Gordon Tubbs

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Re: A Dialogue around the Kalam Cosmological Argument
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2020, 08:12:59 am »
@Fred
Thanks for the feedback. I would say that like in chess, a game that ends in stalemate does not necessarily mean the game was a bad one. And, even in a stalemate situation (in chess) there is typically one player who has a piece advantage even if they cannot technically win. So perhaps I'll have the Defender accuse the Prosecutor of being arbitrary, and maybe respond with divine hiddenness (i.e. even if the PRJ is grounded ontically in a rational foundation, we would expect it to lead us to God).

@lucious
I had thought about branching the conversation in that direction, but wasn't quite sure how to articulate it in some non-question begging way. As I would echo Mortimer Adler, I think if somebody is already at the point where they think creatio ex nihilo is a metaphysical possibility, then God is a foregone conclusion because only God could create something from nothing. To me that discussion is more closely related with the ontological argument than the cosmological one, because you have to think about God's existence before the existence of the Universe. Maybe for another time.

@Iapetus
The form of the KCA I presented was given the "Extended" moniker because it states (as premises) what Craig's normal version already assumes at the outset. Craig takes P1 for granted, that the existence of God is metaphysically possible. Not everyone does. It is important to be precise when discussing modality, otherwise you wind up making the statements below without any consideration as to what kind of "possibility" is implied. For example:

A. It is possible that Donald Trump could win the next election.
B. It is possible that the UK could have defeated the Colonies in the Revolutionary War.
C. It is possible that the Moon is composed of swiss cheese.
D. It is possible that an elephant could give birth to a pink flamingo.
E. It is possible that an immortal human being has been living among us for thousands of years.
F. It is possible that someone knocked on my door last night, but I couldn't hear them because I was sleeping.
G. It is possible that someone can draw a square with three sides.

Each of these statements put a burden on our imagination, to consider a possible world in which they could be true. For me, that's what conceivability means. I understand possible worlds to be "maximally developed thought experiments." So for the case of statement B in particular, we can consider ways in which history could have unfolded in such a way that lead to the defeat of the Colonies. Nothing about statement B is inherently self-contradictory, and so at the very least we would say World B is logically possible. Once this is done, we might consider ways in which World B could have actually happened. Perhaps Washington might've died in an early skirmish. This is what I mean by "metaphysically possible." It is imagining something to actually be the case in a non-hypothetical way.

So premise 1 states: It is metaphysically possible that God exists. What this premise is asking you is whether or not you think God might actually, truly exist. Not just exist in your imagination, in some abstract way, but in a concrete way. Is it possible that some disembodied mind with power, intelligence, and loving disposition can actually exist? Most skeptics would be happy to concede that it is logically possible that God can exist because a disembodied mind with power, intelligence, and loving disposition is not inherently contradictory. However, when thinking about how a disembodied mind may actually exist, most skeptics will get off the bus because for them, only embodied minds can actually exist. So they would reject P1. In which case, even if they grant the Universe had a First Cause, they could deny that the First Cause was perpetrated by God.

Now if I led the syllogism with "It is possible that God exists," you might understand why some would ask "possible in what way?" Which is why I added the caveat of "metaphysically." This is not at all redundant, but in fact, being as precise as possible with the modality that the argument is operating in.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2020, 08:16:54 am by Gordon Tubbs »
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shoyt

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Re: A Dialogue around the Kalam Cosmological Argument
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2020, 08:36:55 am »


EXTENDED KALAM COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT

1. It is metaphysically possible that God exists.
2. If some state of affairs began to exist, then it had a cause for its beginning.
3. If the Universe had a cause for its beginning, it is metaphysically possible that cause is God.
4. The Universe is a state of affairs.
5. The Universe began to exist.
6. Therefore, the universe had a cause for its beginning. (Modus Ponens from P2)
7. Therefore, it is metaphysically possible that cause is God. (Modus Ponens from P3)


(P3) has a hidden premise that the possibility of God's existence is possible because there is some tie to the existence of universes. We've already granted in (P1) that is it metaphysically possible that God exists. (P3) ought to have the connection between God and universes argued for, and, it should then be saying that God is actual, since again, we already grant a metaphysical possibility of God.

Modus ponents takes more than one premise.

Concisely:

P1) Nothing comes from nothing.
P2) Something exists.
C) So, something is eternal. (MP P1, P2)

or:

P1) That which begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
P2) The universe began to exist.
C) So, the universe has a cause of its existence. (MP P1, P2)

But again, that's a far as you get. Every person who ever lived or will ever live could agree with those arguments and still reject the idea that God is possible or at least actual. We don't know if God is eternal or contingent, we don't know if God is the necessary or sufficient cause of any universe.

Moreover, the largest hurdle these two sorts of arguments face it the accusation that they both entail the fallacy of composition, as A. C. Grayling has pointed out in the past.

The only rational response to Grayling type objections is that it's not a composition fallacy as the 'universe' isn't an object but the name of an extensional class of things which begin to exist, and each one, having a cause for their existence, leads rightly to the conclusion that all things known or as of yet unknown have causes of their existence just in case they began to exist; this is an inference by enumeration rather than a fallacy.

Just a couple of thoughts.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2020, 08:40:33 am by shoyt »

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Gordon Tubbs

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Re: A Dialogue around the Kalam Cosmological Argument
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2020, 09:25:25 am »
@shoyt
I'm keen on exposing all of the hidden premises, so that's a good catch with P3. Thanks.

As far as the composition fallacy goes, in my mind there has always been a tension between it and proper inductive inferences. Example -- If there was a cake store called "Chocolate Cake Co." and in the window you saw only chocolate cakes, and you stepped into the store and only saw chocolate cakes... would it be fallacious to infer "this store only sells chocolate cakes" or would that in fact be a proper inductive inference?

Maybe another example would help, in the style of a crude syllogism--
1. We often think of the Universe as a "system."
2. We have many examples of "systems" that we can point to that are "caused systems."
3. Therefore, it is (metaphysically) possible that the Universe is also a "caused system."

Is the conclusion here fallacious or properly inductive? That's kinda what I'm getting at with the "tension."
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shoyt

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Re: A Dialogue around the Kalam Cosmological Argument
« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2020, 09:45:38 am »
@shoyt
I'm keen on exposing all of the hidden premises, so that's a good catch with P3. Thanks.

As far as the composition fallacy goes, in my mind there has always been a tension between it and proper inductive inferences. Example -- If there was a cake store called "Chocolate Cake Co." and in the window you saw only chocolate cakes, and you stepped into the store and only saw chocolate cakes... would it be fallacious to infer "this store only sells chocolate cakes" or would that in fact be a proper inductive inference?

Maybe another example would help, in the style of a crude syllogism--
1. We often think of the Universe as a "system."
2. We have many examples of "systems" that we can point to that are "caused systems."
3. Therefore, it is (metaphysically) possible that the Universe is also a "caused system."

Is the conclusion here fallacious or properly inductive? That's kinda what I'm getting at with the "tension."

Well, given that all inductive arguments are invalid, what you're really asking is whether or not these are rational, justified moves in thinking.

We'd be right to think that the "Chocolate Cake Co." only sold chocolate cake, by name alone. The inference strengthens on walking into the store and only seeing chocolate cake. It would be an incorrect move to think that just because we might be wrong we are in fact wrong. So if the right move is to think something is true only for good reasons to do so, then thinking the store only sales chocolate cake is the justified move. There's literally no good reason to think something else.

As for universes, we can think that possibly some have beginnings and caused, or not.

When you're talking about what's possible, almost anything is on the table and at the same time, nothing is at stake in getting things right or wrong.

That of course makes them bad arguments.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2020, 10:20:43 am by shoyt »

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Iapetus

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Re: A Dialogue around the Kalam Cosmological Argument
« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2020, 09:49:40 am »
Reply to Gordon Tubbs:

“The form of the KCA I presented was given the "Extended" moniker because it states (as premises) what Craig's normal version already assumes at the outset. Craig takes P1 for granted, that the existence of God is metaphysically possible“.

The form of the Kalam which you presented was not ‘extended’ because the conclusion you reached in statements 6 and 7 was the same as you stated in 3.

If Craig takes P1 for granted, then it is hidden in his argument and is part of a deception.  Because he does not mention God.  His argument is about a cause for the universe and the cause is not mentioned.  His three statements are as follows:

1.   Whatever begins to exist, has a cause of its existence (i.e. something has caused it to start existing).
2.   The universe began to exist. i.e., the temporal regress of events is finite.
3.   Therefore, the universe has a cause.

No mention of God. He adds a subset of arguments:

1.   An actual infinite cannot exist.
2.   An infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite.
3.   Therefore, an infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist.

No mention of God. He adds a second subset of arguments:

1.   A collection formed by successive addition cannot be an actual infinite.
2.   The temporal series of past events is a collection formed by successive addition.
3.   Therefore, the temporal series of past events cannot be actually infinite.

No mention of God.  He then tries to fit in a corollary by deception:

1.   The universe has a cause.
2.   If the universe has a cause, then an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists who sans the universe is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless and enormously powerful.
3.   Therefore, an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists, who sans the universe is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless and infinitely powerful.

I would not depend on Craig for consistency.

I think it is a terrible argument and I sent Craig a detailed analysis several years ago.  I don’t intend to repeat those criticisms here but I have given you indications of some of them in previous comments  My concern is with your argument, which I think it is fair to say has few similarities with that of Craig.
With regard to your ‘possible’ statements, I am sorry but I don’t know what you are getting at.  For every possibility you describe, I can describe alternatives and we have got nowhere.  If it is possible that the Moon is made of green cheese, then it is also possible that it is not.  It is possible that it is made of fruit cake, or andesite, or sand.  If you want me to accept your possibilities because you would like to mould it into a modus ponens argument, then that is just silly because you need to move from possibility to actuality, which your argument does not.

“This is what I mean by "metaphysically possible." It is imagining something to actually be the case in a non-hypothetical way“.

I am trying to get this right.  Are you asking me to imagine that the UK defeated the Colonies in the Revolutionary War in a non-hypothetical way? Not as a possibility but as an actuality and that this is clarified by your use of ‘metaphysically’?  And ignore all other possible outcomes?  To what purpose? Perhaps I am inadequate for not reading the 20,000 word treatise on modality from Stanford but I think I have been very patient.

“Most skeptics would be happy to concede that it is logically possible that God can exist because a disembodied mind with power, intelligence, and loving disposition is not inherently contradictory“.

A fundamental principle of skepticism if that everything is open to question.  So, what do you mean by a disembodied mind?  Have you ever encountered one? What form might it take?  What, in this context, do you mean by ‘mind’? What has God got to do with this?  Do you mean that God is disembodied?  Where? How? Do you have any evidence?  How on earth do you know that most skeptics might be willing to accept this when, by definition, they must question it?

I am not interested in a lecture on metaphysics or modality.  What I was asking for was an explanation for how your ‘metaphysically’ was essential or even useful in your argument.  I remain none the wiser.

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Gordon Tubbs

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Re: A Dialogue around the Kalam Cosmological Argument
« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2020, 11:07:16 am »
@Iapetus
Modality is a thing in philosophy. The phrases "logically possible" and "metaphysically possible" and "epistemically possible" mean different things. If you are unwilling to understand why at this juncture because you don't want to do some preliminary reading or be "lectured" at, then perhaps we should end our conversation. Or perhaps what would be best, if you want to get something out of this thread, is that you think about a single question you'd like an answer to, and post it as a new topic with some of your own thoughts to kickstart it. If so, I would endeavor to try and help you become wiser, for what my perspective is worth. Thanks.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2020, 11:11:17 am by Gordon Tubbs »
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Iapetus

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Re: A Dialogue around the Kalam Cosmological Argument
« Reply #21 on: August 04, 2020, 03:01:58 pm »
Reply to Gordon Tubbs:

I understand very well that modality is a thing in philosophy.  I have discussed it in previous exchanges.  I understand also the meaning and definitions of your various 'possibilities'. What I needed was a development of the context of your use of those terms rather than a lecture.   I think, however, that I made my points and covered the ground.  Many thanks.