Recently, Intellectual Conservatism uploaded a video on the Aloneness Argument against classical theism. As usual, I deeply value the criticisms they leveled and, more importantly, each of Christopher, Gil, and Suan themselves.
This post is PART 1 out of 2. I have only listened to the first 1:33:00 of their video. In part 2, I will address the last 30 minutes of the video. It will become apparent why I stopped at 1:33:00 as we proceed through this post. (It’s epistemically possible that they address some of my rebuttals in the last 30 minutes; if they do, then I’ll simply address that in Part 2.)
Tim Hsiao and Gil Sanders present a contingency argument here. I will address their argument in this post. (More specifically, I will only address their points about existential inertia and sustaining causation; I may or may not address the other components of their argument in a separate post.)
Before turning to their paper, let’s get clear on what existential inertia is, and let’s also get clear on some metaphysical accounts of existential inertia–i.e. accounts that aim to pinpoint that in virtue of which existential inertia obtains (if it obtains at all). Pay attention to these metaphysical accounts, since they will come up in my response to Hsiao and Sanders.
(And, of course, before digging in, CONGRATULATIONS to Tim and Gil for getting their paper published!!!)
Existential inertia is not enjoyable for me to talk about publicly, mainly because (i) the questions it raises are so complex and thus lend very easily to misunderstandings on all sides, (ii) there are a variety of different inertial theses, many of which are immune to criticisms that others face, (iii) there are many different metaphysical accounts of inertial persistence, many of which are immune to the criticisms that others face, and (iv) my views have significantly changed since I originally wrote my first paper on it (my paper was written about 15 months ago, and you can imagine how much reflection over 15 months can change one’s views). For what it’s worth, I try to disentangle all these various aspects of the debate in papers I’ve recently finished and submitted to journals for review. (Don’t get your hopes up yet, since the review process takes many many months.)
Also for what it’s worth, I also have a big (scholarly) project that involves existential inertia. I plan to announce the project within the next couple of months. (Though, my patrons already know what the project is.) For those interested, I’ve also done lots of clarifications, precisifications, and defenses of it publicly:
For this post, I’m responding to a video from Thomistic Disputations (henceforth, ‘TD’) wherein he claims to “refute” existential inertia and “expose” its flaws. He has done no such thing. I’ll be using the fact-checking structure I used in my response to Nemes.
Orthodox, conciliar Trinitarianism (henceforth ‘Trinitarianism’) is committed the following theses: (i) there is one God in three divine persons; (ii) the three divine persons are not numerically identical to one another; (iii) the divine persons are consubstantial (i.e. of one substance) or homoousios; and (iv) the divine persons are distinguished and related by eternal processions (the Father begets the Son, and either (a) the Father and Son spirate the Spirit or (b) the Father alone spirates the Spirit). There are different ways to understand these eternal processions, but they at least involve receiving/deriving existence from without (i.e. from some numerically distinct divine person(s)).
 Btw, you need to watch this video if you want to understand why one might find DDS and Trinitarianism incompatible, as well as how one might respond to such worries (and respond to those responses, and respond to those responses to those responses, and…).
So, this will be a short post, as I’m incredibly busy with schoolwork. The wonderfully-dressed and beautifully-mustached Steven Nemes recently criticized portions of my paper on existential inertia. For a proof of the truth of existential inertia, click here.
In the podcast, he first criticized (what has come to be called) the Earlier Account as not providing any account of that in virtue of which things persist, citing the discussion on Intellectual Conservatism. (I have responded to this discussion in a twopart video series.)
My friend Matthew Luis Delgado has recently criticized my simple, confessional argument against classical theism. This post is my response to his criticism(s). Once again, I want to stress that I am extremely grateful to Matthew for his time, energy, friendship and engagement. I deeply value and appreciate Matthew’s insights and, more importantly, Matthew himself. Finally, I wish to remind everyone of the tone of my original post (a confessional one, not one that proclaims to have decisively demonstrated something).
I’m starting to appreciate the confessional nature of arguments. Arguments are avenues for thinkers simply to confess to their dialectical partners what strikes them as convincing, true, or clear. They aren’t attacks, weapons, or anything of that sort. They’re simply confessions ― revelations of personal sight. “I simply confess to you that these premises seem true to me” is a motto I (and, I think others) should get accustomed to using.