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Rationalism and Necessitarianism

Noûs 46 (3):418-448 (2012)

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  1. Modal Inferences in Science: A Tale of Two Epistemologies.Ilmari Hirvonen, Rami Koskinen & Ilkka Pättiniemi - forthcoming - Synthese.
    Recent epistemology of modality has seen a growing trend towards metaphysics-first approaches. Contrastingly, this paper offers a more philosophically modest account of justifying modal claims, focusing on the practices of scientific modal inferences. Two ways of making such inferences are identified and analyzed: actualist-manipulationist modality (AM) and relative modality (RM). In AM, what is observed to be or not to be the case in actuality or under manipulations, allows us to make modal inferences. AM-based inferences are fallible, but the same (...)
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  • Spinoza’s Monism I: Ruling Out Eternal-Durational Causation.Kristin Primus - forthcoming - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie.
    In this essay, I suggest that Spinoza acknowledges a distinction between formal reality that is infinite and timelessly eternal and formal reality that is non-infinite (i. e., finite or indefinite) and non-eternal (i. e., enduring). I also argue that if, in Spinoza’s system, only intelligible causation is genuine causation, then infinite, timelessly eternal formal reality cannot cause non-infinite, non-eternal formal reality. A denial of eternal-durational causation generates a puzzle, however: if no enduring thing – not even the sempiternal, indefinite individual (...)
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  • On Some Leibnizian Arguments for the Principle of Sufficient Reason.Stephen Harrop - 2020 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 37 (2):143-162.
    Leibniz often refers to the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR) as something like a first principle. In some texts, however, he attempts to give positive arguments in its favor. I examine two such arguments, and find them wanting. The first argument has two defects. First, it is question-begging; and second, when the question-begging step is excised, the principle one can in fact derive is highly counter-intuitive. The second argument is valid, but has the defect of only reaching a nearly trivial (...)
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  • Able to Do the Impossible.Jack Spencer - 2017 - Mind 126 (502):466-497.
    According to a widely held principle—the poss-ability principle—an agent, S, is able to only if it is metaphysically possible for S to. I argue against the poss-ability principle by developing a novel class of counterexamples. I then argue that the consequences of rejecting the poss-ability principle are interesting and far-reaching.
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  • God, Powers, and Possibility in Kant’s Beweisgrund.Michael Oberst - manuscript
    This paper proposes a novel reading of Kant’s account of the dependence of possibility on God in the pre-Critical Beweisgrund. I argue that Kant has a theistic-potentialist conception of the way God grounds possibility, according to which God grounds possibility by his understanding and will. The reason is that Kant accepts what I call the Principle of Possible Existence: If something is possible, then it is possible that it exists. Furthermore, I explore the connection between causal powers and possibility, the (...)
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  • The Principle of Sufficient Reason and Libertarianism: A Critique of Pruss.Brandon Rdzak - forthcoming - Philosophia:1-16.
    Alexander Pruss’s Principle of Sufficient Reason states that every contingent true proposition has an explanation. Pruss thinks that he can plausibly maintain both his PSR and his account of libertarian free will. This is because his libertarianism has it that contingent true propositions reporting free choices are self-explanatory. But I don’t think Pruss can plausibly maintain both his PSR and libertarianism without a rift occurring in one or the other. Similar to the old luck/randomness objection, I contend that Pruss’s libertarianism (...)
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  • Principle of Sufficient Reason.Fatema Amijee - 2020 - In Michael J. Raven (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaphysical Grounding. New York: Routledge. pp. 63-75.
    According to the Principle of Sufficient Reason (henceforth ‘PSR’), everything has an explanation or sufficient reason. This paper addresses three questions. First, how continuous is the contemporary notion of grounding with the notion of sufficient reason endorsed by Spinoza, Leibniz, and other rationalists? In particular, does a PSR formulated in terms of ground retain the intuitive pull and power of the PSR endorsed by the rationalists? Second, to what extent can the PSR avoid the formidable traditional objections levelled against it (...)
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  • Metaphysical Rationalism.Shamik Dasgupta - 2016 - Noûs 50 (2):379-418.
    The Principle of Sufficient Reason states that everything has an explanation. But different notions of explanation yield different versions of this principle. Here a version is formulated in terms of the notion of a “grounding” explanation. Its consequences are then explored, with particular emphasis on the fact that it implies necessitarianism, the view that every truth is necessarily true. Finally, the principle is defended from a number of objections, including objections to necessitarianism. The result is a defense of a “rationalist” (...)
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  • Leibniz’s Early Theodicy and its Unwelcome Implications.Thomas Feeney - 2020 - The Leibniz Review 30:1-28.
    To explain why God is not the author of sin, despite grounding all features of the world, the early Leibniz marginalized the divine will and defined existence as harmony. These moves support each other. It is easier to nearly eliminate the divine will from creation if existence itself is something wholly intelligible, and easier to identify existence with an internal feature of the possibles if the divine will is not responsible for creation. Both moves, however, commit Leibniz to a necessitarianism (...)
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  • A Rationalist Defence of Determinism.Michael A. Istvan - 2021 - Theoria 87 (2):394-434.
    Largely due to the popular allegation that contemporary science has uncovered indeterminism in the deepest known levels of physical reality, the debate as to whether humans have moral freedom, the sort of freedom on which moral responsibility depends, has put aside to some extent the traditional worry over whether determinism is true. As I argue in this paper, however, there are powerful proofs for both chronological determinism and necessitarianism, forms of determinism that pose the most penetrative threat to human moral (...)
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  • Reply to Yenter: Spinoza, Number, and Diversity.Galen Barry - 2016 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 24 (2):365-374.
    Clarke attacks Spinoza's monism on the grounds that it cannot explain how a multiplicity of things follows from one substance, God. This article argues that Clarke assumes that Spinoza's God is countable. It then sketches a way in which multiplicity can follow from God's uncountable nature.
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  • The Paradox of Sufficient Reason.Samuel Levey - 2016 - Philosophical Review Recent Issues 125 (3):397-430.
    It can be shown by means of a paradox that, given the Principle of Sufficient Reason, there is no conjunction of all contingent truths. The question is, or ought to be, how to interpret that result: _Quid sibi velit?_ A celebrated argument against PSR due to Peter van Inwagen and Jonathan Bennett in effect interprets the result to mean that PSR entails that there are no contingent truths. But reflection on parallels in philosophy of mathematics shows it can equally be (...)
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  • Principle of Sufficient Reason.Yitzhak Melamed & Martin Lin - unknown - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The Principle of Sufficient Reason is a powerful and controversial philosophical principle stipulating that everything must have a reason or cause. This simple demand for thoroughgoing intelligibility yields some of the boldest and most challenging theses in the history of metaphysics and epistemology. In this entry we begin with explaining the Principle, and then turn to the history of the debates around it. A section on recent discussions of the Principle will be added in the near future.
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  • A Comprehension of Spinoza's God : Through the Dichotomy of Labels.Tania Norell - 2015 - Dissertation, Lund University
    The 17th century philosopher Spinoza is known for his concept of God as One Substance, God or Nature and therefore considered as a monist and categorized as a naturalist. He has been labeled an atheist and God-intoxicated man, as well as a determinist and pantheist, which I perceive to be dichotomies. The problem, as I see it, is that Spinoza’s philosophy and concept of God has mainly been interpreted through a dualistic mind-set, traditional to philosophers and theologians of the West, (...)
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  • Spinoza and the Logical Limits of Mental Representation.Galen Barry - 2019 - Journal of Modern Philosophy 1 (1):5.
    This paper examines Spinoza’s view on the consistency of mental representation. First, I argue that he departs from Scholastic tradition by arguing that all mental states—whether desires, intentions, beliefs, perceptions, entertainings, etc.—must be logically consistent. Second, I argue that his endorsement of this view is motivated by key Spinozistic doctrines, most importantly the doctrine that all acts of thought represent what could follow from God’s nature. Finally, I argue that Spinoza’s view that all mental representation is consistent pushes him to (...)
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  • The Principle of Sufficient Reason and Necessitarianism.Kris McDaniel - 2019 - Analysis 79 (2):230-236.
    Peter van Inwagen presented a powerful argument against the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which I henceforth abbreviate as ‘PSR’. For decades, the consensus was that this argument successfully refuted PSR. However, now a growing consensus holds that van Inwagen’s argument is fatally flawed, at least when ‘sufficient reason’ is understood in terms of ground, for on this understanding, an ineliminable premiss of van Inwagen’s argument is demonstrably false and cannot be repaired. I will argue that this growing consensus is mistaken (...)
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  • Hegel’s Modal Argument Against Spinozism. An Interpretation of the Chapter ‘Actuality’ in the Science of Logic.Franz Knappik - 2015 - Hegel Bulletin 36 (1):53-79.
    I propose a new reading of Hegel’s discussion of modality in the ‘Actuality’ chapter of the Science of Logic. On this reading, the main purpose of the chapter is a critical engagement with Spinoza’s modal metaphysics. Hegel first reconstructs a rationalist line of thought — corresponding to the cosmological argument for the existence of God — that ultimately leads to Spinozist necessitarianism. He then presents a reductio argument against necessitarianism, contending that as a consequence of necessitarianism, no adequate explanatory accounts (...)
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  • Continental Rationalism.Shannon Dea, Julie Walsh & Thomas M. Lennon - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The expression “continental rationalism” refers to a set of views more or less shared by a number of philosophers active on the European continent during the latter two thirds of the seventeenth century and the beginning of the eighteenth. Rationalism is most often characterized as an epistemological position. On this view, to be a rationalist requires at least one of the following: (1) a privileging of reason and intuition over sensation and experience, (2) regarding all or most ideas as innate (...)
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  • Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.Brandon C. Look - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1716) was one of the great thinkers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and is known as the last “universal genius”. He made deep and important contributions to the fields of metaphysics, epistemology, logic, philosophy of religion, as well as mathematics, physics, geology, jurisprudence, and history. Even the eighteenth century French atheist and materialist Denis Diderot, whose views could not have stood in greater opposition to those of Leibniz, could not help being awed by his achievement, writing (...)
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