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The two uses of "possible".

bladerunner060
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3/12/2013 1:58:46 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
When some believers get ready to use the Ontological argument, part of their windup is often to ask "Do you at least think God is even possible?"

They intend to then go on to use the OA to show that if he's conceded to be possible, he must be actual.

Before addressing the larger problems with the OA, I really have to take issue with the question "Is God possible?"

There are two general usages of "possible". One is actually speaking of probability: If I flip a coin, and cover it, and ask you "Is it possible this coin landed heads?" Your response is "It's possible". The probability is 50%. Once I show you, then obviously we know if the answer is "No", but because we know that a coin-flip is a random event, we know that it COULD HAVE landed on heads, it's just that in this circumstance it did not. If I asked you, a normal person who knows about coins "Is it possible this coin landed inside-out?" you would say "no", because there is no chance it would turn inside-out.

However, if you know nothing about coins or what they are, and don't know the names "heads" and "tails", and I flip a coin, and ask you "Is it possible this coin landed inside-out?", and demanded a yes or no answer, you would say "Yes," with the unstated assumption "because I don't know enough to know if it's actually possible or not".

In the case of the general claim of "God" (non-specific, non-abrahamic, no specific refutable claims), it's "possible" a God exists, because we don't know whether a God exists, so while the null hypothesis on the nature of a thing's existence is to assume it doesn't, it is also to assume that the thing MIGHT exist (until refutable claims about it are made).
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SovereignDream
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3/12/2013 2:26:36 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/12/2013 1:58:46 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
When some believers get ready to use the Ontological argument, part of their windup is often to ask "Do you at least think God is even possible?"

They intend to then go on to use the OA to show that if he's conceded to be possible, he must be actual.

Before addressing the larger problems with the OA, I really have to take issue with the question "Is God possible?"

There are two general usages of "possible". One is actually speaking of probability: If I flip a coin, and cover it, and ask you "Is it possible this coin landed heads?" Your response is "It's possible". The probability is 50%. Once I show you, then obviously we know if the answer is "No", but because we know that a coin-flip is a random event, we know that it COULD HAVE landed on heads, it's just that in this circumstance it did not. If I asked you, a normal person who knows about coins "Is it possible this coin landed inside-out?" you would say "no", because there is no chance it would turn inside-out.

However, if you know nothing about coins or what they are, and don't know the names "heads" and "tails", and I flip a coin, and ask you "Is it possible this coin landed inside-out?", and demanded a yes or no answer, you would say "Yes," with the unstated assumption "because I don't know enough to know if it's actually possible or not".

In the case of the general claim of "God" (non-specific, non-abrahamic, no specific refutable claims), it's "possible" a God exists, because we don't know whether a God exists, so while the null hypothesis on the nature of a thing's existence is to assume it doesn't, it is also to assume that the thing MIGHT exist (until refutable claims about it are made).

It seems that you are confusing epistemic possibility with metaphysical possibility. I think the following scenario illustrates the difference between both: imagine you walk into a class in college where all those damn smarty-pants engineer nerds go to take classes. (Damn you, engineers, and your better-at-math-than-thou-ways! Yes, that's a joke) You see some extremely long, convoluted and nerdy equation that spans 2 whiteboards on the wall. An engineer-nerd, noticing that you are carrying a copy of John Stuart Mill's On Liberty and deducing from this that you are just some pretentious humanities-oriented douche who is clearly lost and cannot find his Ethical Problems in Law class he's supposed to attend on the adjacent building, asks you: "is the equation on the board right?"

Now, because, as all humanity majors, you clearly are close to mentally challenged when it comes to math, you don't have the slightest no idea; as far as you know, it could be the case that the equation is correct or incorrect. This is epistemic possibility (i.e. what is possible, given what is known). So you answer "I have no idea". Then, the engineering-nerd laughs and puts his hand on your shoulder. He mocks you and tells you that you should have answered that, necessarily, it is impossible for the equation on the board to be both metaphysically possibly true and metaphysically possibly false; it can only be one. This is, roughly, what metaphysical possibility means (i.e. free of contradiction; or, otherwise, not free of contradiction, thus being metaphysically impossible).
bladerunner060
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3/12/2013 2:31:52 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/12/2013 2:26:36 PM, SovereignDream wrote:
At 3/12/2013 1:58:46 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
When some believers get ready to use the Ontological argument, part of their windup is often to ask "Do you at least think God is even possible?"

They intend to then go on to use the OA to show that if he's conceded to be possible, he must be actual.

Before addressing the larger problems with the OA, I really have to take issue with the question "Is God possible?"

There are two general usages of "possible". One is actually speaking of probability: If I flip a coin, and cover it, and ask you "Is it possible this coin landed heads?" Your response is "It's possible". The probability is 50%. Once I show you, then obviously we know if the answer is "No", but because we know that a coin-flip is a random event, we know that it COULD HAVE landed on heads, it's just that in this circumstance it did not. If I asked you, a normal person who knows about coins "Is it possible this coin landed inside-out?" you would say "no", because there is no chance it would turn inside-out.

However, if you know nothing about coins or what they are, and don't know the names "heads" and "tails", and I flip a coin, and ask you "Is it possible this coin landed inside-out?", and demanded a yes or no answer, you would say "Yes," with the unstated assumption "because I don't know enough to know if it's actually possible or not".

In the case of the general claim of "God" (non-specific, non-abrahamic, no specific refutable claims), it's "possible" a God exists, because we don't know whether a God exists, so while the null hypothesis on the nature of a thing's existence is to assume it doesn't, it is also to assume that the thing MIGHT exist (until refutable claims about it are made).

It seems that you are confusing epistemic possibility with metaphysical possibility. I think the following scenario illustrates the difference between both: imagine you walk into a class in college where all those damn smarty-pants engineer nerds go to take classes. (Damn you, engineers, and your better-at-math-than-thou-ways! Yes, that's a joke) You see some extremely long, convoluted and nerdy equation that spans 2 whiteboards on the wall. An engineer-nerd, noticing that you are carrying a copy of John Stuart Mill's On Liberty and deducing from this that you are just some pretentious humanities-oriented douche who is clearly lost and cannot find his Ethical Problems in Law class he's supposed to attend on the adjacent building, asks you: "is the equation on the board right?"

Now, because, as all humanity majors, you clearly are close to mentally challenged when it comes to math, you don't have the slightest no idea; as far as you know, it could be the case that the equation is correct or incorrect. This is epistemic possibility (i.e. what is possible, given what is known). So you answer "I have no idea". Then, the engineering-nerd laughs and puts his hand on your shoulder. He mocks you and tells you that you should have answered that, necessarily, it is impossible for the equation on the board to be both metaphysically possibly true and metaphysically possibly false; it can only be one. This is, roughly, what metaphysical possibility means (i.e. free of contradiction; or, otherwise, not free of contradiction, thus being metaphysically impossible).

I'm not confusing the two. I'm arguing that believers are conflating the two when they use the question to spring into the Ontological Argument.
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SovereignDream
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3/12/2013 2:45:30 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/12/2013 2:31:52 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
I'm not confusing the two. I'm arguing that believers are conflating the two when they use the question to spring into the Ontological Argument.

I don't think it's confusion, it's just an ambiguous question. That, by any means, can be easily remedied: "Do you think God's existence is metaphysically possible?"
bladerunner060
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3/12/2013 2:54:14 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/12/2013 2:45:30 PM, SovereignDream wrote:
At 3/12/2013 2:31:52 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
I'm not confusing the two. I'm arguing that believers are conflating the two when they use the question to spring into the Ontological Argument.

I don't think it's confusion, it's just an ambiguous question. That, by any means, can be easily remedied: "Do you think God's existence is metaphysically possible?"

And as soon as you say that, the OA's premises do not follow. Because a being whose very existence precludes all the other acknowledge possibilities violates the very concept of possible, and so therefore is incoherent, and therefore not metaphysically possible.
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SovereignDream
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3/12/2013 3:09:57 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/12/2013 2:54:14 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2013 2:45:30 PM, SovereignDream wrote:
At 3/12/2013 2:31:52 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
I'm not confusing the two. I'm arguing that believers are conflating the two when they use the question to spring into the Ontological Argument.

I don't think it's confusion, it's just an ambiguous question. That, by any means, can be easily remedied: "Do you think God's existence is metaphysically possible?"

And as soon as you say that, the OA's premises do not follow. Because a being whose very existence precludes all the other acknowledge possibilities violates the very concept of possible, and so therefore is incoherent, and therefore not metaphysically possible.

Nigga say what?
bladerunner060
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3/12/2013 3:53:52 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/12/2013 3:09:57 PM, SovereignDream wrote:
At 3/12/2013 2:54:14 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2013 2:45:30 PM, SovereignDream wrote:
At 3/12/2013 2:31:52 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
I'm not confusing the two. I'm arguing that believers are conflating the two when they use the question to spring into the Ontological Argument.

I don't think it's confusion, it's just an ambiguous question. That, by any means, can be easily remedied: "Do you think God's existence is metaphysically possible?"

And as soon as you say that, the OA's premises do not follow. Because a being whose very existence precludes all the other acknowledge possibilities violates the very concept of possible, and so therefore is incoherent, and therefore not metaphysically possible.

Nigga say what?

That's the S5 formulation which seems to be most common these days:

"
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.

C. Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.

If you're holding to a different syllogism, can you state it?
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SovereignDream
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3/12/2013 8:01:44 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/12/2013 3:53:52 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2013 3:09:57 PM, SovereignDream wrote:
At 3/12/2013 2:54:14 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2013 2:45:30 PM, SovereignDream wrote:
At 3/12/2013 2:31:52 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
I'm not confusing the two. I'm arguing that believers are conflating the two when they use the question to spring into the Ontological Argument.

I don't think it's confusion, it's just an ambiguous question. That, by any means, can be easily remedied: "Do you think God's existence is metaphysically possible?"

And as soon as you say that, the OA's premises do not follow. Because a being whose very existence precludes all the other acknowledge possibilities violates the very concept of possible, and so therefore is incoherent, and therefore not metaphysically possible.

Nigga say what?

That's the S5 formulation which seems to be most common these days:

"
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.

C. Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.




If you're holding to a different syllogism, can you state it?

Before I do, I'd like to say that the statement of yours I bolded still seems like gibberish to me. Anyway, here it is:

P1.) It is possible that a maximally great being exists.

P2.) If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.

P3.) If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then a maximally great being exists in every possible world.

P4.) If a maximally possible being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.

P5.) If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.

C: Therefore, a maximally great being exists
bladerunner060
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3/12/2013 9:27:05 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/12/2013 8:01:44 PM, SovereignDream wrote:

P3.) If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then a maximally great being exists in every possible world.


This is the part that's logically incoherent.

If we assume that God is POSSIBLE, but not certain, then to say that if he is possible, therefore he exists in all possible worlds which of necessity means this actual world, that is what is gibberish. It's making a possibility override all other possibilities, which is what I was talking about.
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wiploc
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3/12/2013 10:49:57 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/12/2013 9:27:05 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2013 8:01:44 PM, SovereignDream wrote:

P3.) If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then a maximally great being exists in every possible world.



This is the part that's logically incoherent.

If we assume that God is POSSIBLE, but not certain, then to say that if he is possible, therefore he exists in all possible worlds which of necessity means this actual world, that is what is gibberish.

"Possible" doesn't mean not necessary, not in the language you are speaking. It only means not impossible. Look at it this way: If something is necessarily true, then it must be possible, right? Anything necessary must be possible.

In this language, possibleworldspeak, we define the words this way:
Impossible: Does not exist in any possible world.
Possible: Exists in one or more possible worlds.
Necessary: Exists in all possible worlds.

If something exists in all possible worlds, then it exists in one or more possible worlds; therefore, anything necessary is possible.

It's making a possibility override all other possibilities, which is what I was talking about.

I'm not clear what you're saying there.

The ontological argument is wrong and stupid, so I don't want you to give up. I agree that the first premise is ambiguous, deliberately so. And that ambiguity is part of how theists get people to agree to the first premise.

The other way they get people to agree is by waiting to define god until after you agree that he may exist. If they opened by defining god as existing-in-all-possible-worlds-if-he-exists-at-all, then it would be obvious that he can't possibly exist. Given such a definition, none but the most highly motivated believers would say that such a god is possible.
bladerunner060
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3/13/2013 8:23:22 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/12/2013 10:49:57 PM, wiploc wrote:
At 3/12/2013 9:27:05 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2013 8:01:44 PM, SovereignDream wrote:

P3.) If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then a maximally great being exists in every possible world.



This is the part that's logically incoherent.

If we assume that God is POSSIBLE, but not certain, then to say that if he is possible, therefore he exists in all possible worlds which of necessity means this actual world, that is what is gibberish.

"Possible" doesn't mean not necessary, not in the language you are speaking. It only means not impossible. Look at it this way: If something is necessarily true, then it must be possible, right? Anything necessary must be possible.

In this language, possibleworldspeak, we define the words this way:
Impossible: Does not exist in any possible world.
Possible: Exists in one or more possible worlds.
Necessary: Exists in all possible worlds.

If something exists in all possible worlds, then it exists in one or more possible worlds; therefore, anything necessary is possible.

It's making a possibility override all other possibilities, which is what I was talking about.

I'm not clear what you're saying there.

The ontological argument is wrong and stupid, so I don't want you to give up. I agree that the first premise is ambiguous, deliberately so. And that ambiguity is part of how theists get people to agree to the first premise.

The other way they get people to agree is by waiting to define god until after you agree that he may exist. If they opened by defining god as existing-in-all-possible-worlds-if-he-exists-at-all, then it would be obvious that he can't possibly exist. Given such a definition, none but the most highly motivated believers would say that such a god is possible.

I know that possible doesn't mean not necessary. I'm actually confused by what you're pointing out; P3 says nothing about necessity, it just makes an assertion that IF god exists in any possible universe, THEN he exists in all possible universes.

The end that you mention is basically my point. They open with "is god possible?", then, since they've made no specific claims about him or defined maximal greatness, we say yes and they turn maximal greatness into "necessarily exists in all possible universes"; to have god exist even in universes where he doesn't exist is as nonsensical as making a rock so heavy he can't lift, and they can't prove him necessary to all possible worlds except by assertion.
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bladerunner060
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3/13/2013 8:24:56 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
@SovereignDream:

I'm not sure what you aren't understanding. You agree that it's possible that God does not exist?
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SovereignDream
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3/13/2013 11:03:42 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/12/2013 9:27:05 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2013 8:01:44 PM, SovereignDream wrote:

P3.) If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then a maximally great being exists in every possible world.



This is the part that's logically incoherent.

If we assume that God is POSSIBLE, but not certain, then to say that if he is possible, therefore he exists in all possible worlds which of necessity means this actual world, that is what is gibberish. It's making a possibility override all other possibilities, which is what I was talking about.

As I said, all premises after 1 & 2 simply follow from modal logic (and 2 is a mere tautology of 1). And "certainty," again, denotes epistemic possibility, which you again seem to be confusing with metaphysical/logical possibility. If you accept P1 (and its tautology), then you are saying that the concept of a maximally great being is free of contradiction, which you seem to concede. Now what is the problem with P3? If the existence of a maximally great being is free of contradiction, then a maximally great being exists in at least one possible world (i.e. since a maximally great being is not logically impossible, then there is a way the world might have been in which a maximally great being exists). But if you were to understand what a maximally great being entails, then you'd see that if a maximally great being exists in at least one possible world, then it must exist in all possible worlds, for it is greater to exist in all possible worlds than just in one (existing in one or several implies metaphysical contingency anyways, which God cannot be). For ask yourself: what possible world is there in which an omniscient, omnipotent, benevolent God cannot exist? There just doesn't seem to be one.

I hope that helps.

It's making a possibility override all other possibilities, which is what I was talking about.

And I still have no idea what it is you're trying to say here.
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3/13/2013 11:05:47 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/13/2013 8:24:56 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
@SovereignDream:

I'm not sure what you aren't understanding. You agree that it's possible that God does not exist?

We must be more careful with our questions regarding metaphysical possibility. If you are asking whether I think God's existence is metaphysically possible (i.e. is free of contradiction), then my answer would be "yes".
bladerunner060
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3/13/2013 11:11:36 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/13/2013 11:03:42 AM, SovereignDream wrote:
At 3/12/2013 9:27:05 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2013 8:01:44 PM, SovereignDream wrote:

P3.) If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then a maximally great being exists in every possible world.



This is the part that's logically incoherent.

If we assume that God is POSSIBLE, but not certain, then to say that if he is possible, therefore he exists in all possible worlds which of necessity means this actual world, that is what is gibberish. It's making a possibility override all other possibilities, which is what I was talking about.

As I said, all premises after 1 & 2 simply follow from modal logic (and 2 is a mere tautology of 1). And "certainty," again, denotes epistemic possibility, which you again seem to be confusing with metaphysical/logical possibility. If you accept P1 (and its tautology), then you are saying that the concept of a maximally great being is free of contradiction, which you seem to concede. Now what is the problem with P3? If the existence of a maximally great being is free of contradiction, then a maximally great being exists in at least one possible world (i.e. since a maximally great being is not logically impossible, then there is a way the world might have been in which a maximally great being exists). But if you were to understand what a maximally great being entails, then you'd see that if a maximally great being exists in at least one possible world, then it must exist in all possible worlds, for it is greater to exist in all possible worlds than just in one (existing in one or several implies metaphysical contingency anyways, which God cannot be). For ask yourself: what possible world is there in which an omniscient, omnipotent, benevolent God cannot exist? There just doesn't seem to be one.

I hope that helps.

It's making a possibility override all other possibilities, which is what I was talking about.

And I still have no idea what it is you're trying to say here.

I would still maintain that it is the one positing an OA who is confusing the two. That something is metaphysically consistent has no bearing on whether it's real or not, or even whether it's actually part of an instantiated possible universe.

I would argue that, if the conception of god you posit is one that if he exists in one universe must, of necessity, exist in all possible universes, is a logical incoherency on par with "creating a rock so heavy he can't lift", because you've created a god that exists in all possible universes, even the ones where he doesn't. That's an absurd paradox, and thus fails the general definition of allowable actions under "maximal".

You've created, out of thin air, a concept, and said "once you concede this concept COULD be, therefore it definitely IS". I's a very fancy way of going about the classical OA, but it still boils down to: "I have this concept that I've thought of that is defined as infinitely awesome, it's more awesome to be real than not, and I just said it's infinitely awesome, therefore it exists".
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bladerunner060
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3/13/2013 11:13:10 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/13/2013 11:05:47 AM, SovereignDream wrote:
At 3/13/2013 8:24:56 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
@SovereignDream:

I'm not sure what you aren't understanding. You agree that it's possible that God does not exist?

We must be more careful with our questions regarding metaphysical possibility. If you are asking whether I think God's existence is metaphysically possible (i.e. is free of contradiction), then my answer would be "yes".

My question was, is it metaphysically possible for a world without a maximally great being to exist?
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SovereignDream
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3/13/2013 11:27:46 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/13/2013 11:13:10 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/13/2013 11:05:47 AM, SovereignDream wrote:
At 3/13/2013 8:24:56 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
@SovereignDream:

I'm not sure what you aren't understanding. You agree that it's possible that God does not exist?

We must be more careful with our questions regarding metaphysical possibility. If you are asking whether I think God's existence is metaphysically possible (i.e. is free of contradiction), then my answer would be "yes".

My question was, is it metaphysically possible for a world without a maximally great being to exist?

The answer to that seems to be "no", for what type of possible world is there in which a maximally great being cannot exist in? Unless you'd be interested in suggesting one, there just doesn't seem to be any.
bladerunner060
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3/13/2013 11:43:02 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/13/2013 11:27:46 AM, SovereignDream wrote:
At 3/13/2013 11:13:10 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/13/2013 11:05:47 AM, SovereignDream wrote:
At 3/13/2013 8:24:56 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
@SovereignDream:

I'm not sure what you aren't understanding. You agree that it's possible that God does not exist?

We must be more careful with our questions regarding metaphysical possibility. If you are asking whether I think God's existence is metaphysically possible (i.e. is free of contradiction), then my answer would be "yes".

My question was, is it metaphysically possible for a world without a maximally great being to exist?

The answer to that seems to be "no", for what type of possible world is there in which a maximally great being cannot exist in? Unless you'd be interested in suggesting one, there just doesn't seem to be any.

It seems you're confusing possibility with necessity.
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wiploc
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3/13/2013 1:02:10 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/13/2013 11:43:02 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/13/2013 11:27:46 AM, SovereignDream wrote:
The answer to that seems to be "no", for what type of possible world is there in which a maximally great being cannot exist in? Unless you'd be interested in suggesting one, there just doesn't seem to be any.

It seems you're confusing possibility with necessity.

Just apply his answer to his argument:

When he says, "1. It is possible that a maximally great thing exists," you say, "Premise one seems to be false. For what possible world is there in which a maximally great being can exist in? Unless you'd be interested in suggesting one, there just doesn't seem to be any."
natoast
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3/13/2013 5:15:40 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/12/2013 8:01:44 PM, SovereignDream wrote:
At 3/12/2013 3:53:52 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2013 3:09:57 PM, SovereignDream wrote:
At 3/12/2013 2:54:14 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2013 2:45:30 PM, SovereignDream wrote:
At 3/12/2013 2:31:52 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
I'm not confusing the two. I'm arguing that believers are conflating the two when they use the question to spring into the Ontological Argument.

I don't think it's confusion, it's just an ambiguous question. That, by any means, can be easily remedied: "Do you think God's existence is metaphysically possible?"

And as soon as you say that, the OA's premises do not follow. Because a being whose very existence precludes all the other acknowledge possibilities violates the very concept of possible, and so therefore is incoherent, and therefore not metaphysically possible.

Nigga say what?

That's the S5 formulation which seems to be most common these days:

"
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.

C. Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.




If you're holding to a different syllogism, can you state it?

Before I do, I'd like to say that the statement of yours I bolded still seems like gibberish to me. Anyway, here it is:

P1.) It is possible that a maximally great being exists.

P2.) If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.

P3.) If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then a maximally great being exists in every possible world.

P4.) If a maximally possible being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.

P5.) If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.

C: Therefore, a maximally great being exists

I truly do not understand P3. How does it follow that if it is possible for a universe to exist with a perfect being, then all hypothetical universes must have a perfect being?
bladerunner060
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3/13/2013 5:47:41 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/13/2013 5:15:40 PM, natoast wrote:

I truly do not understand P3. How does it follow that if it is possible for a universe to exist with a perfect being, then all hypothetical universes must have a perfect being?

The idea is that it's more maximally great to exist in all universes than to only exist in one, therefore if it could exist in one it must therefore exist in all.
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wiploc
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3/13/2013 6:12:05 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/13/2013 5:15:40 PM, natoast wrote:
At 3/12/2013 8:01:44 PM, SovereignDream wrote:
At 3/12/2013 3:53:52 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2013 3:09:57 PM, SovereignDream wrote:
At 3/12/2013 2:54:14 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2013 2:45:30 PM, SovereignDream wrote:
At 3/12/2013 2:31:52 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
I'm not confusing the two. I'm arguing that believers are conflating the two when they use the question to spring into the Ontological Argument.

I don't think it's confusion, it's just an ambiguous question. That, by any means, can be easily remedied: "Do you think God's existence is metaphysically possible?"

And as soon as you say that, the OA's premises do not follow. Because a being whose very existence precludes all the other acknowledge possibilities violates the very concept of possible, and so therefore is incoherent, and therefore not metaphysically possible.

Nigga say what?

That's the S5 formulation which seems to be most common these days:

"
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.

C. Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.




If you're holding to a different syllogism, can you state it?

Before I do, I'd like to say that the statement of yours I bolded still seems like gibberish to me. Anyway, here it is:

P1.) It is possible that a maximally great being exists.

P2.) If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.

P3.) If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then a maximally great being exists in every possible world.

P4.) If a maximally possible being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.

P5.) If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.

C: Therefore, a maximally great being exists

I truly do not understand P3. How does it follow that if it is possible for a universe to exist with a perfect being, then all hypothetical universes must have a perfect being?

There are two approaches. Let's start with the simple one and simply define something as existing-in-all-possible-worlds-if-it-exists-in-any-possible-world.

Meet Xalax, the asceticistic demon of quadratic equations. He doesn't exist in any possible world unless he exists in all of them. Why? Because I defined him that way. That characteristic is what I'm talking about when I use the word "Xalax."

So, let's substitute in:

P1.) It is possible that Xalax exists.

P2.) If it is possible that Xalax exists, then Xalax in some possible world.

P3.) If Xalax exists in some possible world, then Xalax in every possible world.

Because that's how he's defined. If you granted P1, then you must grant P3.

So you shouldn't have granted P1. That's because there are possible worlds in which Xalax doesn't exist, even as there are possible worlds in which gods don't exist. Any world without logical contradiction is a possible world. And there's nothing contradictory about a world having no gods or demons. Therefore, there are possible worlds in which gods and demons don't exist. Therefore, P1 is false regardless of whether we substitute Xalax in for Jehovah.

Okay, that was the easy way. We simply defined something as existing in all possible worlds if it exists in any possible world. Now we'll go the harder route. We define the item in vague but ambitious terms, calling it mega-huge, anti-minimal, or, I dunno, maximally great. And then, having given it this vague but ambitious description, we try to infer guess what? We must infer that if it exists at all, it must exist in every possible world. That doesn't work at all, of course, but I'm out of time. So I'll just say this: If it were true that something maximally great couldn't exist in any possible world unless it existed in all possible worlds, then it would not be able to exist in any possible world.

P1 would still be false.

The only reason the argument appeals is that they get you to agree to P1 before springing P3 on you. If they opened by saying that something couldn't exist in any possible world without existing in all of them, then we never would have agreed to P1.
SovereignDream
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3/13/2013 7:03:38 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/13/2013 11:43:02 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/13/2013 11:27:46 AM, SovereignDream wrote:
At 3/13/2013 11:13:10 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/13/2013 11:05:47 AM, SovereignDream wrote:
At 3/13/2013 8:24:56 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
@SovereignDream:

I'm not sure what you aren't understanding. You agree that it's possible that God does not exist?

We must be more careful with our questions regarding metaphysical possibility. If you are asking whether I think God's existence is metaphysically possible (i.e. is free of contradiction), then my answer would be "yes".

My question was, is it metaphysically possible for a world without a maximally great being to exist?

The answer to that seems to be "no", for what type of possible world is there in which a maximally great being cannot exist in? Unless you'd be interested in suggesting one, there just doesn't seem to be any.

It seems you're confusing possibility with necessity.

No, I'm not and both are closely related. If there is no possible world in which something cannot exist, then such a thing is metaphysically necessary. I am challenging you to give me an example of such a possible world in which a maximally great being cannot exist in.
SovereignDream
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3/13/2013 7:08:22 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/13/2013 1:02:10 PM, wiploc wrote:
At 3/13/2013 11:43:02 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/13/2013 11:27:46 AM, SovereignDream wrote:
The answer to that seems to be "no", for what type of possible world is there in which a maximally great being cannot exist in? Unless you'd be interested in suggesting one, there just doesn't seem to be any.

It seems you're confusing possibility with necessity.

Just apply his answer to his argument:

When he says, "1. It is possible that a maximally great thing exists," you say, "Premise one seems to be false. For what possible world is there in which a maximally great being can exist in? Unless you'd be interested in suggesting one, there just doesn't seem to be any."

This rejoinder is just silly. If the concept of a maximally great being is metaphysically possible (i.e. is free of contradiction), then a maximally great being exists at least in one possible world. The rest of the argument is simply an exercise in the rules of modal logic. There doesn't appear to be any possible world in which a maximally great being cannot exist in. The same cannot be said, for example, for a "maximally great" antelope or some such nonsense. For I can give you an example of a possible world in which a "maximally great" antelope cannot exist in, namely, a possible world which is composed of singularities, or a world without chemistry. The same cannot be said of God, a maximally great being. But if you would want to suggest a possible world in which a maximally great being cannot exist in, I'm all ears.
bladerunner060
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3/13/2013 7:16:40 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/13/2013 7:08:22 PM, SovereignDream wrote:
At 3/13/2013 1:02:10 PM, wiploc wrote:
At 3/13/2013 11:43:02 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/13/2013 11:27:46 AM, SovereignDream wrote:
The answer to that seems to be "no", for what type of possible world is there in which a maximally great being cannot exist in? Unless you'd be interested in suggesting one, there just doesn't seem to be any.

It seems you're confusing possibility with necessity.

Just apply his answer to his argument:

When he says, "1. It is possible that a maximally great thing exists," you say, "Premise one seems to be false. For what possible world is there in which a maximally great being can exist in? Unless you'd be interested in suggesting one, there just doesn't seem to be any."

This rejoinder is just silly. If the concept of a maximally great being is metaphysically possible (i.e. is free of contradiction), then a maximally great being exists at least in one possible world. The rest of the argument is simply an exercise in the rules of modal logic. There doesn't appear to be any possible world in which a maximally great being cannot exist in. The same cannot be said, for example, for a "maximally great" antelope or some such nonsense. For I can give you an example of a possible world in which a "maximally great" antelope cannot exist in, namely, a possible world which is composed of singularities, or a world without chemistry. The same cannot be said of God, a maximally great being. But if you would want to suggest a possible world in which a maximally great being cannot exist in, I'm all ears.

But your definition of "maximally great" cannot, by definition, only speak about one universe. After all, in order for the thing to be actually maximally great, it MUST, by your definition, exist in all possible worlds. So therefore, trying to say he exists in "at least one world" is meaningless. You've defined him such that he either he exists in all worlds or he exists in no worlds, which gets us no further to knowing if he exists.
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SovereignDream
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3/13/2013 7:19:22 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/13/2013 7:16:40 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/13/2013 7:08:22 PM, SovereignDream wrote:
At 3/13/2013 1:02:10 PM, wiploc wrote:
At 3/13/2013 11:43:02 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/13/2013 11:27:46 AM, SovereignDream wrote:
The answer to that seems to be "no", for what type of possible world is there in which a maximally great being cannot exist in? Unless you'd be interested in suggesting one, there just doesn't seem to be any.

It seems you're confusing possibility with necessity.

Just apply his answer to his argument:

When he says, "1. It is possible that a maximally great thing exists," you say, "Premise one seems to be false. For what possible world is there in which a maximally great being can exist in? Unless you'd be interested in suggesting one, there just doesn't seem to be any."

This rejoinder is just silly. If the concept of a maximally great being is metaphysically possible (i.e. is free of contradiction), then a maximally great being exists at least in one possible world. The rest of the argument is simply an exercise in the rules of modal logic. There doesn't appear to be any possible world in which a maximally great being cannot exist in. The same cannot be said, for example, for a "maximally great" antelope or some such nonsense. For I can give you an example of a possible world in which a "maximally great" antelope cannot exist in, namely, a possible world which is composed of singularities, or a world without chemistry. The same cannot be said of God, a maximally great being. But if you would want to suggest a possible world in which a maximally great being cannot exist in, I'm all ears.

But your definition of "maximally great" cannot, by definition, only speak about one universe. After all, in order for the thing to be actually maximally great, it MUST, by your definition, exist in all possible worlds. So therefore, trying to say he exists in "at least one world" is meaningless. You've defined him such that he either he exists in all worlds or he exists in no worlds, which gets us no further to knowing if he exists.

Exactly. There doesn't seem to be a world in which a maximally great being cannot exist in. If that is the case, then such a being is metaphysically necessary.
bladerunner060
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3/13/2013 7:30:18 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/13/2013 7:19:22 PM, SovereignDream wrote:


Exactly. There doesn't seem to be a world in which a maximally great being cannot exist in. If that is the case, then such a being is metaphysically necessary.

A proposition is a metaphysical necessity if it could not have been false, not if it's POSSIBLE that it could be true. I can think of an internally consistent world that simply does not have a maximally great being. Therefore, it CAN be false, and isn't metaphysically necessary. Therefore, God is not metaphysically necessary.
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SovereignDream
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3/13/2013 8:06:20 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/13/2013 7:30:18 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/13/2013 7:19:22 PM, SovereignDream wrote:


Exactly. There doesn't seem to be a world in which a maximally great being cannot exist in. If that is the case, then such a being is metaphysically necessary.

A proposition is a metaphysical necessity if it could not have been false, not if it's POSSIBLE that it could be true. I can think of an internally consistent world that simply does not have a maximally great being. Therefore, it CAN be false, and isn't metaphysically necessary. Therefore, God is not metaphysically necessary.

Now we're finally getting somewhere. Now, what is it about that world that makes it so that a maximally great being cannot exist in it. Saying "well it's a world in which a maximally great being doesn't exist" is question-begging and simply invites the same question to be made once again: what is it about this possible world that makes it impossible for a maximally great being to exist in?
wiploc
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3/13/2013 9:29:17 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/13/2013 7:03:38 PM, SovereignDream wrote:
I am challenging you to give me an example of such a possible world in which a maximally great being cannot exist in.

What should be obvious is that there are possible worlds in which gods do not exist. Whether they could exist is not the point. The point is that they don't.
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3/13/2013 9:48:54 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/13/2013 7:08:22 PM, SovereignDream wrote:
This rejoinder is just silly. If the concept of a maximally great being is metaphysically possible (i.e. is free of contradiction), then a maximally great being exists at least in one possible world.

If the concept of a world without a maximally great being is metaphysically possible (i.e. is free of contradiction), then at least one such world exists.

The rest of the argument is simply an exercise in the rules of modal logic.

Agreed.

There doesn't appear to be any possible world in which a maximally great being cannot exist in.

There do appear to be possible worlds in which maximally great beings do not exist. It follows, from the rules of modal logic, that there are no possible worlds in which maximally great beings exist. Maximally great beings do not exist in any possible worlds. Maximally great beings are impossible.

The same cannot be said, for example, for a "maximally great" antelope or some such nonsense. For I can give you an example of a possible world in which a "maximally great" antelope cannot exist in, namely, a possible world which is composed of singularities, or a world without chemistry.

Are you saying that it would take a miracle? Are you saying that not even a miracle-throwing god could achieve this?

The same cannot be said of God, a maximally great being. But if you would want to suggest a possible world in which a maximally great being cannot exist in, I'm all ears.

A maximally great god cannot exist in any possible world unless it exists in all possible worlds. Since it does not exist in all possible worlds, it follows that it cannot exist in any possible world. Therefore, every possible world is a possible world in which maximally great beings cannot exist.