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By Rescher, Nicholas

No brief ebook at the clarification of lifestyles can have enough money the hubris of saying to complete this activity. and positively no such declare may be or is being made the following. What this ebook makes an attempt is on the very so much a coarse caricature of the conceptual structure that an sufficient rationalization could be anticipated to show.

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On Explaining Existence

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If there is any prospect of resolving a question in a more straightforward way, we should avail ourselves of it. The Necessitarian Approach The necessitarian approach has it that the world exists as a matter of strict (or “logical”) necessity. It takes Spinoza’s line of maintaining that the world’s very nature requires its existence: like the God of tra- Nicholas Rescher • On Explaining Existence 22 ditional theology, it is something that cannot but exist. This approach was already encountered in the Bergson passage quoted above.

No doubt a principle that can explain the existence of things in the world will have to invoke circumstances that are in some degree extraordinary and preternatural in being outside nature’s common course, but it need not go so far as to invoke something supernatural—something as much “above” or remote from nature as the omnipotent deity of traditional monotheism. What is at issue here is simply a point of methodology, of explanatory economy, of accomplishing desired ends by the least complex means.

Now if this mode of explanatory argumentation is to be valid, then the world’s orderly lawfulness is predicated as fundamental presupposition. How/why is it that X exists? Because it is produced under the productive exigency of law: it is there so that the world’s fabric of lawfulness can be maintained intact. But if this is how things look from the angle of particular-factexplanation, something rather analogous will also have to be said for holistic and synoptic explanation as well. For here too the issue of lawfulness can be seen to be paramount—albeit that it will not be nature’s lawfulness but possibility’s proto-lawfulness that will have to be at issue.

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