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The Principle of Sufficient Reason: A Reassessment (Cambridge Studies in Philosophy) Hardcover – March 20, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0521859592 ISBN-10: 052185959X

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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Studies in Philosophy
  • Hardcover: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (March 20, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052185959X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521859592
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,560,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


The scope of the book is truly encyclopaedic...Pruss's book is an excellent summary of arguments for and against Principle of Sufficient Reason, and will provide much food for thought for philosophers of many different persuasions.
- Kevin Davey, University of Chicago, Religious Studies

"This is a masterly treatment of the Principle of Sufficient Reason in a multitude of its philosophical guises and contexts...the book is an excellent achievement, and I can think of no sufficient reason why it should not grace the shelves of any philosopher." --Dean Rickles, University of Calgary: Philosophy in Review

Book Description

The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR) says that all contingent facts must have explanation. In this 2006 volume, which was the first on the topic in the English language in nearly half a century, Alexander Pruss examines the substantive philosophical issues raised by the Principle of Sufficient Reason.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Cornell on July 27, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Alexander Pruss in my eyes is probably the most underrated philosopher in the world today, this book shows us why.

I first learned about Pruss through his essay in "The Blackwell Companion To Natural Theology" and with all due respect to William Lane Craig, I find Alexander's cosmological argument to be a tad bit more compelling than the Kalam Cosmological argument (though the KCA is still an excellent argument for the existence of God).

The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR) can be traced all the way back to the Greek philosopher Parmenides' 2nd argument against becoming. Pruss does an excellent job giving the history of the PSR that has been spoken about from prominent philosophers such as Parmenides, Thomas Aquinas, G.W Leibniz, David Hume and Immanuel Kant.

Parmenides states "What need would have driven it later rather than earlier, beginning from the nothing, to grow?"

Parmenides uses the PSR to argue for his 'ex nihilo nihil principle' here. Pruss shows us how the ex nihilo nihil principle is not in the first instance to be perceived as a principle about explanation or causation. In fact, in one of its cosmological forms, it says that a universe with an empty past will not have a nonempty present or future.

Pruss then goes over the chains of causes such as the The Hume-Edwards Principle and shows where it fails.

The book is broken up into 3 major parts in which Pruss goes greatly into detail of describing each important factor of the PSR and its significance.
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