Another ontological argument

Discussions on the nature of being, existence, reality and knowledge. What is? How do we know?

Re: Another ontological argument

Postby rajnz00 on January 30th, 2017, 12:34 am 

Dave,
I'm not saying that Pi isn't important - it is. But you are fixated on the decimal numerals of Pi, which is like an astrologer, soothsayer, druid, palmist, trying to extract (the wrong) meaning from meaningless things.
What is foolish about saying Pi = C/d - that is what it is. You claimed it was C/r. You are fixated with big mathematical expressions, which you probably don't know the meanings of.

"pi may be computed using a number of iterative algorithms. The best known such algorithms are the Archimedes algorithm, which was derived by Pfaff in 1800, and the Brent-Salamin formula. Borwein et al. (1989) discuss pth-order iterative algorithms."
http://mathworld.wolfram.com/PiIterations.html

Wiki may write anything, but, although Pi appears in many equations, including Einstein's, it is associated with geometry. The underlying concept is geometric. Circles are not the only geometric figure where Pi appears, it also appears in ellipses, spheres, ellipsoids, and higher dimensional geometry.

"After a brief search of the net I found too many examples of "Pi=(iteration formula)" to show them all here on a single thread."
That's what confuses you. Maths is very apparently not your strong point. Stick to Pi = C/d and you wont be confused.

"[i]I spent several hours researching my previous post to make it rock solid[/i]."
What a waste of time to produce a sand castle, to be washed away by the first wave.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby rajnz00 on January 30th, 2017, 12:49 am 

PS You wrote "Ask any Math Savvy person [obviously not you] to define the 6th digit of Pi. They will say "9" as in 3.14159. Thus, with so many observers that agree, we must conclude that the 6th digit of Pi Exists."

No! It does NOT exist! That is only a contrivance we have invented. It only follows with our number base of 10, in a binary system it would be 0 or 1 and in a sexigesimal system, it would be Üæ (I'm just making that up). Stop spending hours reading tea leaves.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby Dave_Oblad on January 30th, 2017, 1:06 pm 

Hi Raj,

DaveOblad wrote:I don't care what the real purpose for PI actually is (Circumference/Radius of a Circle).

You are correct to point this out. I should not have used the slash symbol. I meant it to mean the relationship between Circumference and Radius. Do you honestly believe I don't know the difference between Radius and Diameter?

Also, do you honestly believe I don't know that 3.14159 is a Decimal Value? Personally, as a programmer, I use base 16 far more than base 10. I mostly write in assembly language.

As for being Math Savvy, I am the first to admit I am sloppy with my posts, mostly due to time constraints. But a few years back I had to create a 3D Rendering Engine for a Video Game. That took a lot of Math. That was back in the late 80's.

All I can say is your desire to nit-pick is causing you to miss the bigger picture I'm trying to paint.

Anyway, I wish you well.

Regards,
Dave :^)
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby rajnz00 on February 1st, 2017, 2:50 am 

DaveOblad wrote: All I can say is your desire to nit-pick is causing you to miss the bigger picture I'm trying to paint.

Dave I got the bigger picture you are trying to paint- "That we are solely a completely Mathematical Existence. And I'm not talking about floating point Math, I'm talking about Boolean Algebra & Geometry or Ie: a Cellular Automaton."

That is scary from a guy whose strong point aint maths. You point seems to be a bit floating though you say it aint. I worship Jehovah and you maths. Different gods, you dont understand your god, and I dont understand mine.

There was a Buddhist guy who told me nothing exists, that reality was all just a mirage. I took him to my roof and invited him to jump off. I figured he shouldnt mind if the ground below was just a mirage. He declined. I figured that he figured that the impact of that ground on his body would bring him back to reality.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby ronjanec on February 1st, 2017, 10:05 am 

Dave,

If you are saying that all of us are solely a completely Mathematical Existence and I'm bad at math, does that make me a bad person? Is the math god a forgiving god? :)
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby -1- on December 15th, 2018, 5:22 pm 

Scruffy Nerf Herder » November 29th, 2016, 9:46 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 is not true. A contingent being does exists, if it exists, although it exists only temporarily. It can create another contingent being (or a being of pure actuality), in the time span that it exists.

"a contingent being is one that could possibly not be," which is immaterial at the time of the contingent being's existence, "and if it caused another being, then non-being would be producing being" it is not true that a non-being would be producing a being; a contingent being IS a being, but only temporal. This contingent being is not a non-being while it exists, and there is no restriction on its ability to create while it is being. Once it has been, and ceased to be, obviously it can't produce any other being. But that stage of a contingent being is not all eternity. There is a time span in eternity during which the contingent being can exist. It does exist then, and there is nothing to stop it from producing a being.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby -1- on December 15th, 2018, 5:30 pm 

Scruffy Nerf Herder » November 29th, 2016, 9:46 am wrote: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.

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.


More errors. D is wrong. A thing can both exist and not exist, but not at the same time. The OP forgot the second part. A part of the law of the excluded middle without the other part is not true, it is not a logical axiom.

F is wrong (or can be argued to be wrong). Man has no nuclear fission in him. Yet man creates machines that cause nuclear fission. Here, a being produces another being that is not in the producer.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby -1- on December 15th, 2018, 5:37 pm 

Scruffy Nerf Herder » November 29th, 2016, 9:46 am wrote:
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.



More problems. An omnipotent being is all-powerful. To do anything is in the power of the all-powerful. If the being were denied of doing something, then it would not be all-powerful (omnipotent).

The OP lists in his opening posts 5 actions and/or states that the being he later calls omnipotent can't do or be. Therefore the OP directly contradicts himself. His argument is invalid, because for his proof the being has GOT to be omnipotent, yet the being he attributes omnipotency is obviously not omnipotent (since there are at least five things it is denied in its repertoire of things it can perform or be.)
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby -1- on December 16th, 2018, 8:40 am 

Scruffy Nerf Herder » November 29th, 2016, 9:46 am wrote:

- 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.



Just one more error. The OP has just finished saying that a cause cannot give what it does not have to give. Then the OP goes on to say the It is infinite in power and in knowledge, yet it does not give its infinity which is in It to give to what it creates. It has no finiteness, and yet it gives finiteness. This is another serious self-contradiction which makes the proof invalid.

If, however, the OP would be arguing that it is the fact that It created man, a finite thing, which is the proof of omnipotence, since It is infinite yet it can create a finite thing, then there are two arguments to shoot that down.
1. OP is proving that It created man and It is omnipotent because It created man, and It created man because It is omnipotent. This is completely one-step circular reasoning.

In other words, this point contradicts the tenet "A cause must preexist before it can cause something." The OP put it this way:

"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".

The OP violates this rule by his method of explaning that man is proof that It is omnipotent, and the omnipotence of It is proven by Its creation of man.


2. The omnipotence of It proves that you can create something that is not in you, like finiteness created by something that does not have finiteness. Therefore the point that purports that you can only create something that is in you is false (and that point has already been proven wrong by showing an empirical truth, whereby man created nuclear fission-machines, without nuclear fission being part of man).
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby Neri on December 23rd, 2018, 11:46 am 

I am in general agreement with Mitch. The so-called ontological argument presented herein is transparently flawed. I should only like to add that there is but one “necessary being” and that is the world itself.

By the expression, world, I mean all that is real taken as a whole. From this definition it follows that no thing can lie outside of the world, for if any such thing were real, it would be included in the world. Thus, the world could not have been caused by anything outside of it. Nor could the world have caused itself, for that which does not exist cannot cause anything. Accordingly, the world had no beginning and will have no end.

However, the world is in continuous transition. Indeed, the idea of causation comes from the fact that a small portion of the world seems from our perspective to change or move in constant conjunction with certain things that preceded it.

One may object that if the world is in continuous transition, it does not exist as anything in particular, not even for an instant--for logically there can be no instants where the progress of transitions is perfectly seamless temporally.

But what then is the basis for the conclusion that the world necessarily exists? Something must stitch together all continuous transitions to account for the world as a unitary existent. The world must somehow remain the same even as it changes. But how is this possible?

The answer is that the world must have a kind of eternal essence that dictates the kinds of, albeit not the number of, its transitions. This limitation in kind is what we experience from our myopic point of view as the laws of nature.

This condition of the world is, in a way, analogous to a topological space that is capable of an infinite number of forms that are however subject to the limitation that any form must be returnable to some original form.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby davidm on December 24th, 2018, 2:23 pm 

All ontological arguments are hogwash, and, in general, there is no more need to dissect them, than there is to study in detail a proposal for a perpetual motion machine.

That said, there is an interesting subset of OAs that emerged in the 20th century, due to the invention/discovery of modal logic. These are interesting because they make logically rigorous the original Anselm intuitive argument.

Kurt Gödel advanced his own modal OA. Discussion here.

Plantinga has one, too. It goes like this:



1 A being has maximal excellence in a given possible world W if and only if it is omnipotent, omniscient and wholly good in W; and
2 A being has maximal greatness if it has maximal excellence in every possible world.
3 It is possible that there is a being that has maximal greatness. (Premise)
4 Therefore, possibly, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good being exists.
5 Therefore, (by axiom S5) it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.
6 Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.



Of his argument, Plantinga writes: "To say that p is possibly necessarily true is to say that, with regard to one world, it is true at all worlds; but in that case it is true at all worlds, and so it is simply necessary.”

Now this is really interesting, if you understand modal logic. But if you understand modal logic, you will know not just that his argument is wrong, but also why it’s wrong. Plantina either fails to understand modal logic, or he is being deceptive.

Plantinga’s argument rests on modal axiom S5, whereby any proposition that is possibly necessary, is necessarily necessary.

But this line of argument trades on an ambiguity between “possibility” in the natural language sense, and “possibility” in the modal sense. They are not the same thing, and Plantinga is (deliberately?) conflating the two.

Modal logic employs a “possible worlds” heuristic. It says, “x exists at a possible world.” Natural language just says, “x possibly exists.” They’re different.

Natural language: “It is possible, for all I know, that God exists.”

Modal logic: “God exists at a possible world.”

But, if God, as defined by theologians, necessarily exists, then to say, in modal terms, “God exists at a possibble world” just means that he exists at all possible worlds. Necessarily true propositions are true at all possible worlds, not just some. If they were true at only some possible worlds, the propositions would not be necessary — they would be contingent, by definition.

Notice how this differs fron natural-language “possibility.” — “It is possible, for all I know, that God exists.” Translated modally, it says: “It is possible (natural language ‘possible’) that God exists at a possible world (modal language ‘possible.’)

Goldbach’s conjecture is, as far as I currently know, unproven. In natural language, it’s possibly true. But in the modal sense, if it’s possibly true, it’s true at a possible world. If it’s true at a possible world, it’s true at all possible worlds — i.e., necessarily true. If anyone ever proves the conjecture, it will be a necessary truth, not a contingent one. There will fail to be some possible worlds at which it is true, and others at which it is not.

Plantinga conflates natural-language “possible” (“I don’t know whether x is true or not”) with modal “possible” (“x is true at a possible world.”) Thus his argument completely collapses.

What the modalized Anselm intutional OA does show is that God — like the truth or non-truth of Goldbach’s conjecture — either necessarily exists or necessarily fails to exist. Of course, it can tell us nothing about which proposition is true.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby -1- on December 29th, 2018, 2:24 pm 

"What the modalized Anselm intutional OA does show is that God either necessarily exists or necessarily fails to exist."

It would make a much more exciting proof if, somehow, I don't know how, it would be shown that god necessarily exists and necessarily does not exist. At the same time and in the same respect.

Whatever exists OR not exists needs no proof. It is a logically necessarily true statement. It applies to all things, in any and in all combinations, in any time, at any time, in any place in our universe and the same way in any other universe, real or imaginary.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby davidm on December 29th, 2018, 2:33 pm 

There is a difference between necessary and contingent existence.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby -1- on December 29th, 2018, 5:16 pm 

davidm » December 29th, 2018, 2:33 pm wrote:There is a difference between necessary and contingent existence.
That may or may not be true. You have provided no explanation why.

But your quote is not an argument against my earlier objection.

The existence of something or the non-existence of the same thing (contingent or necessary) is a necessarily true statement. It reveals nothing.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby -1- on December 29th, 2018, 5:23 pm 

davidm » December 24th, 2018, 2:23 pm wrote:All ontological arguments are hogwash, and, in general, there is no more need to dissect them, than there is to study in detail a proposal for a perpetual motion machine.

This would be absolutely true, if a proof existed to show that the existence of god can not be proven.

Do you know of such a proof, DavidM? A proof that says that god's existence is not provable? If yes, please present it. If not, then I wish to say it is important to refute attempted ontological proofs by dissecting them or otherwise.

There is a proof that says that perpetual motion machines on the macrophysical level are not possible. The proof involves the third law of thermodynamics. There is no equivalence between perpetual machines and god re: existence or proof of possibility.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby PaulN on December 30th, 2018, 11:41 am 

Don't know if this helps, but....

A contingent being is one for whom its negation does not imply a contradiction in reality. A cat that likes Mozart is a contingent being. Because a cat that doesn't like Mozart doesn't contradict reality. It is quite possible to have one.

A necessary being is something that, when negated, does contradict reality. Like "a corner-less square. " You can't have one of those, in any world.

Now, if you apply these concepts to an all-powerful all-knowing being, the standard definition of God, then it's clear that this is a contingent being. You could certainly have a world where a being has limited powers and limited knowledge. And this would not negate reality or the possibility of a world where a being or beings are omnipotent etc.

I think I've sort of restated part of what Dave was saying, so this may not add much.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby davidm on December 30th, 2018, 12:36 pm 

PaulN » December 30th, 2018, 9:41 am wrote:Don't know if this helps, but....

A contingent being is one for whom its negation does not imply a contradiction in reality. A cat that likes Mozart is a contingent being. Because a cat that doesn't like Mozart doesn't contradict reality. It is quite possible to have one.

A necessary being is something that, when negated, does contradict reality. Like "a corner-less square. " You can't have one of those, in any world.


This is right. The modal possible-worlds tool deals only with logically possible worlds, or states of affairs. A logically possible world may not exist in reality, or may even be physically impossible. But just so long as such worlds are logically possible, then they are possible worlds.


So far as we can tell, gravity exists everywhere, and operates in the same way. The absence of gravity may be physically impossible. Nevertheless, the proposition “gravity exists” remains contingently true. The test, as you say, is to conceive the negation of the statement, and see if the negation brings about a logical contradiction. Since it is possible to imagine, without logical contradiction, a world without gravity, then the proposition “gravity exists” is, was, and always will be, a contingently true proposition, even if gravity is universal.

Here are some possible worlds: worlds at which donkeys talk, pigs fly, and Greek gods are literally real.

Logically possible worlds that fail to exist in reality, or which are physically impossible, are called possible but non-actual worlds.

Now, if you apply these concepts to an all-powerful all-knowing being, the standard definition of God, then it's clear that this is a contingent being. You could certainly have a world where a being has limited powers and limited knowledge. And this would not negate reality or the possibility of a world where a being or beings are omnipotent etc.


This is the sticking point. God is traditionally conceived as being all-powerful and all-knowing, but also necessary. St. Anselm apparently attempted to demonstrate the necessity of God, and apparently intuited, long before modal logic, that a necessary being necessarily exists. That is correct, modally speaking.

The modal deconstruction of the OA shows that the proposition “God possibly exists” (in the modal sense of possible, not the informal, natural language sense) necessarily collapses to “God necessarily exists.” One cannot imagine, without logical contradiction, the non-existence of God.

But that’s only if God exists. The modal OA also shows that if God fails to exist, then he necessarily fails to exist — he fails to exist at all possible worlds, because no necessary truth can, at the same time, be a contingent truth. If God exists he exists at all possible worlds; if he fails to exist he fails to exist at all possible worlds. “God exists” is not, unlike “gravity exists,” a contingent truth.

This is why I brought up Goldbach’s conjecture. In a like fashion if it’s true, it is necessarily true; if false, necessarily false.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby davidm on December 30th, 2018, 12:50 pm 

-1- » December 29th, 2018, 3:23 pm wrote:
Do you know of such a proof, DavidM? A proof that says that god's existence is not provable? If yes, please present it. If not, then I wish to say it is important to refute attempted ontological proofs by dissecting them or otherwise.

There is a proof that says that perpetual motion machines on the macrophysical level are not possible. The proof involves the third law of thermodynamics. There is no equivalence between perpetual machines and god re: existence or proof of possibility.


I am concerned here with modal (logical) possibility. On this account, a perpetual motion machine exists at a possible world. This is because it is possible to imagine, without logical contradiction, a world at which 3Lot fails to obtain.

The reason to dismiss, in advance, perpetual motion machines is because we know, empirically, that a world in which 3Lot fails to obtain is a possible but non-actual world (though David K. Lewis would beg to differ).

The modal OA is a proof that there can be no logical proof of the existence of God — that, in fact, Anselm’s attempted proof fails. It does not follow from this that God fails to exist — only that, if he does, then this is a matter that must be decided empirically, and not by logical argument.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby -1- on December 30th, 2018, 11:55 pm 

DavidM: the reason Anselm's OA fails is because it has logical problems. They can be pointed out rather neatly and without too much effort.

You said there is no point in examining attempts of OA because they each necessarily fail.

The truth of this you still haven't shown. You haven't proven that there is no way it can be logically proven that god does exist. You only declared that Anselm's OA fails; and that Anselm's failure deems ANY ontological argument to failure.

Quite honestly, maybe there is a proof, acceptable and irrefutable, except nobody thought of it yet.

But you insist that we accept the impossibility of proof of god, only at the face value of your utterance. So far the only evidence for this is that you demand that we accept it.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby -1- on December 31st, 2018, 12:01 am 

davidm » December 30th, 2018, 12:50 pm wrote:I am concerned here with modal (logical) possibility. On this account, a perpetual motion machine exists at a possible world.

Not in a world with the same parameters of operational potential as the parameters in our world.

If there is a world in which a perpetual motion machine can exist, then the physical laws of that world are different from ours.

Therefore the machine is not an equivalent to a perpetual motion machine; it has different parameters to contend with.

And your entire failed argument has nothing to do with the declaration you made, according to which declaration it is ab ovo impossible to provide a proof for the existence of god.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby davidm on December 31st, 2018, 11:10 am 

DavidM: the reason Anselm's OA fails is because it has logical problems.


Exactly. Which logical problems are most definitely not easy to point out, which is why the argument has been debated for hundreds of years.

But the modal reconstruction of the arguments does lay bare the logical problems of the OA — which is my whole point! Every single one of them, including Gödel’s, ends up showing that God exists necessarily, if he exists at all. They do nothing to prove that he exists, as they were intended to do.

The virtue of modal logic in this treatment is to show you why you should stop wasting time with any OA.

But you insist that we accept the impossibility of proof of god, only at the face value of your utterance.


My utterance alone, eh? Like, when I demonstrated the failure of Plantinga’s OA because he illicitly conflated normal-language (epistemic) possibility with modal (ontological) possibility? That was my “utterance” alone, eh? Here, educate yourself for once.

Not in a world with the same parameters of operational potential as the parameters in our world.

If there is a world in which a perpetual motion machine can exist, then the physical laws of that world are different from ours.s


There is a possible world at which all the laws of physics hold except 3Lot. Therefore, a perpetual motion machine exists at a possible world.

… you entire failed argument …


No, you fail. You’ve also flunked out at having further discussions with me.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby PaulN on December 31st, 2018, 11:28 am 

Do you know of such a proof, DavidM? A proof that says that god's existence is not provable? If yes, please present it. If not, then I wish to say it is important to refute attempted ontological proofs by dissecting them or otherwise.



In addition to Dave's analysis (clearly knows more of modal logic than some of us) I wanted to offer this epistemological proof:

A God is defined as omniscient.
A human being, not being omniscient, cannot know the full extent of an omniscient being's knowledge.
Therefore a human cannot determine omniscience.
Therefore a human cannot prove any being to be God.
Nor can any being that is not a God.
And, since we cannot determine any God to actually be one, no proof from God would be probative.

This is a sort of legalistic argument, and depends on a particular definition of God so I apologize if it's too off-topic.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby davidm on December 31st, 2018, 12:01 pm 

PaulN » December 31st, 2018, 9:28 am wrote:A human being, not being omniscient, cannot know the full extent of an omniscient being's knowledge.
Therefore a human cannot determine omniscience.


I would question the above premise. A rigorous definition of omniscience does seem possible, to wit:

An agent is omniscient iff it knows the truth conditions of all truth-apt propositions past, present and future, and knows the truth conditions of truth-apt propositions in counterfactual worlds (i.e., knows every way the world could have been, but was not). Of course there is no reason to suppose that any such entity exists.


Haven't had a chance to read it yet, but this looks very interesting.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby PaulN on December 31st, 2018, 1:05 pm 

Hi, Dave.

If such an agent existed, it would already qualify as God, by the definition I offered. And thus could not prove its own qualification to any being that was not a God. We can define omniscient, as you did so ably, but we can't know it without being that which we know. I'm arguing, if anything, that only agnosticism is epistemically valid.

But this gets back to an earlier problem, with OAs, which is that definitions, from Anselm to Godel, rely upon unassailable definitions of greatness (Anselm), or perfection (Leibniz) or positivity (Godel). But these are all mushy adjectives that a smart ten year old can punch holes in. That's why, it seems to me, that OAs are easy to dismiss: you can use them to prove ANYTHING. The perfect hamster, the greatest turtleneck, the most positive form of green monkey.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby -1- on December 31st, 2018, 10:09 pm 

PaulN » December 31st, 2018, 11:28 am wrote:
Do you know of such a proof, DavidM? A proof that says that god's existence is not provable? If yes, please present it. If not, then I wish to say it is important to refute attempted ontological proofs by dissecting them or otherwise.



In addition to Dave's analysis (clearly knows more of modal logic than some of us) I wanted to offer this epistemological proof:

A God is defined as omniscient.
A human being, not being omniscient, cannot know the full extent of an omniscient being's knowledge.
Therefore a human cannot determine omniscience.
Therefore a human cannot prove any being to be God.
Nor can any being that is not a God.
And, since we cannot determine any God to actually be one, no proof from God would be probative.

This is a sort of legalistic argument, and depends on a particular definition of God so I apologize if it's too off-topic.


This is very neat.

You're right, the argument does depend on a definition. Change the definition to something different, and the proof may disappear.

Or expand its scope and the proof will disappear.

I would present the proof this way:

We know nothing about god.
Scriptures' tenets and dogmas about god's qualities can be safely ignored as fantastic daydreams by some early science fiction writers.
Since we don't know anything about god, we can't accept an extant proof of its existence. But some other unit that has knowledge of god's qualities may be able to. Such a unit may be a god, or the god.

-------------------------

Your proof, PaulN, only fails in the sense that the proof would not be probative to HUMANS. But the proof could potentially exist. Since a proof may exist that is a valid proof as for acceptability for god, albeit not for humans, we must accept that such proof may exist.

- - - - - - -

PaulN and DavidM, you may determine from this how modality plays here. It's your toy, modality is. I don't even know what "modality" means. I am almost completely unschooled in philosophy. I am a simple man who has a knack to spot mistakes in logic and reason.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby -1- on December 31st, 2018, 10:29 pm 

PaulN » December 31st, 2018, 11:28 am wrote:
In addition to Dave's analysis (clearly knows more of modal logic than some of us) I wanted to offer this epistemological proof:

(1) A God is defined as omniscient.
(2) A human being, not being omniscient, cannot know the full extent of an omniscient being's knowledge.
Therefore a human cannot determine omniscience.

I also have problems with the connection from (1) to (2). You may need to prove that to prove to a unit1 that another unit2 knows everything needs the unit1 to know everything.

This is not necessarily true.

We accept that all-knowing can be determined that way, true; but we don't know if there is or is not some other way of determining all-knowledge. Remember, just because we don't know of a way, it is not a conclusive proof that such a way does not exist.

So your proof stands in a legalistic way, but it needs one more logical connection proven, which you conveniently assumed is an acceptable connection because it would follow intuition. Well, my challenge to your argument is that it does not.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby Neri on January 3rd, 2019, 2:04 pm 

I have noticed some of the posts on this subject and would add a few comments of my own.

Some propositions are such that the human mind cannot but believe that they are absolutely true. These are called a priori judgments. Yet, they depend upon definitions supplied by the human mind. An example would be: “A circle is the locus of all points equidistant from a central point.”

Other judgments are said to be absolutely true because they are derived by logical analysis from a priori truths. Thus, pi is so derived from the definition of a circle. Pi is necessary true so long as the definition of a circle is necessarily true. However, this will always the case so far as we are concerned, because that definition was something supplied by our minds in the first place. Kant called these judgments “synthetic a priori.”

Kant, however, would have said that judgments of the above two categories are true to us but not true in themselves.

The modal logicians, on the other hand, would say that they are necessarily true because they are “true in all possible worlds.” That is, the truth of such propositions is not contingent upon empirical facts existing in any particular world. They are not necessarily saying that there are actually other worlds—only that if there were, that propositions of this sort would hold with equal force there.

Thus, according to this logic, the definition of a circle is necessary true because it cannot possibly differ in other worlds. However, this is a far cry from saying that a circle is God. Nor does it mean that a circle has causal powers of any sort.

But what exactly are empirical facts? These are facts ultimately derived from sensory experience. For example: “Napoleon was crowned emperor of France in 1804.” While it is true that no one living today was present at Napoleon’s coronation, someone had to be present then to see it happen, else no one would know about it today. This is what is meant by saying that empirical facts ultimately depend upon the senses. To put it another way, empirical facts are not determinable by analytic logic but only by sense experience. As such, they are not “necessary truths.”

The idea of causation is derived from the perceived constant conjunction of two events wherein it is concluded that the existence of the first is said to be a necessary condition for the existence of the second. In other words, all causal claims are empirical, for they are ultimately derived from sense experience.

As I pointed out in a similar topic, the traditional ontological proof for the existence of God seeks to position the existence of God in the analytic rather than the empirical category. However, this reasoning is circular, since the existence of God is already baked into the premises.

The same is true of the current argument, for it posits God as “an infinite, unchanging, all-powerful and all-knowing” “uncaused cause,” solely because it is claimed that He is a necessary being. However, such a conclusion in no way follows from the principle of the truth of analytic propositions. Indeed, such propositions are not substantive objects but only ideas. They are, accordingly, neither all-powerful nor all-knowing. Nor do they have causal powers.

Essentially, this argument, like the traditional one, says that because we can imagine a being equivalent to God--for this reason alone--God necessarily exists. Clearly, however, truth cannot be determined by whatever one can imagine. Nor is it necessary that there be a so-called uncaused cause, for it is equally possible that the world always existed.

Thus, the existence of God, if true, would be an empirical and not an analytic truth. As such, it would not be true unless it is established by sensory experience. This leaves us to determine the credibility of the few sane people who have claimed to see God. I suggest that any objective mind would conclude that such accounts are completely incredible. Accordingly, a belief in God in unjustified.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby -1- on January 3rd, 2019, 2:42 pm 

Neri, thanks for a well-thought out and comprehensibly written explanation of why god's existence can only be proven by empirical methods.

You rejected the current line-up of ontological arguments very neatly, and reasonably.

However, you failed to prove that there is no possible way to prove god's existence analytically, in an a priori way.

This is what my argument was, and the modal logic did not refute it.

You showed, very clearly, like many others, that (1) god's existence can be proven possibly by empirical methods, and such methods have not yet reliably presented. You showed, very clearly, that (2) the analytical methods so far yielded no proof. In my opinion these two, (1) and (2), still leaves it not impossible for an analytical argument to come around and prove god's existence. I am not saying such a proof exists; I am saying we can't exclude the possibility that such an argument once or more than once shall emerge.

I have been saying this, or tried to say it but maybe failed, to warn DavidM that we can't make a sweeping statement of rejecting all ontological arguments without delving into their details and actually finding and pointing out the logical errors in them.

Let me present you with an example. There is a belief in certain circles, that the world exists. That circle insists that it needs not to be proven that it exists.

Another circle of friends emerges, which claims that reality could be only stimuli and our interpretation of stimuli, and as such, it is only a figment of our imagination.

There is no argument to decide the question whether reality exists or not.

There is no "baked-in" assumption in either camp. At least many had thought so, no matter which side of the argument they supported.

Suppose there is a feller who comes along, and says "there is a baked-in feature in the argument of those who think reality is only an experience. If I experience reality, weather as a hallucination or as the real thing, which I certainly do, then I must exist."

There is an argument that proves the existence of the self. Prior to this argument's creation, no person thought that the existence of anything existing could be proved. Prior to this argument's creation, anyone would have rejected the need to prove that a proof either way existed. They discarded any proof , as being necessarily wrong. Even before examining it.

What if the proof of something existing in the real world was outright rejected, without reading and examining? This did not happen, but if we follow DavidM's suggestion, a true ontological proof may be discarded.

Same with the ontological argument, same sort of strategy of viewing it. We are at a stage where we can't say god exists or not due to the lack of any physical evidence, and due to the lack of an analytical, a priori proof. But you just showed that a physical evidence may prove god's existence, and therefore, by parallel, also an analytical argument may prove god's existence. WE haven't found the physical or intellect-driven proofs; but they are not impossible to happen, in either case.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby PaulN on January 3rd, 2019, 2:48 pm 

As I pointed out in a similar topic, the traditional ontological proof for the existence of God seeks to position the existence of God in the analytic rather than the empirical category. However, this reasoning is circular, since the existence of God is already baked into the premises.


Well put.

My reluctance regarding modal logic is that, in terms of universes, our sample size = 1. For this reason, I prefer to deal with this as THE world and on an empirical basis. As you said, we can imagine anything, but that doesn't speak to truth value. I don't see how any analytical argument could ever "prove" the existence of anything in the one world that we have at our disposal. Really, you would have nothing but a conjecture that some sort of improbable supernatural entity was at large, cleverly evading all detection devices that can permeate all of spacetime. Arguments have to have coherence in WHAT they are talking about, and there is little coherence in the supernatural Sky Daddy concept.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby -1- on January 3rd, 2019, 3:03 pm 

PaulN, a physical truth can be proven by a priori analytical methods.

So far only one such proof exists.

But its existence does refute the argument that a priori proofs are never applicable to physical things.

---------------
The logic is as follows:


If B argument is used, then no objects in A can be proven.

But an object in A was proved by using B.

Therefore it is not true that if B argument is used, then no objects in A can be proven.
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