Jason Dulle

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“God does not exist” is a contradiction
« on: August 21, 2010, 01:44:58 pm »
 

WLC says there is no logical contradiction in the proposition, “God does not exist,” but he also affirms that God is a logically necessary being.  These two affirmations appear to be in conflict.  If God is a logically necessary being, then to say “God does not exist” is equivalent to saying “a logically necessary being does not exist” which is self-contradictory.

Surely WLC recognizes this.  Perhaps he just means the contradiction is not self-evident as is the case with a proposition such as “it is true that there is no truth.”  Is anyone aware of a place where WLC discusses this? Does anyone know how WLC explains himself?  


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Randy Everist

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“God does not exist” is a contradiction
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2010, 10:34:20 pm »
jasondulle wrote:

WLC says there is no logical contradiction in the proposition, “God does not exist,” but he also affirms that God is a logically necessary being.  These two affirmations appear to be in conflict.  If God is a logically necessary being, then to say “God does not exist” is equivalent to saying “a logically necessary being does not exist” which is self-contradictory.

Surely WLC recognizes this.  Perhaps he just means the contradiction is not self-evident as is the case with a proposition such as “it is true that there is no truth.”  Is anyone aware of a place where WLC discusses this? Does anyone know how WLC explains himself?  

He says such a quote is not strictly contradictory, and gives the example of a "married bachelor" as such a strict contradiction. But broad logical possibility entails not merely self-contradictions, but states of affairs that are metaphysically impossible. Of course, if God is a necessary being, then it is true that the claim "God does not exist" is metaphysically impossible and does in fact contradict the truth of the being's necessity. I think he does realize this, and this is why he has distinguished between the two types of logical possibility.

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Jason Dulle

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“God does not exist” is a contradiction
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2010, 01:43:11 pm »

So the two forms of possibility are “strictly logically possible” and “broadly logically possible”?

Does it make a difference if one considers God to be logically necessary, as opposed to factually necessary (is factually necessary the same as “metaphysically” necessary?)?  


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Randy Everist

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“God does not exist” is a contradiction
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2010, 04:57:51 pm »
jasondulle wrote:

So the two forms of possibility are “strictly logically possible” and “broadly logically possible”?

Does it make a difference if one considers God to be logically necessary, as opposed to factually necessary (is factually necessary the same as “metaphysically” necessary?)?  

That's a great question, and one that I am not sure of the answer. It seems "factually necessary" is a fact that is impossible to be false with respect to the actual world. I suppose this would really only be differentiated from things that are necessarily false, since they appear in no possible world. But alas, things that are necessarily false entail a fact; namely, "X appears in no possible world," and thus such a fact is necessarily true! So I am not entirely sure there is a difference, though I am hardly an authority.

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Jason Dulle

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“God does not exist” is a contradiction
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2010, 05:43:13 pm »

Right.  A factually necessary being is one that must exist in the actual world, whereas a logically necessary being must exist in all possible worlds. So would our assessment of whether the proposition “God does not exist” is a contradiction be different if we held God to be a logically necessary being, rather than just a factually necessary being (as Swinburne does)?  For if God is a logically necessary being, then it would seem His non-existence is strictly logically impossible, not just broadly logically impossible. If so, then how could the proposition “God does not exist” not be strictly logically impossible?

Of course, if God is a logically necessary being, and if that makes the proposition “God does not exist” a strictly logically impossible proposition, then I am left wondering why the contradiction is not self-evident in the same way that the proposition “Tom is a married bachelor” is self-evidently contradictory. I would have to go with Descarte and say there are some necessary truths that are immediately self-evident, and some necessary truths that are only evident upon further reflection.


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Randy Everist

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“God does not exist” is a contradiction
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2010, 06:04:28 pm »
jasondulle wrote:

Right.  A factually necessary being is one that must exist in the actual world, whereas a logically necessary being must exist in all possible worlds. So would our assessment of whether the proposition “God does not exist” is a contradiction be different if we held God to be a logically necessary being, rather than just a factually necessary being (as Swinburne does)?  For if God is a logically necessary being, then it would seem His non-existence is strictly logically impossible, not just broadly logically impossible. If so, then how could the proposition “God does not exist” not be strictly logically impossible?

Of course, if God is a logically necessary being, and if that makes the proposition “God does not exist” a strictly logically impossible proposition, then I am left wondering why the contradiction is not self-evident in the same way that the proposition “Tom is a married bachelor” is self-evidently contradictory. I would have to go with Descarte and say there are some necessary truths that are immediately self-evident, and some necessary truths that are only evident upon further reflection.

Ah I see. Yes, I am inclined to agree with the assessment. Logically necessary entails factually necessary, and I was just thinking it may simply be that one does not recognize prima facie God is a necessary being. It's the same reason I do not correct every atheistic argument with, "Well, God is a necessary being, thus to posit his nonexistence in a material conditional entails the logically impossible." Well that, and begging the question lol.

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SnoopDoug

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“God does not exist” is a contradiction
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2010, 06:43:44 pm »
As some have already mentioned, "God does not exist" is not an obvious contradiction, but a broadly logical contradiction.  It's a lot like saying, "The Prime Minister is a prime number."  That statement isn't a narrow, obvious contradiction the way, "A is not-A" is.  Rather, broadly logical contradictions require additional analysis.  God, as a necessary being, exists in all possible worlds, which means that it is a logical contradiction, immediately obvious or not.

That's what I take Craig to mean.

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SnoopDoug

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“God does not exist” is a contradiction
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2010, 06:47:47 pm »
The difference between metaphysical necessity and logical necessity is the following:

metaphysical necessity: if X exists in W, then X must always exist in W.
logical necessity: If X exists, then X exists in all possible worlds.

For example, it is metaphysically impossible for me to fly by flapping my arms.  However, there may be some possible world in which I can fly by flapping my arms; so this example is a metaphysically necessary truth, even if it is not a logically necessary truth.

Logical necessity entails metaphysical necessity, but the reverse is not necessarily true.  Of course, there is nothing prima facie that would prevent something metaphysically necessary from being logically necessary.

"Preach the Gospel at all times; and if necessary, use words." -St. Francis of Assisi

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Cletus Nze

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“God does not exist” is a contradiction
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2011, 04:34:09 am »
jasondulle wrote:  

WLC says there is no logical contradiction in the proposition, “God does not exist,” but he also affirms that God is a logically necessary being.  These two affirmations appear to be in conflict.  If God is a logically necessary being, then to say “God does not exist” is equivalent to saying “a logically necessary being does not exist” which is self-contradictory.

Surely WLC recognizes this.  Perhaps he just means the contradiction is not self-evident as is the case with a proposition such as “it is true that there is no truth.”  Is anyone aware of a place where WLC discusses this? Does anyone know how WLC explains himself?  

 


You have a good point:

Since God - as distinct from "god" - is defined (by Webster's) as the "Supreme or Ultimate Reality", Which Exists UNCONDITIONALLY  and upon Which ALL ELSE in Existence depends, it follows that there is no meaning to ANY suggestion of God not existing - just as it would be meaningless for a person to propose that he/she might not exist.
Pursue Truth - with rigour and vigour!

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Jason Dulle

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“God does not exist” is a contradiction
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2011, 04:14:00 pm »
As I've reflected further on my question, I wonder if it might not be appropriate to conclude that "God does not exist" really is a self-evident logical contradiction, but the self-evident nature of this contradiction is masked by most people's failure to grasp what is meant by "God."  

If one understands that "God" refers to a logically necessary being, then to say "God does not exist" is to say "a logically necessary being does not exist."  That statement is strictly logically impossible on the same order as Tom is a married bachelor."  

So not only would I say that the proposition "God does not exist" is self-evidently contradictory, but also that it is strictly logically impossible.  Any thoughts?

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Randy Everist

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“God does not exist” is a contradiction
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2011, 08:32:35 am »

jasondulle wrote: As I've reflected further on my question, I wonder if it might not be appropriate to conclude that "God does not exist" really is a self-evident logical contradiction, but the self-evident nature of this contradiction is masked by most people's failure to grasp what is meant by "God."  

If one understands that "God" refers to a logically necessary being, then to say "God does not exist" is to say "a logically necessary being does not exist."  That statement is strictly logically impossible on the same order as Tom is a married bachelor."  

So not only would I say that the proposition "God does not exist" is self-evidently contradictory, but also that it is strictly logically impossible.  Any thoughts?

It does completely depend upon the epistemological referent. Typically, one does not think of God (at least on average) as a logically necessary being. So he will say "God does exist" or "God does not exist." Now he may rightly say the term "God," meaning simply the creator of the universe, may possibly not exist, but upon reflection, realize that's metaphysically impossible. At that point, he may embrace "God does not exist" as logically impossible. However, if one starts with (or later discovers) the term "God" meaning "a logically necessary being," I think that would also be correct, obviously.

Craig's Q and A on the ontological argument recently really was a great defense of the argument based on a misconception an objector had that the argument was question-begging.
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Jason Dulle

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“God does not exist” is a contradiction
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2011, 05:24:46 pm »

RandyE wrote: It does completely depend upon the epistemological referent. Typically, one does not think of God (at least on average) as a logically necessary being. So he will say "God does exist" or "God does not exist." Now he may rightly say the term "God," meaning simply the creator of the universe, may possibly not exist, but upon reflection, realize that's metaphysically impossible. At that point, he may embrace "God does not exist" as logically impossible. However, if one starts with (or later discovers) the term "God" meaning "a logically necessary being," I think that would also be correct, obviously.

Right.  To see the contradiction one must understand the definition of the terms being employed.  It's like a person who is asked to judge the truth value of the proposition "I have lots of water but I'm out of H2O."  This statement is contradictory, but one would not recognize this if they did not know that water and H2O have the same referent.

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Randy Everist

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“God does not exist” is a contradiction
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2011, 07:09:34 pm »
jasondulle wrote:

Quote from: RandyE
It does completely depend upon the epistemological referent. Typically, one does not think of God (at least on average) as a logically necessary being. So he will say "God does exist" or "God does not exist." Now he may rightly say the term "God," meaning simply the creator of the universe, may possibly not exist, but upon reflection, realize that's metaphysically impossible. At that point, he may embrace "God does not exist" as logically impossible. However, if one starts with (or later discovers) the term "God" meaning "a logically necessary being," I think that would also be correct, obviously.

Right.  To see the contradiction one must understand the definition of the terms being employed.  It's like a person who is asked to judge the truth value of the proposition "I have lots of water but I'm out of H2O."  This statement is contradictory, but one would not recognize this if they did not know that water and H2O have the same referent.

I was reading up on this a little, and it seems, just to be clear, that the proposition "I have lots of water, but I am out of H2O" is broadly logically impossible, whereas if we tease out H2O's referent to create the non-synonymous (but logically equivalent) proposition, "I have lots of water, but I am out of water," this is strictly logically impossible.

With respect to God's existence, I think the proposition "God does not exist" is broadly logically impossible, since there is no possible world which contains this proposition as a true conjunct. Yet it's important to note the "teased-out" version, "A logically necessarily existent being does not exist" is both strictly logically impossible (as it is a self-contradiction), and not synonymous (though logically equivalent). It helps to distinguish these if only to avoid the charge of question-begging in the ontological argument. Logically equivalent propositions are not necessarily synonymous.
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TheQuestion

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“God does not exist” is a contradiction
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2011, 02:04:31 am »
RandyE wrote: With respect to God's existence, I think the proposition "God does not exist" is broadly logically impossible, since there is no possible world which contains this proposition as a true conjunct. Yet it's important to note the "teased-out" version, "A logically necessarily existent being does not exist" is both strictly logically impossible (as it is a self-contradiction), and not synonymous (though logically equivalent). It helps to distinguish these if only to avoid the charge of question-begging in the ontological argument. Logically equivalent propositions are not necessarily synonymous.

Here's a fun game that shows why the ontological argument isn't persuasive:

With respect to (anything imaginary) existence, I think the proposition "(anything imaginary) does not  exist" is broadly logically impossible, since there is no possible world  which contains this proposition as a true conjunct.

In that way, you can define anything into existence.  Just say
"it is necessary that x exists"
"it is possible that x exists"
"x exists"

If you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go define Cthulhu into existence.  Look out, world!

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troyjs

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“God does not exist” is a contradiction
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2011, 10:41:11 pm »
The idea that Water is necessarily H20, is denied by many philosophers. Thanks to Quine, it seems that we can reduce all propositions to synthetic propositions, even the proposition that, all bachelors are unmarried men.
The debate here is between Willard Van Orman Quine, and Saul Kripke.

If we want to allow for analytic propositions, then we can in fact argue that it is logically impossible for a Prime Minister to be  Prime Number. What is a Prime Minister, and what are prime numbers? There can be no meaningful proposition, unless the words contained therein have meaning and intension. A prime minister, and a prime number, are not merely objects named, but also objects described, by their respective definitions.
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“I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels” -- John Calvin