Regularities, laws, and an exceedingly modest premise for a cosmological argument

International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 83 (1):111-123 (2018)
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In reply to certain cosmological arguments for theism, critics regularly argue that the causal principle ex nihilo nihil fit may be false. Various theistic counter-replies to this challenge have emerged. One type of strategy is to double down on ex nihilo nihil fit. Another, very different strategy of counter-reply is to grant for the sake of argument that the principle is false, while maintaining that sound cosmological arguments can be formulated even with this concession in place. Notably, one can employ a weaker opening premise formulated in modal terms, proceeding for instance from the proposition that for any contingent object coming into existence it is at least possible that it have a cause. My aim here is to try out a related strategy for weakening the relevant opening premise. Granting that it is possible for a contingent object to come into existence out of nothing without a cause, I proceed from the extremely modest claim that the obtaining of exceptionless longstanding contingent regularities demands an explanation. As such, the contingent regularity that empirically accessible macro-level contingent objects do not pop into existence causelessly demands explanation. And as it turns out, that explanation will have to be in terms of an object or objects possessed of at least some of the traditional divine attributes.



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Travis Dumsday
Concordia University of Edmonton

References found in this work

What is a Law of Nature?D. M. Armstrong - 1983 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Sydney Shoemaker.
The metaphysics within physics.Tim Maudlin - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Scientific Essentialism.Brian Ellis - 2001 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Laws in nature.Stephen Mumford - 2004 - New York: Routledge.
Physicalism.Daniel Stoljar - 2010 - New York: Routledge.

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