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SarcasticIndeed
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6/18/2012 5:17:47 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I've been thinking about the Ontological Argument lately and some questions popped into my mind. It may be due to my lack of understanding the certain subject, but I never found the answer to this online.

In the Ontological Argument, the first premise is that a maximally great being can exist. To be possible to exist, it must not have any logical contradictions (square cirle and similar things).

But, if I were, for instance, to say, "A pencil that exists in all possible worlds and appears in front of every being can exist," would the pencil be logically impossible to exist? Of course, we can see that no such pencil appears in front of every living being, so therefore we can conclude that it does not exist.

Now, is this a logical contradiction that makes the pencil impossible to exist? The pencil, on itself, has no logical contradictions, but do we make it impossible to exist by observation? And then, what is the difference between the two types of contradictions? One is observational and the other one is inherent? Do both make something impossible to exist?

And I know the question might get the obvious answer "Yes", but I've heard some use arguments against the ontological one by saying that a godless world has no contradictions, therefore a maximally great being cannot exist in a godless world.
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DanteAlighieri
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6/18/2012 5:34:27 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Using your example, consider a "super pencil" (SP) to be a pencil that appears before all sentient beings in a possible world. Now, define a "really super pencil" (RSP) to be a super pencil that is necessary - it is in all possible worlds. Why is the latter metaphysically impossible? Because, it is possible that SPs do not exist. Note, the existence of an RSP is that

RSP = []SP

But to assert []SP is to assert ~<>~SP, which is plainly false since <>~SP. So, an RSP is metaphysically impossible since SPs not existing is possible.

These same distinctions are useful for showing why modal ontological arguments are question-begging.
SarcasticIndeed
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6/18/2012 5:51:58 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/18/2012 5:34:27 PM, DanteAlighieri wrote:
Using your example, consider a "super pencil" (SP) to be a pencil that appears before all sentient beings in a possible world. Now, define a "really super pencil" (RSP) to be a super pencil that is necessary - it is in all possible worlds. Why is the latter metaphysically impossible? Because, it is possible that SPs do not exist. Note, the existence of an RSP is that

RSP = []SP

But to assert []SP is to assert ~<>~SP, which is plainly false since <>~SP. So, an RSP is metaphysically impossible since SPs not existing is possible.

These same distinctions are useful for showing why modal ontological arguments are question-begging.

I don't think you are directly answering the question I posed and I cannot say that I completely understand what all the symbols you used mean. Would you mind expanding on this?
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DanteAlighieri
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6/18/2012 6:03:41 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
To simplify it somewhat, the reason a necessarily existent pencil, as the one you described, is impossible is simply because it is possible that there does not exist pencil as you described. That's why I distinguished between a "super pencil" (a pencil that appears to everyone) and a "really super pencil" (that a necessarily existent pencil that appears to everyone). To show that RSP is impossible, you just need to point out that it is not possible that SP does not exist. This is because to say that SP is necessary is to assert that it is impossible that SP could fail to exist, which is false.
SarcasticIndeed
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6/18/2012 6:13:33 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/18/2012 6:03:41 PM, DanteAlighieri wrote:
To simplify it somewhat, the reason a necessarily existent pencil, as the one you described, is impossible is simply because it is possible that there does not exist pencil as you described. That's why I distinguished between a "super pencil" (a pencil that appears to everyone) and a "really super pencil" (that a necessarily existent pencil that appears to everyone). To show that RSP is impossible, you just need to point out that it is not possible that SP does not exist. This is because to say that SP is necessary is to assert that it is impossible that SP could fail to exist, which is false.

Ah, okay, I understand what you are saying now. But, couldn't the same be used against, let's say, the Christian God?

Let's say that the CG (Christian God) is an tri-omni deity and everything it is described as. Then a RCG (Really Christian God), would be a CG who exists in every possible world. The logic would still fail because CG doesn't have to exist? Using this, we can decompose every trans-world (if that's the jargon) beings or object into the being/object itself and trans-worldness, basically crushing the Ontological Argument.

This would also apply to any Maximally Great being, if I'm not wrong.
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DanteAlighieri
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6/18/2012 6:27:07 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Yes. When looking at the ontological argument, Plantinga looks at two different definitons of God. Under one definition, he defines God to be "maximally excellent" (triomni) and then he looks at "maximal greatness", which is just necessary maximal excellence. So, when rebutting the modal ontological argument, you just need to point out that it is possible that a maximally excellent being fail to exist, hence, maximal greatness is impossible. You'll encounter some talk about the plausibility of the possibility premise, but the arguments there are largely unconvincing. Modal ontological arguments are pretty much all question begging.
popculturepooka
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6/18/2012 6:29:58 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/18/2012 6:27:07 PM, DanteAlighieri wrote:
Yes. When looking at the ontological argument, Plantinga looks at two different definitons of God. Under one definition, he defines God to be "maximally excellent" (triomni) and then he looks at "maximal greatness", which is just necessary maximal excellence. So, when rebutting the modal ontological argument, you just need to point out that it is possible that a maximally excellent being fail to exist, hence, maximal greatness is impossible. You'll encounter some talk about the plausibility of the possibility premise, but the arguments there are largely unconvincing. Modal ontological arguments are pretty much all question begging.

Have you read Robert Maydole's? Whatever it's merits, I think it's pretty obviously not question begging.
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SarcasticIndeed
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6/18/2012 6:34:09 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/18/2012 6:29:58 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 6/18/2012 6:27:07 PM, DanteAlighieri wrote:
Yes. When looking at the ontological argument, Plantinga looks at two different definitons of God. Under one definition, he defines God to be "maximally excellent" (triomni) and then he looks at "maximal greatness", which is just necessary maximal excellence. So, when rebutting the modal ontological argument, you just need to point out that it is possible that a maximally excellent being fail to exist, hence, maximal greatness is impossible. You'll encounter some talk about the plausibility of the possibility premise, but the arguments there are largely unconvincing. Modal ontological arguments are pretty much all question begging.

Have you read Robert Maydole's? Whatever it's merits, I think it's pretty obviously not question begging.

I don't think I would call this question begging but I do find the refutation adequate. How would you go around this?
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popculturepooka
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6/18/2012 6:41:25 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/18/2012 6:34:09 PM, SarcasticIndeed wrote:
At 6/18/2012 6:29:58 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 6/18/2012 6:27:07 PM, DanteAlighieri wrote:
Yes. When looking at the ontological argument, Plantinga looks at two different definitons of God. Under one definition, he defines God to be "maximally excellent" (triomni) and then he looks at "maximal greatness", which is just necessary maximal excellence. So, when rebutting the modal ontological argument, you just need to point out that it is possible that a maximally excellent being fail to exist, hence, maximal greatness is impossible. You'll encounter some talk about the plausibility of the possibility premise, but the arguments there are largely unconvincing. Modal ontological arguments are pretty much all question begging.

Have you read Robert Maydole's? Whatever it's merits, I think it's pretty obviously not question begging.

I don't think I would call this question begging but I do find the refutation adequate. How would you go around this?

Are you addressing me?
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
SarcasticIndeed
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6/18/2012 6:47:12 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/18/2012 6:41:25 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 6/18/2012 6:34:09 PM, SarcasticIndeed wrote:
At 6/18/2012 6:29:58 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 6/18/2012 6:27:07 PM, DanteAlighieri wrote:
Yes. When looking at the ontological argument, Plantinga looks at two different definitons of God. Under one definition, he defines God to be "maximally excellent" (triomni) and then he looks at "maximal greatness", which is just necessary maximal excellence. So, when rebutting the modal ontological argument, you just need to point out that it is possible that a maximally excellent being fail to exist, hence, maximal greatness is impossible. You'll encounter some talk about the plausibility of the possibility premise, but the arguments there are largely unconvincing. Modal ontological arguments are pretty much all question begging.

Have you read Robert Maydole's? Whatever it's merits, I think it's pretty obviously not question begging.

I don't think I would call this question begging but I do find the refutation adequate. How would you go around this?

Are you addressing me?

Yes, sorry for not being clear. Just wanted your opinion on this.
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DanteAlighieri
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6/18/2012 6:51:34 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Maydole's argument isn't obviously question-begging sure, but neither is Plantinga's, until you understand the modal operators involved.

The reason why Maydole's argument is question-begging is because he takes supremity to be a perfection. But as he himself notes, a perfection must be instantiable, as falls out of his definitions and as he himself says in his rebuttal to Thomas Metcalf's objections to his argument. But, per the Barcan Formula, that means there is an object that is possibly supreme, which easily entails there is a supreme object. Supremity of x is of course defined as necessarily, there exists no y greater than x and no y non-identical to x that x isn't greater than. So, rather straightforwardly, the argument asserts the possibility of a necessary proposition, which is trivially equivalent to asserting that the proposition is necessary. So, Maydole begs the question in a more interesting, somewhat complicated way.

A good analogy someone pointed out to me with this argument (not a perfect analogy, but to help you understand where I'm coming from) is the following

1. if p is true, ~p is false
2. necessarily, true statements only entail true statements
3. r is true

I suppose you could use the above argument to show, rather quickly, that if r is true, then r is true, but that seems rather circuitous to say the least.

Which is why I like ontological arguments. They force you to pay attention.

Maydole's argument also suffers from another defect as Graham Oppy pointed out, by that perfections can entail nonperfections i.e. "being omnipotent" entails "being omnipotent or being a mass-murderer", the latter being neither a perfection or imperfection. So, Maydole amended his argument to that perfections only "non-tautologically" entail other perfections, but I don't even understand what this is supposed to mean. How does he distinguish between "tautologous" and "non-tautologous" entailment and why suppose we are justified in using the latter? Neither am I convinced that his leaving "better to have than not" unanalyzed is entirely justified.
The_Fool_on_the_hill
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6/18/2012 6:56:41 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
The Fool: the notion of God is question begging.

There is only existence.

That is all the ontology ever needed.

The types of existence come from experience of consciousness.

All experience are in a frame work of consciousness.

There is not more to be discussed on Ontology at all.

Remember you can't define something into existence.
IF I define 'word' 'poo' to define a physical unicorn right here beside me.
It effects noting. There is still no unicorn beside me. Its doesn't make any more sense in any other way.
"The bud disappears when the blossom breaks through, and we might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way when the fruit comes, the blossom may be explained to be a false form of the plant's existence, for the fruit appears as its true nature in place of the blossom. These stages are not merely differentiated; they supplant one another as being incompatible with one another." G. W. F. HEGEL
Stephen_Hawkins
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6/19/2012 1:23:22 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/18/2012 5:17:47 PM, SarcasticIndeed wrote:
I've been thinking about the Ontological Argument lately and some questions popped into my mind. It may be due to my lack of understanding the certain subject, but I never found the answer to this online.

In the Ontological Argument, the first premise is that a maximally great being can exist. To be possible to exist, it must not have any logical contradictions (square cirle and similar things).

But, if I were, for instance, to say, "A pencil that exists in all possible worlds and appears in front of every being can exist," would the pencil be logically impossible to exist? Of course, we can see that no such pencil appears in front of every living being, so therefore we can conclude that it does not exist.

Now, is this a logical contradiction that makes the pencil impossible to exist? The pencil, on itself, has no logical contradictions, but do we make it impossible to exist by observation? And then, what is the difference between the two types of contradictions? One is observational and the other one is inherent? Do both make something impossible to exist?

And I know the question might get the obvious answer "Yes", but I've heard some use arguments against the ontological one by saying that a godless world has no contradictions, therefore a maximally great being cannot exist in a godless world.

No, due to the elephant in the room. The ontological argument does not appeal to the natural world, therefore we cannot appeal to the natural world (or so the argument goes). We'd have to focus on why this is true, i.e. the nature and attribute of existence.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

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The_Fool_on_the_hill
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6/19/2012 3:19:34 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/19/2012 1:23:22 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 6/18/2012 5:17:47 PM, SarcasticIndeed wrote:
I've been thinking about the Ontological Argument lately and some questions popped into my mind. It may be due to my lack of understanding the certain subject, but I never found the answer to this online.

In the Ontological Argument, the first premise is that a maximally great being can exist. To be possible to exist, it must not have any logical contradictions (square cirle and similar things).

But, if I were, for instance, to say, "A pencil that exists in all possible worlds and appears in front of every being can exist," would the pencil be logically impossible to exist? Of course, we can see that no such pencil appears in front of every living being, so therefore we can conclude that it does not exist.

Now, is this a logical contradiction that makes the pencil impossible to exist? The pencil, on itself, has no logical contradictions, but do we make it impossible to exist by observation? And then, what is the difference between the two types of contradictions? One is observational and the other one is inherent? Do both make something impossible to exist?

And I know the question might get the obvious answer "Yes", but I've heard some use arguments against the ontological one by saying that a godless world has no contradictions, therefore a maximally great being cannot exist in a godless world.

No, due to the elephant in the room. The ontological argument does not appeal to the natural world, therefore we cannot appeal to the natural world (or so the argument goes). We'd have to focus on why this is true, i.e. the nature and attribute of existence.

The Fool: can't keep running away running away oh runnin away.<(X9)
"The bud disappears when the blossom breaks through, and we might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way when the fruit comes, the blossom may be explained to be a false form of the plant's existence, for the fruit appears as its true nature in place of the blossom. These stages are not merely differentiated; they supplant one another as being incompatible with one another." G. W. F. HEGEL
The_Fool_on_the_hill
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6/19/2012 3:37:22 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/18/2012 6:56:41 PM, The_Fool_on_the_hill wrote:
The Fool: the notion of God is question begging.


A.P1 all experience is within consciousness(mind)
CA/B.P1 Therefore Knowledge is either a priori and or derived from sense information.
P2 There is only existence. What is IS(what is not doesn't exist)
CB What exist in particluar can only be known either a priori or from sense information.

Thus the knowledge of the existence of God must be either a prior self-evident(but we don;t all have this) or derived from sense data. aka smell, taste, sound, colours spatial organization(vision)
"The bud disappears when the blossom breaks through, and we might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way when the fruit comes, the blossom may be explained to be a false form of the plant's existence, for the fruit appears as its true nature in place of the blossom. These stages are not merely differentiated; they supplant one another as being incompatible with one another." G. W. F. HEGEL
SarcasticIndeed
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6/19/2012 6:16:23 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/19/2012 1:23:22 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 6/18/2012 5:17:47 PM, SarcasticIndeed wrote:
I've been thinking about the Ontological Argument lately and some questions popped into my mind. It may be due to my lack of understanding the certain subject, but I never found the answer to this online.

In the Ontological Argument, the first premise is that a maximally great being can exist. To be possible to exist, it must not have any logical contradictions (square cirle and similar things).

But, if I were, for instance, to say, "A pencil that exists in all possible worlds and appears in front of every being can exist," would the pencil be logically impossible to exist? Of course, we can see that no such pencil appears in front of every living being, so therefore we can conclude that it does not exist.

Now, is this a logical contradiction that makes the pencil impossible to exist? The pencil, on itself, has no logical contradictions, but do we make it impossible to exist by observation? And then, what is the difference between the two types of contradictions? One is observational and the other one is inherent? Do both make something impossible to exist?

And I know the question might get the obvious answer "Yes", but I've heard some use arguments against the ontological one by saying that a godless world has no contradictions, therefore a maximally great being cannot exist in a godless world.

No, due to the elephant in the room. The ontological argument does not appeal to the natural world, therefore we cannot appeal to the natural world (or so the argument goes). We'd have to focus on why this is true, i.e. the nature and attribute of existence.

So then, the argument that God cannot exist in a godless world stands? Wouldn't this crush the ontological argument? We could as well go that both Allah and Jehovah can exist and that they are MGB, resulting that they both exist in this world. Meh, this argumentis either obviously flawed or I don't understand it.
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DanteAlighieri
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6/19/2012 9:23:50 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/19/2012 6:16:23 AM, SarcasticIndeed wrote:
So then, the argument that God cannot exist in a godless world stands? Wouldn't this crush the ontological argument? We could as well go that both Allah and Jehovah can exist and that they are MGB, resulting that they both exist in this world. Meh, this argumentis either obviously flawed or I don't understand it.

Plantinga's ontological argument is subject to parodies, yes. That said, all that comes out of denying the possibility premise is to hold that God =df "maximally excellent" isn't necessary, not that He is impossible. So, while there cannot be a maximally great being, there could be a maximally excellent one, barring incoherence of one or more of the triomni properties.
Rational_Thinker9119
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6/20/2012 8:03:19 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/18/2012 5:17:47 PM, SarcasticIndeed wrote:
I've been thinking about the Ontological Argument lately and some questions popped into my mind. It may be due to my lack of understanding the certain subject, but I never found the answer to this online.

In the Ontological Argument, the first premise is that a maximally great being can exist. To be possible to exist, it must not have any logical contradictions (square cirle and similar things).

But, if I were, for instance, to say, "A pencil that exists in all possible worlds and appears in front of every being can exist," would the pencil be logically impossible to exist? Of course, we can see that no such pencil appears in front of every living being, so therefore we can conclude that it does not exist.

Now, is this a logical contradiction that makes the pencil impossible to exist? The pencil, on itself, has no logical contradictions, but do we make it impossible to exist by observation? And then, what is the difference between the two types of contradictions? One is observational and the other one is inherent? Do both make something impossible to exist?

And I know the question might get the obvious answer "Yes", but I've heard some use arguments against the ontological one by saying that a godless world has no contradictions, therefore a maximally great being cannot exist in a godless world.

I have already thought of this myself, an idea could be logically coherent ontologically and still be utterly impossible in reality.
SarcasticIndeed
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6/21/2012 8:49:46 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/20/2012 8:03:19 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 6/18/2012 5:17:47 PM, SarcasticIndeed wrote:
I've been thinking about the Ontological Argument lately and some questions popped into my mind. It may be due to my lack of understanding the certain subject, but I never found the answer to this online.

In the Ontological Argument, the first premise is that a maximally great being can exist. To be possible to exist, it must not have any logical contradictions (square cirle and similar things).

But, if I were, for instance, to say, "A pencil that exists in all possible worlds and appears in front of every being can exist," would the pencil be logically impossible to exist? Of course, we can see that no such pencil appears in front of every living being, so therefore we can conclude that it does not exist.

Now, is this a logical contradiction that makes the pencil impossible to exist? The pencil, on itself, has no logical contradictions, but do we make it impossible to exist by observation? And then, what is the difference between the two types of contradictions? One is observational and the other one is inherent? Do both make something impossible to exist?

And I know the question might get the obvious answer "Yes", but I've heard some use arguments against the ontological one by saying that a godless world has no contradictions, therefore a maximally great being cannot exist in a godless world.

I have already thought of this myself, an idea could be logically coherent ontologically and still be utterly impossible in reality.

Yes, which completely destroys The Ontological Argument. Because like this, we could prove that all kinds of maximally great beings exist in our current world, which would be a contradiction.
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DanteAlighieri
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6/21/2012 9:17:21 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Pretty much all extant modal ontological arguments work like this: Take the concept of some being (either triomni God or a being greater than any other), add necessary existence as a property of it, posit that it is possible within a few layers of obfuscation and trivially obtain that it exists.
stubs
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6/21/2012 1:29:02 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/19/2012 6:16:23 AM, SarcasticIndeed wrote:

So then, the argument that God cannot exist in a godless world stands? Wouldn't this crush the ontological argument? We could as well go that both Allah and Jehovah can exist and that they are MGB, resulting that they both exist in this world. Meh, this argumentis either obviously flawed or I don't understand it.

I disagree that it would crush the ontological argument as there is no possible world in which God does not exist. A MGB is metaphysically necessary. It is logically incoherent to say there is a world in which a metaphysically necessary being does not exist. Therefore the argument God cannot exist in a godless world is contradictory.
DanteAlighieri
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6/21/2012 1:43:42 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/21/2012 1:29:02 PM, stubs wrote:
I disagree that it would crush the ontological argument as there is no possible world in which God does not exist. A MGB is metaphysically necessary. It is logically incoherent to say there is a world in which a metaphysically necessary being does not exist. Therefore the argument God cannot exist in a godless world is contradictory.

Sure, if an MGB actually exists, then there is no possible world at which it fails to exist. But, why suppose there is an MBG? In fact, as I pointed out much earlier in this thread, since it is strongly conceivable that F = maximal excellence (or the super pencil using the OP's example) fails to be exemplified, it follows that <>~F, which implies that ~[]F and since MGB, call it G, is just necessary maximal excellence, that you can say that since ~[]F -> ~G. The only reason to suppose that there is an MGB is via question-begging vis a vis modal ontoloical arguments.

P.S. Would it honestly kill this forum to have a half-way decent quoting system or have any kind of editing system at all?
stubs
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6/21/2012 2:00:58 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/21/2012 1:43:42 PM, DanteAlighieri wrote:

Sure, if an MGB actually exists, then there is no possible world at which it fails to exist. But, why suppose there is an MBG? In fact, as I pointed out much earlier in this thread, since it is strongly conceivable that F = maximal excellence (or the super pencil using the OP's example) fails to be exemplified, it follows that <>~F, which implies that ~[]F and since MGB, call it G, is just necessary maximal excellence, that you can say that since ~[]F -> ~G. The only reason to suppose that there is an MGB is via question-begging vis a vis modal ontoloical arguments.


The ontological argument does not assume a MGB exist. The first premise proposes that it is possible a MGB exist. It does not assume one exists, it only says that it is possible (logically coherent) therefore, it must exist in some possible world. And the rest of the premises flow from that.

This is what KRFournier wrote in his debate on the ontological argument:

in modal logic, "possible" simply means that the entity is logically coherent whereas "impossible" means it's logically incoherent. A square circle is impossible and therefore exists in no possible world, but a unicorn is logically coherent and can therefore exist in some possible world, even though it doesn't exist in the actual world. P1 of the Modal Ontological Argument claims that the notion of a maximally great being is logically coherent and therefore possible.

That's it. P1 is does not assume anything, beg the question, or reason in circles. It simply proposes that God is—as defined in this debate—conceivable in our minds. From there, the Modal Ontological Argument rationally concludes that such a conception must exist in the actual world.

P.S. Would it honestly kill this forum to have a half-way decent quoting system or have any kind of editing system at all?
SarcasticIndeed
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6/21/2012 3:13:23 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/21/2012 2:00:58 PM, stubs wrote:
At 6/21/2012 1:43:42 PM, DanteAlighieri wrote:

Sure, if an MGB actually exists, then there is no possible world at which it fails to exist. But, why suppose there is an MBG? In fact, as I pointed out much earlier in this thread, since it is strongly conceivable that F = maximal excellence (or the super pencil using the OP's example) fails to be exemplified, it follows that <>~F, which implies that ~[]F and since MGB, call it G, is just necessary maximal excellence, that you can say that since ~[]F -> ~G. The only reason to suppose that there is an MGB is via question-begging vis a vis modal ontoloical arguments.


The ontological argument does not assume a MGB exist. The first premise proposes that it is possible a MGB exist. It does not assume one exists, it only says that it is possible (logically coherent) therefore, it must exist in some possible world. And the rest of the premises flow from that.

This is what KRFournier wrote in his debate on the ontological argument:

in modal logic, "possible" simply means that the entity is logically coherent whereas "impossible" means it's logically incoherent. A square circle is impossible and therefore exists in no possible world, but a unicorn is logically coherent and can therefore exist in some possible world, even though it doesn't exist in the actual world. P1 of the Modal Ontological Argument claims that the notion of a maximally great being is logically coherent and therefore possible.

That's it. P1 is does not assume anything, beg the question, or reason in circles. It simply proposes that God is—as defined in this debate—conceivable in our minds. From there, the Modal Ontological Argument rationally concludes that such a conception must exist in the actual world.

P.S. Would it honestly kill this forum to have a half-way decent quoting system or have any kind of editing system at all?

A godless world is as well logically coherent, so it is possible. Just because a godless world doesn't have a God doesn't make it inherently contradictory and therefore possible.
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stubs
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6/21/2012 3:27:08 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/21/2012 3:13:23 PM, SarcasticIndeed wrote:

A godless world is as well logically coherent, so it is possible. Just because a godless world doesn't have a God doesn't make it inherently contradictory and therefore possible.

Not if you define God as a maximally great being (which most on this site would.) A maximally great being is metaphysically necessary. Meaning, it necessarily exists in every possible world. So when we ask: is a godless world possible? We are really asking: is there a possible world in which a metaphysically necessary being is not metaphysically necessary? The answer is quite clearly, no.
DanteAlighieri
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6/21/2012 5:01:55 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
The MOA is question begging. Here is why.

The modality involved in the modal ontological arguments is not strict logical modality, like "2 + 2 = 4" or "p, p->q, q" but broad logical modality i.e. metaphysical possibility like "Nothing can be wholly green and wholly red" or "water is H2O" or what not. I'm not actually that convinced of the distinction, but most proponents, including Plantinga phrase the argument in terms of metaphysical possibility, not mere logical possibility.

The reason the modal ontological argument begs the question comes from analyzing the first premise. The MOA is presented in S5, usually in a propositional logic. If someone gives you it in first-order logic for some weird reason or probably just obfuscating for the sake of it, it can be Skolemized to propositional logic anyway - there isn't anything sufficient strong enough about the argument to require moving to a stronger logic.

A quick few notes about modality, so you can understand my objection. Here is a good primer: http://johnmacfarlane.net...

A modal logic is a classical logic extended to include modalities. The modal operators pick out a set of possible worlds.* We define some set of possible worlds and a Kripke frame <W,R> for our model, where W denotes the set of possible worlds and R is the accessibility relation. R is the total relation that lets you know which worlds can "see" other worlds, to treat truths in such worlds as possibilities. Saying that a proposition p is possible,<>p, is defined as p is true in a possible world, that is Ew in W V(p,w)=T. Saying that a proposition p is necessary, []p, is defined as p is true in all possible worlds, that is (all)w in W V(p,w)=T. Since this forums fails at accepting logical symbols, Ex means "there exists an x", (all)x means for all x. Also, note that <>p <-> ~[]~p and []p <-> ~<>~p by definition.

Now, there are certain properties you can give your accessibility relation. K is the weakest logic, but provides the foundation for all the other logics. Here R has no conditions. You get to say that [](p -> q) -> ([]p -> []q) and p -> <>p. Depending on the properties you allow the accessibility relation to have, different axioms can be added to K to make the logic stronger. For instance, consider being R is reflexive, that is (all)w in W wRw. Each world gets to see"itself." So, you get T and can conclude that []p -> p and []p -> <>p.

If R is both reflexive and it is transitive, you can get S4 since R is transitive iff (all)v,w,x in W wRv & vRx -> wRx. So, if v can access w, which can access x, then v can access x. You now get to also say that []p -> [][]p. If you instead make R reflexive and symmetric, you get B. To say that R is symmetric is to say that (all)w,v in W wRv -> vRw. If w can access v, then v can also access w. You are now able to say that p -> []<>p.

Finally, if you make R reflexive, symmetric, and transitive, R is now an equivalence relation. You can also say that <>p -> []<>p. Also, it is worth noting that in S5, R is also left-and-right Euclidean, that is (all)v,w,x in W vRw & vRx -> wRx. So if v can access both w and x, then w can access x. If you took analysis classes, you know this that an equivalence relation on a set partition it into disjoint equivalence classes. Long story short, each world is able to access every other world.

Now, because of Euclidean equivalence relation that is the accessibility relation for S5, every iterated series of modal operators can be eliminated to the last one. So, <><>[]<>p is the same as saying <>p. Or consider <><>p <-> <>p. In S5, if in a possible world, it is true that p is true in a possible world, that can only be if p is true in a possible world. That is <><>p -> <>p. But likewise, if something is true actually, then it is possibly true, that is <>p -> <><>p. In general, (<>^n)([]^m)<>p is the same as <>p and (<>^n)([]^m)[]p is the same as p. As SEP states, in http://plato.stanford.edu...
In S4, the sentence [][]A is equivalent to []A. As a result, any string of boxes may be replaced by a single box, and the same goes for strings of diamonds. This amounts to the idea that iteration of the modal operators is superfluous. Saying that A is necessarily necessary is considered a uselessly long-winded way of saying that A is necessary. The system S5 has even stronger principles for simplifying strings of modal operators. In S4, a string of operators of the same kind can be replaced for that operator; in S5, strings containing both boxes and diamonds are equivalent to the last operator in the string. So, for example, saying that it is possible that A is necessary is the same as saying that A is necessary.

Now, a quick primer into modality in philosophy. For our purposes, there are really two modalities we care about

Logical possibility: A proposition is logical necessary if its negation is contradictory. A proposition is possible if it is noncontradictory.

Metaphysical possibility: A proposition is metaphysically necessary if it is true in all possible worlds. A proposition is metaphysically possible if it is true in a possible world.

Now, what counts as criterion for determining what set of worlds we take representative for the latter modality? That... is actually not settled. Metaphysical possibility is a space of modality that is a subset of logical possibility since, following Kripke, a statement like "Water is not H2O" is not logically impossible, but is metaphysically impossible. However, it does to recognize that Plantinga's argument, and most problems in philosophy are concerned with the latter modality.

We are now in a position to properly assess the modal ontological argument. Here it is, paraphrased from Plantinga in Nature of Necessity (1980): 213 - 217.

(1) Definition: Maximal greatness is exemplified if and only if maximal excellence is exemplified in every possible world.

(2) Definition: Maximal greatness is exemplified if and only if a being exemplifies omnipotence, omniscience, and moral perfection.

(3) Premise: Maximal greatness is exemplified in a possible world.

(4) S5 Axiom: If maximal greatness is exemplified in a possible world, then maximal excellence is exemplified in every possible world.

(5) Maximal excellence is exemplified in every possible world. [3, 4]

(6) S5 Axiom: If maximal excellence is exemplified in every possible world, then maximal excellence is exemplified in the actual world.

(7) Maximal excellence is exemplified in the actual world. [5, 6]

An equivalent version of the above is to take (1) - (5) and equivalently state (5) as "maximal greatness is exemplified."

Now, suppose we symbolize the above, taking M to be "maximal excellence is exemplified."

1. <>[]M (premise)
2. <>[]p -> []p (axiom)
3. []M (1,2)
4. []M -> M (axiom)
5. M (3,4)

If we take G to be "maximal greatness is exemplified" which is G = []M, the argument is just <>G therefore G.

It's true that <>[]M -> []M. But, it is also the case that []M -> <>[]M! That is, <>[]M <-> []M and this isn't mere logical equivalence, they mean the same thing. For <>G, it means the same as G.

That is, Plantinga's argument comes down to saying that []M therefore M, or, using G, it becomes G, therefore G. That is, Plantinga's argument boils down to say that, necessarily maximal excellence is exemplified, hence it is; or there is an MGB, therefore there is a MGB. Such a blatantly circular argument that asserts "God exists therefore God exists" is hardly a good argument.

*One quick worry: In philosophy, we cannot actually use a set most of the time, because the metaphysical possibilities are greater than any cardinality; an absurd infinite as Cantor would have said. Instead, they need to be considered under non set-theoretic construction, perhaps a proper class. However, for purposes for this argument, it's o
DanteAlighieri
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6/21/2012 5:03:23 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
What Plantinga is basically asserting is that maximal excellence is necessarily exemplified, to trivially obtain that that it is actually exemplified. In other words, he asserts that necessarily, there is a triomni being, but this just assumes the conclusion that there is one. Or, if you care to obfuscate the issue by talking about the MGB, his argument is literally, the MGB exists, therefore it exists. This is viciously circular.

But of course, this is philosophy of religion, so a certain level of obfuscation is required to cover up this obviously bad argument. So, I'll turn to the various objections that crop up in the literature and in the interwebs. Just one quick one: I've seen some people seriously argue that since the argument is valid, it isn't question-begging. This is utterly slipshod; validity is the easy standard to reach and any number of valid, circular arguments can be constructed for example "Either 2 + 2 = 5 or there is no gravity; 2 + 2 != 5, hence there is no gravity." The first premise assumes the conclusion.

Here's one of the most popular ones: that the logical equivalence is not the same as semantic meaning. Basically, even though <>[]M <-> []M, they don't mean the same thing. Or in sufficiently impressive sounding philosophical language, an agent accepting <>[]M need not immediately cognize to []M or something like that. I've heard W.L. Craig give this objection before. However, this objection is pure sophistry.

My response: Really? This is part of what the accessibility relation in S5 entails - since every world is accessible from the other, every modal fact is globally true. Asserting <>[]p is the same as []p because plainly, if you think that in a possible world p is true in all of them, you are really saying that p is true in all possible worlds. Saying <>[]p is to say that there is some world w in W that it is true that []p, that is at w, V([]p,w) = T. But, what does that mean? It means that w is able to access every world v in W that V(p,v) = T; in other words, the fact that p is necessary is why the valuation V([]p,w) = T can be made in the first place. So, this objection ends up completely missing the point.

Perhaps an analogy can help you understand. Suppose you are in a classroom with 20 others, including yourself. Each of you represents the individual possible worlds and the collection of the 20 of you represents W. Now, each of you are arranged in a circle that can perfectly see the other. This represents the Euclidean, equivalence relation R that is the accessibility relation. Now, each of you holds a stack of cards, lettered A to Z. For some letters, everyone has them. Others are missing certain letters, like B or W. These represent individual propositions. Suppose your instructor calls "B!" Everyone with a B raises their card B. Everyone except someone across has B, so B wasn't necessary. Now, suppose your instructor calls "C!" As it turns out, you want to make a particular sort of claim. You want to say that you neighbor is able to see everyone having a B. But, there is no way to believe that your neighbor really sees everyone having a B unless everyone reallt does have a B. In other words, it is the fact that []B that lets you state <>[]B. The two facts are the same. There is no reason to accept <>[]M unless you believe the conclusion.

This should be enough, but more objections abound. Lots of people, many professional philosophers of religion in fact, will assert that there is nothing logically contradictory about the idea of an MGB or that they can strongly conceive on a MGB; or quite often, you will see people say that there is nothing logically contradictory about God or that God is clearly conceivable. Hence, <>[]M (or equivalently <>G) is something one must accept or it is reasonable to accept. They would argue that denying that there is an MGB is tantamount to saying that an MGB is logically incoherent, which they say this false, or you will see this very often stated as denying that God is possible.

There are many things wrong with this objection. First, it is interesting to note how the argument neatly moves into the incorrect modality, since the MOA is in metaphysical modality. Secondly, this argument only seems to hold any force at all because it is entirely grounded on equivocation. When proponents of the MOA say that an MGB has no logical inconsistencies, they are not actually talking about the MGB (a necessary maximally excellent being), but about the logical coherence of the maximally excellent being (triomni). Recall M = "maximal excellence is exemplified" and G = []M is "maximal greatness is exemplified." But, the coherence of M says nothing about whether M is necessary, that is, you cannot move from <>M to []M = G. Asserting <>[]M = []M = G is saying that ~<>~M, that is it is impossible that M fail to be exemplified. Really? What exactly is incoherent about a triomni failing to exist?

Some people will say that this means you deny that God is possible, but this is entirely an equivocation. The opponent moves from "God" =def maximally excellent being to God =def maximally great being. When someone denies []M, they are just saying that <>~M, which doesn't entail that God is impossible, unless by "God" you mean the MGB, which is just []M. So, this objection is completely specious. "So, wait are you saying that God is impossible?" No, I'm just saying that God isn't necessary. That is something proponents of the MOA have to actually argue towards, not just assume it and try to get away with it by conflating the coherence of M with the coherence of []M = G. Necessity is not granted by fiat, as proponents of this argument would like it to be, elsewise, the following are also "good" arguments

1) Possibly, Goldbach's conjecture is false
2) Therefore, Goldbach's conjecture is false (since mathematical statements are necessarily true or false)

Some people object to this by saying you do not strongly conceive of (1). First, this is retreat back to metaphysical possibility, with the double standard of using only logical possibility earlier. But, more importantly, neither do proponents of the MOA strongly conceive []M = G, since that would entail being unable to strongly conceive ~M, which is plainly false. In fact, it is often easier to conceive of a concrete object failing to exist, since imagining it to actually exist requires (if your conception is t a good one) imagining its various properties, etc.

But, here are more relevant parodies that people do strongly conceive of

1) Possibly, P = NP
2) Therefore, P = NP

1) Possibly, 0.999... != 1
2) Therefore, 0.999... != 1

In fact, Plantinga's procedure can be replicated for any claim whatsoever, for instance

1) Possibly there is a necessary unicorn
2) Therefore there is a necessary unicorn

Some would say you can conceive of a unicorn failing to exist, so a necessary unicorn is impossible. I entirely agree, which is why a triomni can be concieved of not existing, so []M = G is unwarranted and impossible.

Finally, a newish argument on the interwebs appropriates Maydole's ontological argument to argue that []M = <>G = G, that is

M1 if P is a perfection, ~P is not a perfection
M2 perfections entail only perfections
M3 maximal greatness is a perfection

Ignoring that M2 is obviously false, the problem is that M3 is also question begging. As falls out of Maydole's definitions and as he himself states in his reply to Thomas Metcalf (see his Philo 2005 paper), something is a perfection if it is instantiable. In other words, it is must be possible that maximal greatness is exemplified... which I already showed is question-begging. So the argument begs the question... on top of begging the question to beg the question in favor of begging the conclusion of the argument.

Can we now put the argument to rest?
DanteAlighieri
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6/21/2012 5:04:36 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
The only reason this works on the internet audience at large is because it is frequently phrased as a "gotcha!" since the possibility dealt with in the argument is not the same as the sense of possibility in everyday language.
DanteAlighieri
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6/21/2012 6:26:59 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Er whoops, I meant to say

(2) Definition: Maximal excellence is exemplified if and only if a being exemplifies omnipotence, omniscience, and moral perfection.

for the text version of Plantinga's argument.
Stephen_Hawkins
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7/6/2012 1:55:19 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/19/2012 6:16:23 AM, SarcasticIndeed wrote:
At 6/19/2012 1:23:22 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 6/18/2012 5:17:47 PM, SarcasticIndeed wrote:
I've been thinking about the Ontological Argument lately and some questions popped into my mind. It may be due to my lack of understanding the certain subject, but I never found the answer to this online.

In the Ontological Argument, the first premise is that a maximally great being can exist. To be possible to exist, it must not have any logical contradictions (square cirle and similar things).

But, if I were, for instance, to say, "A pencil that exists in all possible worlds and appears in front of every being can exist," would the pencil be logically impossible to exist? Of course, we can see that no such pencil appears in front of every living being, so therefore we can conclude that it does not exist.

Now, is this a logical contradiction that makes the pencil impossible to exist? The pencil, on itself, has no logical contradictions, but do we make it impossible to exist by observation? And then, what is the difference between the two types of contradictions? One is observational and the other one is inherent? Do both make something impossible to exist?

And I know the question might get the obvious answer "Yes", but I've heard some use arguments against the ontological one by saying that a godless world has no contradictions, therefore a maximally great being cannot exist in a godless world.

No, due to the elephant in the room. The ontological argument does not appeal to the natural world, therefore we cannot appeal to the natural world (or so the argument goes). We'd have to focus on why this is true, i.e. the nature and attribute of existence.

So then, the argument that God cannot exist in a godless world stands? Wouldn't this crush the ontological argument? We could as well go that both Allah and Jehovah can exist and that they are MGB, resulting that they both exist in this world. Meh, this argumentis either obviously flawed or I don't understand it.

The problem is, this is logically valid, until we start understanding the property of uniqueness. As it is possibly necessary that God and Allah exists (due to both being maximally great), even though they are mutually exclusive, it means both are necessary, the world is inconistent, law of explosion, FREEDO rules everything.
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