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Is the Principal of Sufficient Reason sound?

SNP1
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2/27/2016 4:49:42 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
I see so many people using the PSR, but no one really defending it.

Now, there are a few ways one can argue against the PSR being sound.
I will present 2 arguments against the PSR, my own and Van Inwagen's.

Mine:
A1) The universe need an explanation for their existence which is, ultimately, God (a version of the PSR that includes the "God" entailment).
P1) God"s properties are necessary.
P2) Any actions God makes is due to the properties God has.
C1) All actions of God are necessary.
P3) God causes the universe to exist in some possible world.
P4) All actions of God are necessary.
C2) God caused the universe to exist in all possible worlds.
C3) The universe exists in all possible worlds.
P5) That which exists in all possible worlds is necessary.
P6) The universe exists in all possible worlds.
C4) The universe is necessary.
P7) That which is necessary cannot have outside causes.
P8) The universe is necessary.
C5) God cannot be the cause of the Universe.
P9) A1 entails a paradox.
C6) A1 is false.

Van Inwagen's:
P1) There are some contingent propositions.
P2) Some propositions are true in some worlds and false in others.
C1) There are possible worlds.
P3) Suppose there are four possible worlds one of which is actual.
P4) Arbitrarily, let Possible World 2 be the actual world.
P5) If the Principle of Sufficient Reason is correct, there is a sufficient reason for the fact that Possible World Two is the actual world; that is, this fact has an explanation.
P6) Let S stand for the explanation sufficient to identify or describe Possible World Two as the actual world [the true proposition "Possible World Two is the actual world.].
P7) S cannot be true in any other Possible World save for Possible World Two.
C2) S must be true in Possible World Two and in no other possible world. What propositions have this feature? Only one: the proposition that Possible World Two is the actual world.
P8) But the fact that Possible World Two is the actual world cannot serve as an explanation of the fact that Possible World Two is the actual world. "Because Possible World Two is the actual world" is not an answer to the question "Why is Possible World Two the actual world?"
C3) Thus, there can be no answer to the question "Why is Possible World Two the actual world?

If a contingent fact CANNOT have an explanation (and cannot be necessary), then the PSR is refuted.

Are there any objections to these 2 arguments?
What arguments are that argue that the PSR is sound?
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Bob13
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2/27/2016 7:12:38 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/27/2016 4:49:42 PM, SNP1 wrote:
I see so many people using the PSR, but no one really defending it.

Now, there are a few ways one can argue against the PSR being sound.
I will present 2 arguments against the PSR, my own and Van Inwagen's.

Mine:
A1) The universe need an explanation for their existence which is, ultimately, God (a version of the PSR that includes the "God" entailment).
P1) God"s properties are necessary.
P2) Any actions God makes is due to the properties God has.
C1) All actions of God are necessary.
P3) God causes the universe to exist in some possible world.
P4) All actions of God are necessary.
C2) God caused the universe to exist in all possible worlds.
C3) The universe exists in all possible worlds.
P5) That which exists in all possible worlds is necessary.
P6) The universe exists in all possible worlds.
C4) The universe is necessary.
P7) That which is necessary cannot have outside causes.
P8) The universe is necessary.
C5) God cannot be the cause of the Universe.
P9) A1 entails a paradox.
C6) A1 is false.
P7 is clearly false.
Van Inwagen's:
P1) There are some contingent propositions.
P2) Some propositions are true in some worlds and false in others.
C1) There are possible worlds.
P3) Suppose there are four possible worlds one of which is actual.
P4) Arbitrarily, let Possible World 2 be the actual world.
P5) If the Principle of Sufficient Reason is correct, there is a sufficient reason for the fact that Possible World Two is the actual world; that is, this fact has an explanation.
P6) Let S stand for the explanation sufficient to identify or describe Possible World Two as the actual world [the true proposition "Possible World Two is the actual world.].
P7) S cannot be true in any other Possible World save for Possible World Two.
C2) S must be true in Possible World Two and in no other possible world. What propositions have this feature? Only one: the proposition that Possible World Two is the actual world.
P8) But the fact that Possible World Two is the actual world cannot serve as an explanation of the fact that Possible World Two is the actual world. "Because Possible World Two is the actual world" is not an answer to the question "Why is Possible World Two the actual world?"
C3) Thus, there can be no answer to the question "Why is Possible World Two the actual world?

If a contingent fact CANNOT have an explanation (and cannot be necessary), then the PSR is refuted.

Are there any objections to these 2 arguments?
What arguments are that argue that the PSR is sound?
C2 does not logically follow from the previous statements. Possible World Two is different from other Possible Worlds in more ways than just being the actual world. It has different aspects.
I don't have a signature. :-)
SNP1
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2/27/2016 7:40:44 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/27/2016 7:12:38 PM, Bob13 wrote:
At 2/27/2016 4:49:42 PM, SNP1 wrote:
I see so many people using the PSR, but no one really defending it.

Now, there are a few ways one can argue against the PSR being sound.
I will present 2 arguments against the PSR, my own and Van Inwagen's.

Mine:
A1) The universe need an explanation for their existence which is, ultimately, God (a version of the PSR that includes the "God" entailment).
P1) God"s properties are necessary.
P2) Any actions God makes is due to the properties God has.
C1) All actions of God are necessary.
P3) God causes the universe to exist in some possible world.
P4) All actions of God are necessary.
C2) God caused the universe to exist in all possible worlds.
C3) The universe exists in all possible worlds.
P5) That which exists in all possible worlds is necessary.
P6) The universe exists in all possible worlds.
C4) The universe is necessary.
P7) That which is necessary cannot have outside causes.
P8) The universe is necessary.
C5) God cannot be the cause of the Universe.
P9) A1 entails a paradox.
C6) A1 is false.

P7 is clearly false.

How is it false? If it has an outside cause, then it is contingent on that thing, meaning it isn't necessary.

Van Inwagen's:
P1) There are some contingent propositions.
P2) Some propositions are true in some worlds and false in others.
C1) There are possible worlds.
P3) Suppose there are four possible worlds one of which is actual.
P4) Arbitrarily, let Possible World 2 be the actual world.
P5) If the Principle of Sufficient Reason is correct, there is a sufficient reason for the fact that Possible World Two is the actual world; that is, this fact has an explanation.
P6) Let S stand for the explanation sufficient to identify or describe Possible World Two as the actual world [the true proposition "Possible World Two is the actual world.].
P7) S cannot be true in any other Possible World save for Possible World Two.
C2) S must be true in Possible World Two and in no other possible world. What propositions have this feature? Only one: the proposition that Possible World Two is the actual world.
P8) But the fact that Possible World Two is the actual world cannot serve as an explanation of the fact that Possible World Two is the actual world. "Because Possible World Two is the actual world" is not an answer to the question "Why is Possible World Two the actual world?"
C3) Thus, there can be no answer to the question "Why is Possible World Two the actual world?

If a contingent fact CANNOT have an explanation (and cannot be necessary), then the PSR is refuted.

Are there any objections to these 2 arguments?
What arguments are that argue that the PSR is sound?

C2 does not logically follow from the previous statements. Possible World Two is different from other Possible Worlds in more ways than just being the actual world. It has different aspects.

I am the one that added the PX and CX, before it was just points.
Also, it is conceivable that there is a possible world that is entirely identical to the actual world minus it being the actual world.
This makes S unique, and thus I don't see the issue with C2.
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Bob13
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2/27/2016 8:38:53 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/27/2016 7:40:44 PM, SNP1 wrote:
At 2/27/2016 7:12:38 PM, Bob13 wrote:
At 2/27/2016 4:49:42 PM, SNP1 wrote:
I see so many people using the PSR, but no one really defending it.

Now, there are a few ways one can argue against the PSR being sound.
I will present 2 arguments against the PSR, my own and Van Inwagen's.

Mine:
A1) The universe need an explanation for their existence which is, ultimately, God (a version of the PSR that includes the "God" entailment).
P1) God"s properties are necessary.
P2) Any actions God makes is due to the properties God has.
C1) All actions of God are necessary.
P3) God causes the universe to exist in some possible world.
P4) All actions of God are necessary.
C2) God caused the universe to exist in all possible worlds.
C3) The universe exists in all possible worlds.
P5) That which exists in all possible worlds is necessary.
P6) The universe exists in all possible worlds.
C4) The universe is necessary.
P7) That which is necessary cannot have outside causes.
P8) The universe is necessary.
C5) God cannot be the cause of the Universe.
P9) A1 entails a paradox.
C6) A1 is false.

P7 is clearly false.

How is it false? If it has an outside cause, then it is contingent on that thing, meaning it isn't necessary.
Things that are necessary don't cause themselves. I would think that's obvious.
Van Inwagen's:
P1) There are some contingent propositions.
P2) Some propositions are true in some worlds and false in others.
C1) There are possible worlds.
P3) Suppose there are four possible worlds one of which is actual.
P4) Arbitrarily, let Possible World 2 be the actual world.
P5) If the Principle of Sufficient Reason is correct, there is a sufficient reason for the fact that Possible World Two is the actual world; that is, this fact has an explanation.
P6) Let S stand for the explanation sufficient to identify or describe Possible World Two as the actual world [the true proposition "Possible World Two is the actual world.].
P7) S cannot be true in any other Possible World save for Possible World Two.
C2) S must be true in Possible World Two and in no other possible world. What propositions have this feature? Only one: the proposition that Possible World Two is the actual world.
P8) But the fact that Possible World Two is the actual world cannot serve as an explanation of the fact that Possible World Two is the actual world. "Because Possible World Two is the actual world" is not an answer to the question "Why is Possible World Two the actual world?"
C3) Thus, there can be no answer to the question "Why is Possible World Two the actual world?

If a contingent fact CANNOT have an explanation (and cannot be necessary), then the PSR is refuted.

Are there any objections to these 2 arguments?
What arguments are that argue that the PSR is sound?

C2 does not logically follow from the previous statements. Possible World Two is different from other Possible Worlds in more ways than just being the actual world. It has different aspects.

I am the one that added the PX and CX, before it was just points.
Also, it is conceivable that there is a possible world that is entirely identical to the actual world minus it being the actual world.
If it is entirely identical to the actual world, than there is no distinction between the two and both are the actual world.
This makes S unique, and thus I don't see the issue with C2.
I don't have a signature. :-)
keithprosser
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2/27/2016 9:05:47 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
It probably says a lot about me that I cannot follow any argument that has 'God' in it.= so I look at the VI one.

I have a small problem with Van Inwagen's argument at p6/c2:

P6) Let S stand for the explanation sufficient to identify or describe Possible World Two as the actual world [the true proposition "Possible World Two is the actual world.].

C2) S must be true in Possible World Two and in no other possible world. What propositions have this feature? Only one: the proposition that Possible World Two is the actual world.

Its not clear if VI intends S to be be the (possibly highly complicated) explation of why PW2 is the actual world (as at the start of p6) or the brute fact 'PW2 is the actual world' (as at the end of P6).

VI needs the latter to make C2 go through. But that would be to beg the question because it puts the 'brute fact'-ness of the actuality of PW2 amongst the premises. But if S is taken as the 'complicated explantion' then I'm not sure convinced C2 applies.

I find the question whether the PSR applies to every single thing and event in the entirity of the cosmos for all times and all possible worlds rather academic. The sort of problems faced by we finite and ignorant humans are certainly covered by a (not the) PSR. I believe everything we know about but don't know the explanation for can be explained. If there are things we don't know about that can't be explained, I don't know what they are :< .
SNP1
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2/28/2016 4:57:47 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/27/2016 8:38:53 PM, Bob13 wrote:
At 2/27/2016 7:40:44 PM, SNP1 wrote:
How is it false? If it has an outside cause, then it is contingent on that thing, meaning it isn't necessary.

Things that are necessary don't cause themselves. I would think that's obvious.

Something that is necessary wouldn't be explained by something outside of itself, otherwise it would be contingent...

I am the one that added the PX and CX, before it was just points.
Also, it is conceivable that there is a possible world that is entirely identical to the actual world minus it being the actual world.

If it is entirely identical to the actual world, than there is no distinction between the two and both are the actual world.

Do you know how possible world modal logic works?
The point is that ANY property that the actual world has can exist in possible worlds EXCEPT the property of being the actual world.

This makes S unique, and thus I don't see the issue with C2.
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keithprosser
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2/28/2016 6:56:42 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
The point is that ANY property that the actual world has can exist in possible worlds EXCEPT the property of being the actual world.

So possible but non-actual worlds cannot have the property of being the actual world.
Say world 3 is such a world. That means world 3 definitely lacks the property of being the actual world. So how can we consider 3 to be a possible world when we know it lacks the property of being actual?

I think what VI has done is 1) set up a situation where the difference between the actual world and the others is the brute fact it is actual then 2) used that as an example of a brute fact to 'disprove' the PSR. But 1) can only be set up if PSR is false in the first place so in effect we get 'if the PSR is false then the PSR is false'.
SNP1
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2/28/2016 7:08:16 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/28/2016 6:56:42 AM, keithprosser wrote:
The point is that ANY property that the actual world has can exist in possible worlds EXCEPT the property of being the actual world.

So possible but non-actual worlds cannot have the property of being the actual world.
Say world 3 is such a world. That means world 3 definitely lacks the property of being the actual world. So how can we consider 3 to be a possible world when we know it lacks the property of being actual?

I think what VI has done is 1) set up a situation where the difference between the actual world and the others is the brute fact it is actual then 2) used that as an example of a brute fact to 'disprove' the PSR. But 1) can only be set up if PSR is false in the first place so in effect we get 'if the PSR is false then the PSR is false'.

He doesn't presuppose it as a brute fact but essentially argues that there must be brute facts by the very nature of the proposition "World 2 is the actual world".

Similar to how arguments against the PSR that talk about the Conjunct of Contingent Facts always ends up in contradiction. It isn't because of an assumption of the PSR being wrong but simply the nature of the CCF refutes the PSR.
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keithprosser
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2/28/2016 8:39:26 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
He doesn't presuppose it as a brute fact but essentially argues that there must be brute facts by the very nature of the proposition "World 2 is the actual world".

But what happened to S?
P6) Let S stand for the explanation sufficient to identify or describe Possible World Two as the actual world...
That implies S could be some enormous complex piece of logic and reasoning, but later we get
C2)S must be... the proposition that Possible World Two is the actual world.

Must be? VI seems to quietly dropped the idea that S could be a 'proper explanation' as suggested in p6.

But even if the PSR is not 100% true it is 99% true - or at least true enough. It like Godels theorem that shows not everything can be proved. The point is that there is a still an awful lot that can be proven in maths! If the PSR is 'technically false' the overwhelming majority of things do have explanations and I'd be very dubious of anyone appealing to some limit of the PSR to fail to provide an explanation - more likely than there being no explanation is that more and harder work is required to find it. I don't think we are anywhere near having problems where possible 'PSR failure' is relevant.
Fkkize
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2/28/2016 1:45:09 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/27/2016 4:49:42 PM, SNP1 wrote:
I see so many people using the PSR, but no one really defending it.

Now, there are a few ways one can argue against the PSR being sound.
I will present 2 arguments against the PSR, my own and Van Inwagen's.

Mine:
A1) The universe need an explanation for their existence which is, ultimately, God (a version of the PSR that includes the "God" entailment).
P1) God"s properties are necessary.
P2) Any actions God makes is due to the properties God has.
C1) All actions of God are necessary.
P3) God causes the universe to exist in some possible world.
P4) All actions of God are necessary.
C2) God caused the universe to exist in all possible worlds.
C3) The universe exists in all possible worlds.
P5) That which exists in all possible worlds is necessary.
P6) The universe exists in all possible worlds.
C4) The universe is necessary.
P7) That which is necessary cannot have outside causes.
P8) The universe is necessary.
C5) God cannot be the cause of the Universe.
P9) A1 entails a paradox.
C6) A1 is false.

I have seen similar formulations of "list of all contingent things"-arguments. I tend to agree with them. However, if I remember correctly, there are formulations of the PSR which avoid such arguments.

Van Inwagen's:
P1) There are some contingent propositions.
P2) Some propositions are true in some worlds and false in others.
C1) There are possible worlds.
P3) Suppose there are four possible worlds one of which is actual.
P4) Arbitrarily, let Possible World 2 be the actual world.
P5) If the Principle of Sufficient Reason is correct, there is a sufficient reason for the fact that Possible World Two is the actual world; that is, this fact has an explanation.
P6) Let S stand for the explanation sufficient to identify or describe Possible World Two as the actual world [the true proposition "Possible World Two is the actual world.].
P7) S cannot be true in any other Possible World save for Possible World Two.
C2) S must be true in Possible World Two and in no other possible world. What propositions have this feature? Only one: the proposition that Possible World Two is the actual world.
P8) But the fact that Possible World Two is the actual world cannot serve as an explanation of the fact that Possible World Two is the actual world. "Because Possible World Two is the actual world" is not an answer to the question "Why is Possible World Two the actual world?"
C3) Thus, there can be no answer to the question "Why is Possible World Two the actual world?

If a contingent fact CANNOT have an explanation (and cannot be necessary), then the PSR is refuted.

At first I was a bit skeptical of Van Inwagen's argument, as I thought it would require modal realism. After giving it some thought I came to the conclusion that the difference between the actual and other possible world, that is, one is concrete while the others are abstract, is merely a contingent difference and as such the argument works even without MR.
Pretty smart argument.

One issue I have with the PSR as it is thrown around especially on this site, is that it is not at all clear what constitutes a "sufficient" reason.
But what makes me face palm is when someone voices disagreement with the PSR and someone else responds asking why he is interested in an intellectual discussion anyway if he doesn't want sufficient reasons for anything.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
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: space contradicts logic
Yassine
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2/28/2016 3:15:15 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/27/2016 4:49:42 PM, SNP1 wrote:
I see so many people using the PSR, but no one really defending it.

Now, there are a few ways one can argue against the PSR being sound.

- Interesting subject.

I will present 2 arguments against the PSR, my own and Van Inwagen's.

- Oh, there is an argument!

Mine:
A1) The universe need an explanation for their existence which is, ultimately, God (a version of the PSR that includes the "God" entailment).
P1) God"s properties are necessary.

- Let's call it Will. Now, we have two possibilities, either this Will is identical to God or not. If it isn't identical to God, then it isn't necessary, for it's contingent on God. If it's identical, then it doesn't have an explanation.

P2) Any actions God makes is due to the properties God has.

- Acts are explained by Will. OK.

C1) All actions of God are necessary.

- One: doesn't follow. Two: if Will is contingent, then no. If Will is God, then acts are contingent on Will, thus not necessary, no again. No need to go any further, your conclusion already contradicts your premise. If acts are necessary then they can't be explained by properties of God, which you suppose in (P2).

P3) God causes the universe to exist in some possible world.

- The 'Universe in some possible world', or 'Cod causes the Universe' in some possible world'?

P4) All actions of God are necessary.
C2) God caused the universe to exist in all possible worlds.

- One: doesn't follow! Two: 'necessary' here isn't necessarily the 'necessary' there. Three: your reasoning presupposes God is not a necessary being, that's why it's implicitly explaining God's properties. Once you do that, you're already outside the assumption you set at the beginning.

C3) The universe exists in all possible worlds.

- So, I am guessing it was the 'Universe in some possible world'. Then again, it doesn't follow.

P5) That which exists in all possible worlds is necessary.

- Not necessarily in the same sense as not-contingent. All identities are necessary, but not all identities are not-contingent.

P6) The universe exists in all possible worlds.
C4) The universe is necessary.
P7) That which is necessary cannot have outside causes.

- Could be equivocation.

P8) The universe is necessary.

- One: doesn't necessarily follow, equivocation. two: the premise you started with implies: "God => Universe" exists in all possible world, then you jumped to "Universe" exists in all possible worlds.

C5) God cannot be the cause of the Universe.

- Not even close.

P9) A1 entails a paradox.

- It clearly doesn't.

C6) A1 is false.

- You forgot about (A1) back in (C1) :-) . I remember you mentioning this argument a while ago, & me telling you the distinction was solved millennium ago.

Van Inwagen's:
P1) There are some contingent propositions.

- OK.

P2) Some propositions are true in some worlds and false in others.

- OK.

C1) There are possible worlds.

- Ok.

P3) Suppose there are four possible worlds one of which is actual.

- OK.

P4) Arbitrarily, let Possible World 2 be the actual world.

- OK.

P5) If the Principle of Sufficient Reason is correct, there is a sufficient reason for the fact that Possible World Two is the actual world; that is, this fact has an explanation.

- OK.

P6) Let S stand for the explanation sufficient to identify or describe Possible World Two as the actual world [the true proposition "Possible World Two is the actual world.].

- OK.

P7) S cannot be true in any other Possible World save for Possible World Two.

- Not necessarily, unless you mean by PW2 the sum of all possible things, necessary & contingent, which entail all worlds beside PW2 are impossible. Here, let PW5 = S + PW2, S is true in PW5.

C2) S must be true in Possible World Two and in no other possible world.

- All other worlds being impossible, sure, otherwise you'll be assuming that PW2 is contingent, in which case, the conclusion is false.

P8) But the fact that Possible World Two is the actual world cannot serve as an explanation of the fact that Possible World Two is the actual world.

- S explains PW2, such as: 'God' explains 'God + Universe'.

"Because Possible World Two is the actual world" is not an answer to the question "Why is Possible World Two the actual world?"

- Is would, if PW2 was necessary, which seems to be what this argument is going for. PW2 being necessary, doesn't mean every part of it is!

C3) Thus, there can be no answer to the question "Why is Possible World Two the actual world?

- The previous premise already gave an answer. This reminds me of the the other assumption of 'the sum of all contingent beings' doesn't have an explanation. This VI argument makes loads of assumptions!

If a contingent fact CANNOT have an explanation (and cannot be necessary), then the PSR is refuted.

- Not even close. PSR, as I said, is axiomatic. Whatever is, has an explanation, either itself (necessary), or not itself (contingent). There is no third option.

What arguments are that argue that the PSR is sound?

- The fact that it's self-proving. It's just another way of saying the law of excluded middle. I don't understand the fierce deconstruction of philosophy going on in the West this post-modern time, on every side. People try too hard to avoid admitting God exists or something.
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Bob13
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2/28/2016 4:05:40 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/28/2016 4:57:47 AM, SNP1 wrote:
At 2/27/2016 8:38:53 PM, Bob13 wrote:
At 2/27/2016 7:40:44 PM, SNP1 wrote:
How is it false? If it has an outside cause, then it is contingent on that thing, meaning it isn't necessary.

Things that are necessary don't cause themselves. I would think that's obvious.

Something that is necessary wouldn't be explained by something outside of itself, otherwise it would be contingent...
What exactly is your definition of "necessary"?
I am the one that added the PX and CX, before it was just points.
Also, it is conceivable that there is a possible world that is entirely identical to the actual world minus it being the actual world.

If it is entirely identical to the actual world, than there is no distinction between the two and both are the actual world.

Do you know how possible world modal logic works?
The point is that ANY property that the actual world has can exist in possible worlds EXCEPT the property of being the actual world.
The property of being the actual world is not what distinguishes the actual world from other possible worlds. It is impossible to imagine a possible world that is exactly the same as the actual world in every way except that it is not the actual world. The property of being the actual world is the result of having the property of existence. There cannot be a possible world that is identical to the actual world but does not exist. If it is identical to the actual world, than it is the actual world and it exists.
This makes S unique, and thus I don't see the issue with C2.
I don't have a signature. :-)
dylancatlow
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3/1/2016 8:08:03 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
Causes are necessary in the presence of information insofar as something's nonexistence must be actively selected against in a real sense. Otherwise, the issue of whether or not the thing exists cannot be answered in any absolute sense, and since "existence" is an absolute answer, existence cannot be achieved. Obviously, an explanation is just an identification of that according to which something's existence is implied. In order for the "selection" to have any ontological force with respect to reality - in order for it to be relevant i.e., real - it must be traceable back to reality in some way. Thus, to say that something is "without explanation" is to claim "that which has been selected for has not been selected for," which is just a contradiction.