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Ontological Argument

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belorg

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« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2011, 09:07:29 am »

SnoopDoug wrote:
Quote from: belorg
I don't think 'a unicorn is a concrete entity' is a true proposition, but never mind.


Do you at least agree that there is a difference between "a unicorn is a concrete entity" and "a unicorn exists"?

No, as a matter of fact, I don't, but this goes beyond the scope of this thread.

Obviously there's no set of all sets.  If my argument implied this, then I would indeed be suspect to Russell's paradox.  However, why do states of affairs have to imply states of affairs about states of affairs, and so on?  Why not just end the regress with a maximal description of reality, as in most theories of possible worlds?


Because you consider propositions to be existing entities, so a maximal description of reality entails an infinity of entities, not just an infinity of possibilities.

But, as I said, discussing this would take us too far off topic.

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SnoopDoug

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« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2011, 09:44:10 am »
Let's get back on track, then.  Do you deny both premises of the argument, or only one or the other?  Or, rather, do you accept the argument, but instead maintain it is only of trivial significance?

I'm asking you these questions directly to make sure I don't misconstrue your objections.

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belorg

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« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2011, 09:57:33 am »

SnoopDoug wrote: Let's get back on track, then.  Do you deny both premises of the argument, or only one or the other?  Or, rather, do you accept the argument, but instead maintain it is only of trivial significance?

I'm asking you these questions directly to make sure I don't misconstrue your objections.

I do not deny any of the premises. I just think that premise 1 is controversial. Someone who is not a realist with respect to abstract objects will have no reason to accept 1.
If you want this argument to be the base for a discussion on the conceptualist argument, you have to treat abstract objects as real entities, but the argument does not show they are, rather, for the argument to work, abstract objects have to be real.
So, that's why I honestly do not see how this argument contributes anything to that discussion. If you have a separate argument for the reality of AO's, then thay separate argument alreday gives you the basis for discussio you need, and if you haven't got a separate argument, this OA does not work.
That's why I think it is trivial.
Now, I am not trying to refute the argument, I just wanted to give my thoughts on it, as you asked.
I must admit that I do not care too much for ontological arguments anyway. As an atheist, I would have no problem granting you the argument, because I don't think it makes the case for theism any stronger. But, that is of course just my layman's opinion, I am not an expert.






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SnoopDoug

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« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2011, 10:25:34 am »
(1) is just a restatement of the so-called "indispensability argument."  It's not a separate argument, so I guess we diverge on the level of significance we grant to the argument.  Our dispositions toward that aren't pertinent, though.  Something trivially true is true enough.

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

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belorg

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« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2011, 11:11:35 am »
SnoopDoug wrote: (1) is just a restatement of the so-called "indispensability argument."  It's not a separate argument, so I guess we diverge on the level of significance we grant to the argument.  Our dispositions toward that aren't pertinent, though.  Something trivially true is true enough.


Yes, I guess we diverge on the level of significance. I don't think this argument has any significance, but, as I said, that's just my opinion, I don't think any ontological argument has any significance for that matter.



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SnoopDoug

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« Reply #20 on: August 17, 2011, 03:10:36 am »
Well, I can at least thank you for the cordial discussion.  I'm curious, though: why do you think ontological arguments lack significance?  Wouldn't a maximally great being's existence be highly significant?

I also feel we can think of the argument I defend as a sort of C-inductive argument, as Richard Swinburne would put it.  If God exists, we would expect there to be at least one necessary entity.  Hence, the existence of a necessary entity provides more evidence that God exists than would be the case if there were no necessary entity.  It's not a demonstrable proof, of course, but it's not intended to be.
"Preach the Gospel at all times; and if necessary, use words." -St. Francis of Assisi

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belorg

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« Reply #21 on: August 17, 2011, 03:28:03 am »

SnoopDoug wrote: Well, I can at least thank you for the cordial discussion.  I'm curious, though: why do you think ontological arguments lack significance?  Wouldn't a maximally great being's existence be highly significant?

Yes, but no ontological argument I know of establishes that such a being exists.

I also feel we can think of the argument I defend as a sort of C-inductive argument, as Richard Swinburne would put it.  If God exists, we would expect there to be at least one necessary entity.  Hence, the existence of a necessary entity provides more evidence that God exists than would be the case if there were no necessary entity.


In that sense it could be a sort of C-inductive argument I guess, that is, if the argument really proved that a necessary being exists, which it doesn't. So as a C-inductive argument it might work, just as if atheists could prove there is no necessary being would be a C-inductive argument against God



It's not a demonstrable proof, of course, but it's not intended to be.


Well, maybe the argument would be more impressive to someone who dismisses necessary beings, but the way  I see it, whether necessary beings exist or not is irrelevant for my own 'beliefs'.

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SnoopDoug

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« Reply #22 on: August 17, 2011, 04:07:31 am »
belorg wrote:  Yes, but no ontological argument I know of establishes that such a being exists.


Oh, I thought you meant that even if the ontological argument were correct that it would still be insignificant.  Of course, I realize as an atheist you don't accept the argument.

In that sense it could be a sort of C-inductive argument I guess, that is, if the argument really proved that a necessary being exists, which it doesn't.


I admit I'm a bit perplexed.  Didn't you say you accepted both premises of my argument?  If so, the conclusion that a necessary entity follows by the rules of logic.

So as a C-inductive argument it might work, just as if atheists could prove there is no necessary being would be a C-inductive argument against God.


Indeed.

Well, maybe the argument would be more impressive to someone who dismisses necessary beings, but the way  I see it, whether necessary beings exist or not is irrelevant for my own 'beliefs'.


It's true at least prima facie that atheists can believe in one or more necessary entities.  That was Quine's view, after all.
"Preach the Gospel at all times; and if necessary, use words." -St. Francis of Assisi

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belorg

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« Reply #23 on: August 17, 2011, 05:24:01 am »

SnoopDoug wrote:
Quote from: belorg
Yes, but no ontological argument I know of establishes that such a being exists.


Oh, I thought you meant that even if the ontological argument were correct that it would still be insignificant.  Of course, I realize as an atheist you don't accept the argument.


Ontological arguments, if they work, prove that a greatest possible being possibly exists. This seems so trivial to me that I cannot understand the yme and effort sepnt on them.



In that sense it could be a sort of C-inductive argument I guess, that is, if the argument really proved that a necessary being exists, which it doesn't.


I admit I'm a bit perplexed.  Didn't you say you accepted both premises of my argument? [/QUOTE]

No, I said that I don't deny any of the premises but that premise one seems controversial to me, so I cannot prove premise 1 is wrong, that's a matter of interpretation. Now, since I have no problems with neecssary beings, I can accept your premises for the sake of the argument, but I don't think there is a compeeling reason to belive premise 1 is true.




So as a C-inductive argument it might work, just as if atheists could prove there is no necessary being would be a C-inductive argument against God.


Indeed.

Well, maybe the argument would be more impressive to someone who dismisses necessary beings, but the way  I see it, whether necessary beings exist or not is irrelevant for my own 'beliefs'.


It's true at least prima facie that atheists can believe in one or more necessary entities.  That was Quine's view, after all.
[/QUOTE]

Especially since your argument entails that the necessary entity can be anything.
But, actually, I do not really 'believe' in any sort of necssary entity, that is, I think it is possible that such an entity or such entities exist, but they are not vital to my 'beliefs'.

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SnoopDoug

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« Reply #24 on: August 17, 2011, 06:42:35 am »
belorg wrote:  Ontological arguments, if they work, prove that a greatest possible being possibly exists. This seems so trivial to me that I cannot understand the yme and effort sepnt on them.


I won't labor on this point, but it's the possibility of a maximally great being in conjunction with S5 that leads to the conclusion that such an entity actually exists.  In other words, a maximally great being is either necessary or impossible, since contingency would entail that a thing is less than maximally great.  What the atheist should say is that this entity is impossible.

No, I said that I don't deny any of the premises . . .


Gotcha.
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belorg

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« Reply #25 on: August 17, 2011, 07:09:58 am »
SnoopDoug wrote:
Quote from: belorg
Ontological arguments, if they work, prove that a greatest possible being possibly exists. This seems so trivial to me that I cannot understand the time and effort spent on them.


I won't labor on this point, but it's the possibility of a maximally great being in conjunction with S5 that leads to the conclusion that such an entity actually exists.


The conjunction with S5 presupposes that the necessary existence of a concrete super-powerful being is possible, which is really something I would like to know.


In other words, a maximally great being is either necessary or impossible, since contingency would entail that a thing is less than maximally great.  What the atheist should say is that this entity is impossible.


Contingency would mean that said being  is as great as possible if necessary existence is impossible.
So, 'maximally great cannot mean anything more than 'as great as possible' and since we have no way of knowing which of such an alleged supreme being's attributes is actually possible, the conclusion of any OA is insignificant.

And, if we use modal logic, by S5, all atheists reallyhave to say that such a being is possibly impossible, beacsue under S5, 'possibly impossible' equals 'impossible.'
And I happen to think it is not just possibly impossible, but it is plausibly impossible.


No, I said that I don't deny any of the premises . . .


Gotcha.
[/QUOTE]

Which is not the same as saying I accept them. It just means that, since I cannot prove them wrong, I am willing to accept them for the sake of the argument

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SnoopDoug

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« Reply #26 on: August 18, 2011, 01:42:59 am »
belorg, I won't pursue Plantinga's ontological argument any further at this time, but I appreciate your contribution.

By the way, I'm starting another thread in the Leibnizian section to see if any further interest has developed in the Modal Third Way.  Of course, you're welcome to comment.
"Preach the Gospel at all times; and if necessary, use words." -St. Francis of Assisi

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damien

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« Reply #27 on: August 18, 2011, 03:57:38 am »
1. It is possible that 3 is the hundred billionth decimal place digit of pi
2. If it is possible that
3 is the hundred billionth decimal place digit of pi, then 3 being the hundred billionth decimal place digit of pi is true in some possible world.
3. If
3 being the hundred billionth decimal place digit of pi is true in some possible world, then it is in every possible world.  
4. If
3 being the hundred billionth decimal place digit of pi is true in every possible world, 3 is the hundred billionth decimal place digit of pi in the actual world.

now I can do that for literally any digit.

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cutz22

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« Reply #28 on: August 28, 2011, 02:16:21 pm »
The first premise of that argument is only true epistemically warpedfx, so that 2 does not follow from 1. Either that or you mean it metaphysically in which case it's just a false premise.

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SnoopDoug

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« Reply #29 on: August 30, 2011, 02:30:32 am »

Right.  I'm not convinced there is any parity between ontological arguments and the parodies of these arguments.

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