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The Metaphysics of Divine Causation

Adams, Danielle Helen (2016) The Metaphysics of Divine Causation. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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It is something of an orthodoxy that the nature of causation can be characterised by the following metaphysical theses: that causes do not necessitate their effects, that causes must temporally precede their effects, that causation is governed by laws of nature, that causation entails counterfactual dependence, and that causation is not systematically overdetermined. Two further commonly accepted metaphysical claims are that causal notions give us the correct tools to properly understand agency, and that the causes of actions are mental events. Classical theism, however, is comprised by certain commitments which seem to be in direct tension with each of these metaphysical theses. God is understood to be causally efficacious – a divine being who creates, sustains, and intervenes in worldly affairs – and so who is, indeed the, paradigmatic causal agent. Further, God is said to be atemporal, non-physical, and such that he exists independently of all else. The God of classical theism is also characterised as being omnipotent, at least in the sense that whatever he wills to be the case cannot fail to be the case. The apparent tension between these metaphysical theses which concern causation and those which concern God thus threaten the very coherence of the notion of divine causality. The goal of this thesis is therefore to examine these prima facie theistically problematic theses concerning causation, and to consider ways of making room for a coherent notion of divine causality. In some cases, it will argue that certain causal theses ought to be rejected, in others, it will find ways of resolving the tension.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Philosophy, Religion and the History of Science
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.698247
Depositing User: Ms Danielle H. Adams
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2016 16:23
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 09:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/15561

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