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The Principle of Sufficient Reason: A Reassessment (Cambridge Studies in Philosophy)

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521859592
ISBN-10: 052185959X
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Editorial Reviews

Review

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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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: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,466,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm not worthy of this work. I didn't have the chance to go to university, and am merely a curious person.

I'm interested enough in the PSR to do the research required to comprehend the underlying terminology on the Stanford philosophy pages. It's pretty tough sledding, but interesting. Maybe you already know Kant, and Hegel, and Hume, if so you already know the jargon. I'm more interested in the implications, having accepted the truth of the argument. How can this knowledge give me the edge against the house. (a joke, but still 1% more "lucky" would be enough...)

I'm interested in observing the smartest guys on this subject be forced to acknowledge that what would most self styled intelligent people would regard as ignorantly superstitious bible believers actually are correct. (but only by "accident")

(Spoiler) God made the universe and everything in it has a purpose and it wouldn't exist at all if it weren't exactly as it is. He exists outside time. They only need all this dense jargon to prove it. They think they have it this time.

If you don't believe that, and prefer to consider the universe a series of random accidents which culminated in this unlikely event of purposeless self aware beings struggling to establish and enhance material comfort, this book won't convince you otherwise. Which is actually semi tragic, as that's what it's for. The various approaches, mathematical, philosophical, logical, physical, and metaphysical, exhaustively elaborated by experts that could be interpreted as tacit endorsements of the Holy Bible as humanity's ultimate source of knowledge, and wisdom. (but only if one has the discernment to comprehend the deeper meanings of the narratives) Ironic? The universe is a joke after all. Ha ha ha.
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