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Ontological Argument

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Aaron Massey

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« on: May 10, 2012, 07:33:06 am »
Tell me if my path of thought is wrong..

I think about the ontological argument quite a bit and was thinking of easy ways to explain it.

One of those ways is the movie Unbreakable.


What happens in it is almost identical to the ontological argument for gods existence. (well close enough)

That is that bruce willis in the movie plays a maximally great human being physically, one that is un breakable. ( i wont give away the rest)    

As i thought about it as a example of sorts...it occurred to me if we look at what "being" is in the ontological argument it runs into alot of problems i think.

If using a possible world like our own to determine if something is likely to exist we have to consider that as far as we know in this world there are no other entity's apart from Human Beings.
There is little evidence to think any other beings exist except for humans to use "being" as the source of maximal greatness.  

So basically, how does it work that a neccesary being, be one that exists other than the only known being (human) that already excist in the real world, when there is no evidence for other possible beings?


Proverbs 8:30 "then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man."

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Being Vs Human being
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2012, 03:46:35 pm »
Hi Noraaron,

I like the movie reference, but I would argue that Bruce Willis is a quasi-maximally great being in the film.

I believe that its somewhat arbitrary what term we use, be it a maximally great being, thing, or person (as in something with a personality - not a human). Let's put this maximally great thing through the ontological argument (Plantinga's in this case), and see what we find:

   

1. It is possible that a maximally great thing exists.

       

2. If it is possible that a maximally great thing exists, then a maximally great thing exists in some possible world.

       

3. If a maximally great thing exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.

       

4. If a maximally great thing exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.

       

5. If a maximally great thing exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.

       

6. Therefore, a maximally great thing exists.


Ok, so by initial impressions, this proves the argument false by reductio ad absurdum. But think about what properties this maximally great thing would have? This thing must have necessary existence and omnipotence for starters. And because it created this universe, it must be a personal creator. I'm sure more attributes could be attributed to this thing, but I think the point is clear. This 'thing' is exactly what we would call God - making the point of calling it either a being or a thing moot.

An idea I find more interesting is why term God a being or thing at all? Shouldn't we instead define God as a "maximally great concept of a being" (or perhaps just a maximally greatest concept)? This would result in the conclusion of the OA to be that this concept does exist - not that the being (that the concept is of) exists. Any thoughts?
"And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night."
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Aaron Massey

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« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2012, 02:59:01 am »
TheDyslexicPoet wrote: Hi Noraaron,

I like the movie reference, but I would argue that Bruce Willis is a quasi-maximally great being in the film.

Agreed.

I believe that its somewhat arbitrary what term we use, be it a maximally great being, thing, or person (as in something with a personality - not a human). Let's put this maximally great thing through the ontological argument (Plantinga's in this case), and see what we find:

   

1. It is possible that a maximally great thing exists.

       

2. If it is possible that a maximally great thing exists, then a maximally great thing exists in some possible world.

       

3. If a maximally great thing exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.

       

4. If a maximally great thing exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.

       

5. If a maximally great thing exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.

       

6. Therefore, a maximally great thing exists.


Ok, so by initial impressions, this proves the argument false by reductio ad absurdum. But think about what properties this maximally great thing would have? This thing must have necessary existence and omnipotence for starters. And because it created this universe, it must be a personal creator. I'm sure more attributes could be attributed to this thing, but I think the point is clear. This 'thing' is exactly what we would call God - making the point of calling it either a being or a thing moot.

An idea I find more interesting is why term God a being or thing at all? Shouldn't we instead define God as a "maximally great concept of a being" (or perhaps just a maximally greatest concept)? This would result in the conclusion of the OA to be that this concept does exist - not that the being (that the concept is of) exists. Any thoughts?


I think i know what you mean...the being isnt the issue...it is the maximalness (not sure if that is a word) Which is shown.  

But for that to be true it still has to be based in something, and that something must be a being because of the criteria of being maximally benevolent...meaning the only things that are benevelont in this world is a being, like us or even animal beings...it cant be a thing etc..

So by the benevolent propertie of something being maximal, it need be, a being.

But the only only being i can come up with to even closely match is humans.

If we are in a Maximally great beings image/likeness, then we could simply claim a maximally great being should excist in the likeness of a unembodied man.

I suppose this gets to a juncture of not whether maximally great is possible....but whether dualism is true.

Because if dualism is true, then a maximally great being can be true as the rest of the argument is logical that something can be the greatest.
Proverbs 8:30 "then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man."