The Ultimate Why Question: Avicenna on Why God Is Absolutely Necessary
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In The Ultimate Why Question: Why is There Anything at All Rather Than Nothing Whatsoever? Cath Univ Amer Pr (2011)
The paper treats Avicenna’s ’metaphysical’ argument for the existence of God and the modal metaphysics that underpins it. Earlier analyses of modalities attempted to reduce necessity, possibility and impossibility to nonmodal elements, which was done most commonly by appealing to a temporal frequency model of modalities. In contrast, Avicenna believed that modalities were an inherent feature of existence, and so just as there is nothing more basic than existence, so likewise there is nothing more basic in term of which modalities can be explained. The article concludes by considering how Avicenna’s modal metaphysics in turn provides him the means to show the absolute and nonconditional necessity of God, as opposed to the conditional necessity of earlier ’physical’ arguments
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