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Causal closure, laws of nature and divine action – Ralf Bergmann (IAP Conference 2017)

Prof. Dr. Ralf B. Bergmann · 

The possibility of divine action is sometimes denied on the basis of the principle of causal closure. This view rests, however, on a misconception of the laws of nature and of physical processes. The talk discusses causal interactions first in the context of a deterministic clockwork-universe. It then introduces the role of laws of nature and of equations of motion. It is easily demonstrated, that laws do not suffice to describe physical processes but that further conditions need to be defined in order to derive equations of motion. Deterministic chaos and quantum mechanics in combination with the vast net of processes in the real world finally make an end to the concept of a clockwork-universe. Further, energy conservation is often seen as a major obstacle to divine action. However, a careful analysis shows that this argument is flawed. The talk finally discusses how divine action may proceed and under which conditions divine action may be identified. (Duration 60 min, given 14. 9. 2017 at the Templeton-Conference “Causality, Free Will, Divine Action” in Vienna.)