Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Christianity Versus Atheism (Part Three)

Tibor R. Machan writes (in response to yesterday's essay):

The laws of Identity, non-contradiction, etc., are not entities but principles, the way entities must behave by virtue of their most basic nature (that is, by virtue of being something at all). There isn't anything spiritual or supernatural about these since they all are aspects of the natural, indeed, are principles the manifest themselves in or of nature. As far as the pluralist view, Lewis's characaterization of nature begs the question because it fails to appreciate the varieties of types of causes that can obtain therein in virtue of the varieties of types of beings there can be and indeed are. So the causal relationship in which a billiard ball is involved will differ, because of the nature of the entities at issue, from a bird or a human being. The causal network is not among identical types of substances but substances of great variety, including human beings with grains of higher intelligence and free will. Nothing mysterious about this--read my Initiative--Human Agency and Society (Hoover Institution Press, 2000).

Thought: if the laws of identity, noncontradiction, etc., are principles that apply to anything real ("by virtue of being something at all") than at the very least this cannot rule out supernatural entities, so long as these principles apply to the latter no less than they do to natural entities. They would still do the work Tibor's metaphysics requires of them. Thus these principles' being principles of ontology cannot decide between worldviews, any more than they alone can tell us what things exist in the natural, spatiotemporal universe.

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