General Discussion

Choose Your Own Topic

Read 1552 times

Cata

  • **
  • 231 Posts
    • View Profile
Polytheism
« on: August 27, 2012, 07:45:48 pm »
I'm just wondering, is there any arguement that can be made for/against multiple necessary beings existing?
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.-1 Corinthians 1:18

1

troyjs

  • ***
  • 2753 Posts
    • View Profile
Polytheism
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2012, 07:56:20 pm »
Swinburne could argue that it is simpler to posit only 1 necessary being, than to posit many necessary beings.

Ockham might have said that if the necessary being is an explanation for a thing, then we would not need to posit more than 1 as an explanation. To believe in more than 1 would be gratuitous.

If these necessary beings are omnipotent, then one would be able to have power over the other. This is impossible, and therefore none has power over the other. If none has power over another, then it is not omnipotent. Therefore, there can not be more than 1 omnipotent, necessary being.
“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

2

Cata

  • **
  • 231 Posts
    • View Profile
Polytheism
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2012, 08:04:54 pm »
Therefore, there can not be more than 1 omnipotent, necessary being.

I like this point. But how do you determine that the only necessary being is omnipotent?

Is it because to create from nothing requires omnipotence? I would think that the "power" something has, such as a motor, is dependent on the physical condition, and that a motor is, in and of itself, not able to actually cause anything but rather to interact with the universe.

Thanks for the reply.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.-1 Corinthians 1:18

3

troyjs

  • ***
  • 2753 Posts
    • View Profile
Polytheism
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2012, 07:05:32 am »
If something were necessary, then it would be the only cause for why a possible thing existed or did not exist. This necessary being would be the only cause for the difference between 1 possible world and another possible world. The necessary bring would then be able to cause any possible thing to be true. Therefore, the necessary being would be omnipotent.
“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

4

GRWelsh

  • ***
  • 3607 Posts
    • View Profile
Polytheism
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2012, 09:04:14 am »

A being of goodness and light would seem to necessitate an opposing being of evil and darkness, in order to define it by a contrast.  Without evil, good is meaningless.  Without darkness, light obliterates itself.

However, another way to look at it is that these opposing concepts are hopelessly contingent, each upon the other.

The morning sun rose and burned off the ghosts; it seems they were nothing but shapes in the fog.

5

Cata

  • **
  • 231 Posts
    • View Profile
Polytheism
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2012, 02:12:24 pm »
A being of goodness and light would seem to necessitate an opposing being of evil and darkness, in order to define it by a contrast. Without darkness, light obliterates itself.

I don't see how this is the case. Darkness exists because light is not omnipresent.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.-1 Corinthians 1:18

6

Arthur42

  • ***
  • 1599 Posts
    • View Profile
Polytheism
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2012, 04:33:11 pm »
Am I right in remembering that Aristotle believed multiple unmoved movers were possible?

7

innerbling

  • ***
  • 1940 Posts
    • View Profile
Polytheism
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2012, 04:58:36 pm »
GRWelsh wrote: A being of goodness and light would seem to necessitate an opposing being of evil and darkness, in order to define it by a contrast.  Without evil, good is meaningless.  Without darkness, light obliterates itself.

Darkness is a description for lack of light i.e. lack of photons.
And evil is description for a lack of love, but both evil and darkness do not have independent ontological existence i.e. substance.

8

GRWelsh

  • ***
  • 3607 Posts
    • View Profile
Polytheism
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2012, 08:02:14 am »
Arthur42 wrote: Am I right in remembering that Aristotle believed multiple unmoved movers were possible?

Yes, you are correct, Arthur.  This is snipped from the dubious Wiki, yet matches up with what I remember from college:

Near the end of Metaphysics, Book Λ, Aristotle introduces a surprising question, asking "whether we have to suppose one such [mover] or more than one, and if the latter, how many."  Aristotle concludes that the number of all the movers equals the number of separate movements, and we can determine these by considering the mathematical science most akin to philosophy, i.e., astronomy. Although the mathematicians differ on the number of movements, Aristotle considers that the number of spheres would be 47 or 55. Nonetheless, he concludes his Metaphysics, Book Λ, with a quotation from the Iliad: “The rule of many is not good; one ruler let there be.”
The morning sun rose and burned off the ghosts; it seems they were nothing but shapes in the fog.

9

Keith_

  • ***
  • 4660 Posts
  • Be neither credulous nor skeptical. Be objective.
    • View Profile
Polytheism
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2012, 08:15:23 am »
troyjs wrote: Swinburne could argue that it is simpler to posit only 1 necessary being, than to posit many necessary beings.

Ockham might have said that if the necessary being is an explanation for a thing, then we would not need to posit more than 1 as an explanation. To believe in more than 1 would be gratuitous.

If these necessary beings are omnipotent, then one would be able to have power over the other. This is impossible, and therefore none has power over the other. If none has power over another, then it is not omnipotent. Therefore, there can not be more than 1 omnipotent, necessary being.
What if the beings were symbiotic with one another?
Eccl.1:9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

10

GRWelsh

  • ***
  • 3607 Posts
    • View Profile
Polytheism
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2012, 08:20:48 am »
Cata wrote: I don't see how this is the case. Darkness exists because light is not omnipresent.

innerbling wrote:
Darkness is a description for lack of light i.e. lack of photons.
And evil is description for a lack of love, but both evil and darkness do not have independent ontological existence i.e. substance.

It doesn't matter if darkness or evil are substances, or not.  What matters is if they are necessary.  If they are each just a 'lack of' a thing, then are these 'lacks' necessitated in order to contrast the things that are their opposite.  If light was omnipresent, everything would be equally bright and blinding.  There would be no contrast by which to see anything.  So, for things like light and goodness to even be recognized there has to be a lack, or a contrast, to define them.  So, I would say, in order for something to be defined as light, there has to be not-light, and for something to be defined as good, there has to be not-good.
The morning sun rose and burned off the ghosts; it seems they were nothing but shapes in the fog.

11

Archsage

  • ****
  • 8964 Posts
    • View Profile
Polytheism
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2012, 09:14:56 pm »
GRWelsh wrote:
Quote from: Cata
I don't see how this is the case. Darkness exists because light is not omnipresent.

innerbling wrote:
Darkness is a description for lack of light i.e. lack of photons.
And evil is description for a lack of love, but both evil and darkness do not have independent ontological existence i.e. substance.

It doesn't matter if darkness or evil are substances, or not.  What matters is if they are necessary.  If they are each just a 'lack of' a thing, then are these 'lacks' necessitated in order to contrast the things that are their opposite.  If light was omnipresent, everything would be equally bright and blinding.  There would be no contrast by which to see anything.  So, for things like light and goodness to even be recognized there has to be a lack, or a contrast, to define them.  So, I would say, in order for something to be defined as light, there has to be not-light, and for something to be defined as good, there has to be not-good.

No, see, you made a mistake. Before you were saying that there had to be a being of darkness and evil if there was a being of good and light. But that is not true. The opposite of existence is non-existence, not existence. That is to say, let us contrast a good, light being with its logical negation:

good, light, being
evil, dark, non-being.

See? There would be no such entity. But there would be evil and darkness... (assuming, perhaps erroneously, that "good" is a substance)
“It is of dangerous consequence to represent to man how near he is to the level of beasts, without showing him at the same time his greatness. It is likewise dangerous to let him see his greatness without his meanness..."  –Blaise Pascal

12

GRWelsh

  • ***
  • 3607 Posts
    • View Profile
Polytheism
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2012, 08:28:54 am »
Archsage wrote: No, see, you made a mistake. Before you were saying that there had to be a being of darkness and evil if there was a being of good and light. But that is not true. The opposite of existence is non-existence, not existence. That is to say, let us contrast a good, light being with its logical negation:

good, light, being
evil, dark, non-being.

See? There would be no such entity. But there would be evil and darkness... (assuming, perhaps erroneously, that "good" is a substance)

I disagree.  That's like saying the opposite of a hero [who has 'existence' among his qualities] is a non-existent villain.  What I am saying is that we are only able to say someone is a hero if other people have villainous, or at least non-heroic qualities.  There have to be beings who lack heroic qualities, in order for us to recognize one being as heroic.
The morning sun rose and burned off the ghosts; it seems they were nothing but shapes in the fog.