Branching actualism and cosmological arguments

Philosophical Studies 180 (7):1951-1973 (2023)
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Abstract

We draw out significant consequences of a relatively popular theory of metaphysical modality—branching actualism—for cosmological arguments for God’s existence. According to branching actualism, every possible world shares an initial history with the actual world and diverges only because causal powers (or dispositions, or some such) are differentially exercised. We argue that branching actualism undergirds successful responses to two recent cosmological arguments: the Grim Reaper Kalam argument and a modal argument from contingency. We also argue that branching actualism affords a response to one popular defense of the classic contingency argument. What results are new difficulties for several cosmological arguments arising from the metaphysics of modality.

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Author Profiles

Joseph Schmid
Princeton University
Alex Malpass
University of Bristol

References found in this work

Essence and modality.Kit Fine - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8 (Logic and Language):1-16.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.
Dispositions and conditionals.C. B. Martin - 1994 - Philosophical Quarterly 44 (174):1-8.
Modal Epistemology and the Rationalist Renaissance.George Bealer - 2002 - In Tamar Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 71-125.

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