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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 86, Issue 4, Fall 2012

Gaven Kerr
Pages 541-555
DOI: 10.5840/acpq201286445

Essentially Ordered Series Reconsidered

Herein I offer a model for understanding the traditional distinction between essentially and accidentally ordered causal series and their function in traditional proofs for the existence of God. I argue that, like the traditional proofs, my model of the causal series in question permits an infinite regress of the accidentally ordered series but not of the essentially ordered series. Furthermore, I argue that on the basis of this model one can avoid Edwards’s criticism that no matter how we conceive of the causal series (as accidental or essential) we still have to deal with the suggestion that arriving at a first cause does not mean that we have an uncaused first cause. Finally, I end with a short speculation on what a successful proof for an uncaused first cause might lead to.