# Ontological Argument

#### igr

• 1055 Posts
##### Root Cause of Failure of the Ontological Argument
« on: December 20, 2016, 12:53:17 am »
The Modal Logic version (Alvin Plantinga and William Lane Craig) of the Ontological Argument has received much attention and seems to have caused grief.  But all attempts so far have not quite succeeded in demolishing the argument.  A different approach, as described below, may just be the successful attempt.  But it may take a little bit of thought to understand.  Try it.

1.  The construct known as a "Possible World" means either (a) the Actual World that we inhabit, or (b) a Hypothetical World.
2.  The construct known as a "Possible Worlds Set" means a set (of Possible Worlds) whose members all satisfy a particular set of criteria.
2a.  The construct known as the "All Possible Worlds Set" means the set that contains every Possible World with only one qualification - no logical contradiction is permitted in any Possible World.
3.  The construct known as "Necessary" means that that which is designated as Necessary in the context of a particular Possible Worlds Set, is true and identical for each and every member of that Possible Worlds Set.
3a.  Thus if a particular Possible World is contained in a particular Possible Worlds Set, in that Possible World, that which is designated as Necessary for that Possible Worlds Set, is true.  Otherwise that Possible World could not possibly have been included in that Possible Worlds Set.
4.  If a Possible World fails to qualify for inclusion in a particular Possible Worlds Set, this Possible World will qualify for inclusion in another (different) Possible Worlds Set which has its own (different) qualification criteria.  If we then have more than Possible Worlds Set, each such set will be a sub-set of the All Possible Worlds Set.
5.  If a Modal Logic argument uses the construct known as Necessary, then the Possible Worlds Set referenced by that argument can only be the one whose member qualification criteria include that this particular Necessary is true.

6.  For the Modal Logic Ontological Argument, the chosen Necessary is the existence of the Maximally Great Being.  It follows that the Possible Worlds Set that is referenced by this particular Modal Logic argument is the one whose members each contain the Maximally Great Being.  By being members of this Possible Worlds Set, each member has been previously assessed as containing the Maximally Great Being.  The Actual World that we inhabit has not been assessed as containing the Maximally Great Being and so is not a mermber of this Possible Worlds Set.  Hence this Modal Logic Ontological Argument cannot conclude anything about the Actual World that we inhabit other than that it has not been assessed as containing the Maximally Great Being.  Thus the Modal Logic Ontological Argument fails to show that the Maximally Greart Being exists in the Actual World that we inhabit.

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#### Dogbyte

• 394 Posts
##### Re: Root Cause of Failure of the Ontological Argument
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2016, 10:00:46 am »
So basically your argument hinges on (6) where it says the actual world hasnt been "assessed" to contain a Maximal Great being, therefore it cannot be part of the subset group of "all possible worlds"?

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#### igr

• 1055 Posts
##### Re: Root Cause of Failure of the Ontological Argument
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2016, 02:29:22 am »
In a word, yes.

If the Actual World that we inhabit has been assessed and shown to contain the MGB, it will be a member of the Possible Worlds Set that contains the Possible Worlds that contain the MGB.  In this case the Modal Logic Ontological Argument is moot because it has already been shown (by the assessment) that the MGB exists in the Actual World that we inhabit.

We can instead pre-suppose the untested assumption that the MGB exists in the Actual World that we inhabit, but nobody will do this because that would result in Question Begging.

So if there is no other way to get the MGB into this particular Possible Worlds Set (the set that contains all other Possible Worlds that contain the MGB) then I suggest that my argument succeeds.

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#### Dogbyte

• 394 Posts
##### Re: Root Cause of Failure of the Ontological Argument
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2016, 10:57:36 am »
In a word, yes.

If the Actual World that we inhabit has been assessed and shown to contain the MGB, it will be a member of the Possible Worlds Set that contains the Possible Worlds that contain the MGB.  In this case the Modal Logic Ontological Argument is moot because it has already been shown (by the assessment) that the MGB exists in the Actual World that we inhabit.

We can instead pre-suppose the untested assumption that the MGB exists in the Actual World that we inhabit, but nobody will do this because that would result in Question Begging.

So if there is no other way to get the MGB into this particular Possible Worlds Set (the set that contains all other Possible Worlds that contain the MGB) then I suggest that my argument succeeds.

Are you saying that a MGB must be seized by our 5 senses ('assessed', measured, tested for) before the Ontological Argument is to be viewed a success?

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#### igr

• 1055 Posts
##### Re: Root Cause of Failure of the Ontological Argument
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2016, 03:05:56 am »
It is fair enough to raise the matter of assessment, but that is not what my argument is about.  That would be a separate discussion.

In any case, an assessment attempt would produce one of these outcomes:

1.  The assessment shows that the MGB exists in the Actual World that we inhabit.  Therefore the Actual World that we inhabit would be included in the Possible Worlds Set (the set that contains all other Possible Worlds that contain the MGB).  But that is what the MLOA is attempting to establish, so the MLOA is then irrelevant because we have established (without using the MLOA) that the MGB exists in the Actual World that we inhabit.

2.  The assessment shows that the MGB does not exist in the Actual World that we inhabit. Therefore the Actual World that we inhabit would be excluded from the Possible Worlds Set (the set that contains all other Possible Worlds that contain the MGB).  So the Actual World that we inhabit would not be a member of the Possible Worlds Set being referenced by the MLOA with the consequence that the MLOA cannot conclude anything about the Actual World that we inhabit other than that it has been assessed as not containing the MGB.

3.  The assessment is unable to reach a conclusion (for example, maybe due to an unsuitable or unreliable assessment method, or inadequate or insufficient data).  In this case the Actual World that we inhabit cannot be included in the Possible Worlds Set (the set that contains all other Possible Worlds that contain the MGB).  So the Actual World that we inhabit would not be a member of the Possible Worlds Set being referenced by the MLOA with the consequence that the MLOA cannot conclude anything about the Actual World that we inhabit other than that it has not been assessed as containing the MGB.

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#### Dogbyte

• 394 Posts
##### Re: Root Cause of Failure of the Ontological Argument
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2016, 09:43:42 am »
It is fair enough to raise the matter of assessment, but that is not what my argument is about.  That would be a separate discussion.

In any case, an assessment attempt would produce one of these outcomes:

1.  The assessment shows that the MGB exists in the Actual World that we inhabit.  Therefore the Actual World that we inhabit would be included in the Possible Worlds Set (the set that contains all other Possible Worlds that contain the MGB).  But that is what the MLOA is attempting to establish, so the MLOA is then irrelevant because we have established (without using the MLOA) that the MGB exists in the Actual World that we inhabit.

2.  The assessment shows that the MGB does not exist in the Actual World that we inhabit. Therefore the Actual World that we inhabit would be excluded from the Possible Worlds Set (the set that contains all other Possible Worlds that contain the MGB).  So the Actual World that we inhabit would not be a member of the Possible Worlds Set being referenced by the MLOA with the consequence that the MLOA cannot conclude anything about the Actual World that we inhabit other than that it has been assessed as not containing the MGB.

3.  The assessment is unable to reach a conclusion (for example, maybe due to an unsuitable or unreliable assessment method, or inadequate or insufficient data).  In this case the Actual World that we inhabit cannot be included in the Possible Worlds Set (the set that contains all other Possible Worlds that contain the MGB).  So the Actual World that we inhabit would not be a member of the Possible Worlds Set being referenced by the MLOA with the consequence that the MLOA cannot conclude anything about the Actual World that we inhabit other than that it has not been assessed as containing the MGB.

I think what you mean by "assessment" is vital to your case. Are you assuming that a MGB cannot be adequately, and reliably assessed? If not, then what would you say to someone that stood behind #1 in your proposed assessment attempt explanation? Would you reject their methodology of assessment and with it, their proposed evidence based claims?

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#### igr

• 1055 Posts
##### Re: Root Cause of Failure of the Ontological Argument
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2016, 12:59:04 am »
I am making no assumption about the veracity of anybody's attempt to assess for the existence of the MGB in the Actual World that we inhabit.  That is a separate discussion/argument which is tangential to my MLOA argument.

If somebody believes he/she has been able to assess the existence of the MGB in the Actual World that we inhabit with the conclusion that it is true, then the MLOA is of no relevance to that assessment.  This person would not be arguing the MLOA.  There is no point/purpose in arguing the MLOA if one believes that one has already established via an assessment that the MGB exists in the Actual World that we inhabit.

My issue is about a person who argues the MLOA and who has therefore not already concluded that the MGB exists in the Actual World that we inhabit.  If I an arguing about the MLOA and somebody tells me that he/she believes (via his/her prior assessment) that the MGB exists in the Actual World that we inhabit, I won't be arguing against that belief, because that person is not arguing the MLOA.

I am not sure how else to say this, but the assessment is up to the person making the assessment.  I am making no assumption about adequate/reliable assessment of the MGB – it would suit my MLOA argument to accept any claimed assessment that the MGB exists in the Actual World that we inhabit, because that would make the MLOA redundant.

We could then discuss the assessment and claimed existence of the MGB, but that is a separate discussion.  If this is something that you would like to do, please start a new topic and we can discuss the details.

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#### igr

• 1055 Posts
##### Re: Root Cause of Failure of the Ontological Argument
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2016, 12:33:42 am »
Sorry, I forgot to include this:

In my response #4, the three scenarios all have a negative impact on the MLOA:

Scenario #1 – The MLOA shows that “the MGB exists in the Actual World that we inhabit because the MGB exists in the Actual World that we inhabit”.  The MLOA has zero value-add – it just repeats the prior “proof”.
Scenario #2 – The MLOA cannot show that the MGB exists in the Actual World that we inhabit because the Actual World that we inhabit is not a Possible World.
Scenario #2 – The MLOA cannot show that the MGB exists in the Actual World that we inhabit because the Actual World that we inhabit is not a Possible World.

In all three scenarios the MLOA has zero usefulness.

8

#### UnreasonableFaith

• 215 Posts
##### Re: Root Cause of Failure of the Ontological Argument
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2017, 11:17:09 am »
I appreciate more sophisticated attempts at disproving MOA though personally I believe it's much easier.

The biggest problem with MOA is that no one actually tries to demonstrate that any world containing god really does exist. Everybody just operates in the zone of ideas and concepts and try to logic god into existence. The lack of soundness there is absolutely staggering.

MOA lack any kind of anchor into an actual world.
You see a grammar or spelling error in my post? Feel free to point it out, I'm still learning.

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#### igr

• 1055 Posts
##### Re: Root Cause of Failure of the Ontological Argument
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2017, 09:14:52 pm »

If anybody can conceive of a Possible World in which neither the MEB nor the MGB exists, then the MGB cannot exist in any Possible World.

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#### Dogbyte

• 394 Posts
##### Re: Root Cause of Failure of the Ontological Argument
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2017, 04:06:20 pm »

If anybody can conceive of a Possible World in which neither the MEB nor the MGB exists, then the MGB cannot exist in any Possible World.

How would you show that merely thinking of a possible world where a MGB doesnt exist,  in fact necessitates and follows logically that a MGB cannot exist in any possible world?

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#### igr

• 1055 Posts
##### Re: Root Cause of Failure of the Ontological Argument
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2017, 12:17:35 am »
A Modal Logic expert (I am not a Modal Logic expert) can explain to you how a Possible World is conceived.  Presumably there is a set of rules that must be satisfied for a candidate Possible World to be accepted as a Genuine Possible World; again, you would have to ask a Modal Logic expert.

When a person has satisfed these rules and conceived of a Genuine Possible World, if that Possible World does not have or require either an MEB or an MGB then that Possible World does not contain an MGB.  Hence no other Possible World can contain an MGB.

To explain more – The definition of an MGB includes that it exists in all Possible Worlds – that is what Maximally Great Existence means.  Thus if an MGB exists in any Possible World, the MGB necessarily exists in all Possible Worlds.  But it is also true that if an MGB does not exist in (at least) one Possible World, the MGB exists in no Possible World.  Both cannot be true concurrently.  So if you think that you have conceived of a Possible World in which the MGB exists, you may instead have conceived of a Possible World in which an MEB exists.

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#### Dogbyte

• 394 Posts
##### Re: Root Cause of Failure of the Ontological Argument
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2017, 03:31:05 pm »
A Modal Logic expert (I am not a Modal Logic expert) can explain to you how a Possible World is conceived.  Presumably there is a set of rules that must be satisfied for a candidate Possible World to be accepted as a Genuine Possible World; again, you would have to ask a Modal Logic expert.

When a person has satisfed these rules and conceived of a Genuine Possible World, if that Possible World does not have or require either an MEB or an MGB then that Possible World does not contain an MGB.  Hence no other Possible World can contain an MGB.

To explain more – The definition of an MGB includes that it exists in all Possible Worlds – that is what Maximally Great Existence means.  Thus if an MGB exists in any Possible World, the MGB necessarily exists in all Possible Worlds.  But it is also true that if an MGB does not exist in (at least) one Possible World, the MGB exists in no Possible World.  Both cannot be true concurrently.  So if you think that you have conceived of a Possible World in which the MGB exists, you may instead have conceived of a Possible World in which an MEB exists.

Yes, this is why I asked the question that I did. To see how those premises are defended. Especially,  "if an MGB does not exist in (at least) one Possible World, the MGB exists in no Possible World".