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:22 am


Assuming there are no objections, the next step is to rationalize the two types of explanations.

What does it mean for something to be explained by something else?

For one, the thing explained is said to be dependent on the thing doing the explaining. In philosophical jargon the thing explained is said to be contingent.

The next question is, can the thing doing the explaining be contingent itself? Logically speaking, there is nothing irrational about something contingent being an agent that explains something else that is contingent.

And so the next logical question becomes, can this series (of contingent things explaining other contingent things) extend back in time to infinity? And once again we see that there is nothing irrational about that, there could certainly be an infinite series of contingent things explaining other contingent things that extends back in time to infinity, whether by infinity we mean a temporal series that endlessly extends backwards in time, or a multiverse or a pot of infinite bubbling universes, or whatever. But does this infinite number of contingent things explaining an infinite number of other contingent things satisfy the PSR? And the answer is no because as we've seen from Leibniz' (and Feser's) arguments, if the explanation of such an infinite series is to be found within the series itself then the series would not be contingent. Since it is in fact a series of contingent things (though infinite), its explanation must be found outside of the series itself. So any kind of infinite series of contingent things explaining other infinite series of contingent things does not not satisfy the PSR unless its explanation is found outside the series.
I agree.
Byblos wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:22 am

What does it mean for something to NOT be explained by something else?

If something is NOT explained by something else (and no explanation as an option is ruled out by the PSR), it means it is something that is NOT dependent on anything else other than itself. And again, in philosophical jargon it is said to be non-contingent or necessary.

Can a non-contingent thing explain itself? Of course, that's precisely what non-contingent means. It means the thing's explanation is wholly contained within the thing's own nature because it is dependent on no other. Can a non-contingent thing explain other things? Since contingent things must find their ultimate explanation outside themselves, the only other option left for an explanation is a non-contingent, necessary thing.

Can a necessary explanation fail to exist? Since the potential for existence is contingent and since a necessary explanation is non-contingent, it cannot even in principle, not exist.

Can a necessary explanation go out of existence? Since the potential to go out of existence is contingent and since a necessary explanation is non-contingent, it cannot even in principle, go out of existence.
I will come back about this.
Byblos wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:22 am

To once again summarize the rational argument so far:

1. There is an explanation for everything (PSR)
2. Something can be explained by something else (contingent), or
3. Be self-explained (necessary)
4. A necessary explanation not only explains everything including itself, it cannot in principle fail to exist or go out of existence (eternal)


I'll stop here for comments/objections.
I try to summarize a bit more in detail, writing a deduction schema.

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. Scenario b. is not possible (3 and 5)
7. Only having scenario a. is not intelligible (Premise according to Byblos and Feser)
8. Only having scenario a. is not possible (3 and 7)
9. There has to be at least one scenario c. (2, 4, 6, and 8 )
10. If there is a scenario c. that is the only one, it is necessary, and implies God (Premise according to Feser)
11. There is a God (9 and 10)

Do you agree or would you want to change something?
Nils

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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#58

Post by Byblos » Thu Jul 05, 2018 7:03 am

Nils wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:17 am
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. Scenario b. is not possible (3 and 5)
7. Only having scenario a. is not intelligible (Premise according to Byblos and Feser)
8. Only having scenario a. is not possible (3 and 7)
9. There has to be at least one scenario c. (2, 4, 6, and 8 )
10. If there is a scenario c. that is the only one, it is necessary, and implies God (Premise according to Feser)
11. There is a God (9 and 10)

Do you agree or would you want to change something?
If it were up to me I'd rather stick with Feser's formal statement but I fear that'll put us back in the 'our universe' vs. 'unknown' discussion we had early, which was rather pointless as far as it went (not a criticism, just a general observation). So, fine, let's go with that. The only reservation I have at this stage is with 7 as you would need to unpack it further as to why scenario a is not intelligible, i.e. to satisfy the PSR, by reductio a necessary explanation is required (see points 9 thru 14 in Feser's formal statement).
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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#59

Post by Byblos » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:21 pm

Byblos wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 7:03 am
Nils wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:17 am
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. Scenario b. is not possible (3 and 5)
7. Only having scenario a. is not intelligible (Premise according to Byblos and Feser)
8. Only having scenario a. is not possible (3 and 7)
9. There has to be at least one scenario c. (2, 4, 6, and 8 )
10. If there is a scenario c. that is the only one, it is necessary, and implies God (Premise according to Feser)
11. There is a God (9 and 10)

Do you agree or would you want to change something?
If it were up to me I'd rather stick with Feser's formal statement but I fear that'll put us back in the 'our universe' vs. 'unknown' discussion we had early, which was rather pointless as far as it went (not a criticism, just a general observation). So, fine, let's go with that. The only reservation I have at this stage is with 7 as you would need to unpack it further as to why scenario a is not intelligible, i.e. to satisfy the PSR, by reductio a necessary explanation is required (see points 9 thru 14 in Feser's formal statement).
So where are you going with this Nils?
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Re: The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

#60

Post by Nils » Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:16 am

Thanks for you patience, Byblos, this is a bit complicated matter.

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.
In post # 55, see below, you tries to explain self-explanatory entities. I have problems to understand the logic of what you say. It seems that you (and Feser etc) threw in self-explanation only as a solution to avoid non-explanation, not as a feature that is valid by it’s own merits. I also read the Plato entry on PSR but got little help. It seems that it is agreed that self-explanatory was something that Spinoza and Leibniz argued for but is abandoned in modern Philosophy – “special pleading”. Another way to look at it is to say that only if you believe in God it seems reasonable with a necessary self-explanatory entity.
So my detailed comments on #55:
Byblos wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:22 am
What does it mean for something to NOT be explained by something else?

If something is NOT explained by something else (and no explanation as an option is ruled out by the PSR), it means it is something that is NOT dependent on anything else other than itself. And again, in philosophical jargon it is said to be non-contingent or necessary.

Can a non-contingent thing explain itself? Of course, that's precisely what non-contingent means. It means the thing's explanation is wholly contained within the thing's own nature because it is dependent on no other. Can a non-contingent thing explain other things? Since contingent things must find their ultimate explanation outside themselves, the only other option left for an explanation is a non-contingent, necessary thing.
I would rather call such a thing unexplained. You say that the explanation is within the thing’s own nature but that nature is apparently not explained so in the end the thing is unexplained. Calling it self-explained is not intelligible to me.
Byblos wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:22 am
Can a necessary explanation fail to exist? Since the potential for existence is contingent and since a necessary explanation is non-contingent, it cannot even in principle, not exist.

Can a necessary explanation go out of existence? Since the potential to go out of existence is contingent and since a necessary explanation is non-contingent, it cannot even in principle, go out of existence.
I have difficulties to understand the logic. One thing is that you talk about existence of “explanations”, that seems curious to me. Earlier you used the word “things”. I wait with comments until this is cleared.

Now to what I will call Deuction schema #1.
[/quote]
Byblos wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 7:03 am
Nils wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:17 am
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. Scenario b. is not possible (3 and 5)
7. Only having scenario a. is not intelligible (Premise according to Byblos and Feser)
8. Only having scenario a. is not possible (3 and 7)
9. There has to be at least one scenario c. (2, 4, 6, and 8 )
10. If there is a scenario c. that is the only one, it is necessary, and implies God (Premise according to Feser)
11. There is a God (9 and 10)

Do you agree or would you want to change something?
If it were up to me I'd rather stick with Feser's formal statement but I fear that'll put us back in the 'our universe' vs. 'unknown' discussion we had early, which was rather pointless as far as it went (not a criticism, just a general observation). So, fine, let's go with that. The only reservation I have at this stage is with 7 as you would need to unpack it further as to why scenario a is not intelligible, i.e. to satisfy the PSR, by reductio a necessary explanation is required (see points 9 thru 14 in Feser's formal statement).
Agree but for my current purpos schema # 1 will suffice.

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

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