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Ontological Argument

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Διό

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Conservative Christian Objections?
« on: June 24, 2015, 12:05:59 am »
I was hoping some would be so kind as to share links and such (or even formulations) of the objections to the ontological argument as leveled by Plantinga from conservative Christian philosophers. Preferably not of the quality that inspired Dr. Craig's "...so bad I couldn't make them up" talk (no maximally great fried egg sandwiches please.) (I make them.) ;) but whatever you may be inclined to share really. What you have heard.

Pardon me if it has been discussed in a buried thread. I am new here, and it's not Easter.:)

All the best

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Διό

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Re: Conservative Christian Objections?
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2015, 11:19:58 pm »
To be specific, as the as argument is mostly (only?) challenged on premise 1. Anyone know of conservative Xns objecting to that premise? Perhaps on anti theistic-argumentation grounds even? If not, why don't theists like it more?

1 It is possible that a maximally great being exists.
2 If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
3 If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
4 If a maximally great being exists in every possible world then it exists in the actual world.
5 If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.
6 Therefore, a maximally great being exists.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2015, 11:23:04 pm by Διό »

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Percivale

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Re: Conservative Christian Objections?
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2016, 08:19:23 pm »
I, as a theist, necessarily have no objection to premise 1. I do, however, object to premise 3. It does not add to a being's greatness to exist in more non-actual possible worlds, and a non-actual possible world can have no influence on unrelated worlds. Those who accept premise 3 may be confusing possible worlds with actual ones; visualizing a multiverse in which many worlds actually exist; in which case a maximally great being would exist in all those actual worlds.

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Al Graham

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Re: Conservative Christian Objections?
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2016, 10:39:08 am »
In my view, as a conservative Christian, there are a number of problems with the Ontological Argument, as follows:

1. It assumes a hierarchical view of God, in which God is viewed as the greatest being in a pyramid of "greatnesses", hence we have the confusing term "maximal greatness".  This smacks of a view of God consistent with a certain medieval view of the Church and society, but it is, in my view, incoherent, as I have explained on another thread.  God is the source of all greatness and goodness, and therefore, objectively, is the only being who can be said to be 'great' or 'good'.  A hierarchical view of God is elitist and thus oppressive, and also seems to suggest that beings other than God can possess legitimate greatness independently of the greatness of God. 

2. It is presented as an a priori argument, but the terms used are ill defined and vague.  What precisely do we understand by 'greatness' and 'possible' as in the phrase "possible worlds"?  And how are those definitions justified?  An a priori argument can only work if its terms are justified beyond any reasonable refutation.

3. This is a rather 'emotional' objection, but I will mention it anyway.  The argument has all the air of desperation about it.  It smacks of an attempt to "define God into existence" and one has to wonder why this is needed.  What kind of deep doubts about the existence of God would drive someone to rely on such a method of reassurance?  Arguments for the existence of God based on the facts of reality, such as morality, free will, consciousness, reason, design and complexity and ultimate origin (and not forgetting personal experience) have a "real world" feel about them - a relevance.  The Ontological Argument simply comes across as desperate sophistry.  It opens up Christian apologetics to needless mockery (although, of course, I am well aware that many people dismiss Christian apologetics, simply because it's Christian, but taking that into account, we don't need to score "own goals").
To understand that logic must be valid is to see at once that mind cannot be alien to the nature of the universe. Many people think this is due to the fact that Nature produced the mind. But on the assumption that Nature is herself mindless, this provides no explanation. CS Lewis (abridged)

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aleph naught

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Re: Conservative Christian Objections?
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2016, 10:50:35 am »
To be specific, as the as argument is mostly (only?) challenged on premise 1. Anyone know of conservative Xns objecting to that premise? Perhaps on anti theistic-argumentation grounds even? If not, why don't theists like it more?

1 It is possible that a maximally great being exists.
2 If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
3 If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
4 If a maximally great being exists in every possible world then it exists in the actual world.
5 If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.
6 Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

The classic objection that everyone gives is that the possibility of a maximally great being's non-existence likewise entails that a maximally great being does not exist. But we have no more reason to think that the existence of a maximally great being is possible, than to think that the non-existence of a maximally great being is possible.

Likewise, there are theses like: It's possible that someone knows that there isn't a maximally great being, or that it's possible for gratuitous evil to exist. Both of these would entail that it's possible for a maximally great being to exist, and again they both seem at least as plausible as premise (1).

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Re: Conservative Christian Objections?
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2016, 11:14:58 am »
Plus you can always come up with other being, different than god, that can possibly exist necessarily. So proponent of OA must prove that god is the only being that may be necessary. So basically you have to know that god exists in order to use this argument for the existence of god... not too good argument I dare to say. But maybe I still miss something
« Last Edit: November 06, 2016, 11:18:42 am by UnreasonableFaith »
You see a grammar or spelling error in my post? Feel free to point it out, I'm still learning.

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ParaclitosLogos

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Re: Conservative Christian Objections?
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2016, 03:27:12 pm »
To be specific, as the as argument is mostly (only?) challenged on premise 1. Anyone know of conservative Xns objecting to that premise? Perhaps on anti theistic-argumentation grounds even? If not, why don't theists like it more?

1 It is possible that a maximally great being exists.
2 If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
3 If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
4 If a maximally great being exists in every possible world then it exists in the actual world.
5 If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.
6 Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

The greatest part of it is plain misunderstanding, from all sides. Nighty something percent of the time, people, will criticize it, out of sheer missunderstanding and ignorance, and, declare it defeated, long before they even have a clue what it is about.

Aside from this, the real problem is that there is no consensus on the approach to epistemically justify the possibility premise.That doesn´t imply there is no plausible way  to epistemically justify it (there are a couple), it´s just that there is no consensus how to go about it.

« Last Edit: November 06, 2016, 03:36:28 pm by ontologicalme »

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ParaclitosLogos

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Re: Conservative Christian Objections?
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2016, 04:22:35 pm »
In my view, as a conservative Christian, there are a number of problems with the Ontological Argument, as follows:

1. It assumes a hierarchical view of God, in which God is viewed as the greatest being in a pyramid of "greatnesses", hence we have the confusing term "maximal greatness".

But, Maximal and greatness are both English language words, right? wouldn´t English speaking people prima facie understand their basic meaning?

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This smacks of a view of God consistent with a certain medieval view of the Church and society, but it is, in my view, incoherent. 
The MOA is based on modern modal logic, and, Perfect being theology which is one of the mainstream models of God´s attributes, today.

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God is the source of all greatness and goodness, and therefore, objectively, is the only being who can be said to be 'great' or 'good'.
  There is no explicit contradiction from the argument to this principle.


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A hierarchical view of God is elitist and thus oppressive
What ever this is, it is not a critique of the argument.

 
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...and also seems to suggest that beings other than God can possess legitimate greatness independently of the greatness of God. 
Talk about vague, what ever legitimate  means, to you (can you justify that?), the argument is mute about it.


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2. It is presented as an a priori argument, but the terms used are ill defined and vague.  What precisely do we understand by 'greatness' and 'possible' as in the phrase "possible worlds"?

There is nothing ill defined about Maximal or greatness, these are common words, used by any competent English speaker, as well as Excellence.

And, possible worlds  is a well known concept in modern analytic philosophy, we can not blame arguments for our failing in reading the relevant material.

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And how are those definitions justified? 
Read the material.

Please, justify this assertion: "An a priori argument can only work if its terms are justified beyond any reasonable refutation." 

Also, please, define the terms "reasonable", "refutation", "work","a-priori", "argument", "terms",  and justify them beyond any reasonalbe refutation.

I take the assertion above meant as a universal principle, and, as such, clearly false.

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Take Gettier cases as a counterexample of your assertion

They are a-priori arguments against a certain conception of knowledge, yet, with out having anything even remotely close to the term knowledge definition being justified beyond any reasonable refutation, Gettier cases are solidly sucessfull to command the whole of the field of epistemology in heoric efforts to develop a new more complete and correct account of knowledge.

To say that " a priori argument can only work if its terms are justified beyond any reasonable refutation" commands no epistemic obligation.

« Last Edit: November 06, 2016, 11:25:52 pm by ontologicalme »