Research Update!

To those of you interested in my research projects, here are some brief updates:

(1) Early January I finished and submitted my paper “Existential Inertia and the Aristotelian Proof” to a journal. Fingers crossed for publication!


Edward Feser defends the ‘Aristotelian proof’ for the existence of God, which reasons that the only adequate explanation of the existence of change is in terms of an unchangeable, purely actual being. His argument, however, relies on the falsity of the Existential Inertia Thesis (EIT), according to which concrete objects tend to persist in existence without requiring an existential sustaining cause. In this article, I first characterize the dialectical context of Feser’s Aristotelian proof, paying special attention to EIT and its rival thesis – the Existential Expiration Thesis (EET). Next, I provide a more precise characterization of EIT, after which I outline two metaphysical accounts of existential inertia. I then develop new lines of reasoning in favor of EIT that appeal to the theoretical virtues of explanatory power and simplicity. Next, I present a novel Bayesian argument from temporal reality’s persistence in favor of EIT. Finally, I address the predominant criticisms of EIT in the literature.

(2) Mid-January I finished and submitted my paper “On the Coherence of the Aristotelian Proof’s Conclusion”.


Edward Feser’s ‘Aristotelian proof’ for God’s existence argues from the reality of change to the existence of an unchangeable, purely actual being. In this article, I first characterize stage one of Feser’s Aristotelian proof, explicating the relevant notions of actuality and potentiality. Next, I argue in favor of the Difference Principle (DP), according to which a difference in effects presupposes a difference in the effects’ total causes. As I will argue, however, the existence of a purely actual being that actualizes the existence of everything other than itself is incompatible with DP. Finally, I develop an argument against God’s being purely actual by appeal to the nature of knowledge of contingent things.

(3) A few days ago I finished and submitted my paper “An Argument That Fails to Actualize its Potential: Stage One of the Aristotelian Proof”


What explains change? Why aren’t things just static or frozen? Edward Feser argues in his ‘Aristotelian proof’ that the only adequate answer to these questions is ultimately in terms of an unchangeable, purely actual being. In this paper, I target the cogency of Feser’s reasoning to such an answer. In particular, I present novel paths of criticism against one of Feser’s central premises. I also argue that Feser’s inference that the unactualized actualizer lacks any potentialities contains a number of non-sequiturs. Along the way, I consider and respond both to potential and actual objections on behalf of Feser’s argument to my appraisals.

On the queue:

(4) A paper titled something like “An Appraisal of the Aristotelian Proof: Stage Two and the Metaphysics of Time”

(5) One I am super excited about, titled “An Appraisal of Leon’s Argument from Material Causality”

And these two are ones that are potentially on the queue:

(6) “New paths to an Unchangeable Concrete Being”

(7) “A Bayesian Problem for Humean Laws of Nature”

Super duper exciting stuff. Who knows, I may touch on some of other Feser’s proofs as well!

Author: Joe


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