Rowe on Clarke on the Cosmological Argument

On November 14, 2018, Dr. Davis will be reading his paper “From Parts to Whole (and Back Again): Rowe on Clarke on the Cosmological Argument” at the Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Philosophical Society (Denver, Colorado).

Abstract: “According to the late William Rowe, Samuel Clarke tries to establish the proposition that it is possible for there to be no dependent beings by inferring it from the proposition that no dependent being necessarily exists”—an inference not “sanctioned by any valid rule of modal logic.” Thus, “a vital portion of the reasoning in the Cosmological Argument rests on [an] unproved premise.”

I believe that Rowe’s modal accusation here is misconceived. I begin with a brief sketch of Clarke’s Argument. Then I show that Rowe’s composition complaint falters, since (as he admits elsewhere) “it is not always a fallacy to infer that a whole has a certain property from the premise that all of its constituent parts have that property.” Clarke’s inference, I argue, is an exception to this general rule.”

•  To finish reading Dr. Davis’ paper, go here.

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