Analysis of Existing: Barry Miller's Approach to God

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2015-07-30
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
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Miller's metaphysics, including his approach to God, is broad, deep, and original, with the potential to make a fruitful contribution to contemporary philosophy. Yet it has not received the critical attention it deserves.

Miller's work deserves critical attention because of its thorough and original defense of three highly controversial positions: that existence is a real property of concrete individuals; that it is possible to prove, without assuming any principle of sufficient reason, that there is an uncaused cause of the universe; and that the uncaused cause is the simple God of classical theism. Miller's position on existence is an important alternative in current analytical philosophy to what Miller calls the "Frege-Russell-Quine" theory, and the neo-Meinongian positions of Terence Parsons and Ed Zalta. Miller's argument for an uncaused cause of the universe has been described one of the most ambitious theistic arguments produced by a well-respected, contemporary, analytic philosopher. Analysis of Existing: Barry Miller's Approach to God is the first clear, systematic interpretation of Miller's theistic philosophy.

Author Biography

Elmar J. Kremer is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of Toronto, Canada. His past publications include Oeuvres Philosophiques d'Arnauld (Edited and Introduced by Elmar J. Kremer and Denis Moreau, 5 vols., 2003), The Problem of Evil in Early Modern Philosophy (co-edited with Michael J. Latzer, 1999), and Interpreting Arnauld (1996).

Table of Contents

Foreword iii

Abbreviations v

Introduction 1

Chapter One: Barry Miller's Philosophical Journey 6

I. Miller's life 6

II. Miller's philosophical theology 13

III. Looking ahead 21

Chapter Two: Beginning with Existence 22

I. Is existence a property of concrete individuals? 27
II. Is existence a real property of concrete individuals? 39
III. Miller's constituent ontology 45
IV. A new objection: How can a concrete individual be the subject of its existence? 50
V. Miller's argument for property instances 57
Chapter Three: From Existence to God 73
I. Fido exists qua dependent on something other than his existing and its constituents. 73
II. Ultimately, Fido exists qua dependent on an uncaused cause which is
Subsistent Existence. 93
Chapter Four: Divine Simplicity 117
I. Views of God's nature and their controlling notions 117
II. Reformulating and clarifying the notion of Subsistent Existence 120
III: Is God identical with his non-existential properties? 133
IV. Which properties have limit case instances that are zero-bounding? 137
V. Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Divine Intellection 138
Chapter Five: Simplicity, Creation, and Human Freedom 150
I. The contingency of God's knowing 150
II. The contingency and freedom of creation 156
III. The causality of creatures and human freedom 169
Chapter Six: Objections and Replies 179
I. Graham Oppy's Objection to the argument from existence to God 179
II. Katherin A. Rogers' worry that Miller is “in danger of denying any positive meaning at all
to our theological language” 182
III. Bruce Langtry's Criticism of Miller on the relation of God to creatures 186
IV. A Theological Postlude: Is Subsistent Existence the God of the Christian religion? 188
Bibliography 196

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