Week 1 – Varieties of PSR

Welcome to PHIL 971! This week we’ll discuss the structure and expectations for the course, as well as work through some preliminary material regarding different ways of thinking about metaphysical laws that might deserve the name “principle of sufficient reason”. We’ll be asking about whether or not it is right to think that there is one canonical principle of sufficient reason, as well as how notions of reason relate to those of ground, cause, explanation, and intelligibility. We’ll briefly examine some pre-modern uses of the notion (though not under that moniker as such) before turning to a sustained discussion of the sense of the principle at work in Descartes’s central arguments concerning God in the Meditations.