On November 28, we received the visit of José Tomás Alvarado Marambio (Pontifical Catholic University of Chile), who gave a seminar on “A weak form of the cosmological argument”, within the framework of the Human and Divine Providence project.
We present you a brief summary of his presentation: Those arguments that seek to justify the existence of a specific necessary entity have been called ‘cosmological arguments’, using as a premise the finding of contingent events – what we can normally do through empirical experience. These arguments have had a long and venerable history since Aristotle, at least. A crucial premise of a cosmological argument is a causal principle (or, in other cases, a principle of sufficient reason), according to which every contingent fact has a cause. Since Hume’s critique of the notion of causality in the 18th century, cosmological arguments have ceased to be convincing for many philosophers, precisely because the causal principle has become less credible if reductive positions of causality inherited from Hume are assumed. Various philosophers have sought to reformulate the cosmological argument by weakening the causal principle and introducing modal assumptions of various kinds (cf. Koons, 1997; Gale & Pruss, 1999; Rasmussen, 2010), substituting the causal principle for the assumption that everything contingent fact possibly has a cause. In this paper I propose an even weaker version of cosmological argument that does not require any form of causal principle, nor remain weak, but only an independently plausible modal premise.
José Tomás Alvarado Marambio has a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Navarra (Spain). He is an associate professor at the Institute of Philosophy of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. His research work has been especially focused on analytical metaphysics. He has advocated an ontology of ‘Platonic’ universals and a theory of possible worlds as maximum structural universals. He has also worked on various questions of philosophy of language, epistemology, philosophy of religion, and philosophical theology. We are very grateful for his visit to our Institute.