Another ontological argument

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Another ontological argument

Postby Scruffy Nerf Herder on November 29th, 2016, 9:46 am 



My argument has three stages. The first stage establishes the principles of reasoning behind the rest of the argument. The second stage simply defines God by necessary inference from the principles. The third stage summarizes the argument in eight statements, which make explicitly clear the logic behind the whole argument.

A) Being is. That is, something exists. This is the principle of existence. It is undeniable since the one who denies it must exist in order to deny it. Hence, while the source of first principles is a basic intuition about being, the test for their truth is undeniability. That is, they cannot be denied without affirming them (either directly or indirectly) in the very denial itself.

B) Being is being. This is the principle of identity. Being is identical to being. A thing is identical to itself. Again, this is literally undeniable since it cannot be denied unless it is implied, for one must assume things to be identical to themselves even to deny that they are.

C) Being is not non-being. This is the principle of non-contradiction. Opposites cannot both be true at the same time and in the same sense. This too is undeniable since the claim that opposites can both be true assumes that the opposite of this claim 'C' cannot be true.

D) Either being or non-being. This is the principle of excluded middle. There is nothing between being and non-being. Hence, something must either be or not be. It can't both be and not be. This too is undeniable since the denial of it is a contradiction.

E) Non-being cannot produce being. This is the principle of causality. Nothing cannot cause anything since nothing does not exist, and what does not exist cannot not cause anything. Only something can produce something. Deniable of this principle also entails a contradiction.

F) Being causes being similar to itself. This is the principle of analogy. An effect resembles it's efficient cause. Like produces like. Being shares being, for this is all that it has to share. Being cannot give what it has not got. But what it gives (i.e., being) it must have had to give.

From these six principles:

A) A being can be either necessary or contingent but not both. This is based on the principle of excluded middle.

B) A necessary being cannot produce another necessary being. The opposite of this is reducible to a contradiction because (a) a necessary being by it's nature cannot come or cease to be, and (b) the being that is caused by a necessary being comes to be.

C) A contingent being cannot cause another contingent being. This is because a contingent being is one that could possibly not be, and if it caused another being, then non-being would be producing being.

D) A necessary being is a being of pure actuality, with no potentiality. This is so since a necessary being has no potentiality to not exist. If a necessary being exists, then it must exist necessarily, with no possibility not to exist.

E) A being of pure actuality cannot produce another being with pure actuality. The being that is produced by a being of pure actuality must have both actuality and potentiality, for this created being has the potentiality not to be, which pure actuality does not have.

F) Every being caused by a being of pure actuality must be both like and unlike its cause. It must be like its cause in its actuality, and it must be unlike its cause in potentiality. And what is both like and unlike its cause is similar (or analogous) to it.

G) I am a contingent being. This is so because I undeniably exist, and I am neither a necessary being nor an impossible being. I am not an impossible being since I do exist. And I am not a necessary being because I change or come to be, which a necessary being cannot do. Hence, I am a contingent being. But only a necessary being can cause a contingent being.

H) Therefore, a necessary being exists that causes me to exist.

I) This necessary being is a being of pure actuality and has certain necessary attributes:

- It cannot change (i.e., immutable) since it has no potential for change.
- It cannot be temporal (i.e., eternal) since that involves change.
- It cannot be material (i.e., immaterial) since that involves change.
- It cannot be finite (i.e., infinite) since it has no potentiality to limit it.
- It cannot be divisible (i.e., simple) since it has no potential to be divided.
- It must be an uncaused being since it is a necessary being, and a necessary being cannot be caused to come to be. So, it can't be caused. Nor can it be self-caused, since that would entail a contradiction.
- It must only be one being since there can't be two or more infinite beings or two or more beings of pure actuality; there is no way they could differ in their being, for they are both the same kind of being. And beings cannot differ in the very respect in which they are the same.
- It must be infinitely knowing (i.e., omniscient) since I am a knowing being that it caused to exist, and a cause cannot give what it does not have to give.
- It must be all-powerful (i.e., omnipotent) since it is infinite, and it has the power to cause a finite being to exist.

Now, to summarize the whole argument in eight statements:

1. Some things undeniably exist.
2. But my nonexistence is possible, for I am not a necessary being but one that changes or comes to be.
3. Whatever has the possibility not to exist is currently caused to exist by another.
4. There cannot be an infinite regress of current causes of existence.
5. Therefore, a first uncaused cause of my current existence exists.
6. This uncaused cause must be infinite, unchanging, all-powerful, and all-knowing.
7. This infinitely all-powerful, all-knowing being is what is meant by a theistic god.
8. Therefore, a theistic god exists.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby BadgerJelly on November 29th, 2016, 10:04 am 

You are God. Do you not understand that?
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby Scruffy Nerf Herder on November 29th, 2016, 10:20 am 

What, are you proposing pantheism or panentheism?

It's a little tricky participating in a philosophical dialectic when your interlocutor doesn't qualify statements or use expressive, loaded semantics... In what sense am I God? Why should I know?
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby NoShips on November 29th, 2016, 10:28 am 

Badger sees things normal people don't.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby Scruffy Nerf Herder on November 29th, 2016, 10:44 am 

NoShips » November 29th, 2016, 7:28 am wrote:Badger sees things normal people don't.


??? I'm afraid I still don't see how this is an answer. What, is there this weird Badger cult in which clear communication and epistemological sensibilities don't exist?
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby NoShips on November 29th, 2016, 10:49 am 

I like to think of it not so much as him/her being on a pedestal, but myself being in a trough.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby TheVat on November 29th, 2016, 10:58 am 

Scruffy, you're talking with the forum drunks. I will try to get back later and have a look. The weakness may reside in some of your necessary attributes, which may lack a metaphysical foundation. A being doesn't require omnipotence or omniscience to be causally efficacious, for one thing. TTYL.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby BadgerJelly on November 29th, 2016, 10:58 am 

Scruffy -

Well, it is the only conclusion that makes sense from the logical outline you've presented. Causality is a trickier subject than it first appears. What is "being" in regards to causality and what is something unchanging in regards to causality? If something has no relative change to anything else then it doesn't exist causally. Given that we tend to refer to things that exist as being possibly referred to in terms of causality, even the idea of some unchanging object, we are in fact really talking about something we are able to frame causally not something we frame outside of causality. For us there is no outside of causality and the idea of it is a human (our) view.

God is the view of ourselves in an "as if sense" and a reflection of our being. We are Gods, or from the purely subjective individuation the "you" or "I" is God because we are omnipontent and omnipresent as "I" reflected causally.

Of course you can frame a set of logical assumptions and make out any idea you wish to prove anything you wish by logical reasoning if you start with the correct assumptions to favour the course of the flow of your intent.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby TheVat on November 29th, 2016, 10:59 am 

Sorry, one of them sobered up.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby NoShips on November 29th, 2016, 11:02 am 

He only does one ale a week. Something of a badger weakling. :)
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby BadgerJelly on November 29th, 2016, 11:06 am 

Braininvat » November 29th, 2016, 10:58 pm wrote:Scruffy, you're talking with the forum drunks. I will try to get back later and have a look. The weakness may reside in some of your necessary attributes, which may lack a metaphysical foundation. A being doesn't require omnipotence or omniscience to be causally efficacious, for one thing. TTYL.


Forum drunks?

I post one picture of a bottle of ale I drank and now I am a drunk?

Just for the record I drink maybe a single alcoholic beverage every month ... if that! On holiday I usually drink every evening and get a bit tipsy sometimes.

Scruffy -

That said I know I am hard to understand. If I try and be precise few people understand what I say ans if I am more vague I am told to be more specific.

Lomax is most likely to present you with critic of your logic.

Failing that may be worth talking about Kant and his approach? I'd be willing to dignit out if your already familiar with his points on thus subject as presented in Critic of Pure Reason?

NoShips -

Coffee is my daily tipple. Vietnamese stuff is GOOOOOD!! :)
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby NoShips on November 29th, 2016, 11:10 am 

Ah, tried that civet-dung coffee?
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby NoShips on November 29th, 2016, 11:13 am 

Badger, you're a genius, pal. I don't get most of what you say but I see greatness in you. I think.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby TheVat on November 29th, 2016, 11:20 am 

Badger, twas a joke, regarding your sketchy and enigmatic first post. I tried to address one problem with the argument, but too much going on her, so later...
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby BadgerJelly on November 29th, 2016, 11:32 am 

Brain -

I know. I guess my humour is not as obvious as yours sometimes ... because I words put order wrong in too often and semantically destroy semantics with meanings that mean less than something meaningless.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby lichen on November 29th, 2016, 11:58 am 

Is "theistic god" different than just "god"?

Personally, I see no reason to care about the outcome of this, even if I found no fault in the argument. (In fact, I don't believe it's even possible to use reason to prove the existing of god, theistic or otherwise, but that's secondary.)

My question is, what is the consequence of finding certainty in a "theistic god"'s existence? Will it make you feel better? Will it justify belief in a particular religion or sect? Will it also prove the existence of a loving god, an interfering god, a soul, an afterlife, or other fantastic statements?

If a person wants to believe those things, that's their choice (for now). I've never understood the motivation for finding a set of arguments that feign soundness in order to justify a large number of beliefs that themselves can never be verified.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby TheVat on November 29th, 2016, 12:25 pm 

The pitfall of ontological arguments is that they can "prove" anything (God is an infinite, yet bounded, flugelhorn named Doug, which is omnipotent and omniscient and enjoys tooting out new universes in its spare time) and therefore prove nothing. Aside from that, most of the assertions in the OP are simply that: assertions, and not supported. Have fun, and clean up when you're finished.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby NoShips on November 29th, 2016, 12:26 pm 

Got Doug's phone number? I'm desperate.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby ronjanec on November 29th, 2016, 12:41 pm 

Scruffy Nerf Herder,

If existence did in fact have a beginning, there could not have been a pre-existing cause for this, because any pre-existing cause for this would have of course had to have been a existence of some kind itself, and this would (then of course) not be the beginning of all existence.

This fact does not necessarily mean as you just stated in your post that there had to be a no pre-existing cause God existing with no personal beginning/infinite causing everything and everyone else to exist.

It may have actually been possible for God himself(or any other kind of first existence) to have actually begun with no pre-existing cause, and I try to explain this in very great detail in my previous thread 'Existence began with no pre-existing cause'.

I try to explain in the same thread that there still had to be a reason or why that God the first existence(or again, any other kind of first existence) began to exist if only, or at least in retrospect, but this same reason or why could not again be a pre-existing cause of any possible kind for his(or it's) existence.

Huh!? Yeah, I know: You need to read the entire thread. :)
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby BadgerJelly on November 29th, 2016, 1:05 pm 

Braininvat » November 30th, 2016, 12:25 am wrote:The pitfall of ontological arguments is that they can "prove" anything (God is an infinite, yet bounded, flugelhorn named Doug, which is omnipotent and omniscient and enjoys tooting out new universes in its spare time) and therefore prove nothing. Aside from that, most of the assertions in the OP are simply that: assertions, and not supported. Have fun, and clean up when you're finished.


Maybe a little harsh ?

It is certainly an exercise of reason which is always interesting. I guess we see a basic issue with the oldest problem of ontology in general ... the meaning of "being" and "existing". The OP stuck to one definition, as it is meant to from the starting point, then it shoudl be clear that the use in the latter stages digresses from the original set meaning by saying "God exists", because by way of the reasoning set out God does not exist in the sense of the word made clear at teh beginning of the post.

I think Lomax woudl know the technical terms in logic to explain the problem better than my rambling which may well haev not taken something written into consideration.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby ronjanec on November 29th, 2016, 5:52 pm 

Or in other words: God, or the first something just began, completely independent of any pre-existing causation of any possible kind;

This was possibly some kind of unique instantaneous cause/effect here(not cause then effect: instantaneous cause/effect), that the actual reason or why for this beginning could not again pre-exist in any way possible way to actually cause this, but again could possibly be known at least in retrospect.

I again could never hope to explain exactly how such a thing could be possible(instantaneous cause/effect), but I believe this is the only answer(or at least a partial answer) to the great "Why something rather than nothing?" mystery: I again believe that the alternative concept of "infinite regress" for existence is illogical.

(This also possibly means that even a "reason" or "why" existing for something occurring does not always automatically equal a pre-existing cause and then effect)
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby mitchellmckain on November 29th, 2016, 7:41 pm 

This is more of a cosmological argument than an ontological argument.

Scruffy Nerf Herder » November 29th, 2016, 8:46 am wrote:A) A being can be either necessary or contingent but not both. This is based on the principle of excluded middle.

The principle of the excluded middle is flawed. It cannot be demonstrated that anything that actually exists is opposite or exclusive enough to satisfy this. In quantum physics things which seem to be opposite or exclusive can in fact be simultaneously the case in superposition. Therefore I see nothing which excludes the possibility of a being which is a superposition of both necessary and contingent. In particularly I have in mind a being which is necessary in its existence but is also contingent upon in its own existence and thus capable of action, change and creation.

Scruffy Nerf Herder » November 29th, 2016, 8:46 am wrote:C) A contingent being cannot cause another contingent being. This is because a contingent being is one that could possibly not be, and if it caused another being, then non-being would be producing being.

This does not logically follow and is demonstrably false. Contingent beings do cause other contingent beings to exist. This is not equivalent to non-being producing being and, in any case, we observe non-being producing being so this is not a valid argument.

Scruffy Nerf Herder » November 29th, 2016, 8:46 am wrote:D) A necessary being is a being of pure actuality, with no potentiality. This is so since a necessary being has no potentiality to not exist. If a necessary being exists, then it must exist necessarily, with no possibility not to exist.

If this were the case then your necessary being would be ineffectual, impotent and irrelevant. But it does not logically follow that a necessary being has no potentiality.

Scruffy Nerf Herder » November 29th, 2016, 8:46 am wrote:E) A being of pure actuality cannot produce another being with pure actuality. The being that is produced by a being of pure actuality must have both actuality and potentiality, for this created being has the potentiality not to be, which pure actuality does not have.

Yes a being with no potentiality cannot produce anything or in fact do anything whatsoever. But there is no reason to suppose that a necessary being cannot produce both beings of pure actuality and beings with potentiality.

You seem to be presupposing no only that a necessary being is pure actuality but that a being is pure actuality if and only if it is necessary.

Scruffy Nerf Herder » November 29th, 2016, 8:46 am wrote:H) Therefore, a necessary being exists that causes me to exist.

Indeed we agree that it is most reasonable that (contingent) being begins with something necessary but where the disagreement comes in is the nature of this necessary being. Theists believe it is at least a person while atheists/naturalists believe it is just a set of natural laws.

Scruffy Nerf Herder » November 29th, 2016, 8:46 am wrote:I) This necessary being is a being of pure actuality and has certain necessary attributes:

- It cannot change (i.e., immutable) since it has no potential for change.
- It cannot be temporal (i.e., eternal) since that involves change.
- It cannot be material (i.e., immaterial) since that involves change.
...
Nor can it be self-caused, since that would entail a contradiction.
- It must only be one being since there can't be two or more infinite beings or two or more beings of pure actuality; there is no way they could differ in their being, for they are both the same kind of being. And beings cannot differ in the very respect in which they are the same.
- It must be infinitely knowing (i.e., omniscient) since I am a knowing being that it caused to exist, and a cause cannot give what it does not have to give.
- It must be all-powerful (i.e., omnipotent) since it is infinite, and it has the power to cause a finite being to exist.

None of this follows and it is not even logically coherent. This ineffectual irrelevant being is certainly not anything I would call God.

Scruffy Nerf Herder » November 29th, 2016, 8:46 am wrote:1. Some things undeniably exist.
2. But my nonexistence is possible, for I am not a necessary being but one that changes or comes to be.
3. Whatever has the possibility not to exist is currently caused to exist by another.
4. There cannot be an infinite regress of current causes of existence.
5. Therefore, a first uncaused cause of my current existence exists.
6. This uncaused cause must be infinite, unchanging, all-powerful, and all-knowing.
7. This infinitely all-powerful, all-knowing being is what is meant by a theistic god.
8. Therefore, a theistic god exists.

The most you can really say is that something exists which is the ultimate cause of ourselves and the things we observe. But you have not established that this something is the thing which you have chosen to worship. I choose to worship a different sort of causal being and atheists/naturalist believe in a cause which is only to be investigated and understood and not worshiped.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby Scruffy Nerf Herder on November 29th, 2016, 8:23 pm 

Braininvat » November 29th, 2016, 7:58 am wrote:Scruffy, you're talking with the forum drunks. I will try to get back later and have a look. The weakness may reside in some of your necessary attributes, which may lack a metaphysical foundation. A being doesn't require omnipotence or omniscience to be causally efficacious, for one thing. TTYL.


-Null sweat. I'm partial to amber ales, myself, and in any case Badger came up with a good post soon thereafter. No hard feelings, fellas.

-Omniscience is the most difficult quality to support, in my mind, but omnipotence not being required for a being to be causally efficacious (which may or may not be a sound critique, depending on how you you reason through that) appears to be the tougher statement to make. Judging from the superlative quality of other material of yours that I've seen, I'm sure you can elucidate more of what you mean here.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby ronjanec on November 29th, 2016, 9:17 pm 

Why existence rather than nothing?

This most difficult of all ontological discussions can basically be reduced to two possible premises here;

1). If you believe that there must always be a cause for every effect, then you must also believe in the "Infinite Regress/No Beginning Ever" premise in regards to existence occurring;

2). If you also think an again "Infinite Regress/No Beginning Ever" premise in regards to existence occuring is just too illogical or strange for you to accept like I do, then you are either going to have to come up with your own premise explaining how existence could have then possibly begun with no possible pre-existing cause of any kind, or maybe instead then just accept what I have said here as probably true.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby DragonFly on November 29th, 2016, 10:02 pm 

Since there can't be a cause, the causeless eternal basis must be a state of no design whatsoever, completely indefinite, as no inputs or design can be specified to it. Essentially, it is the necessary default state. QM finds it to be random (output without input). I sometimes call it possibility.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby ronjanec on November 29th, 2016, 10:16 pm 

Duplicate post.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby ronjanec on November 29th, 2016, 10:19 pm 

ronjanec » Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:16 pm wrote:
DragonFly » Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:02 pm wrote:Since there can't be a cause, the causeless eternal basis must be a state of no design whatsoever, completely indefinite, as no inputs or design can be specified to it. Essentially, it is the necessary default state. QM finds it to be random (output without input). I sometimes call it possibility.


So this "possibility"(the necessary default state?) always existed DF?
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby Scruffy Nerf Herder on November 29th, 2016, 10:32 pm 

BadgerJelly » November 29th, 2016, 7:58 am wrote:Scruffy -

Well, it is the only conclusion that makes sense from the logical outline you've presented.


Isn't that how deductive logic was designed to work? Yes, my form was valid, and yes, if there are problems with the argument (which there are) they are liable to involve possible smuggled premises, question begging (i.e. circulo in probando, or "circular reasoning"), cum hoc ergo propter hoc, post hoc ergo propter hoc, or something else of the kind.

BadgerJelly » November 29th, 2016, 7:58 am wrote:Causality is a trickier subject than it first appears. What is "being" in regards to causality and what is something unchanging in regards to causality?


'Being' is the same with regard to everything. A 'being' is a 'thing' in the most basic sense conceivable, it is a 'thing' as it is in it's essence. The real debate, then, in ontology is over whether this or that concept which we assume is a quality (essences have qualities, objects as in all of metaphysics beyond ontology, have properties, the first are incidental and inherent, and the latter are coincidental and not a matter of basic definition) can indeed be thought of as one, on purely a priori grounds.

Something unchanging in it's being with regards to causality is a being of which we cannot say that it's essence is able to change.

BadgerJelly » November 29th, 2016, 7:58 am wrote:If something has no relative change to anything else then it doesn't exist causally.


Clearly you're thinking on more general metaphysical terms, than ontological terms.

BadgerJelly » November 29th, 2016, 7:58 am wrote:Given that we tend to refer to things that exist as being possibly referred to in terms of causality, even the idea of some unchanging object, we are in fact really talking about something we are able to frame causally not something we frame outside of causality. For us there is no outside of causality and the idea of it is a human (our) view.


Here we arrive at the real problem. You are thinking of objects when I was thinking of qualities.

BadgerJelly » November 29th, 2016, 7:58 am wrote:God is the view of ourselves in an "as if sense" and a reflection of our being. We are Gods, or from the purely subjective individuation the "you" or "I" is God because we are omnipontent and omnipresent as "I" reflected causally.


Sure, God can be viewed that way, however it is not a prerequisite for me in discussion with you to accept a fundamentally different epistemological paradigm than my own. I am a Foundationalist who tends towards Rationalism and sympathizes some with Critical Realism, Naive Realism, etc. Of course such terms are only guide markers that indicate the general vicinity of a philosopher's thought, and so I have to wonder which guide markers are appropriate for you not so much in the spirit of having a restrictive definition of your views but at least an idea of where you're coming from.

Are you familiar with, and do you sympathize with any forms of Nominalism, Pragmatism, Reliabilism, or Post-modernism?

BadgerJelly » November 29th, 2016, 7:58 am wrote:Of course you can frame a set of logical assumptions and make out any idea you wish to prove anything you wish by logical reasoning if you start with the correct assumptions to favour the course of the flow of your intent.


No offense, but to me this is a meaningless platitude. I could just refrain from trying to reason at all and maybe then I wouldn't occasion this response.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby Scruffy Nerf Herder on November 29th, 2016, 10:50 pm 

BadgerJelly » November 29th, 2016, 8:06 am wrote:Forum drunks?

I post one picture of a bottle of ale I drank and now I am a drunk?

Just for the record I drink maybe a single alcoholic beverage every month ... if that! On holiday I usually drink every evening and get a bit tipsy sometimes.


Lol, I guess that makes me look like an alcoholic. But then again just being Irish and catching a buzz every time I watch a football game makes me look like an alcoholic, so there's some semantics for ya...

BadgerJelly » November 29th, 2016, 8:06 am wrote:That said I know I am hard to understand. If I try and be precise few people understand what I say ans if I am more vague I am told to be more specific.


Don't fret about it; I'm a stickler for standardized definitions myself, not so much because they cordon off or rein in discussions but because they greatly assist in specificity, and continuity with formative debates in modern philosophy. There are plentiful philosophical glossaries so I have always availed myself of them in discussion.

BadgerJelly » November 29th, 2016, 8:06 am wrote:Failing that may be worth talking about Kant and his approach? I'd be willing to dignit out if your already familiar with his points on thus subject as presented in Critic of Pure Reason?


Sure, I'm familiar with most anything from him that has become standard fare.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby NoShips on November 29th, 2016, 10:52 pm 

Can something be done about the forum teetotalers?
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