dylan_kittrell

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Re: DEBATE: Problem of Gratuitous Suffering - Comments Thread
« Reply #135 on: August 09, 2014, 08:57:52 pm »
Brett's point was that until the definitional issue was resolved, the debate wouldn't touch a philosophically robust view of God, which, for all we know, might escape all of GR's criticisms.

Alright. So, Brett might have been worried that GR's definition of omnipotence was spelled out in such a way as to leave open the possibility that the God who has that property might, in the end, avoid GR's criticisms. But, how did GR spell out his definition? He just said that it included the ability to do anything that it is logical possible that he do. What's wrong with that? Logical contradiction can be sensibly taken to encompass explicit and implicit contradiction; hence, why it can be sensibly said that both "some married person is also bachelor" is a logical contradiction and "some married person is also not a married person." One contradiction is just implicit and the other explicit; but, they are both contradictions, both of which are equally impossible to bring about.  My point is that Brett just seemed to be nitpicking, which ultimately just wasted space.

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SoyElqueSoy

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Re: DEBATE: Problem of Gratuitous Suffering - Comments Thread
« Reply #136 on: August 09, 2014, 10:21:04 pm »
... So, for instance, we can make the explicit logical contradiction "there exists a person who is not married and who is married" into an implicit one by substituting the qualifier "not married" with the qualifier "bachelor," so that we now have "there exists a person who is a bachelor and who is married." But surely we can all see that the fact that a proposition's logical contradictoriness is "harder to spot," so to speak, doesn't make it any more actualizable. It doesn't matter if the contradiction is entailed or is explicit: it just is not actualizable either way.


This was Brett´s point. That (strict) logical contradiction is not the correct type of impossibility (or possibility). If it was God could create a married bachelor, and, we all agree that´s not the case (except perhaps, for those who have a Decartean notion of omnipotence - God can do everything and anything ).

On a thread about omnipotence, there is an unwritten rule here, no one will yield and threads will die only out of exhaustion, so, feel free to go for it.




So,  I'm still unclear on what is exactly the point to be made here?

Brett´s critique on this specific matter is constituted by other points he made, but, let´s just focus on this one:
Quote
If omnipotence is the power to do anything logically possible, then, strictly speaking, God can create a married bachelor.

A:
1. God can do everything/anything that is (strictly) logically possible.

2. God can create a married bachelor.

Strictly logically speaking, both premises above are not formally contradictory, and no implicit contradiction can be derived from them, just by using logical inference.

it is not like

B:

3. If all men are mortal, then, socrates is mortal

4. all men are mortal.

5. Socrates is not mortal

The above set of premises is not explicitly logically contradictory, but, from 3 and 4 we can infer

6. Socrates is mortal, thus  we can explicit the implicit contradiction.

Argument A, is more like the following argument:

C:

7. George is older than Paul

8. Paul is older than  nick

9. George is not older than nick.

The set C is not explicitely contradictory, nor , formally contradictory, and the contradiction can not be explicited by only using logical inference, as we did with set B.

To make it explicit we need to add a premise that expresses a necessary truth, like the following:

10. If George is older than Paul, and Paul is older than Nick, then George is older than Nick.

And,  10 is necessary , not in the strict logical sense, but in the broad logical sense, which includes metaphysical possibility.


In the case of set A, we need to add a necessary truth (in this case, an analytic one), something like:


N:All Bachelors are unmarried.it is broadly logically necessary that no Bachelor is married.

This again is not strictly logically necessary, but, broadly logically necessary.

And this broadly logically necessary premise (N) added to 1  and 2 then yields the contradiction.


So if GR was using (strict) logical possibility, when defining God´s omnipotence, then it is too wide a definition (God can create anything, including incoherent things, like square circles, and, married bachelors), and, as Brett stated, it is most plausible that no one should believe such a being exists (some do), and that he is not defending such a being.

Hope this helps.






« Last Edit: August 09, 2014, 10:54:30 pm by SoyElqueSoy »

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dylan_kittrell

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Re: DEBATE: Problem of Gratuitous Suffering - Comments Thread
« Reply #137 on: August 09, 2014, 10:58:11 pm »
Thanks, but I'm pretty sure that this has become much more complicated than it ever needed to be. When GR said that God, being omnipotent, can do whatever it is logically possible for him to do, I think we all know exactly what he meant, having all read enough Craig, Plantinga, et al. to get what is commonly meant by that particular description. I mean sure, we could go on to define in depth each and every "omni"; and in some cases in might be absolutely essential to do so. But, I just think it was clear that GR's arguments had nothing to do with the particularities of the definition of omnipotent. True, if GR thought that God could do anything, including the logically impossible, then we would run into difficulties. But, we just all know exactly what is meant by saying the ability to do whatever it is logically possible to do.

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Bertuzzi

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Re: DEBATE: Problem of Gratuitous Suffering - Comments Thread
« Reply #138 on: August 09, 2014, 11:20:20 pm »
If omnipotence is taken to mean the ability to perform any action it is logically possible for that being to perform, then McEar, a being that can only scratch his ear, would qualify as such upon scratching his ear. Brett's point was that we need to be rigorous in our definitions and concepts. I see nothing wrong with pointing that out.
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dylan_kittrell

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Re: DEBATE: Problem of Gratuitous Suffering - Comments Thread
« Reply #139 on: August 09, 2014, 11:54:50 pm »
If omnipotence is taken to mean the ability to perform any action it is logically possible for that being to perform, then McEar, a being that can only scratch his ear, would qualify as such upon scratching his ear.

Good point. The sloppiness of my wording would allow for that. How about this? An omnipotent being is one that can actualize any logically possible state of affairs. This includes both the inability to bring about a state of affairs which is implicitly logically contradictory and the inability to bring about one which is explicitly logically contradictory.

I love analytic philosophy. But, we don't have to define each and every term in all of their nuances if we are in a context that includes people who are likely to understand what is meant by them.

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Bertuzzi

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Re: DEBATE: Problem of Gratuitous Suffering - Comments Thread
« Reply #140 on: August 10, 2014, 12:07:43 am »
The problem is that definition falls prey to Brett's original point: God can't actualize the logically possible state of affairs not being God. That SOA is logically possible in the strict and broad sense, yet we wouldn't say that God is therefore impotent.
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SoyElqueSoy

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Re: DEBATE: Problem of Gratuitous Suffering - Comments Thread
« Reply #141 on: August 10, 2014, 01:01:42 am »
Thanks, but I'm pretty sure that this has become much more complicated than it ever needed to be. When GR said that God, being omnipotent, can do whatever it is logically possible for him to do, I think we all know exactly what he meant, having all read enough Craig, Plantinga, et al. to get what is commonly meant by that particular description. I mean sure, we could go on to define in depth each and every "omni"; and in some cases in might be absolutely essential to do so. But, I just think it was clear that GR's arguments had nothing to do with the particularities of the definition of omnipotent. True, if GR thought that God could do anything, including the logically impossible, then we would run into difficulties. But, we just all know exactly what is meant by saying the ability to do whatever it is logically possible to do.

Plantinga, Craig et al , at the very least, mean Broadly logically possible (which includes metaphysically possible), never strictly logically possible. And, for the most part, they at least, make the clarification, at some point, rather early than late, in their written work , if they are going to talk about logically possible, with out qualification.

 

« Last Edit: August 10, 2014, 01:10:32 am by SoyElqueSoy »

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dylan_kittrell

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Re: DEBATE: Problem of Gratuitous Suffering - Comments Thread
« Reply #142 on: August 10, 2014, 02:01:57 am »
The problem is that definition falls prey to Brett's original point: God can't actualize the logically possible state of affairs not being God. That SOA is logically possible in the strict and broad sense, yet we wouldn't say that God is therefore impotent.

I don't think this was Brett's initial point, but either way its unclear, perhaps, just because of the wording exactly how that state of affairs is not logically contradictory. Do you mean to say that the state of affairs "God not being God" is one that is not logically contradictory (but that nevertheless couldn't be brought about by God)? Sorry, but it's wholly obvious that that state of affairs is logically contradictory; and, for that reason, it couldn't be brought about by God, just as the state of affairs of "lamps not being lamps" or "beetles not being beetles" couldn't be brought about by God. These are all, it seems to me, explicit contradictions, all in the form "As not being As" or "Bs not being Bs." Any world in which an A (or groups of As) is actualized, it (or they) cannot also be not an A. If God exists, then, necessarily, it cannot be the case that he is not God; that is logically impossible; and, thus it cannot be brought about by God.


I'm well aware of nuances to the definition of omnipotence. For instance, there are states of affairs which are logically coherent, but that nevertheless it would be incoherent for God to bring them about. (This is perhaps the point you were trying to make.) An uncaused state of affairs is not logically contradictory (that is, it doesn't explicitly reveal or deductively imply a logical contradiction), but nevertheless, if God was said to have brought it about, it would be incoherent. Sure. This would involve adding to my definition. But, again, tons of things could be added to most of the words we discuss in philosophy to make clearer what we're trying to say and to make what we're saying more objection proof. Still doesn't necessitate that we do it every given opportunity, especially one in which it is likely that those involved have a somewhat robust and learned background on the subject's terminology. Terms that are likely to have controversial definitions, or terms that one is planning to use in an idiosyncratic way, etc. would all require that we take the time to show exactly what we mean when using those terms by spelling them out in their fullest possible way. "Omnipotence" just doesn't strike me as one of those words, at least, in this context.