The CP for wholly contingent states

Following Koons (1997), suppose that each wholly contingent state of affairs has a cause. Form the maximal, wholly contingent state of affairs M as the mereological sum of all wholly contingent states of affairs. Then, M has a cause C by the CP. Moreover, plausibly, C is wholly disjoint from M. For suppose that C and M overlapped in some state J. Then, J would be caused by C. But J is a part of C, and although a substance can cause a part of itself, for example, by growing a new limb, it is absurd to suppose that a state of affairs as a whole can cause a part of itself. One difference here lies in the fact that states of affairs are nothing but the sums of their constituent states, while substances can cause parts of themselves by being more than the sum of their parts. So, C and M are wholly disjoint.

But if C and M are wholly disjoint, then C cannot be contingent. For if it were contingent, it would have a nonempty, wholly contingent part (see the argument in Koons 1997), and that part would then be a part of M.

Thus, the cause of M is a necessary state of affairs. As in the PSR case, plausibly only an existential state of affairs can cause an existential state of affairs. Hence, C involves the existence of something. Moreover, it had better involve the existence of a necessary being. The alternative is that C involves a quantificational state of affairs that says that some being satisfying a description D exists, where it is a necessary truth that some being satisfies D, but there is no being b such that it is a necessary truth that b satisfies D. However, such quantificational states of affairs are unlikely to be genuine causes, just as disjunctive states of affairs are not causes. Nor is this scenario, with its being necessary that some contingent being or other exist, plausible.

Hence, once again, we get to a necessary being. If, furthermore, we think that causes can only function through the causal efficacy of a being, then we get a causally efficacious necessary being, a First Cause.

The Taxicab Problem here takes the form of asking what causes C to cause M, and this question has already been discussed in Section 3.3.

We can also modify the argument by only assuming a CP for positive wholly contingent states of affairs. Assuming the cause of a positive state of affairs is found in a positive state of affairs, we can again get to a necessary being.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment