Religious Studies 39 (3):269-286 (2003)
In The Metaphysics of Creation and The Metaphysics of Theism, Norman Kretzmann defends an argument for God's existence which he claims to find in Aquinas. I assess this argument's key premise, a principle of sufficient reason, that: ‘PSR2: Every existing thing has a reason for its existence either in the necessity of its own nature or in the causal efficacy of some other beings’. PSR2 requires God's nature to explain His existence. Kretzmann does not tell us how this explanation is supposed to go. I examine such ways as I can envision that God's own nature might explain His existence. None pan out. I argue contra Kretzmann that if God is simple, as Aquinas understood this, His nature does not explain His existence, and while His existence is in itself per se notum (‘self-evident’) this does not entail that it has an explanation. If this is correct, we ought not to read Aquinas as committed to PSR2. Further, if I'm right that it's impossible for ‘the necessity of a thing's nature’ to explain its existence, PSR2 is true only if every existing thing has a reason for its existence in the causal efficacy of some other beings. So, if I'm right, theists ought to steer clear of PSR2, at least read in terms of genuine explanation. I finally offer a weaker reading of ‘a reason for its existence’ which does not generate the problems of the stronger reading Kretzmann seems to have in mind. This too, though, turns out to have its problems.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Norman Kretzmann on Aquinas's Attribution of Will and of Freedom to Create to God.John F. Wippel - 2003 - Religious Studies 39 (3):287-298.
Turner on Reason and Proving God's Existence.Bruce Milem - 2007 - Philosophy and Theology 19 (1/2):79-94.
The Metaphysics of Creation: Aquinas's Natural Theology in Summa Contra Gentiles Ii.Norman Kretzmann - 1999 - Clarendon Press.
Regresses, Sufficient Reasons, and Cosmological Arguments.Patrick Francken & Heimir Geirsson - 1999 - Journal of Philosophical Research 24:285-304.
The Metaphysics of Theism: Aquinas's Natural Theology in Summa Contra Gentiles I.Norman Kretzmann - 1997 - Clarendon Press.
A Response to Almeida and Judisch.Alexander Pruss & Richard M. Gale - 2003 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 53 (2):65-72.
Explanation, Entailment, and Leibnizian Cosmological Arguments.Christopher Weaver - 2009 - Metaphysica 10 (1):97-108.
‘The First Thing to Know About God’: Kretzmann and Aquinas on the Meaning and Necessity of Arguments for the Existence of God.Velde Rudi A. Te - 2003 - Religious Studies 39 (3):251-267.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads89 ( #59,127 of 2,178,255 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #316,623 of 2,178,255 )
How can I increase my downloads?