Why William Lane Craig is actually an idealist
« on: January 31, 2019, 11:27:42 pm »
According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's entry entitled "Idealism", idealism is defined as: "something mental (the mind, spirit, reason, will) is the ultimate foundation of all reality, or even exhaustive of reality".

Source: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/idealism/#Int

Craig holds that "the cause of the universe must be an unembodied mind" (Craig & Sinclair 2009, 193).

Combine these together and one can validly infer that Craig is affirming idealism:

Premise 1. If one affirms something mental is the ultimate foundation of all reality, then one is an idealist.
Premise 2. Craig affirms that something mental is the ultimate foundation of all reality.
Conclusion. Craig is an idealist.

This argument is demonstrably valid as it takes the form of Modus Ponens, and the premises are true, which means the conclusion has to be true.

Even if Craig wants to argue that the physical cosmos is an irreducible substance that is distinct from this non-physical mind, he's still affirming that the mental is more fundamental than the physical; that the mental is irreducible, non-emergent, and is the ultimate the cause of the physical and everything else in existence. There's no way Craig can be a biblical theist and affirm a kind of substance dualism where the physical world is fundamental alongside this non-physical mind, so the the physical world must be emergent from the mental, or more specifically an unembodied mind as Craig put it.

So it seems clear that Craig's ontology is a kind of idealism since the mental is fundamental and prior to the physical.

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jayceeii

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Re: Why William Lane Craig is actually an idealist
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2019, 07:26:00 am »
According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's entry entitled "Idealism", idealism is defined as: "something mental (the mind, spirit, reason, will) is the ultimate foundation of all reality, or even exhaustive of reality".

Craig holds that "the cause of the universe must be an unembodied mind" (Craig & Sinclair 2009, 193).

So it seems clear that Craig's ontology is a kind of idealism since the mental is fundamental and prior to the physical.
I use the term monist or monistic in a new way, with a spiritual connotation that education can’t surmount. A dualist is someone to whom the objects of the material realm have intrinsic value. A monist sees the material realm as separable from the soul, which alone has intrinsic value. A dualist has an ownership concept; a monist does not. From this and other key differences flow immensely different choices in practical daily living.

Jesus remarked that it is a miracle if matter arose from spirit, but an even greater miracle if spirit arose from matter. I’d point out here that the “something mental” to which you here refer, may be something unexpected. That is to say, by logic it is possible that the Mind of God bears absolutely no resemblance to the human mind, and if so all attempts to think about God’s Mind are doomed to failure in God’s sight, as men use their own minds as a pattern to begin wondering. In fact if God is the Creator, this is very likely.

Furthermore, if God is the Creator, the minds of men are a consequence of His actions, either bearing a similarity to His Mind, or not. It is clear that for success dwelling on the material plane a certain type of mind is required, one that can process sensory input and make rational choices leading to survival. But one immediately sees this is not the situation of the Creator, therefore His Mind is likely incomprehensible and indescribable. The Bible says man was created in God’s image, but stops short of any significant detail.

Clearly God (or God embodied as Jesus) would not have any of the human problems such as cantankerousness, ill-will, resentment, greed or lust. So this statement from the Bible cannot be understood in a simplistic way, and had to have meant something far more indirect. Perhaps the meaning lies in the exact construction of the soul, but the Bible gives us no clues there either, even leaving open the question whether man is soul or body. Theoretically if men could observe their own souls, they’d find the answers there.

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Re: Why William Lane Craig is actually an idealist
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2019, 09:11:59 am »
I use the term monist or monistic in a new way, with a spiritual connotation that education can’t surmount. A dualist is someone to whom the objects of the material realm have intrinsic value. A monist sees the material realm as separable from the soul, which alone has intrinsic value. A dualist has an ownership concept; a monist does not. From this and other key differences flow immensely different choices in practical daily living.

Jesus remarked that it is a miracle if matter arose from spirit, but an even greater miracle if spirit arose from matter. I’d point out here that the “something mental” to which you here refer, may be something unexpected. That is to say, by logic it is possible that the Mind of God bears absolutely no resemblance to the human mind, and if so all attempts to think about God’s Mind are doomed to failure in God’s sight, as men use their own minds as a pattern to begin wondering. In fact if God is the Creator, this is very likely.

I'm sorry but as interesting as your post is, I'm not seeing how this addresses the OP. Are you in agreement that Craig's position lapses into a kind of idealism or are you in disagreement?

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jayceeii

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Re: Why William Lane Craig is actually an idealist
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2019, 06:53:50 am »
I'm sorry but as interesting as your post is, I'm not seeing how this addresses the OP. Are you in agreement that Craig's position lapses into a kind of idealism or are you in disagreement?
I had considered myself in agreement, and by quoting Jesus demonstrated I did not consider it to be a “lapse.” I made the further point that Craig will be unable to understand God’s Mind, from looking at his own mind. As he says, “mental,” he has no real connection with what occurs in or with God. If he has insight into his own soul he will be able to differentiate between a material and immaterial cause. Yet there isn’t a bridge where he can leap from such self-knowledge, to knowing what his Creator is like.

If you thought being an idealist was a negative, it didn’t come through in your initial post. Rereading it, you appear to simply make a connection between Craig and another branch of philosophy, without a value judgment. If you want to push it farther, please explain what you mean by “lapse,” and what you think is the right view from which he lapses. My quibble is a created soul cannot state the cause of the universe to be “mental,” as this only reflects the human mind. The mind is a measure only of what it can experience, not what is beyond its possible experience, i.e. the spiritual realm that is creation’s bedrock.