Another ontological argument

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

Re: Another ontological argument

Postby PaulN on January 3rd, 2019, 9:14 pm 

-1- » January 3rd, 2019, 3:03 pm wrote: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.



Sorry, I may have missed your example there. Which proof did you mean? Are you referring to Descartes' cogito? (if so, that seems like a phenomenal proof rather than a physical one) Couldn't a mind be deceived as to its own nature, so far as physicality is concerned? Even the phenomenal experience of self could be a transitory illusion, which casts doubt on A Priori truth about any such experience.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby Neri on January 3rd, 2019, 10:22 pm 

-1-,

It makes no sense to say that anything can be proven “in an a priori way.” A priori propositions are such that they require no proof. To put it another way, it is impossible for any sane person to believe otherwise. For example, how could it possibly be denied that the whole is equal to the sum of its parts? Clearly, the question of the existence of God does not fall into this category.

Further, an analytic argument could not possibly “come around and prove God’s existence” if the existence of God is an empirical question. The truth of empirical propositions is only susceptible to proof by sensory data. One cannot prove the existence of Napoleon by means of analytic logic; any more than one can prove the existence of the tooth fairy or the Loch Ness monster by the same means.

The existence of the world is obviously an empirical fact in that it is amply supported by the senses. Those who disagree with this statement can only do so by denying that the senses give us any knowledge of what lies outside of us. In other words, Idealists deny all empirical proofs.

However, it is impossible to conduct one’s self as though the world does not exist. Indeed, even the most ardent proponents of Idealism act as though the outside world is real. At the very least, therefore, the existence of the world is a justified belief that is subject to falsification. Therefore, it is the idealists who have the burden to falsify the proposition that there is an external reality, and this they have not succeeded in doing.

Certainly, the existence of one’s self transcends all proof, for no one can claim that anything is true or false unless he first exists.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby -1- on January 3rd, 2019, 11:16 pm 

Neri » January 3rd, 2019, 10:22 pm wrote:-1-,

It makes no sense to say that anything can be proven “in an a priori way.”

I absolutely agree. It is easy for you to paraphrase me wrongly, and then shoot down what I did not say. Thank you very much.

What I said, or was trying to say, was that we can't be sure what physical things can be proven in an a priori way.
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Re: Another ontological argument

Postby -1- on January 3rd, 2019, 11:49 pm 

PaulN » January 3rd, 2019, 9:14 pm wrote:
-1- » January 3rd, 2019, 3:03 pm wrote: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.



Sorry, I may have missed your example there. Which proof did you mean? Are you referring to Descartes' cogito? (if so, that seems like a phenomenal proof rather than a physical one) Couldn't a mind be deceived as to its own nature, so far as physicality is concerned? Even the phenomenal experience of self could be a transitory illusion, which casts doubt on A Priori truth about any such experience.

Yes, you got me there. The self that cogito refers to may not be physical. But it is an existence. God may not be physical, but it may be an existence (once it is proven to be so).

I think my mistake was using the world "physical". I am not learned in philosophy. To me only physical and conceptual exist. I am a simple guy. I still have to learn to conceptualize "phenomenal". Is that a liquid, or a solid, or something that you smack your tongue after eating?

If phenomenal means anything near "appearing like a phenomenon", then I suggest that phenomena are not objects, but they are a property of time and objects in time combined.

Thus, a phenomenon can't occur without the behaviour of some object(s), where the most simple behaviour is just simply existing.

Descartes Cogito certainly proves that something exists. And the proof uses a priori techniques, or if not, it uses the feature of a priori truths, which is irrefutability.

I used the expression "in an a priori way" or "an a priori proof exists that proves the existence of something physical" when I referred to the proof of something existing. This was wrong. I ought to have said, "an irrefutable proof exists to show something exists", and leave the entire expression "a priori" out of the picture.

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

In light of the above, permit me to paraphrase my argument.

It cannot be proved that god's physical existence can't be proven irrefutably.

This is what I base this argument on:

(1): nothing existent can be proven to exist irrefutably.

(2): One proof exists, that defies (1): Cogito proved irrefutably that something that exists can be proven to exist.

Therefore (1) is not true.

Hence, there is the possibility that other existences can be proven irrefutably.

The reason for this argument was that DavidM insisted that there is no need to check ontological arguments, since it is impossible for them to be right.

I asked him to show why it's impossible for them to be right.

Neri and PaulN, coming to the defence of DavidM, brought up the fact that only a priori truths can be for sure true. (Neri also explained, in a well-meaning way, how existence of god is connected to a modal logic, which I haven't the foggiest what he meant by "modal logic". I got the contextual meaning, the post was written very well, but "modal logic" was not explained fully, only the functionality of it that pertained to the topic.)

Here, I faltered with using the right concept. I said, wrongly, that Cogito ergo sum proves the existence of something in an a priori way. This was wrong. The right thing is to say, and what I should have said, is that Cogito ergo sum proves the existence of something in an irrefutable way. Therefore god's existence also can't be taken for granted as something that can't be proven in an irrefutable way.

I thank Neri and PaulN for pointing out to me this imprecision in my wording.
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