Why does God exist?

Religious Studies 58 (1):236-257 (2022)
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Many philosophers have appealed to the PSR in arguments for a being that exists a se, a being whose explanation is in itself. But what does it mean, exactly, for something to have its explanation ‘in itself’? Contemporary philosophers have said next to nothing about this, relying instead on phrases plucked from the accounts of various historical figures. In this article, I analyse five such accounts – those of Anselm, Aquinas, Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz – and argue that none are satisfactory. Should we abandon or restrict the PSR, then? I think that would be hasty, for many reasons. I therefore consider the prospects of explaining everything, including God, given the constraints of certain features of good explanations, and conclude with several observations about future approaches.

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C. A. McIntosh
Cornell University (PhD)


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