Relationship of necessary being and contingent

Proof of the Contingent and The Necessary | Three Topics in Theological Philosophy |

relationship of necessary being and contingent

connection between the terms of a statement consists in this very thing, as Aristotle affirmative proposition, whether it be necessary or contingent, universal or. In natural theology and philosophy, a cosmological argument is an argument in which the . Contingent beings, therefore, are insufficient to account for the existence of is a necessary being bearing the reason for its existence within itself." . this problem of induction and argued that causal relations were not true a priori. Necessary existence is a perfection, it is thought, and therefore God . is necessarily false, the conditional is true because of the relationship.

S cannot itself be contingent, for then it would be a conjunct of P and entailed by P, and as both entailing and entailed by P would be P, so that it would be its own sufficient reason.

But no contingent proposition can explain itself. Neither can S be necessary, for from necessary propositions only necessary propositions follow. Necessary propositions cannot explain contingent propositions, for if x sufficiently explains y, then x entails y, and if x is necessary so is y.

Thus, if the cosmological argument appeals to the PSR to establish the existence of a necessary being whose existence is expressed by a necessary proposition as an explanation for contingent beings, it fails in that it cannot account for the contingent beings it purportedly explains. But, as Pruss notes Although God is a necessary being, his connection with the world is through his free agency, and free actions explain but do not entail the existence of particular contingent states. Clearly, the soundness of the deductive version of the cosmological argument hinges on whether principles such as that of Causation or Sufficient Reason are more than methodologically true and on the extent to which these principles can be applied to individual things or to the universe.

Critics of the argument will be skeptical regarding the universal application of the principles; defenders of the argument generally not so. Perhaps the best one can say, with Taylor, is that even those who critique the PSR invoke it when they suggest that defenders have failed to provide a sufficient reason for thinking it is true. The principle of sufficient reason can be illustrated in various ways,…but it cannot be proved….

If one were to try proving it, he would sooner or later have to appeal to considerations that are less plausible than the principle itself. Indeed, it is hard to see how one could even make an argument for it without already assuming it.

For this reason it might properly be called a presupposition of reason itself. The only being that meets this condition is the most real or maximally excellent being—a being with all perfections, including existence.

This concept lies at the heart of the ontological argument see entry on ontological arguments. Although in the ontological argument the perfect being is determined to exist through its own concept, in fact nothing can be determined to exist in this manner; one has to begin with existence. In short, the cosmological argument presupposes the cogency of the ontological argument.

But since the ontological argument is defective for the above and other reason, the cosmological argument that depends on or invokes it likewise must be defective Critique B For example, Gale-Pruss contend that speaking about necessary beings does not differ from speaking of the necessity of propositions see section 5. As such, as Plantinga notes, if a necessary being is possible, it exists God, Freedom and Evil, It is a being that exists in all possible worlds.

A more adequate notion of necessary being is that the necessity is metaphysical or factual. A necessary being is one that if it exists, it neither came into existence nor can cease to exist, and correspondingly, if it does not exist, it cannot come into existence Reichenbach If it exists, it eternally maintains its own existence; it is self-sufficient and self-sustaining.

So understood, the cosmological argument does not rely on notions central to the ontological argument. Rather, instead of being superfluous, the cosmological argument, if sound, gives us reason to think that the necessary being exists rather than not.

That is, if God necessarily exists in the sense that if he exists, he exists in all possible worlds, it remains logically possible that God does not exist in any and all possible worlds.

Hence, God, as Swinburne notes Why, then, does God exist?

Cosmological Argument

The PSR can be applied to the necessary being. The theist responds that the PSR does not address logical contingency but metaphysical contingency. One is not required to find a reason for what is not metaphysically contingent.

  • Necessary Beings
  • God and Other Necessary Beings
  • Contingency

It is not that the necessary being is self-explanatory; rather, a demand for explaining its existence is inappropriate. We will return to this discussion in section 8. They phrase the argument in terms of contingent and necessary propositions.

A contingent proposition is one that is both possibly true and possibly false i. In its simplest form, the argument is 1 if it is possible that it is necessary that a supernatural being of some sort exists, then it is necessary that a supernatural being of that sort exists.

Since 2 it is possible that it is necessary that a supernatural being of some sort exists, 3 it is necessary that this being exists.

The being that Gale has in mind is a very powerful and intelligent designer-creator, not the all perfect God of Anselm, for this perfect God who would exist in all possible worlds would be incompatible with the existence of gratuitous and horrendous evils to be found in some of those possible worlds.

They begin with the notion of a Big Conjunctive Fact BCFwhich is the totality of propositions that would be true of any possible world were it actualized. Since all possible worlds would have the same necessary propositions, they are differentiated by their Big Conjunctive Contingent Fact BCCFwhich would contain different contingent propositions.

That is, there is something that explains the BCCF of the actual world. The explanation of the BCCF cannot be scientific, for such would be in terms of law-like propositions and statements about the actual world at a given time, which would be contingent and hence part of the BCCF. But something cannot explain itself.

Gale concludes that although this necessary being exists in every possible world, this tells little about its power, goodness, and other qualities.

To make this being palatable to theists, he offers that the argument be supplemented by other arguments, such as the teleological arguments, to suggest that the necessary being is the kind of being that satisfies theistic requirements. Several objections have been raised about the argument from the weak principle of sufficient reason.

Almeida and Judisch construct their objection via two reductio arguments. Hence, no world exists where the BCF lacks an explanation, which is the strong principle of sufficient reason that Gale allegedly circumvented. Gale and Pruss subsequently concede that their weak PSR does entail the strong PSR, but they contend that there still is no reason not to proceed with the weak PSR, which they think the nontheist would accept. The only grounds for rejecting it, they claim, is that it leads to a theistic conclusion, which is not an independent reason for rejecting it.

Oppy, however, maintains that appealing to some initial instincts of acceptance is irrelevant. Perhaps the nontheists did not see what granting the weak PSR entailed, that it contradicted other things they had independent reasons to believe, or they did not fully understand the principle.

There is a modus tolens reason to reject it, since there are other grounds for thinking that theism is false. This too Gale and Pruss concede, which means that the necessary being they conclude to is not significantly different from that arrived at by the traditional cosmological argument that appeals to the moderate version of the PSR.

Gale argues that since there are possible worlds with gratuitous or horrendous evils, and since God as necessary would exist in these worlds, God cannot be necessarily good. The problem here is that if indeed there is this incompatibility between a perfectly good necessary being God and gratuitous evils or even absolutely horrendous evils, then it would follow that worlds with God and such evils would not be possible worlds, for they would contain a contradiction.

In all possible worlds where a perfectly good God as a necessary being would exist, there would be a justificatory morally sufficient reason for the evils that would exist, or at least, given the existence of gratuitous evils, for the possibility of the existence of such evils Reichenbach Beyond this, however, the point stands that the weak PSR entails the strong PSR, and as we argued above, defenders of the cosmological argument do not need such a strong version of the PSR to construct their argument.

Although it had numerous defenders through the centuries, it received new life in the recent voluminous writings of William Lane Craig.

Everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence. The universe began to exist. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence. Since no scientific explanation in terms of physical laws can provide a causal account of the origin very beginning of the universe, the cause must be personal explanation is given in terms of a personal agent.

This argument has been the subject of much recent debate, only some of which we can summarize here. For greater bibliographic detail, see Craig and Sinclair It only does not play a role in supporting a particular premise in the argument. Defenders and critics alike suggest that basing the argument on the Principle of Causation rather than on the more general Principle of Sufficient Reason is advantageous to the argument Morriston Craig holds that the first premise is intuitively obvious; no one, he says, seriously denies it Craig, in Craig and Smith The Causal Principle has been the subject of extended criticism.

We addressed objections to the Causal Principle as subsumed under the PSR from a philosophical perspective earlier in 4. He points not only to the presence of serious doubters which he thinks he should not be able to find if it were truly an a priori truthbut also to quantum phenomena, and thereby joins those who raise objections to the Causal Principle based on quantum physics Davies On the quantum level, the connection between cause and effect, if not entirely broken, is to some extent loosened.

For example, it appears that electrons can pass out of existence at one point and come back into existence elsewhere.

relationship of necessary being and contingent

One can neither trace their intermediate existence nor determine what causes them to come into existence at one point rather than another. Neither can one precisely determine or predict where they will reappear; their subsequent location is only statistically probable given what we know about their antecedent states.

Hence, quantum-mechanical considerations show that the causal proposition is limited in its application, if applicable at all, and consequently that a probabilistic argument for a cause of the Big Bang cannot go through. Smith, in Craig and Smith For one thing, quantum events are not completely devoid of causal conditions. Even if one grants that the causal conditions are not jointly sufficient to determine the event, at least some necessary conditions are involved in the quantum event.

But when one considers the beginning of the universe, he notes, there are no prior necessary causal conditions; simply nothing exists Craig, in Craig and Smith Morriston is rightly puzzled by this reply, for, he asks, what makes a cause out of a bunch of merely necessary conditions. Apparently not that they are jointly sufficient to produce the effect.

More recently, Craig argues that not all physicists agree that subatomic events are uncaused…. Indeed, most of the available interpretations of the mathematical formulation of [Quantum Mechanics] are fully deterministic. Craig and Sinclair What is debated is whether this inability to predict is due to the absence of sufficient causal conditions, or whether it is merely a result of the fact that any attempt to precisely measure these events alters their status. The very introduction of the observer into the arena so affects what is observed that it gives the appearance that effects occur without sufficient or determinative causes.

But we have no way of knowing what is happening without introducing observers into the situation and the changes they bring. At the same time, it should be recognized that showing that indeterminacy is a real feature of the world at the quantum level would have significant negative implications for the more general Causal Principle that underlies the deductive cosmological argument.

The more this indeterminacy has ontological significance, the weaker is the Causal Principle. If the indeterminacy has merely epistemic significance, it scarcely affects the Causal Principle. Quantum accounts allow for additional speculation regarding origins and structures of universes. His primary a priori argument is An actual infinite cannot exist.

A beginningless temporal series of events is an actual infinite. Therefore, a beginningless temporal series of events cannot exist. Since 7 follows validly, if 5 and 6 are true the argument is sound. In defense of premise 5he defines an actual infinite as a determinate totality that occurs when a part of a system can be put into a one-to-one correspondence with the entire system Craig and Sinclair Craig argues that if actual infinites that neither increase nor decrease in the number of members they contain were to exist in reality, we would have rather absurd consequences.

For example, imagine a library with an actually infinite number of books. Suppose that the library also contains an infinite number of red and an infinite number of black books, so that for every red book there is a black book, and vice versa. It follows that the library contains as many red books as the total books in its collection, and as many red books as black books, and as many red books as red and black books combined.

But this is absurd; in reality the subset cannot be equivalent to the entire set. Likewise, in a real library by removing a certain number of books we reduce the overall collection. But if infinites are actual, a library with an infinite number of books would not be reduced in size at all by removal of a specific number of books short of all of themfor example, all the red books or those with even catalogue numbers Craig and Smith The absurdities resulting from attempting to apply basic arithmetical operations, functional in the real world, to infinities suggest that although actual infinites can have an ideal existence, they cannot exist in reality.

So this is a case—recognized in fact as early as Galileo Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences —where two infinite sets have the same size but, intuitively, one of them, as a subset, appears to be smaller than the other; one set consists of only some of the members of another, but you nonetheless never run out of either when you pair off their members. Craig concludes that it is absurd to suppose that such a library is possible in actuality, since the set of red books would simultaneously have to be smaller than the set of all books and yet equal in size.

Critics fail to be convinced by these paradoxes of infinity. For example, Rundle The logical problems with the actual infinite are not problems of incoherence, but arise from the features that are characteristic of infinite sets. The application of this definition to finite and infinite sets yields results that Craig finds counter-intuitive but which mathematicians see as our best understanding for comparing the size of sets. They see the fact that an infinite set can be put into one-to-one correspondence with one of its own proper subsets as one of the defining characteristics of an infinite set, not an absurdity.

Cantorian mathematicians argue that these results apply to any infinite set, whether in pure mathematics, imaginary libraries, or the real world series of concrete events. Thus, Smith argues that Craig begs the question by wrongly presuming that an intuitive relationship holds between finite sets and their proper subsets, namely, that a set has more members than its proper subsets must hold even in the case of infinite sets Smith, in Craig and Smith Further discussion is in Oppy Why should one think premise 6 is true—that a beginningless series, such as the universe up to this point, is an actual rather than a potential infinite?

For Craig, an actual infinite is a determinate totality or a completed unity, whereas the potential infinite is not. Since the past events of a beginningless series can be conceptually collected together and numbered, the series is a determinate totality And since the past is beginningless, it has no starting point and is infinite.

relationship of necessary being and contingent

If the universe had a starting point, so that events were added to or subtracted from this point, we would have a potential infinite that increased through time by adding new members. The fact that the events do not occur simultaneously is irrelevant. Bede Rundle rejects an actual infinite, but his grounds for doing so—the symmetry of the past and the future—, if sustained, make premise 6 false.

He argues that the reasons often advanced for asymmetry, such as those given by Craig, are faulty. It is true that the past is not actual, but neither is the future. Likewise, that the past, having occurred, is unalterable is irrelevant, for neither is the future alterable.

The only time that is real is the present. Likewise, the argument that if the past were infinite, there would be no reason why we arrive at t0 now rather than earlier, fails. For Rundle, the past and the future are symmetrical; it is only our knowledge of them that is asymmetrical. Any future event lies at a finite temporal distance from the present. Similarly, any past event lies at a finite temporal distance from the present. For each past or future series of events, beginning from the present, there can always be a subsequent event.

Hence, for both series an infinity of events is possible, and, as symmetrical, the infinity of both series is the same. The universe has an explanation of its existence.

Therefore, the explanation of the universe's existence is God. Craig states that the only disputable statements are 1. He also denied that the universe was an exception to the rule, claiming that such a proposition begging the question.

He states [20] that saying 2. In esse and in fieri[ edit ] The difference between the arguments from causation in fieri and in esse is a fairly important one. In fieri is generally translated as "becoming", while in esse is generally translated as "in essence". In fieri, the process of becoming, is similar to building a house. Once it is built, the builder walks away, and it stands on its own accord; compare the watchmaker analogy.

It may require occasional maintenance, but that is beyond the scope of the first cause argument. In esse essence is more akin to the light from a candle or the liquid in a vessel.

George Hayward Joyce, SJexplained that " If it is removed, the light ceases. Again, a liquid receives its shape from the vessel in which it is contained; but were the pressure of the containing sides withdrawn, it would not retain its form for an instant.

This distinction is an excellent example of the difference between a deistic view Leibniz and a theistic view Aquinas. As a general trend, the modern slants on the cosmological argument, including the Kalam argumenttend to lean very strongly towards an in fieri argument. He says that to deny causation is to deny all empirical ideas- for example, if we know our own hand, we know it because of the chain of causes including light being reflected upon one's eyes, stimulating the retina and sending a message through the optic nerve into your brain.

The Universe began to exist. Therefore, the Universe had a cause. Craig explains, by nature of the event the Universe coming into existenceattributes unique to the concept of God must also be attributed to the cause of this event, including but not limited to: Since these attributes are unique to God, anything with these attributes must be God. Something does have these attributes: Craig defends the second premise, that the Universe had a beginning starting with Al-Ghazali 's proof that an actual infinite is impossible.

However, If the universe never had a beginning then there indeed would be an actual infinite, an infinite amount of cause and effect events. But, how exactly do they depend on God's existence? Is it merely God's existence on which they depend, or are they dependent on some feature of God?

If a particular cup depends on my existence for its existence, it is not my mere existence that explains why it exists. It is true that if I did not exist then neither would it. But, it exists because of certain activities in which I engaged: Shaping clay, firing the clay in a kiln, and the like.

Similarly, theists have thought that there are two features of God on which abstract objects might depend: God's intellect and God's will. On the other hand Descartes famously held that the modal status of propositions depends on God's will. Thus, the problem with dependence goes away; we do not have to worry about trivial counterfactual implication from necessary falsehoods. In the eyes of most philosophers, it's not clear this solution is coherent, much less that it has any plausibility to it.

It requires that we take truths of logic and arithmetic, which are paradigm examples of necessary truths, as not necessary after all. A third solution to the problem starts with the Leibnizian conception of the relationship between God and abstract objects. Suppose we think that abstract objects are divine thoughts. Furthermore, suppose we think, along with the Medievals, that God is simple. So, it becomes unproblematic that the truth of God exists depends on the truth of Four exists; any proposition will be counterfactually dependent on itself.

This solution, like the last, requires one to accept quite a bit of metaphysical baggage. Although divine simplicity has contemporary defenders of its coherence, it also has many detractors Plantinga contains a particularly incisive critique of divine simplicity.

If one already accepts divine simplicity, then one has a ready answer to the problem of dependence. But, if one agrees with most contemporary philosophers that divine simplicity is deeply problematic if not incoherentthen one will want to look for another solution to the problem or give up the dependence claim and insist that the sovereignty-aseity intuition does not require abstracta to depend on God. A fourth solution, and perhaps the most promising one, is to find fault with the Lewis semantics for counterfactuals see LeftowVander LaanWierengaDavidsonand Davis Again, we've seen that on the Lewis semantics, any proposition is counterfactually implied by a necessary falsehood.

Call a counterfactual with a necessarily false antecedent a counterpossible.

Contingency : Examples and Definition | Philosophy Terms

It seems that there are some counterpossibles which aren't trivially true, and it also seems that there are some that are false. Consider 2 If an omniscient being knew no mathematics, he would fail Calculus.

That is, although the antecedent of 2 is necessarily false, the conditional is true because of the relationship between the antecedent and the consequent. We also can see that 2 appears to be true in a non-trivial manner if we consider 3 If an omniscient being knew no mathematics, he'd do well in Calculus. On the Lewis semantics, 3 is true, trivially. But 3 appears to be false, and 3 makes it even clearer that 2 is non-trivially true. But then something seems amiss with the Lewis semantics in the way it deals with counterpossibles—or at least some philosophers have concluded this from examples like the two above.

David Vander Laan and others have argued that in order to account for counterpossibles that are non-trivially true and even false, we must expand the Lewis semantics for counterfactuals to include impossible worlds. We thus amend the semantics in the following way. The metaphysical waters are deep here, and an investigation into the adequacy of this sort of proposal is beyond the scope of this essay. However, to the extent that one wants to maintain both some sort of possible worlds semantics for counterfactuals which is based on similarity relations between worlds and most philosophers agree with this sort of accountand one wants to maintain that not all counterpossibles are trivially true, one might think something like Vander Laan's proposal has to be correct.

If one wants to maintain that the dependence of abstracta on God entails that certain counterpossibles are true, but not all, and not all trivially-so, a semantics like Vander Laan's is most promising. God and Abstract Objects II: We have noted three different manners whereby abstract objects may depend on God: We will concern ourselves, then, with a Leibnizian account.

Because it is not clear how to understand abstract objects being inside God's mind as anything more than a metaphor which is strictly falseMorris and Menzel make the plausible claim that the relationship between God's mental activity and abstract objects is a causal one.

God's thinking the thoughts he does causes abstract objects to exist. But problems arise immediately. The theistic activist claims that God causes properties such as being omniscient, being omnipotent, existing necessarily, being able to cause abstracta to exist, and having cognitive activity to exist.

She also claims that God causes his own haecceity, being God, to exist. Surely, God's being able to cause abstract objects to exist must be posterior to his having properties like the ones mentioned above. And if God has these properties, they must exist. But, the proponent of this theory is committed to the existence of properties being posterior to God's causing them to exist.

Thus, the objection concludes, theistic activism is false. However, there is a response that the theistic activist can give at this point. It might be claimed that although God's ability to cause abstracta to exist is logically dependent on his having certain properties, it is not causally dependent.

The account would be problematically circular only if God's ability to cause abstracta to exist were causally dependent on his having certain properties, and his having these properties were in turn causally dependent on his having caused these properties to exist.

There is a circle of logical dependence here as there is between any two necessary truthsbut there is no circle of causal dependence. Certainly, the above response is right in that if there is a problem of circularity, it is one of causal circularity. Earlier, we saw that there for the theistic activist is a one-way causal relationship between God's cognitive activity and the existence of abstracta such as being the number two.