Aristotle’s Argument From Kinesis, 2

Posted in Logic, Philosophy, Religion on  | 16 minutes | 27 Comments →

It seems Aristotle’s argument leaves us with three options:

1) potency has been transitioning into act eternally, i.e. infinite regress;

2) the initial transition from potency to act arose from absolute nothing, i.e. creation ex nihilo;

3) the initial transition from potency to act arose from an unmoved mover of some sort.

For those who accept the third choice, the key question becomes which type of mover is the best explanation, which often gets defined as the the more parsimonious explanation. Paring down even further, we find two sub-options for the third choice: either the first unmoved mover is some sort of conscious entity with intent, or some non-conscious, impersonal self-organizing emergent process of matter. Beginning around here, commenter Dominic and myself exchanged along these lines in the Introduction.

In particular, I’ve noticed a consensus among atheists who object to describing Aristotle’s unmoved mover as any sort of conscious entity or God. They typically offer some variant of an Occam’s razor complaint, arguing that such requires “extra steps” or is “not parsimonious.” I would respond that merely asserting that something “isn’t parsimonious” isn’t an argument – it’s an assertion – and I’ll address the “extra steps” claim in today’s post.

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