These responses to the two objections (Obj. 1) and (Obj. 2) help to justify my claim that the proposition,
For any two particular events or states x and y, if x is a logically sufficient condition of y, then x is not a cause of y,
is both true and precludes divine volitions from being causes.
SOSA'S THEORY OF CAUSATION
Does every philosopher accept that a particular event c that causes a particular event e cannot logically necessitate e?
Ernest Sosa has suggested a theory of causality that might appear to be inconsistent with this thesis. Sosa distinguishes
several types of causation, nomological causation, material causation, consequentialist causation, and inclusive causation.
Of interest to us is Sosa's definition of consequentialist causation, since this definition is instantiated by God's willing
the big bang. In cases of consequentialist causation, "the cause does entail the result or consequence".
Sosa list several examples of consequentialist causation: (i) an apple's being red causes the apple to be colored; (ii)
Tom's being in the room causes the general fact that there is someone in the room; (iii) Peter, Paul and Mary are tall and
the only people in the room, and this causes the general fact that everyone in the room is tall; (iv) an apple's being sweet,
juicy, etc., causes the apple to have the value of goodness.
Sosa acknowledges that he has no analysis or definition of consequentialist causation, but says it involves a consequence
deriving necessarily from a cause "that is somehow more basic".
The immediate rejoinder to Sosa's theory is that his cases of consequentialist causation are not cases of causation but
cases of logical derivation, or, more exactly, cases where the instantiation of one property F logically necessitates the
instantiation of a second property G, or whether the obtaining of one fact p logically necessitates the obtaining of a second
fact q. When Sosa says this does "seem to be a genuine form of causation", he seems to be mistaken. Indeed, the man or woman in the street, contemporary philosophers and scientists would all emphatically
and correctly assert that these are not genuine cases of causation. But in fairness to Sosa, he acknowledges this very point,
and makes some plausible observations in this connection:
might be objected that much of the foregoing is a mere terminological maneuver, that it simply takes what philosophers have
long called causation, relabels it 'nomological causation', and goes on to classify it with certain wholly other relations
that philosophers have not heretofore called causal relations. And it might perhaps be that the word 'cause' and its cognates
have been so closely and so persistently associated with nomological causation by philosophers that they must be surrendered.
But even then the basic point would remain, for nomological causation is a relation between a source and a consequence or
result, and so is material causation (e.g. generation), so is consequentialist causation (e.g. the apple is chromatically
colored as a result of being red) and so is inclusive causation. . . These are all source-consequence relations or result-yielding
Thus, we can agree with Sosa inasmuch as causation can be classified with other result-yielding relations, such as the
logical necessitation of a property F by another property G, as one type of result-yielding relation, but at the same time
distinguish causation from these other noncausal resultyielding relations.
4. Analogical and Literal Descriptions
I suggest that the foregoing considerations give us good reason to believe that there is no actual or possible correct
theory or definition of causality that is instantiated by God's willing the big bang.
How might the defender of divine causality answer these arguments? One answer might be to grant that God's willing is not
a "cause" of the universe's beginning, but instead is the "creator" or "producer" of the universe's beginning. But this change
in terminology does not solve the problem; "c creates e" and "c produces e" each imply "c causes e", so the problem is not
avoided. If we wish to stipulate that "c creates e" does not imply "c causes e", then we deprive the word "creates" of any
apparent intelligibility. If "creates" no longer means what it normally means, then we are hard put to say what it means.
A similar problem affects an alternative solution, namely, that we say that God "wills" the universe to begin to exist,
but does not "cause" it to begin to exist. I provisionally used the terminology of "God's willing" and "divine volition" in
the preceding sections, but this usage calls for reevaluation. "x wills e and e occurs because of x's willing" logically implies
"x's willing causes e". If God's act of willing is not an act of causation, it is difficult to say what the word "willing"
means when applied to God. It does not mean what it means in such sentences as "John moved his broken limb by a sheer act
Perhaps we can say that the words "willing" and "cause" are used in an analogical or metaphorical sense when applied to
God. This means that God has some features that are analogous to the features we normally mean by "willing" and "cause", and
also some features that are different. The analogy for "willing" would be this: If a human wills something, this willing is
a mental event that has for its aim bringing another event into existence. Likewise, we may say of God that he or she experiences
a mental event and that this mental event has for its aim bringing another event into existence. This is the analogy. There
is also a difference, in that God's willing is a logically sufficient condition for the existence of the event that is willed,
whereas a human's willing is not logically sufficient for the event that is willed.
However, this resort to the "analogical" use of words threatens to break down the intelligibility of our talk about God's
willing. The explanation of the analogical meaning of these words is in terms of other words that also have an analogical
meaning. We said that God's willing is a mental event that "has for its aim bringing another event into existence". However,
the literal meaning of the phrase about aiming for a goal implies that "it is logically possible that this goal is not achieved".
When we say that Alice has the aim of writing a book, we mean, in part, that it is logically possible that she not succeed
in achieving her aim. Given the literal meaning of "aims", a statement of the form "x aims to realize F and F is realized"
is neither a logical nor an analytic truth. Consequently, the explanation of the analogical meaning of "divine willing" in
terms of "aiming to do something" cannot involve a literal use of "aiming to do something". But if "aiming" is used analogically,
then our problem of explaining what we mean by our words reappears. This problem does not appear to have a solution; we are
embarked on a regress of explaining analogically used words in terms of other analogically used words, with no way to end
this regress by an explanation that involves words in their normal and literal use. This regress is vicious; in order to understand
phrase #1, we need to understand phrase #2, but in order to understand phrase #2, we need to understand phrase #3, and so
on. This suggests we cannot attach any definite meaning to the assertion that God causes, wills or aims to bring the universe
A LITERAL FORMULATION OF THE DIVINE RELATION TO THE BIG BANG
But this is not to say that we cannot intelligibly talk about God and her relation to the big bang. It appears that we
can say at least that there is some n-adic property F exemplified by God, such that by virtue of exemplifying this property,
God stands in relation to the big bang of being a logically sufficient condition of the big bang. Perhaps we can even be more
precise and say F is some mental property, where "mental" is understood in terms of intentionality (in the tradition of Brentano,
Husserl, Chisholm and Searle). Further, we can say this intentional act experienced by God has a certain property as its intentional
object, the property, being the big bang. The property being the big bang will thereby have a second order property, viz.,
being the intentional object of the divine intentional act A, such that being an intentional object of A is a logically sufficient
condition of being exemplified. Talk of "intentional act" may be literal here, since these are technical terms in the philosophical
literature and "act" here has a different meaning than "act" in "Jane's acted quickly to remedy the situation" or "the last
act of the play was a disappointment".
If it is objected that "intentional act" does not have a univocal meaning between "humans perform (embodied, non-omniscient
and non-omnipotent) intentional acts" and "God performs (disembodied, omniscient and omnipotent) intentional acts", then we
can resort to a more general level of talk. We can say that there is a certain relation R in which God stands to the property
being the big bang, such that by virtue of God standing in R to being the big bang, it is logically necessary that being the
big bang is exemplified.
In summary, we are safe in saying that God does not cause the big bang, but Rs the big bang, where "God Rs the big bang"
means that God stands in a certain relation R to being the big bang, such that by virtue of standing in this relation to this
property, it is logically necessary that this property is exemplified. (For ease of expression, I will sometimes talk loosely
in the following sections of God standing in R to the big bang, but such talk should be strictly analyzed in the way I analyzed
"God Rs the big bang".)
5. Objections to the Arguments that God Cannot be a Cause
It may be objected that the divine relation R cannot merely be that of being a logically sufficient condition of the big
bang. God's standing in this logical relation to the big bang is not similar to the sun's being orange standing in relation
to the sun's being colored as a logically sufficient condition. The sun's exemplification of being orange does not in any
sense bring about or produce the sun's exemplification of being colored. But God's exemplification of R does bring about the
But this objection is overtly question-begging. I have already argued that God's standing in relation to the big bang does
not satisfy any extant definition of causation (section 2) and does not satisfy a logically necessary condition of being a
cause (section 3). Thus, to introduce synonyms of "causes", such as "brings about" or "produces", etc., is simply to beg the
question at issue.
It may be countered by the objector that there is an important disanalogy between the case of the relevant divine event
and the case of other logically sufficient conditions, viz., that God's standing in relation to the big bang is an event,
a concrete particular, and the big bang is another concrete particular, whereas the other logical relations are among abstract
This countering argument is inaccurate. According to one conception of events or states, an event or state is the exemplification
of a property by something. God's exemplification of the polyadic property R is a state, and so is Jane's exemplification
of running and her exemplification of being alive. The concrete state of Jane's exemplification of running is a logically
sufficient condition of the concrete state of Jane's exemplification of being alive. Thus, there are two concrete states standing
in the relation of one being the logically sufficient condition of the other. This situation is similar in this respect to
God standing to the big bang in the relevant relation.
Nonetheless, the intuition may persist that there is an important ingredient in God's relation to the big bang of logically
necessitating the big bang that is not present in the sun's orangeness logically necessitating the sun's being colored, or
Jane's running necessitating her being alive, an ingredient that is metaphorically captured by causal language ("produces",
"brings about", etc.). The objector may simply state that it is intuitively obvious that there is this difference between
the two cases, even if this difference cannot be adequately expressed in words.
But this amounts to retreating to an ineffability theory. We now have the theory: "God does not literally cause the big
bang, but in some metaphorical sense causes the big bang, even though it is impossible to specify literally the analogy between
causation and God's relation to the big bang that justifies the metaphor." The ineffability theory is that God's R-ing the
big bang is a relation with two properties; one property of God's R-ing the big bang is that the R-ing is a logically sufficient
condition of the big bang, and the second property is an indescribable property, which we may call an Xproperty, such that
the X-property is a property of God's R-ing that makes the R-ing analogous in a relevant respect to a causal relation.
However, the ineffability theory fails for three reasons.
(i) If the X-property makes the R-ing analogous to a causal relation, then the X-property is some property shared in common
by the causal relation and the R relation. Since the X-property belongs to the causal relation, and we can literally describe
the causal relation, we should be able to literally specify the causal relation's X-property and say that it is this property
that the R relation has in common with the causal relation. But the ineffability theory fails to do this.
(ii) The ineffability theory has no justification for asserting there is this X-property. The ineffability theory mentions
no datum that the postulation of the X-property is used to explain, and it introduces no premises from which the presence
of the X-property is deduced. The only apparent justification might be that one has had a mystical experience and directly
"beheld" God R-ing the big bang and "beheld" the X-property of this R-ing, but that in reporting this intuition, one realized
there are no adequate and literally used words that could describe this X-property. However, if the theory that God metaphorically
causes the universe amounts to nothing more than dark sayings about what is "beheld" in an ineffable mystical experience,
then this not a theory based on natural reason but is a flight into mysticism and the deliverances of "supernatural reason".
It would hold no interest for a philosopher intent on constructing a world-view based on natural reason.
(iii) The best explanation of the origins of the "intuition" that God metaphorically causes the big bang, and is not merely
a logically sufficient condition of the big bang, does not imply this intuition is true. The origin of this "intuition" is
the long and pervasive tradition (in philosophy, religion and "ordinary language") of using causal words, "causes", "creates",
"wills", etc., to describe God's relation to the beginning of the universe. The psychological associations produced by the
adoption of this linguistic tradition gives rise to the "intuition" that there must be an X-property of God's relation to
the big bang that grounds the metaphorical usage of "causes".
There are differences between (for example) the orange/color relation and the R relation of God to the big bang, but none
are causal-like. Orange is a kind of color, but God's relation to the big bang is not a kind of big bang. Further, the orangeness
is a monadic property of the same thing of which being colored is a property, but the R property is polyadic and interconnects
different objects. Thirdly, being orange and being colored are both physical properties, whereas the divine relation is a
mental property and being the big bang is a physical property.
We can also specify formal features of the R relation: it is asymmetric, transitive and irreflexive, but many non-causal
relations also possess these formal features.
The theist, agnostic or atheist who believes it is logically intelligible to say that God is an originating cause of the
universe may take the bull by the horns and arrogantly assert that God's being a logically sufficient condition of the big
bang is a counterexample to the extant definitions of causation discussed in section 2, and shows these definitions are wrong,
and is also a valid counterexample to my principle (1) that states causes are not logically sufficient conditions. The objector
proclaims: "All actual and possible contiguity or nomological definitions of causation are false. The correct definition is
a non-contiguity and singularist definition that allows that some causal relations are logical relations."
The problem with this "arrogant objection" is that there is no apparent justification for the belief that there is a correct
definition of causation that is non-contiguous, singularist and permits logical relations apart from God's alleged acts of
causation. But these are precisely the events whose causal nature is in dispute. To assume, in face of the arguments I have
given, that these acts are casual relations is a question-begging response. In order to demonstrate that the relevant divine
relation is a causal relation, we must have a logically independent reason to believe there is some correct definition of
causation that the divine relation R satisfies. But there is no such reason. Consider the argument:
There is a sufficient reason J to believe that there is a correct definition of causation that is singularist, non-contiguous
and permits logical relations.
The divine relation R is a causal relation.
If the offered reason J is (3), then the argument that the divine relation R is a causal relation is question-begging.
It may be objected that the defender of the "there cannot be a divine cause" thesis is in a similar question-begging situation
and thus that there is a "stand off". It may be said that the defender begs the question by assuming that (3) is false or
cannot play the role of reason J.
This objection fails since the defender of the "there cannot be a divine cause" thesis has a non-question-begging argument
for the falsity of (3). The argument is that all cases of causation that are not in dispute are inconsistent with the hypothesis
that there is a correct definition of the sort mentioned in (2). Both parties to the dispute agree that physical events cause
other physical events, and that the mental events of intelligent organisms cause other events (assuming an appropriate philosophy
of mind), and this agreement is the common ground between the opponent and defender of the "there cannot be a divine cause"
thesis. But these common grounds are inconsistent with the positive thesis, viz., that "there can be a divine cause", if only
for the reason that it is a logically necessary property of the agreed upon cases of causation that the causal event is not
a logically sufficient condition of the effect. Since these causal events are necessarily not logically sufficient conditions,
a definition of a cause that encompassed both these causal events and God's relation to the big bang would include the contradiction
"is not a logically sufficient condition and is a logically sufficient condition". The agreed upon cases may also include
nomological and contiguity conditions, and consequently there may be further contradictions, e.g., "instantiates some law
of nature and does not instantiate any law of nature" and "is spatially contiguous with the effect and is not spatially contiguous
with the effect".
It may be argued that a disjunctive definition can solve the problem . Suppose we have this disjunctive definition of causation:
c is a cause of e if and only if c is either a logically sufficient condition of e, or c is not a logically sufficient condition
of e and instead satisfies (say) the Humean conditions.
One problem with this disjunctive definition is that it classifies the sun's being orange as a cause of the sun's being
colored. So it does not work for this reason, as well as for the other reasons mentioned in my discussion of Sosa's account
Even if we add a temporal priority condition, this disjunctive definition will not work. We may say: c is a cause of e
if and only if EITHER c is both a logically sufficient condition of e and temporally prior to e OR c is not a logically sufficient
condition of e and satisfies (say) the Humean conditions. However, the first disjunct is satisfied by many items that are
not causes. John's being a living organism (or John's being embodied in a mortal body at time t) is both temporally prior
to and is a logically sufficient condition of John's being dead, but John's being a living organism (or John's being embodied
in a mortal body at time t) is not the cause of his death. His death is caused, say, by a car hitting him as he crosses the
street. The concept expressed by "is a living organism" analytically includes the concept expressed by "is mortal" and the
relevant logical truths (e.g., "if x is an organism that dies, then x dies") can be obtained by substituting synonyms for
Suppose we become even more specific and say instead: c is a cause of e if and only if EITHER c is God's standing in the
R relation to e OR c is not a logically sufficient condition of e and satisfies (say) the Humean conditions. But this attempt
to produce a satisfactory definition fails for two interrelated reasons:
(i) A logically necessary condition of a correct definition of a purely qualitative universal, be it a monadic property
or a relation (such as causation or intentionality) is that it not include a disjunct that mentions one particular case that
does not meet the general conditions described in the other disjunct. A purely qualitative universal does not include any
particulars as constituents. An example of an impurely qualitative universal is being taller than Mount Everest. Definitions
of purely qualitative universals mention general conditions and do not include mentions of a particular case, such as the
particular case of God standing in an R relation to something.
(ii) If this logical condition of correct definitions of purely qualitative universals (viz., the condition of not mentioning
a particular case in a disjunct) were allowed to be violated, then the procedure of testing definitions by the counterexampling
method (the standard method of testing the correctness of definitions) is no longer usable. Any counterexample to a definition
could be made consistent with the definition by adding to the definition a disjunct that mentions the counterexample. To save
the definition "x is a planet if and only if x is a large body that orbits a star and contains no life", we can expand it
to "x is a planet if and only if EITHER x is a large body that orbits a star and contains no life OR x is the Earth". The
distinction between correct definitions and ad hoc definitions would collapse.
A final argument is that philosophers from Plato to Plantinga have described God's relevant mental state as a cause of
the universe, and therefore that this is an acceptable notion. There is both an established philosophical usage for calling
God's relation to the universe a "causal relation" and a long and venerable tradition that held it to be coherent to describe
a divine mental state as a cause.
This argument, which is in effect an "appeal to authority", is unsuccessful, since if this argument were admissable, it
could be used to reject any new theory that is inconsistent with traditionally held theories. This "appeal to authority" at
best motivates us to examine seriously the notion that God's mental states are causes, in deference to the fact that virtually
all philosophers and laypersons have accepted this notion as logically unproblematic.
Perhaps to respond fully to this objection we also need an explanation of why this mistaken tradition has prevailed for
so long and among so many philosophers. I think the main reason is that an investigation of the logical connection between
what is expressed by "the universe's beginning to exist is the result of a divine act" and what is expressed by "the natural
event e is the causal result of the natural event e" has not been systematically undertaken. (The main exception is the different
but illuminating discussions of this connection in the recent writings of Adolf Grunbaum.) Most philosophers have tacitly presupposed that the thesis that "divine causation is logically possible" is unproblematic,
but once this thesis is examined, the presupposition is seen to be false.
6. Conclusion: Cosmological and Teleological Arguments for God's Nonexistence
The argument of this paper might seem at first glance to tell us more about the nature of causation and the nature of God
than about atheism versus theism. "A divine state cannot cause the universe to begin to exist" does not entail that God does
not exist or that the big bang is not a logical result of a divine state. It merely entails that we cannot describe a divine
state as the originating cause of the universe.
Nonetheless, there are important and perhaps decisive implications for the debate between theism and atheism, namely, that
arguments from the necessary truth, a priori truth or empirical truth of some causal principle cannot be a relevant premise
from which to deduce or induce that the big bang is the logical consequence of God standing in the relation R to the property
being the big bang. Consider the following argument:
Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
(5) The universe begins to exist.
(6) The universe has a cause.
This argument fails to support the theses that God exists or that there is a divine cause of the universe. Indeed, this
argument entails that the universe's existence is the result of something other than a divine state, namely, a cause. Nor
can any inductive argument based on the fact that every observed event has a cause be used to support the thesis that the
big bang is the result of a divine state, since this inductive argument instead supports the thesis that the big bang is the
effect of some cause.
In fact, all the various cosmological and teleological arguments for the existence of God are really arguments for God's
nonexistence. These arguments are arguments for the thesis that the universe has a cause and if the universe has a cause,
God does not exist. This can be demonstrated as follows:
The traditional definition of God is: x is God if and only if x is omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent and is the cause
of any universe that exists. We have seen that what is traditionally expressed by "God is the cause of the universe", if it
is logically coherent, should be expressed instead by "God Rs the universe". Thus the correct definition of God reads: x is
God if and only if x is omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent and Rs any universe that exists. It follows from this definition
that it is an essential property of God that he Rs any universe that exists. Since this property is essential to God, there
is no possible world in which it is true both that God exists and that there is a universe to which God does not have an R
Our discussion of Sosa's theory of causation suggested that the causal relation and the divine R relation are two different
types of result-yielding relations, to borrow Sosa's phrase. If the universe is the result of a causal result-yielding relation,
it is not the result of a R-type result-yielding relation, and if the universe is the result of a divine act of R-ing, it
is not the result of a cause. If there is a possible world in which some universe is the result of a cause, it follows that
God does not exist in that possible world.
This shows how a cosmological argument for God's nonexistence may be explicitly constructed. The premises and inferences
are mentioned in the following argument:
Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
(5) The universe begins to exist.
(6) The universe has a cause.
If the universe is the result of a cause, it is not the result of God standing to the universe in an R relation.
is an essential property of God that he Rs any universe that exists.
Therefore [from #7 and #8],
(9) There is no possible
world in which it is true both that God exists and that there is a universe which is the result of a cause.
#6 and #9],
(10) God does not exist.
If big bang cosmology is true (and thus #5 is true), it seems that the premise with the weakest or lowest epistemic status
is the first premise, "Whatever begins to exist has a cause". But William Lane Craig says about this premise: "the first premiss
is so intuitively obvious, especially when applied to the universe, that probably no one in his right mind really believes
it to be false." If Craig is right and my argument sound, it follows that probably no one in his right mind who believes the universe has
a beginning really believes that God exists.
The same considerations apply to the teleological argument, one version of which reads:
Artifacts are caused to exist by some intelligent being(s) with some purpose in mind.
(12) The universe resembles an artifact.
it is probable that:
(13) The universe is caused to exist by some intelligent being(s) with some purpose in mind.
If this is an adequate argument from analogy, then it is probably true that the result-yielding relation that is involved
in the explanation of why the universe exists is a causal relation in which some intelligent being(s) stand(s) to the universe.
It follows (given propositions #7 and #9) that God probably does not exist.
Since the cosmological and teleological arguments have standardly been thought to be the strongest arguments for God's
existence, and since they support atheism rather than theism, it seems now that the case for theism is very weak indeed. It
is hard to imagine how one could ever inductively or deductively establish, or find self-evident, that the big bang is the
logical consequence of something standing in an R relation to being the big bang. Perhaps there are some fairly plausible
arguments that the big bang has a cause, but there are no extant or plausible arguments that the big bang has a logically
sufficient condition in an acausal mental state. This suggests that belief in the existence of God is considerably less reasonable
than even the most cautious natural theologians have standardly supposed.
* Earlier versions of this paper were read at West Virginia University (February 1995) and at Southern Methodist University
(March 1996). The philosophers at both universities offered helpful comments on these earlier versions. Mark Aronszajn and
William Lane Craig wrote critical responses to earlier versions, which proved useful in writing the present draft. I am also
grateful to Christopher Hill for several suggestions that enabled me to improve an earlier draft.
Research for this paper was supported by an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship for 1996, and by a National
Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend for 1995.
. David Hume, "An Abstract of A Treatise of Human Nature', in An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding (New
York: Bobbs-Merril, 1955), pp. 186-7.
. It is worth noting that Michael Tooley's theory implies that a cause requires an underlying law of nature, but that
the cause is not specified solely by the law of nature and noncausal facts. Although Tooley's definition differs from the
traditional reductive definitions, its inclusion of a nomological condition precludes it from being satisfied by a divine
volition. See his Causation: A Realist Approach (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987).
. Carl Hempel, Aspects of Scientific Explanation (New York: The Free Press, 1965), pp. 348-49.
. C. J. Ducasse, "On the Nature and the Observability of the Causal Relation", in Causation, eds. E. Sosa and M. Tooley (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), p. 129.
. Ducasse, p. 127.
. Hector-Neri Castaneda, "Causes, Causity, and Energy,", in Midwest Studies in Philosophy IX, eds. P. French
et al (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984); Galen Strawson, "Realism and Causation", The Philosophical Quarterly
37 (1987), pp. 253-77; David Fair, "Causation and the Flow of Energy", Erkenntnis 14 (1979), pp. 219-50; Jerrold Aronson,"The
Legacy of Hume's Analysis of Causation" Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 7 (1971), pp. 135-36.
. Castaneda, p. 22.
. Jaegwon Kim, "Events as Property Exemplifications", in Action Theory, eds. M. Brand and D. Walton (Dordrecht: Reidel, 1976).
. Brian Leftow, Time and Eternity (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993).
. Donald Davidson, "Causal Relations", in Causation, eds. Sosa and Tooley.
. Nicholas Wolterstorff, "God Everlasting" in God and the Good, ed. C. Orlebeke and I. Smedes (Grand Rapids,
MI: Eerdmans, 1975) 1979; Quentin Smith, Language and Time (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993).
. David Lewis, Philosophical Papers, Volume II (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983), p. 170.
. Lewis, p. 170.
. John Mackie, The Cement of the Universe (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974).
. I argued for this theory in "The Concept of a Cause of the Universe", Canadian Journal of Philosophy 23 (1993),
pp. 1-24. In this earlier article, I claimed that cases of divine volitions are valid counterexamples to extant definitions
of causality. However, I have since developed a counterargument to this claim (see section 5, Second Objection), which has
led me to abandon the claim that divine volitions are causes.
. More exactly, a notational occurrence of a term in a position within attitude constructions is not open to substitution
and quantification; a relational occurrence of a term in this position is open to substitution and quantification. "F" occurs
relationally in "y desires that there is an F" if this is read as "(Ex) Fx. y desires that: (Ex) Fx." By contrast, "F" occurs
notationally if "y desires that there is an F" is read as "y desires that: (Ex) Fx." See David Kaplan, "Opacity", in The
Philosophy of W.V. Quine, ed. L. Hannard and P. Schlipp (La Salle: Open Court). When I talk about "positions with attitude
constructions" I have in mind only positions within attitude construction in which terms occur notationally.
. Ernest Sosa, "Varieties of Causation", in Causation, eds. Sosa and Tooley, p. 240.
. Sosa, p. 240.
. Sosa, p. 240.
. Sosa, p. 242.
. Adolf Grunbaum, "The Pseudo-Problem of Creation in Physical Cosmology", in John Leslie (ed.), Philosophy and Physical
Cosmology: New York: Macmillan, 1990, pp. 92-112; "Creation as a Pseudo-Explanation in Current Physical Cosmology", Erkentniss
35 (1991): 233-54.
. William Lane Craig and Quentin Smith, Theism, Atheism and Big Bang Cosmology (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993), p. 57.
"Causation and the Logical Impossibility of a Divine Cause" is copyright © 1996 by Quentin Smith. All rights reserved.
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