From a Necessary Being to a Perfect Being: A Reply to Byerly
Cosmological arguments for God typically have two stages. The first stage argues for a first cause or a necessary being, and the second stage argues from there to God. T. Ryan Byerly offers a simple, abductive argument for the second stage where the best explanation for why the being is found to have necessary existence is that it is a perfect being. The reasoning behind this argument is that universal generalizations explain observations of their instances; for example, the universal generalization that all ravens are black explains why some particular raven is observed to be black. Similarly, the fact that a being has all perfections explains why we find the being to have necessary existence. I distinguish between two readings of Byerly’s proposed theistic explanation, and conclude that his explanation does not offer an advantage to the theist in either case.
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