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Ontological Argument

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sonny

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1st attempt at philosophy
« on: March 17, 2011, 07:30:39 am »
Hi, I'm an Atheist and I thought I'd give this a crack as everyone has been doing for centuries apparently.
The problem for me is the word "being". Can someone give me a definition of this? It seems to me a concept entirely made up by human thoughts. Let me describe how I conceptualise a being.... something like ourselves that has a mind and can think, but that also could be around us, unseen, or in another world, it only has to have a "mind", when a mind is such an abstract idea anyway. The way I see it there is no such thing as a mind. We have a brain, which makes thoughts, and that's it. Therefore there really is no such thing as a mind. Therefore no such thing as a being. Therefore it is not possible for there to be a maximally great being.

Bracing for all those people schooled in philosophical argument to shoot me down!

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troyjs

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1st attempt at philosophy
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2011, 10:02:09 am »
hi sonny.

A being is a thing....seriously.

Any noun can be said to be a being, as long as they have an identity.
For example, people are beings, trees are beings, cars are beings, etc. It doesn't have to be a mind, nor have a mind.

As for minds, a mind is a non-physical being, or non-physical part of a being, which has thoughts. One of the reasons why people believe in minds, is because of the belief that thoughts are non-physical. For example, we can't weigh, test, or measure the physical properties of thoughts. We can't make a wooden box and fill it up with thoughts. We can however learn the physical properties of the brain, and some people wouldn't say that brains make thoughts, but that the physico-chemical structure of the brain can change ever so slightly, so that the living organism acts differently. But anyway, I hope I answered your question.

If you are interested in learning more philosophy, then I would suggest reading some internet articles and books on these subjects and people:
1) Laws of Logic
2) Wikipedia or Stanford articles on: Plato and Aristotle
3) More on Forms and Matter
4) More on Essence and Existence
5) Wikipedia or Stanford articles on: Rationalism and Empiricism
6) Difference between Analytic statements and Synthetic statements
7) Articles on Immanuel Kant

Since you are on this forum, why don't you become more familiar with the Thomistic arguments? William Lane Craig's debates are a good and interesting introduction to them, and you could read the articles on the Thomas Aquinas and his arguments at wikipedia and at plato.stanford.

For an interesting introduction to the 2 major wings of philosophy (rationalism and empiricism), logic, I would recommend listening to John Robbins mp3's at Trinity Foundation. They are obviously biased, but you won't find anything better on the web, imo.

8) Articles on David Hume
9) Articles on Gottfried Leibniz
10) Articles on Willard Van Orman Quine

Apart from websites and mp3s, I recommend picking up an introduction to philosophy book. Apart from this, all I can say is that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I challenge you to find any basis for your beliefs which are as strong Jesus Christ is the basis of mine.

Take care and all the best.
“Knowledge of the sciences is so much smoke apart from the heavenly science of Christ” -- John Calvin.
“I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels” -- John Calvin

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Robert Harris

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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2011, 06:09:04 pm »
sonny wrote: Hi, I'm an Atheist and I thought I'd give this a crack as everyone has been doing for centuries apparently.
The problem for me is the word "being". Can someone give me a definition of this? It seems to me a concept entirely made up by human thoughts. Let me describe how I conceptualise a being.... something like ourselves that has a mind and can think, but that also could be around us, unseen, or in another world, it only has to have a "mind", when a mind is such an abstract idea anyway. The way I see it there is no such thing as a mind. We have a brain, which makes thoughts, and that's it. Therefore there really is no such thing as a mind. Therefore no such thing as a being. Therefore it is not possible for there to be a maximally great being.

Bracing for all those people schooled in philosophical argument to shoot me down!


Don't be shy, and welcome!

A couple of quick things. You said:

It seems to me a concept entirely made up by human thoughts."


Well, there are many, many things that are concepts entirely made up by human thoughts! So I am not entirely sure what your problem is, other than a lack of a better definition, or philosophical definition, that what you already have.

The way I see it there is no such thing as a mind. We have a brain,  which makes thoughts, and that's it. Therefore there really is no such  thing as a mind.


Basically what you are doing here is just asserting that minds do not exist because you know of the brains functions and therefore a mind cannot exist. You have to do more than assert, you have to lay out reasons why the mind is all there is and such a concept of mind cannot exist for x reason(s).

So, onto your question about what a being is. Here is the wiki article which is decent. "Being" can vary. It can refer to something that actually exists such as people or just abstract concepts such as a Pegasus. Sometimes when discussing the Trinity I'll describe a being simply (probably to simple) as "what something is."
Who needs cable when you can watch Dr. Craig all day long on YouTube?
-ebeatworld