It is Logically Impossible that a Maximally Great Being Exists.
Voting Style:  Open  Point System:  7 Point  
Started:  4/2/2013  Category:  Philosophy  
Updated:  4 years ago  Status:  Post Voting Period  
Viewed:  858 times  Debate No:  32005 
It is logically impossible that a maximally great being exists.
Just a few definitions: Maximally great being (MGB) A being greater than all other conceivable beings. A MGB is attributed omnipotence, omniscience, perfect moral goodness, and being the necessary creator of the Universe. Note, however, that this being must be subject to the laws of logic for the purposes of this discussion. The MGB we are discussing could not, for instance, create a square triangle or a married bachelor. Logically Impossible A proposition that leads to contradiction or incoherence. Exists To have actual being; to exist in the actual world. Rules and Such Things


So, this is an argument that I’ve been playing around with a bit. It centers around the notion that a maximally great being cannot exist because a greater being is always conceivable, rendering the proposition of such a being existing illogical. The argument is as follows:
P1. If a maximally great being could exist, it would be greater than any other conceivable being.
The argument is logically valid as the conclusion follows from the premises. I find the premises to be fairly obviously true:
The idea of an infinite number of stars existing in the galaxy at any given time is an incoherent one, as actual infinities contradict certain necessary truths. Not only can we say that there exists now a finite number of stars, but because the possibility of having an infinite number of stars at any given time is really an impossibility, we can say that in no possible world can there exist an infinite number of stars at any given time. Logical and mathematical truths are necessary truths, in other words, things that are true in every possible world, including the actual world. 2+1=3 is true in every possible world. We know this because mathematical propositions are true by definition. The number two is defined, in part, by the fact that when added to itself, the number four is achieved. In know possible world can there exist a square triangle. We know this to be true because of the logical contradiction this would entail: Triangles are, by definition, not squares. The existence of an actual infinity (an infinite number of stars, socks, space in the Universe,etc.) would contradict necessary logical and mathematical truths, meaning that such an infinity cannot exist, given that logical and mathematical truths are necessary truths. One way to demonstrate the impossibility of infinities is using the law of identity, which states rather simply that everything is the same as what it is and is different from what it is not. This law is fundamental to both logic and math. So, let’s apply this law using the number one. We can say that the number one can be identified in part by the fact that any one added to any number, is equal to one greater than that number. So: 2+1=3. But, infinity defies this, as ∞+1=∞. One added to infinity should be one greater than infinity, but it results in just infinity, thus defying one’s properties of identity, as well as the identities of all other numbers. For, the equation expresses that: 0=1=2=3=..., since ∞+1=∞+2+∞+3=∞. Yet, we know that one is not equal to two because the law of identity tells us that different things are different. So, we can then rule out the existence of actual infinities because their existence would contradict necessary truths.
Clearly, if there must be a finite number of stars at any given time, then a MGB could not create an infinite number of stars at any given time (should it be possible for it to exist), given that we have agreed that this MGB must by subject to the rules of logic.
No matter what that finite number is that a MGB could create, there is always another number that is greater. For example, if a MGB could create 100,000,000,000 stars, 100,000,000,001 is a greater number.
It follows then, that a being that could create 100,000,000,001 stars is conceivable.
P6. If I could conceive of a being that could create a greater number of stars than this great being, then I am conceiving of a being greater than the great being. And since this being can create one more star, this being is greater than the great being.
C.Therefore, a maximally great being cannot not exist. Since the conclusion follows from the premises, if the premises are true, the conclusion is true as well.
I thank my opponent for this debate. I will not be debating on the validity of the argument, because all one needs to do is show that at least one of the premises are false, to tear down this argument. Just to make things interesting, I will attack 2 of the premises. Premise 5 "If there is always another number greater than this number, I could then always conceive of a being that could create a greater number of stars than this great being. " This is false, because even though you could concieve of a being who could create more, that doesn't mean it's a different being than the one who created less like P5 implies. Thus, P5 fails. Why is this the case? Well, lets say that God created 400,000 stars, you could concieve of a being who create 400,001 stars, but there is no reason to assume it's a different being than the one who created 400,000. Just because God only created 400,000 stars, that doesn't mean he couldn't have created more if he wanted to. Thus, if you concieve of a being who can create more stars than 400,000, then it means you could be concieving of the same being, but a different scenario involving more stars. This actually is necessary, given the definition of a maximally great being. Premise 7 "If I can always conceive of a being greater than the great being, then no being is the greatest." This is false, because if you can concieve of a greater being, than the greatest possible being, then that just means that what you thought previously was the greatest possible being, wasn't, and that this new being you are concieving of, is. For instance, if you conceive of a being who can only create 400,000 stars, and then concieve of a being who can only create 400,00i stars, that doesn't mean that no being is the greatest. It means, that the being who can create the most number of finite stars is the greatest. If there can always be one more, then that just means, that one more would be the greatest, not none of them. Thus, P7 is false. Conclusion Since P5 and P7 are false, the argument fails. The resolution has been negated. 

Magicr forfeited this round.


Magicr forfeited this round.

Magicr  Rational_Thinker9119  Tied  

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