Thomas Larsen

  • **
  • 273 Posts
    • View Profile
    • Thomas Larsen
(Sound?) parody of Plantinga's O.A.
« on: January 29, 2012, 05:58:55 am »

Alvin Plantinga’s ontological argument can be stated as follows:

  1. A being has maximal greatness if it is omnipotent, omniscient, and wholly good in every possible world.
  2. It is possible that there is a being that has maximal greatness.
  3. Therefore, possibly, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and wholly good being exists.
  4. Therefore, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and wholly good being exists.
  5. Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent, and wholly good being exists.

Here’s a parody of that argument, with essentially the same form but  “maximal ungreatness” substituted for “maximal greatness” and “evil”  substituted for “good”:

  1. A being has maximal ungreatness if it is omnipotent, omniscient, and wholly evil in every possible world.[1]
  2. It is possible that there is a being that has maximal ungreatness.
  3. Therefore, possibly, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and wholly evil being exists.
  4. Therefore, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and wholly evil being exists.
  5. Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent, and wholly evil being exists.

Of course, Plantinga, like myself, would reject (10). So, if he is right, (7) must be false. But, a priori, there seems to be no good reason to think that (2)—It is possible that there is a being that has maximal greatness—is true and (7)—It is possible that there is a being that has maximal ungreatness—is  false. So I don’t think Plantinga’s ontological argument is  particularly helpful in establishing either God’s existence or God’s  goodness.

  1. I take  it that a evil being who existed not just in one possible world but in  all possible worlds would be more “ungreat” than an evil being which  existed merely in one or a few possible worlds.
Thomas Larsen
tomlarsen.org

1

Thomas Larsen

  • **
  • 273 Posts
    • View Profile
    • Thomas Larsen
(Sound?) parody of Plantinga's O.A.
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2012, 05:59:56 am »
If it be objected that “ungreat” is not a word, I shall appeal to the Shakespeare Defence.

Tom.

Thomas Larsen
tomlarsen.org

2

Kix

  • **
  • 316 Posts
    • View Profile
(Sound?) parody of Plantinga's O.A.
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2012, 04:57:09 am »
Is this meant to be responded to? Is it serious? I'm not saying this to offend you, it's an honest question.

   

   "Ungreatness" would seem to imply privation of greatness to at least some degree and being "maximally ungreat" would be equivalent to absolute privation such that a thing has no power at all, no presence, no knowledge and wouldn't be necessary. This idea is incoherent as a thing that lacks presence or powers seems to be nothing which isn't a possible entity since it's "not anything."

   

   Evil inherently makes no sense other than being a privation of the good and so a maximally great being would not have the lack entailed by being evil but would rather be what evil is a privation of, namely the good.

3

dadalus

  • **
  • 400 Posts
    • View Profile
(Sound?) parody of Plantinga's O.A.
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2012, 07:45:19 am »
Even if you take out the term great or ungreat and insert any maximal thing: most red, dirtiest, most feminine, most alive, whatever, the onto fails because it rests on the fault that "possibly necessary= necessary".

   Theists simply define 'great' to mean the god they beleive in, but the greatest possible being might actually and necessarily restricted to the laws of a greater law: that of reality. Maybe the greatest being was steve jobs? Maybe he was literally the fully greatest a single being could be based on the laws of the universe. Or maybe you?

   The point is, there is no rule that, for example, the most powerful being must also be the most intelligent or most good, especially according to a talking apes assessment.

4

Kix

  • **
  • 316 Posts
    • View Profile
(Sound?) parody of Plantinga's O.A.
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2012, 04:42:53 pm »
dadalus wrote: Even if you take out the term great or ungreat and insert any maximal thing: most red, dirtiest, most feminine, most alive, whatever, the onto fails because it rests on the fault that "possibly necessary= necessary"

   Maximal power/presence/knowledge would put a being in any possible world because a being without those wouldn't hypothetically exist in some possible worlds, I suppose. Additionally, if moral good is taken as absolute and the theoretical being was the ontic source of moral good, then we could have good reason to think the moral laws wouldn't change in possible worlds.

   

   I don't see how maximal redness would even be a maximal property because red isn't a property a transcendent unrestricted being would necessarily have. What even is maximal redness? Just the concept of pure red? What about dirtiness? Doesn't a physical being get dirty? Couldn't you always get dirtier? The idea doesn't even really make sense, whereas I can at least know in principal what Plantinga's maximal properties are supposed to mean.

   

   The things you're proposing I'm not even sure make sense, or by nature the transcendent being wouldn't have due to being immaterial essentially since the being is supposed to be necessary and the physical world is contingent.

   

   
Theists simply define 'great' to mean the god they beleive in, but the greatest possible being might actually and necessarily restricted to the laws of a greater law: that of reality. Maybe the greatest being was steve jobs? Maybe he was literally the fully greatest a single being could be based on the laws of the universe. Or maybe you?

   If the being that is claimed to be maximally great doesn't have omni-properties and has external restrictions, then it wouldn't be maximally great.

   

   
The point is, there is no rule that, for example, the most powerful being must also be the most intelligent or most good, especially according to a talking apes assessment.

   Stop trusting your reason and ability to know, since you're a talking ape whose assessment can't be trusted. I don't need to do that.

5

Thomas Larsen

  • **
  • 273 Posts
    • View Profile
    • Thomas Larsen
(Sound?) parody of Plantinga's O.A.
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2012, 05:37:17 pm »
Kix wrote: Is this meant to be responded to? Is it serious? I'm not saying this to offend you, it's an honest question.


Yeah, it's serious. The argument could have been phrased better, however: "maximally wicked" would perhaps make it clearer than "maximally ungreat."

Kix wrote: "Ungreatness" would seem to imply privation of greatness to at least some degree and being "maximally ungreat" would be equivalent to absolute privation such that a thing has no power at all, no presence, no knowledge and wouldn't be necessary. This idea is incoherent as a thing that lacks presence or powers seems to be nothing which isn't a possible entity since it's "not anything."


Are power, presence, knowledge, and so on great-making properties that point to a good being? A maximally wicked being, for example, could have perfect power, presence, and knowledge and yet be absolutely evil. So by "ungreat" I don't mean "non-great," I mean "great but evil."

Kix wrote: Evil inherently makes no sense other than being a privation of the good and so a maximally great being would not have the lack entailed by being evil but would rather be what evil is a privation of, namely the good.


Are there any good, non-question-begging reasons to think that evil is a privation of good? As a Christian, I do think that evil is a privation or corruption of good; but the sceptic need not adopt that position.

Tom.
Thomas Larsen
tomlarsen.org

6

Kix

  • **
  • 316 Posts
    • View Profile
(Sound?) parody of Plantinga's O.A.
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2012, 07:38:08 pm »
tlarsen wrote: Are power, presence, knowledge, and so on great-making properties that point to a good being? A maximally wicked being, for example, could have perfect power, presence, and knowledge and yet be absolutely evil. So by "ungreat" I don't mean "non-great," I mean "great but evil."




   No, not in themselves. I think the when we think of good we're thinking of the way things ought-be morally as opposed to evil, where things are what morally ought-not-be.

   

   Do you think that if a person is torturing a child to death for fun that that ought-not-be? Do you have any good reason to think that our moral intuition is totally reversed?

   

   Additionally if the maximally great being is totally evil yet the source of all existence, wouldn't we be experiencing a world where there would be much more needless suffering? Being evil is also being unjust (which of course, is a privation of justice), so why wouldn't God just create people to suffer ceaselessly for no reason? The good is consistent with reason and order of which our world displays in its mathematical laws and logical structure.