Du Chatelet's First Cosmological Argument

In The Bloomsbury Companion to Du Châtelet. Bloomsbury (forthcoming)
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Abstract

In the second chapter of her <i>Institutions de Physique</i> Emilie Du Chatelet gives two cosmological arguments for the existence of God. In this chapter I focus on the first of these arguments. I argue that, while it bears some significant similarities to arguments given by John Locke and Christian Wolff, it improves on these arguments in at least two ways. First, it avoids a potential equivocation in Locke's argument; and second, it avoids Wolff's mere stipulation that whoever claims that there cannot be an infinite regress of contingent beings does not understand what a sufficient reason is. I finally argue that her argument avoids a related objection, considered by David Hume, on which to explain a causal chain is merely to explain each link in the chain.

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Stephen Harrop
Texas A&M University

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