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William S. Hatcher (1935–2005) was a mathematician, philosopher, educator and a member of the Bahá'í Faith.[1] He held a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. A specialist in the philosophical alloying of science and religion, for over thirty years he held university positions in North America, Europe, and Russia.

## Biography

He was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, United States on 20 September 1935, and died on 27 November 2005.

## Philosophy

Although he made significant contributions to the fields of mathematics and philosophy, he is perhaps best known for developing a new proof of God's existence based on first-order logic and for his work towards a transcultural system of ethics.

In his books Love, Power, and Justice, and Minimalism, Hatcher attempts to prove God's existence while addressing many of the criticisms raised against previous theistic philosophers. While Hatcher admits that his argument does not establish the existence of any particular religion's God, he asserts that it does support the existence of a God that he defines as a unique, universal, and uncaused cause.

Written in first order logic, Hatcher's proof of God is based on three axioms that he calls "empirically grounded" and an apriori assumption that "something exists."

The axioms are that:

P1. The principle of sufficient reason: All phenomena are either self-caused (i.e. A->A) or other-caused (B->A; B is not equal to A) but not both. Put another way, this principle says that the question "why?" is always meaningful. Everything happens for a reason.

P2. The potency principle: If A -> B then for all C element of B, A -> C. In other words if A is the cause of B then A is the cause of every part of B. There are several notions of causality in philosophy. Hatcher's notion of causality is total causality; i.e. it is not the straw that breaks the camel's back but the 1000 straws before it, the camel, gravity, and so forth, that give rise to the camel breaking its back.

P3. The principle of limitation: For all A, where A is an element of B, B -> A does not hold. This says a system (which Hatcher represents as a set) cannot be the cause of its own components. Hatcher justifies this by explaining any system has (1) form (the parts) and (2) function (the relationship between the parts). A car (the system) cannot be the cause of its own steering wheel (a part), because the car does not even logically exist until the steering wheel exists. Thus the car's existence cannot precede the steering wheel's existence.

Hatcher shows that the logical outcome of these 3 axioms together with the above noted assumption are the existence of a "unique, universal, uncaused cause."[2]

Throughout this work, Hatcher strives to make his assumptions (his axioms) and modus operandi (first order logic) explicit. Unlike many proofs of God (beginning with the proof advanced by Aristotle) Hatcher's proof does not appeal to the absurdity of an infinite regression of causes. Hatcher argues that because his proof is formulated in first order logic one must invalidate one or more of his three empirically grounded axioms to refute it. At the same time he shows that doing so is difficult as it commits oneself to beliefs not commonly accepted in the scientific community such as the existence of non-causal systems (something not observed to date).

In Love, Power and Justice, Hatcher outlines a system of ethics based on the principle that there is a universal human nature. As evidence, he outlines how all new born children will respond positively to love, and negatively to cruelty and hate.

Hatcher also speaks of intrinsic and extrinsic value. Extrinsic value is not a property of the object itself but is a socially conferred value; for example, the value given by society to money. Intrinsic value on the other hand stands inseparable from the object itself. Whereas extrinsic value can be determined by observation, intrinsic value is discovered upon reflection. Hatcher believes that human beings have intrinsic value, similar to the Kantian notion of our humanity. He says that unless we discover our own intrinsic value, we will seek it elsewhere through means such as competition.

## Work and achievements

Hatcher is one of eight Platonist philosophers listed for the second half of the twentieth century in the Encyclopedie Philosophique Universelle.

Hatcher was the author of over fifty monographs, books, and articles in the mathematical sciences, logic and philosophy. Among the publications of which he is author or coauthor are:

## Relationship to the Bahá'í Faith

Dr. Hatcher discovered the Bahá'í Faith while a student. He enrolled in the Bahá'í Faith in 1957 following which he wrote a letter to the Yale faculty explaining to the Yale Divinity School, his reasons for declining to enroll at the school where he was recently admitted. He spent the decades that followed in dedicated service to the Baha'i community and its administrative development, at the local and national level, in the United States, Switzerland, Russia, and Canada.

He served on National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Canada (1983–91) as well as on the inaugural National Spiritual Assemblies of Switzerland (1962–65) and the Russian Federation (1996). He lived in Russia from 1993 to 1998. He was also a founding member of the Association for Bahá'í Studies.

In a message of condolence, the Universal House of Justice (the international governing body of the Bahá'í Faith) said that "The Baha'i world has lost one of its brightest minds, one of its most prolific pens ..."

## Notes

1. ^ Reprint of open letter to fellow students on conversion – Pamphlet copyright 1965, National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States of America, Baha'i Publishing Trust, Wilmette, Illinois

## References

 9344 videos foundNext >
 Ideology and Authentic Human Relationships -- William HatcherA short interview with Prof. William Hatcher produced 1997 by Peter Ocskay for The Baltic University Programme which is included in the TV-series Mission Pos... Moral and Spiritual Development - Dr William S. Hatcher (Part 1 and 2)Two parts of a talk (out of 13 parts) from "The William S. Hatcher Library": http://william.hatcher.org/media/audio/moral-and-spiritual-development Terms of ... William Hatcher: Love Power and JusticeAn astounding lecture which explores many misconceptions about the nature of human relationships. William Hatcher uses logic and his understanding of the ins... The Baha'i Framework for RealityShort Biography: John S. Hatcher holds a BA and MA in English Literature from Vanderbilt University and a PhD in English literature from the University of Ge... New atheism and Bahá'í Faith 1/9Talk by Courosh Mehanian, physicist, with introduction by Farah and a prayer for unity. Religion and Evolution Reconciled: 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Comments on Evoluti... William Hatcher Christmas MemoriesWilliam Hatcher on Christmas Holidays & Wishes. Eva Longoria Slams 'Desperate' Teri Hatcher Feud RumorsEva Longoria has dismissed rumors the leading ladies of Desperate Housewives deliberately excluded Teri Hatcher from the series finale crew gift, insisting t... Oscars 2011! Teri Hatcher, William Shatner and Glee Cast in a Sauna!Oscars 2011! William Shatner, Teri Hatcher and the Glee cast in as Sauna!! Cast of Entourage, CSI Miami and Mad Men! Monk! Regina King,Terrell Owens, Jacki W... Free Falling - Sung Live by William Hatcher.wmv"Free Falling" sung by William Hatcher at an Allen High School Talent Show in March of 2000. Terrance Williams - 2013 NFL Draft ProfileHighlights breaking down the strengths and weaknesses of Baylor wide receiver Terrance Williams. Highlights: ESPN Player analysis: CBSSports.com, ESPN Scouts...
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