Dale Tuggy

Dale Tuggy is Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Fredonia, where he teaches courses in analytic theology, philosophy of religion, religious studies, and the history of philosophy.


  1. Joshua Harris
    June 19, 2015 @ 10:32 am

    >>But there is no possible being which is metaphysically (or logically) prior to God, so as to be the cause of God’s existence. God is defined as ultimate; nothing is “before” him. Also, God is defined as existing a se, as existing “through himself” or independently and not because of any other being.<<

    I love the language of prior/posterior (sounding like a Thomist!)–and I hate to be annoying–but I agree again with Thomas (the one in the combox, I mean): this premise is exactly the one for which the CT wants an explanatory account. This is what she asks for when she asks for an explanatory account of God's necessity.

    In fact, it seems that any genus is logically prior to its species, so if God is a species of a genus called "being" (per impossibile, I would argue), than this genus of being is logically prior to God.

    Thanks again for being patient with us. 🙂

  2. Thomas
    June 12, 2015 @ 3:37 pm

    Why must God’s essence imply aseity for theists? Can’t a theistic personalist just say that as a contingent fact, this particular being (God) exists and has created everything in this world. Why insist on necessary existence at all?

    Also, if you’re going to say that aseity belongs to God essentially in order to prove that God exists necessarily, why not just say that necessary existence belongs to God essentially?

  3. Roman
    June 12, 2015 @ 6:35 am

    I don’t know if premise 3 is true, I mean there are plenty of Counter examples, for examples why do Mathematical axioms exist (if they do exist), why don’t other Mathematical axioms exist?
    Also I think within a physical universe you can appeal to reasons for Things existing or not existing, but when we are talking about trascendant, things, such as God, you don’t really have an explination. I don’t think Divine Aseity is an explination, it’s just another way of saying that God’s existance is a brute fact, so I don’t see why God’s not exist couldn’t just be a brute fact as well right?
    Divine Aseity is that God is his own cause for his existance, or God exists in and of himself, if that Counts as an explination of existance, then why couldn’t his non existance be eplained simply by stating that God does not exist in and of himself, or that there is nothing that exists in and of itself, or that of the Things that exist in and of themselves an omnipotant onniscient person is not one of them? It seams to me just as good (or bad) an explination as Divine Aseity.

    • Dale Tuggy
      June 12, 2015 @ 12:22 pm

      Hi Roman,

      3 has to do only with “concrete” realities. I think it is true, understood in that way.

      “trascendant, things, such as God, you don’t really have an explination”

      I’m not sure what you mean by “transcendent”… but I don’t see why a non-physical thing shouldn’t have an explanation. e.g. an angel exists because God created it.

      “I don’t think Divine Aseity is an explination, it’s just another way of saying that God’s existance is a brute fact”

      I don’t think so. There’s a negative and a positive claim there, wrapped up as “aseity.” The positive claim is that God exists “through himself.” That is mysterious, to be sure. It can’t mean – if we want it to be true – that God causes himself to exist. It is clearly impossible for something to cause itself to exist. The negative claim is that God doesn’t in any way or in any degree depend on something else for his existence. Whose existence is not
      dependent on anything else. That is violated if one or more beings permitted God to exist somehow. Premise 8 needs only the negative claim, but that is highly plausible, don’t you think?

      “I don’t see why God’s not exist couldn’t just be a brute fact as well right?”

      I’m not claiming that it is obviously impossible that god’s existence should be a
      brute fact. That claim is instead that if God exists in actuality that not “in some other world” then there should be the relevant difference between this situation and that’s because of which God is in there. That is what 3 requires.

      What do you think?

      • Roman
        June 14, 2015 @ 10:20 am

        I think what I mean by transcendent (it’s actually not that clear to myself what I mean by it :S, it’s one of those words I use a lot but don’t really have a clear definition of) is something like that which is beyond the physical realm of causation and the laws of nature, something like that.

        As for things existing needing explinations

        I’m sure that one can posit explinations for that class of things, but my question is whether or not it is necessary for everything, including things which are beyond physical laws and empirical exploration, to have an explination? Can’t things just exist as brute facts?

        Like say someone is a platonist about mathematical sets, and someone is an atheist, couldn’t that person say that mathematical sets exist with no explination, they just are, their existance is just a brute fact?

        I mean there may be a good reason why someone couldn’t say that, but I don’t know it. I understand in the physical universe you need explinations, but why does that have to out of necessity carry over to the non physical?

        As for Divine Aseity.

        Is there a difference between existing through himself and being simply a brute fact? I think my problem with this, is whether or not divine Aseity would count as an explination which is other than something existing as a brute fact. I agree with premis 8, but I don’t think anything follows from that as to whether or not God’s existance is necessary or not, since nothing can cause God’s existance, nothing can cause God’s non existance, but that doesn’t mean that his non existence would require an outside cause, any more than his existance would require an outside cause right?

        So for example if the explination for God’s existance is Divine Aseity couldn’t the explination simply be that God does not exist through himself in that world?

        I guess the difference between the situations of God existing in actually and not in another possible world, is that God doesn’t exist in himself in the other possible world.

        I’m sorry if I missunderstand your claim, sometimes these versions of the ontological argument can get quite difficult.

        • Dale Tuggy
          June 16, 2015 @ 8:28 am

          Something may be transcendent in that sense and still be explainable, if there are causes and effects which are not part of the physical system of nature, as theists believe.

          “whether or not it is necessary for everything… to have an

          I don’t think that every fact or every event has an explanation. I don’t see why here couldn’t be an event which happens and which was not caused to happen. But I am inclined to think that every thing/entity which exists has an explanation for its existence. It seems unreasonable to believe that something just pops into existence out of nothing, for no reason.

          I don’t see any problem with an atheist, per se, believing in abstracta like sets. It is stranger for the naturalist, I think, who believes that all there is, is what a perfect science would describe. But she’ll have to have an escape clause which says that entities required by science also exist, physical or not, and she’ll say that the existence of abstracta is assumed by the practice of science. I’m not sure that’s true, btw. Anyway, can either an atheist or a naturalistic atheist say that the existence of abstracta is a brute fact? I think that is consistent. I’m not so sure that it is reasonable. Saying I can’t explain X is one thing. But concluding that there is no explanation of X is a much stronger claim. In this case, one is granting the existence of an infinite realm of eternal, non-physical objects – a pretty grand claim, when you think about it.

          “I understand in the physical universe you need explinations, but why
          does that have to out of necessity carry over to the non physical?”

          Suppose there is a certain demon that exists. Call him Fang. Do you think it is plausible that Fang just exists, that there is no explanation for the existence of Fang?

          • Roman
            June 16, 2015 @ 9:06 am

            “But I am inclined to think that every thing/entity which exists has an explanation for its existence. It seems unreasonable to believe that something just pops into existence out of nothing, for no reason.”
            I agree that it’s unreasonable to believe thing’s pop into existence out of nothing, but that’s something that would not apply to something with no beginning, I don’ think it’s unreasonable to believe that something doesn’t pop into existance, but rather simply exists, timelessly with no begining, with no cause, and with no explination. If something pop’s into existance it’s poping into existance needs an explination, but not if that thing never pops into existance but just IS timelessly.

            It’s a grand claim to make about the reality of “abstracta,” but lets say an atheist says we have good reasons to believe “abstracta” are real, would this tie them to the belief that the existance of said “abstracta” must have an explanation? I don’t see why it would, I think they could say “we don’t know if there is an explanation” or there is no explanation or there is an explanation, and all of those answeres would be just as valid, I don’t see why it wouldn’t?
            But lets say we demand an explanation, and someone comes up with an explanation similar to Divine Aseity and they say something like “Abstracta exist in themselves, and from themselves timelessly,” what is the difference between saying that and saying “The existance of Abstracta has no explanation”?

            As far as the Demon called Fang, it’s kind of difficult to say becuase the idea of Demons has always been that of Creatures that are created and falled angels or part of a patheon of Creatures who have come into being.
            But let’s define Fang as being timeless, never created, not part of creation at all, and being independant of all laws of all laws of nature and causation, in that case I think we can say he exists with no explanation.
            The problem is at that point Fang wouldn’t be a “Demon.”