David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 81:109-122 (2007)
Many cosmological arguments for the existence of a first cause or a necessary being rely on a premise which denies the possibility of an infinite regress ofsome particular sort. Adequate and satisfying support for this premise, however, is not always provided. In this paper I attempt to address this gap in the literature. After discussing the notion of a causal explanation (section I), I formulate three principles which govern any successful causal explanation (section II). I then introduce the notions of a caused being, a causal network, and a causal chain, and argue that (roughly) an infinite causal chain cannot be explained merely by reference to the causal activities of the members of that chain (section III). In a sequel to the present paper, I employ this result to construct two closely related arguments for the existence of a necessary being
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