Defeasible reasoning, special pleading and the cosmological argument

Faith and Philosophy 18 (2):192-203 (2001)
This is a reply to a paper by Graham Oppy in the July, 1999 issue of this journal, “Koons’ Cosmological Argument.” Recent work in defeasible or nonmonotonic logic means that the cosmological argument can be cast in such a way that it does not presuppose that every contingent situation, without exception, has a cause. Instead, the burden of proof is shifted to the skeptic, who must produce positive reasons for thinking that the cosmos is an exception to the defeasible law of causality. I show how Oppy’s critique can be turned into a plausible rebuttal of my argument. However, this rebuttal can be set aside when the original argument is supplemented by a plausible account of the nature of causal priority. Several independent lines of argument in support of this account are outlined
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