The exception to the principle of sufficient reason deserves justification

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Parent debateThis argument is used in the debate Does God exist?.
Argument againstThis argument is an objection to The universe has no cause or reason for being.
Keywords: Cosmological argument, First cause, Causality, Reason for being, God, Sufficient reason[ edit ].



“First of all, it's astonishing that all these thinkers recognize the validity of the principle of sufficient reason within the world, where they admit that contingent facts have explanations, and reject it when it comes to the universe. Indeed, it's hard to see how one could decide that contingency within the system is amenable to systematic causal investigation, but that the contingency of the universe itself should not be the object of any search for explanation, and leave room for a mute mystical admiration (which usually calls for the quotation of Wittgenstein's paragraph on the matter). Even the most radical absurdist thinkers look for the cause of the breakdown when their car won't start - they don't fall into ecstasy to admire the radical absurdity of the universe. And why are they looking for an explanation? Because they see that engine failure is not a necessary event in itself [...], but a contingent event that might not have happened. But why, then, do they renounce this principle in the face of the radical contingency of the world, which also has nothing in common with a necessary fact in itself? The aggregate of all contingent facts is contingent, and therefore calls for an external cause. That this cause cannot be part of physical contingent facts (since we're talking about the totality of physical facts) is no reason to refute its existence. Why this double standard? The burden of proof lies with those who establish it, not with those who blithely maintain that the universe, being contingent, must have an explanation.”

Frédéric Guillaud, God exists, p.185, Éditions du Cerf, Paris, 2013.


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