# Leibnizian Cosmological Argument

#### Huzeipha

• 2 Posts
##### Eternal Universe, contingency and causation
« on: June 05, 2016, 08:37:21 am »
How does the fact that another universe could have existed prove that the universe must require a cause. Even if there were a 1000 possibilities of the universe, how does that prove that the universe requires a necessary being.

Yes I know that different possibilites means that the universe is contingent, but I dont understand how different possibilites proves the necessity of a necessary being

1

#### Atheist in Louisiana

• 2631 Posts
• I ain't afraid of no ghost!
##### Re: Eternal Universe, contingency and causation
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2016, 10:49:54 am »
It doesn't.  There's no way to go from "something is contingent" to "therefore something else is necessary".  Also, necessary and contingent aren't diametrically opposed so things can be both contingent and necessary, or neither.
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Consequences, AiL, consequences. - Jenna Black

Hey, if you want to, I'm more than ok with it.    I love the attention. - Questions11

2

#### Huzeipha

• 2 Posts
##### Re: Eternal Universe, contingency and causation
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2016, 07:35:21 am »
Okay so the Universe is contingent, which means it didnt have to exist.  So the fact that it does exist requires an explanation... if something didnt have to exist, but does exist, then there must be a reason.

Now this reason could be another contingent thing, i.e. the universe could have a contingent cause.  But then we would require a reason for that contingent things existence... and so on.  If we dont stop we have an infinite regress.

Some people dont think theres no problem with an infinite regress.  But even if theyre right, they cant avoid a necessary being.  This is why:  Take the sum total of all contingent things.  (If there is an infinite regress, this sum total would consist of an infinity of things).  This sum total is itself contingent, as it is made up of purely contingent things.  So given that it is contingent, what is the reason for its existence?  What is its cause?  You cant say something contingent caused it, as then this contingent this would be part of it, as it is the sum total of ALL contingent things we are dealing with.  The only alternative is that the cause is necessary - the cause has to be outside of it.

The above argument is basically a version of Ibn Sina's contingency argument.

3

#### alex1212

• 761 Posts
##### Re: Eternal Universe, contingency and causation
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2016, 12:02:44 pm »
It doesn't.  There's no way to go from "something is contingent" to "therefore something else is necessary".  Also, necessary and contingent aren't diametrically opposed so things can be both contingent and necessary, or neither.

I'm confused. Craig's version of the PSR a very reason for why everything can't be metaphysically contingent. Hence, the argument from contingency applies to both an eternal universe and multiverse

I don't see how something can be both metaphysically necessary and metaphysically contingent, which is the point of the argument. Perhaps, you are talking about factual necessary, which would make your claim true.

4

#### alex1212

• 761 Posts
##### Re: Eternal Universe, contingency and causation
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2016, 12:08:50 pm »
How does the fact that another universe could have existed prove that the universe must require a cause. Even if there were a 1000 possibilities of the universe, how does that prove that the universe requires a necessary being.

Yes I know that different possibilites means that the universe is contingent, but I dont understand how different possibilites proves the necessity of a necessary being

The point is that a metaphysically necessary being's nature means that it couldn't be any other way. Obviously, the universe could have been different, but that means it would be a different universe; hence, it wouldn't be metaphysically necessary.

The nature of the argument argues from the PSR, which is the alleged reason why everything can't be contingent. The PSR says that anything that exists has an explanation in the necessity of its own nature or an external cause.

The contingency argument applies to an eternal universe and eternal multi-verse. So, the PSR says that there still must be a reason why there is an eternal universe rather than nothing.

5

#### Miles_Donahue

• 71 Posts
##### Re: Eternal Universe, contingency and causation
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2016, 09:32:07 pm »
Leibniz's argument aims to show that if the universe is contingent, there must be a necessary being beyond the universe that explains why something exists rather than nothing.
• Everything that exists has an explanation for its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.
• The universe exists.
• Therefore, the universe has an explanation.
• If the universe has an explanation, that explanation is a metaphysically necessary being.
• Therefore, a necessary being exists.
Your question, Huzeipha, is aimed at premise (4). Why think that if the universe could have been different, then there must be a metaphysically necessary being? Notice first that if the present universe could have failed to exist, then it does not exist necessarily. To exist necessarily, in this context, means to exist in all possible worlds. If something exists in some worlds but not in others, then it is not necessary. This is the point: if the universe could have been different, then there are some possible worlds in which this universe does not exist. Therefore, the universe is not necessary. In light of premise (1), if the explanation of the universe's existence cannot be its own necessity, then that explanation must be found in an external cause. Now, why think this external cause is metaphysically necessary? The answer is simply that universe is defined as all contingent reality (including space and time). If all contingent reality has an external cause, then clearly that cause cannot be contingent. It must therefore be necessary, Q.E.D.

As for Atheist in Louisiana's comment that "necessary and contingent aren't diametrically opposed so things can be both contingent and necessary", this is simply false. To exist contingently is to exist in some possible worlds. To exist necessarily is to exist in all possible worlds. It is logically impossible for something to have both of these properties. Now, something could have neither; namely, it could exist in no possible worlds (e.g., a square circle, a finite eternity, etc.).
« Last Edit: June 19, 2016, 03:12:45 pm by Miles_Donahue »
- Socrates said the unreflective life is not worth living. I say the indecisive life is not worth living, because even if you choose wrongly, at least you chose.

6

#### bruce culver

• 4626 Posts
##### Re: Eternal Universe, contingency and causation
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2017, 08:36:28 pm »
Leibniz's argument aims to show that if the universe is contingent, there must be a necessary being beyond the universe that explains why something exists rather than nothing.
• Everything that exists has an explanation for its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.
• The universe exists.
• Therefore, the universe has an explanation.
• If the universe has an explanation, that explanation is a metaphysically necessary being.
• Therefore, a necessary being exists.
Your question, Huzeipha, is aimed at premise (4). Why think that if the universe could have been different, then there must be a metaphysically necessary being? Notice first that if the present universe could have failed to exist, then it does not exist necessarily. To exist necessarily, in this context, means to exist in all possible worlds. If something exists in some worlds but not in others, then it is not necessary. This is the point: if the universe could have been different, then there are some possible worlds in which this universe does not exist. Therefore, the universe is not necessary. In light of premise (1), if the explanation of the universe's existence cannot be its own necessity, then that explanation must be found in an external cause. Now, why think this external cause is metaphysically necessary? The answer is simply that universe is defined as all contingent reality (including space and time). If all contingent reality has an external cause, then clearly that cause cannot be contingent. It must therefore be necessary, Q.E.D.

As for Atheist in Louisiana's comment that "necessary and contingent aren't diametrically opposed so things can be both contingent and necessary", this is simply false. To exist contingently is to exist in some possible worlds. To exist necessarily is to exist in all possible worlds. It is logically impossible for something to have both of these properties. Now, something could have neither; namely, it could exist in no possible worlds (e.g., a square circle, a finite eternity, etc.).

I think it is wise to be skeptical of possible world semantics because metaphysical possibility is not a well defined term.

We have no idea whether there is just one possible world, i.e., the one which actually exists, or whether there are an infinity of possible worlds. Therefore, I see no way for us to determine whether this universe is necessary or contingent, or whether those properties are even real properties of things or just artifacts of the way we think about them.
"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."

7

#### Dogbyte

• 394 Posts
##### Re: Eternal Universe, contingency and causation
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2017, 10:00:20 am »
Leibniz's argument aims to show that if the universe is contingent, there must be a necessary being beyond the universe that explains why something exists rather than nothing.
• Everything that exists has an explanation for its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.
• The universe exists.
• Therefore, the universe has an explanation.
• If the universe has an explanation, that explanation is a metaphysically necessary being.
• Therefore, a necessary being exists.
Your question, Huzeipha, is aimed at premise (4). Why think that if the universe could have been different, then there must be a metaphysically necessary being? Notice first that if the present universe could have failed to exist, then it does not exist necessarily. To exist necessarily, in this context, means to exist in all possible worlds. If something exists in some worlds but not in others, then it is not necessary. This is the point: if the universe could have been different, then there are some possible worlds in which this universe does not exist. Therefore, the universe is not necessary. In light of premise (1), if the explanation of the universe's existence cannot be its own necessity, then that explanation must be found in an external cause. Now, why think this external cause is metaphysically necessary? The answer is simply that universe is defined as all contingent reality (including space and time). If all contingent reality has an external cause, then clearly that cause cannot be contingent. It must therefore be necessary, Q.E.D.

As for Atheist in Louisiana's comment that "necessary and contingent aren't diametrically opposed so things can be both contingent and necessary", this is simply false. To exist contingently is to exist in some possible worlds. To exist necessarily is to exist in all possible worlds. It is logically impossible for something to have both of these properties. Now, something could have neither; namely, it could exist in no possible worlds (e.g., a square circle, a finite eternity, etc.).

I think it is wise to be skeptical of possible world semantics because metaphysical possibility is not a well defined term.

You mentioned a term that you thought was not well defined. I am curious to know what you think is lacking about its definition?

8

#### bruce culver

• 4626 Posts
##### Re: Eternal Universe, contingency and causation
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2017, 11:03:00 am »
Leibniz's argument aims to show that if the universe is contingent, there must be a necessary being beyond the universe that explains why something exists rather than nothing.
• Everything that exists has an explanation for its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.
• The universe exists.
• Therefore, the universe has an explanation.
• If the universe has an explanation, that explanation is a metaphysically necessary being.
• Therefore, a necessary being exists.
Your question, Huzeipha, is aimed at premise (4). Why think that if the universe could have been different, then there must be a metaphysically necessary being? Notice first that if the present universe could have failed to exist, then it does not exist necessarily. To exist necessarily, in this context, means to exist in all possible worlds. If something exists in some worlds but not in others, then it is not necessary. This is the point: if the universe could have been different, then there are some possible worlds in which this universe does not exist. Therefore, the universe is not necessary. In light of premise (1), if the explanation of the universe's existence cannot be its own necessity, then that explanation must be found in an external cause. Now, why think this external cause is metaphysically necessary? The answer is simply that universe is defined as all contingent reality (including space and time). If all contingent reality has an external cause, then clearly that cause cannot be contingent. It must therefore be necessary, Q.E.D.

As for Atheist in Louisiana's comment that "necessary and contingent aren't diametrically opposed so things can be both contingent and necessary", this is simply false. To exist contingently is to exist in some possible worlds. To exist necessarily is to exist in all possible worlds. It is logically impossible for something to have both of these properties. Now, something could have neither; namely, it could exist in no possible worlds (e.g., a square circle, a finite eternity, etc.).

I think it is wise to be skeptical of possible world semantics because metaphysical possibility is not a well defined term.

You mentioned a term that you thought was not well defined. I am curious to know what you think is lacking about its definition?

Can you explain to me how it is defined? I read the article about it in the Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy and find that philosophers disagree as to what "metaphysical possibility" means. Some think it could be identical to nomic (physical) possibility, i.e., the robustness of the laws of physics are evidence of their metaphysical necessity, and hence only what is nomically possible is metaphysically possible. Maybe, but maybe not. Others think that mere conceivability is good enough to establish metaphysical possibility. That seems highly unlikely to me, but how can it be disproven? How anybody thinks they know what is or isn't metaphysically possible is beyond me. Well, except that we can know that anything that is actually true must be metaphysically possible. Anything beyond that strikes me as sheer conjecture.
"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."

9

#### bruce culver

• 4626 Posts
##### Re: Eternal Universe, contingency and causation
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2017, 05:08:50 am »
bump
"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."

10

#### Dogbyte

• 394 Posts
##### Re: Eternal Universe, contingency and causation
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2017, 10:58:17 am »
Leibniz's argument aims to show that if the universe is contingent, there must be a necessary being beyond the universe that explains why something exists rather than nothing.
• Everything that exists has an explanation for its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.
• The universe exists.
• Therefore, the universe has an explanation.
• If the universe has an explanation, that explanation is a metaphysically necessary being.
• Therefore, a necessary being exists.
Your question, Huzeipha, is aimed at premise (4). Why think that if the universe could have been different, then there must be a metaphysically necessary being? Notice first that if the present universe could have failed to exist, then it does not exist necessarily. To exist necessarily, in this context, means to exist in all possible worlds. If something exists in some worlds but not in others, then it is not necessary. This is the point: if the universe could have been different, then there are some possible worlds in which this universe does not exist. Therefore, the universe is not necessary. In light of premise (1), if the explanation of the universe's existence cannot be its own necessity, then that explanation must be found in an external cause. Now, why think this external cause is metaphysically necessary? The answer is simply that universe is defined as all contingent reality (including space and time). If all contingent reality has an external cause, then clearly that cause cannot be contingent. It must therefore be necessary, Q.E.D.

As for Atheist in Louisiana's comment that "necessary and contingent aren't diametrically opposed so things can be both contingent and necessary", this is simply false. To exist contingently is to exist in some possible worlds. To exist necessarily is to exist in all possible worlds. It is logically impossible for something to have both of these properties. Now, something could have neither; namely, it could exist in no possible worlds (e.g., a square circle, a finite eternity, etc.).

I think it is wise to be skeptical of possible world semantics because metaphysical possibility is not a well defined term.

You mentioned a term that you thought was not well defined. I am curious to know what you think is lacking about its definition?

Can you explain to me how it is defined? I read the article about it in the Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy and find that philosophers disagree as to what "metaphysical possibility" means. Some think it could be identical to nomic (physical) possibility, i.e., the robustness of the laws of physics are evidence of their metaphysical necessity, and hence only what is nomically possible is metaphysically possible. Maybe, but maybe not. Others think that mere conceivability is good enough to establish metaphysical possibility. That seems highly unlikely to me, but how can it be disproven? How anybody thinks they know what is or isn't metaphysically possible is beyond me. Well, except that we can know that anything that is actually true must be metaphysically possible. Anything beyond that strikes me as sheer conjecture.

When i read Leibniz's views about metaphysics (how he defined its terms), it seems to me that what he means by a proposition being necessary, contingent, or impossible...is to say that when a proposition is necessary...its antecedent will be an impossibility.  Or put another way, nothing is necessary whose antecedent is possible. Then the contingent propositions are those that could be true or not true, in this actual world, or a hypothetical one. Me being the father of two children would not be a necessary truth, but contingent..Its metaphysically possible that I had none, or again, maybe a whole passel of them.

I was more or less after your reasons for claiming we should be skeptical with this sort of reasoning, but then I was assuming my idea of possible world semantics was what you were referring to, which now seems more like you were having thoughts about what philosophers disagreed about what it means to be "metaphysically possible".  We can read Leibniz's thoughts on it, and discern how he defined the terms, there are also others like Kant who disagreed. So what are your thoughts on all this?

11

#### bruce culver

• 4626 Posts
##### Re: Eternal Universe, contingency and causation
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2017, 12:08:19 pm »
Leibniz's argument aims to show that if the universe is contingent, there must be a necessary being beyond the universe that explains why something exists rather than nothing.
• Everything that exists has an explanation for its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.
• The universe exists.
• Therefore, the universe has an explanation.
• If the universe has an explanation, that explanation is a metaphysically necessary being.
• Therefore, a necessary being exists.
Your question, Huzeipha, is aimed at premise (4). Why think that if the universe could have been different, then there must be a metaphysically necessary being? Notice first that if the present universe could have failed to exist, then it does not exist necessarily. To exist necessarily, in this context, means to exist in all possible worlds. If something exists in some worlds but not in others, then it is not necessary. This is the point: if the universe could have been different, then there are some possible worlds in which this universe does not exist. Therefore, the universe is not necessary. In light of premise (1), if the explanation of the universe's existence cannot be its own necessity, then that explanation must be found in an external cause. Now, why think this external cause is metaphysically necessary? The answer is simply that universe is defined as all contingent reality (including space and time). If all contingent reality has an external cause, then clearly that cause cannot be contingent. It must therefore be necessary, Q.E.D.

As for Atheist in Louisiana's comment that "necessary and contingent aren't diametrically opposed so things can be both contingent and necessary", this is simply false. To exist contingently is to exist in some possible worlds. To exist necessarily is to exist in all possible worlds. It is logically impossible for something to have both of these properties. Now, something could have neither; namely, it could exist in no possible worlds (e.g., a square circle, a finite eternity, etc.).

I think it is wise to be skeptical of possible world semantics because metaphysical possibility is not a well defined term.

You mentioned a term that you thought was not well defined. I am curious to know what you think is lacking about its definition?

Can you explain to me how it is defined? I read the article about it in the Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy and find that philosophers disagree as to what "metaphysical possibility" means. Some think it could be identical to nomic (physical) possibility, i.e., the robustness of the laws of physics are evidence of their metaphysical necessity, and hence only what is nomically possible is metaphysically possible. Maybe, but maybe not. Others think that mere conceivability is good enough to establish metaphysical possibility. That seems highly unlikely to me, but how can it be disproven? How anybody thinks they know what is or isn't metaphysically possible is beyond me. Well, except that we can know that anything that is actually true must be metaphysically possible. Anything beyond that strikes me as sheer conjecture.

When i read Leibniz's views about metaphysics (how he defined its terms), it seems to me that what he means by a proposition being necessary, contingent, or impossible...is to say that when a proposition is necessary...its antecedent will be an impossibility.  Or put another way, nothing is necessary whose antecedent is possible. Then the contingent propositions are those that could be true or not true, in this actual world, or a hypothetical one. Me being the father of two children would not be a necessary truth, but contingent..Its metaphysically possible that I had none, or again, maybe a whole passel of them.

I was more or less after your reasons for claiming we should be skeptical with this sort of reasoning, but then I was assuming my idea of possible world semantics was what you were referring to, which now seems more like you were having thoughts about what philosophers disagreed about what it means to be "metaphysically possible".  We can read Leibniz's thoughts on it, and discern how he defined the terms, there are also others like Kant who disagreed. So what are your thoughts on all this?

Right. I am not sure there is much I can add to what I've said already. My point is we can speculate about what is possible in some or another imaginary world and we can be sure that anything that actually exists in this world must be at possible and probably what is illogical is impossible in every possible world and maybe there are a few other assumptions that are safe to make, but how there is so much that we just don't know that I think one should proceed with extreme caution before drawing any certain conclusions about what is necessarily true or whether this universe is necessary or contingent. What if this is the only universe that actually exists? Is it possible that other universe's could have existed in it's place? How does anybody think they know one way or the other?
"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."

12

#### Dogbyte

• 394 Posts
##### Re: Eternal Universe, contingency and causation
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2017, 09:14:19 am »
Bruce,

So which premise do you disagree with the most? Premise 1?