The RPSR

Recall the R-PSR, which claimed that every proposition that can have an explanation does have an explanation (see Section 3.2.2). The R-PSR enables a cosmological argument for one or more necessary beings whose existence explains why there is something contingent. It certainly does so if, as is claimed in Section 3.2.2, the R-PSR entails the PSR. But it also does so if that entailment argument fails.

I do, however, need a technical assumption:

(52) There is a set Q of kinds such that: (a) for no x does x's being of K, where K is in Q, depend on anything essentially origined, and (b) every contingent object x is a member of at least one kind from K.

If the cosmos consists of finitely many contingent objects, as seems fairly plausible empirically, then (52) is trivially true. Here, "kind" is a technical term. It does not simply mean a set of objects, but a classification falling under which is explanatorily prior to all the exercises of the entity's causal power. Natural kinds like animal and electron are paradigm instances of this. Whether kind membership is essential is a question we can stay neutral on.

Now, consider the proposition p that at least one of the kinds in Q has at least one contingently existing member. I claim that there could be an explanation of p. All we need to do to see this is to imagine a possible world that has a being that is not a member of any of the kinds in Q and is not caused into existence by any member or members of any of the kinds in Q, but which being causes at least one of the kinds in Q to have a member. The being might be a contingent being, as long as it is not a contingent being that is a member of any of the kinds exemplified in our world or dependent on any members of the kinds exemplified in our world. For instance, that being might be an angel or a witch that brings an electron into existence. Or it might be a necessary being, such as God.

Thus, possibly, p is explained. Thus, by the R-PSR there is an explanation for p. Assuming further that existential propositions about substances can only be explained by the causal activity of one or more substances, we conclude that there is a set U of substances whose causal activity explains p. If all of the members of U are contingent, then they are each a member of at least one kind from Q. Moreover, their kind membership is explanatorily prior to their causal activity. Thus, no one of these members of U can explain why it is a member of the kind (or kinds) it is a member of or why the kind (or kinds) that it is a member of has (have) a member, and hence no one can explain p. Neither can they collectively explain p, for collective causal powers derive from individual causal powers, and I have assumed that being the kind of being one is is explanatorily prior to having of the causal powers one does - one is able to thermoregulate because one is a mammal.

Therefore, at least one member of U is not contingent. But in fact, no contingent member of U should enter into an explanation of why some kind from Q has a member, since to have a contingent member of U exercising its causal powers, that contingent member must already have existed, and thus been a member of some kind from Q. So all the members of U are necessary beings. Therefore, in fact, one or more necessarily existing substances explain p through their causal activity.

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