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Avicenna's argument from contingency

zmikecuber
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10/3/2013 10:08:25 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I found this interesting, though I'm not sure it's entirely sound... Thoughts?

1. Something exists.

2. Whatever exists is either possible or necessary.

3. If that something which exists is necessary, then there is a necessary existent.

4. Whatever is possible has a cause.

5. So if that something which exists is possible, then it has a cause.

6. The totality of possible things is either necessary in itself or possible in itself.

7. The totality cannot be necessary in itself since it exists only through the existence of its members.

8. So the totality of possible things is possible in itself.

9. So the totality of possible things has a cause.

10. This cause is either internal to the totality or external to it.

11. If it is internal to the totality, then it is either necessary or possible.

12. But it cannot in that case be necessary, because the totality is comprised of possible things.

13. And it also cannot in that case be possible, since as the cause of all possible things it would in that case be its own cause, which would make it necessary and not possible after all, which is a contradiction.

14. So the cause of the totality of possible things is not internal to that totality, but external to it.

15. But if it is outside the totality of possible things, then it is necessary.

16. So there is a necessary existent.

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com...
http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com...
"Delete your fvcking sig" -1hard

"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
wiploc
Posts: 1,485
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10/3/2013 11:24:06 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/3/2013 10:08:25 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
1. Something exists.

Granted.

2. Whatever exists is either possible or necessary.

I can't grant this, since these are often hedge-words, having different meanings in different parts of the argument. Clarifying definitions may eliminate this problem.

3. If that something which exists is necessary, then there is a necessary existent.

4. Whatever is possible has a cause.

Two problems with this:

- It is arbitrary and self-serving. Why doesn't it just say, "Whatever exists has a cause?" Of course, defining "possible" and "necessary" might eliminate this objection.

- It is an archaic notion, predating quantum mechanics.

5. So if that something which exists is possible, then it has a cause.

I would be able to grant this if I were able to grant #4.

6. The totality of possible things is either necessary in itself or possible in itself.

7. The totality cannot be necessary in itself since it exists only through the existence of its members.

I can't see my way to granting this. For instance, some people say that nothingness is impossible. If so, there might not be specific thing that is necessary, but it would still be necessary that there be something.

8. So the totality of possible things is possible in itself.

This depends on #7, which is iffy.

9. So the totality of possible things has a cause.

10. This cause is either internal to the totality or external to it.

11. If it is internal to the totality, then it is either necessary or possible.

12. But it cannot in that case be necessary, because the totality is comprised of possible things.

13. And it also cannot in that case be possible, since as the cause of all possible things it would in that case be its own cause, which would make it necessary and not possible after all, which is a contradiction.

How does something being its own cause make it necessary?

14. So the cause of the totality of possible things is not internal to that totality, but external to it.

This depends on iffy prior premises.

15. But if it is outside the totality of possible things, then it is necessary.

16. So there is a necessary existent.

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com...
http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com...

It's an interesting argument, but, so far at least, it appears to be full of holes.

Also, you need to know that this is plagiarism. Quoted material must be identified as such. You put citations at the end of your post, but that represents that you presented in your own words ideas that you got from those web sites.
Disquisition
Posts: 391
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10/3/2013 11:51:28 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/3/2013 11:24:06 PM, wiploc wrote:
Also, you need to know that this is plagiarism. Quoted material must be identified as such. You put citations at the end of your post, but that represents that you presented in your own words ideas that you got from those web sites.

This isn't an academic essay or an official debate and it really isn't plagiarism since he didn't twist any of the authors words or openly claim the post to be his. Anyone could easily verify the credibility of his post with a simple search.

Also, since when does putting citations at the end of a post equate to plagiarism. Its really just a lazy way of making a works cited page.
wiploc
Posts: 1,485
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10/4/2013 1:32:18 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/3/2013 11:51:28 PM, Disquisition wrote:
At 10/3/2013 11:24:06 PM, wiploc wrote:
Also, you need to know that this is plagiarism. Quoted material must be identified as such. You put citations at the end of your post, but that represents that you presented in your own words ideas that you got from those web sites.

This isn't an academic essay or an official debate and it really isn't plagiarism since he didn't twist any of the authors words or openly claim the post to be his. Anyone could easily verify the credibility of his post with a simple search.

Also, since when does putting citations at the end of a post equate to plagiarism. Its really just a lazy way of making a works cited page.

If you quote something, you need to put it in quotation marks, or otherwise clearly indicate that it is a quotation. Otherwise, you are guilty of plagiarism, which can get DDO sued.

If you do it in a debate, it will cause you to lose.

If you do it in meatworld, it can get you fired or expelled.
Poetaster
Posts: 587
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10/4/2013 2:20:15 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/4/2013 1:32:18 AM, wiploc wrote:
If you do it in meatworld, it can get you fired or expelled.

"Meatworld". I ever so much like this term.
"The book you are looking for hasn't been written yet. What you are looking for you are going to have to find yourself, it's not going to be in a book..." -Sidewalker
Smithereens
Posts: 5,512
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10/4/2013 5:15:37 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/3/2013 11:24:06 PM, wiploc wrote:
At 10/3/2013 10:08:25 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
1. Something exists.

Granted.

2. Whatever exists is either possible or necessary.

I can't grant this, since these are often hedge-words, having different meanings in different parts of the argument. Clarifying definitions may eliminate this problem.

Necessary means true in all possible worlds. Eg contradictions cannot exist in any possible world, therefore contradictions have necessary non-existence. Possible existence means that something exists in at least one possible world. If evolution is possible, then evolution happened in at least one possible world.


3. If that something which exists is necessary, then there is a necessary existent.

4. Whatever is possible has a cause.

Two problems with this:

- It is arbitrary and self-serving. Why doesn't it just say, "Whatever exists has a cause?" Of course, defining "possible" and "necessary" might eliminate this objection.
Things which have possible existence are all things that come into being and go out of being. Only necessary things don't come and go into and out of existence.

- It is an archaic notion, predating quantum mechanics.
Nothing on a quantum scale comes into being out of nothing. Fluctuations in quantum energy cause particles to appear and disappear.

5. So if that something which exists is possible, then it has a cause.

I would be able to grant this if I were able to grant #4.
So now you can.

6. The totality of possible things is either necessary in itself or possible in itself.

7. The totality cannot be necessary in itself since it exists only through the existence of its members.

I can't see my way to granting this. For instance, some people say that nothingness is impossible. If so, there might not be specific thing that is necessary, but it would still be necessary that there be something.
You would first have to show that something must exist. I see no reason why there must be something rather than nothing.

8. So the totality of possible things is possible in itself.

This depends on #7, which is iffy.

9. So the totality of possible things has a cause.

10. This cause is either internal to the totality or external to it.

11. If it is internal to the totality, then it is either necessary or possible.

12. But it cannot in that case be necessary, because the totality is comprised of possible things.

13. And it also cannot in that case be possible, since as the cause of all possible things it would in that case be its own cause, which would make it necessary and not possible after all, which is a contradiction.

How does something being its own cause make it necessary?
Because otherwise it would be a contradiction, something which doesn't have to exist bringing itself into existence is logically incoherent, but something which must exist must therefore bring itself into existence, but would mean that it didn't exist at some point. Therefore the contradiction is apparent.

14. So the cause of the totality of possible things is not internal to that totality, but external to it.

This depends on iffy prior premises.

15. But if it is outside the totality of possible things, then it is necessary.

16. So there is a necessary existent.

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com...
http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com...

It's an interesting argument, but, so far at least, it appears to be full of holes.


Also, you need to know that this is plagiarism. Quoted material must be identified as such. You put citations at the end of your post, but that represents that you presented in your own words ideas that you got from those web sites.

He said that the beginning that it was Avicenna's argument, so obviously they are not his premises, and he sourced his work, so I see no problem.
Music composition contest: http://www.debate.org...
Graincruncher
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10/4/2013 6:25:22 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/3/2013 10:08:25 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
2. Whatever exists is either possible or necessary.

It is possible that there are no necessaries across all possible worlds. It is possible that everything in all possible worlds is necessary.

4. Whatever is possible has a cause.

Only known to be true within the system which the argument proposes to explain. An interior observation is not reliable as an exterior arbiter.

5. So if that something which exists is possible, then it has a cause.

Or doesn't. We have no way of knowing what is the case outside of our frame of reference, so cannot in any way be sure of the above. We aren't even sure what is the case within our frame of reference.

6. The totality of possible things is either necessary in itself or possible in itself.

And may be made up of only 'possibles' and no 'necessaries'. Or only necessaries and no possibles.

7. The totality cannot be necessary in itself since it exists only through the existence of its members.

It only exists because it exists? *mindblown*

A tautology, dressed up as gibberish, dressed up as a point. What do you have left if you subtract possible things? A new totality. Which, according to this point, cannot possibly exist.

8. So the totality of possible things is possible in itself.

Another uselessly vague tautology. So?

9. So the totality of possible things has a cause.

Unless it doesn't, as the claim that a possible thing requires a necessary thing is totally unsubstantiated in this context.

10. This cause is either internal to the totality or external to it.

No, it isn't. Logical paradox; something cannot be external to the totality of existence as otherwise, by definition, it doesn't exist. The cause MUST be internal to the totality, otherwise it does not exist. By definition.

11. If it is internal to the totality, then it is either necessary or possible.

Sounds grand.

12. But it cannot in that case be necessary, because the totality is comprised of possible things.

So all necessary things exist outside of the totality of things that exist and therefore there are no necessary things that exist in all the totality of existence.

13. And it also cannot in that case be possible, since as the cause of all possible things it would in that case be its own cause, which would make it necessary and not possible after all, which is a contradiction.

I feel the author is very close to realising his own stupidity with this point, but somehow fell short at the last hurdle.

14. So the cause of the totality of possible things is not internal to that totality, but external to it.

So the cause of the totality of things is not a member of the set "things that exist" and there are no necessary things.

15. But if it is outside the totality of possible things, then it is necessary.

And doesn't exist.

16. So there is a necessary existent.

So there isn't. By the terms of the argument itself. What an utterly foolish argument.
zmikecuber
Posts: 4,090
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10/4/2013 9:19:34 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/3/2013 11:24:06 PM, wiploc wrote:
Also, you need to know that this is plagiarism. Quoted material must be identified as such. You put citations at the end of your post, but that represents that you presented in your own words ideas that you got from those web sites.

This was not my intention. My apologies if it is technically considered plagiarism. I did say "I found this interesting, though I'm not sure it's entirely sound...", which implies I didn't come up with it myself, and I did provide a link at the bottom.

Anyways, I just found it an interesting and unique argument, and wanted to share it with you guys. If I accidentally "plagiarized" in any way, my sincerest apologies. I would go back and edit my original post if that was possible, but alas it is not.
"Delete your fvcking sig" -1hard

"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
zmikecuber
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10/4/2013 9:39:12 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/4/2013 6:25:22 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 10/3/2013 10:08:25 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
2. Whatever exists is either possible or necessary.

It is possible that there are no necessaries across all possible worlds. It is possible that everything in all possible worlds is necessary.

Necessary means the denial of leads to an impossibility. Sure, nothing so far has been established as "necessary," according to these definitions, but that's the whole point of the argument.


4. Whatever is possible has a cause.

Only known to be true within the system which the argument proposes to explain. An interior observation is not reliable as an exterior arbiter.

This is probably the most controversial premise.


5. So if that something which exists is possible, then it has a cause.

Or doesn't. We have no way of knowing what is the case outside of our frame of reference, so cannot in any way be sure of the above. We aren't even sure what is the case within our frame of reference.

Unless we assume first principles as true. Which Avicenna did because he is Aristotle-based.


6. The totality of possible things is either necessary in itself or possible in itself.

And may be made up of only 'possibles' and no 'necessaries'. Or only necessaries and no possibles.

The totality of possible things is obviously only possible things, since that's to what it references. Also, no necessary things have been established as being necessarily true.


7. The totality cannot be necessary in itself since it exists only through the existence of its members.

It only exists because it exists? *mindblown*

A tautology, dressed up as gibberish, dressed up as a point. What do you have left if you subtract possible things? A new totality. Which, according to this point, cannot possibly exist.

No. If all the members of the totality went out of existence, then the totality would also go out of existence. And if it can go out of existence, then it cannot be necessary.


8. So the totality of possible things is possible in itself.

Another uselessly vague tautology. So?

Because then it requires a cause.


9. So the totality of possible things has a cause.

Unless it doesn't, as the claim that a possible thing requires a necessary thing is totally unsubstantiated in this context.

Nobody said a possible thing requires a necessary thing. However, if we accept possible things as having a cause, and the totality of all possible things as being a possible thing, then it does need a cause.


10. This cause is either internal to the totality or external to it.

No, it isn't. Logical paradox; something cannot be external to the totality of existence as otherwise, by definition, it doesn't exist. The cause MUST be internal to the totality, otherwise it does not exist. By definition.

No. Because it is possible that the cause may be necessary, and thus external to the totality of possible things. However, this has not been established as true yet.


11. If it is internal to the totality, then it is either necessary or possible.

Sounds grand.

Sho nuff.


12. But it cannot in that case be necessary, because the totality is comprised of possible things.

So all necessary things exist outside of the totality of things that exist and therefore there are no necessary things that exist in all the totality of existence.

It's not the totality of things that exist. Surely, that assumption has never been made. It is the totality of all possible things which exist. Perhaps even some possible things we don't know of, and never will. Things may exist outside of the totality of possible things, and thus be necessary things, but this hasn't been established yet... so, so far we just don't know.


13. And it also cannot in that case be possible, since as the cause of all possible things it would in that case be its own cause, which would make it necessary and not possible after all, which is a contradiction.

I feel the author is very close to realising his own stupidity with this point, but somehow fell short at the last hurdle.

No. If a thing were possible, and were the cause of itself, would it really be possible? No, it would be a necessary thing, since its non existence would then be impossible.

Or we could make the argument that it is impossible for a thing to cause itself. Avicenna makes the first argument, Aquinas makes the second.


14. So the cause of the totality of possible things is not internal to that totality, but external to it.

So the cause of the totality of things is not a member of the set "things that exist" and there are no necessary things.

No. Now it has been established that the cause of all possible things cannot be possible, and thus must exist outside of it. The premises never read "things that exist." It was more specific, and said "possible things that exist," while maintaining the possibility of a necessary existent.


15. But if it is outside the totality of possible things, then it is necessary.

And doesn't exist.

Nope. Remember the second premise that something could be either necessary or possible? Well nothing was established at that point as being necessary, but now it has.


16. So there is a necessary existent.

So there isn't. By the terms of the argument itself. What an utterly foolish argument.

I fail to see where you've shown this.

The totality of all possible things is not the totality of all existent things. Sure, so far it might be the only thing we know about (or we only know about part of it), but the argument clearly leaves space for a necessary existent. Without which, the totality of possible things could not exist. However they do, and thus a necessary existent must exist.
"Delete your fvcking sig" -1hard

"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
zmikecuber
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10/4/2013 9:52:19 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/3/2013 11:24:06 PM, wiploc wrote:
At 10/3/2013 10:08:25 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
1. Something exists.

Granted.

2. Whatever exists is either possible or necessary.

I can't grant this, since these are often hedge-words, having different meanings in different parts of the argument. Clarifying definitions may eliminate this problem.

Necessary: The falsity (or non-existence) of which is impossible. (Existence contained in essence)
Possible: The falsity (or non existence) of which is possible. (Distinct essence and existence)

That's my understanding of these terms as used in this argument.




3. If that something which exists is necessary, then there is a necessary existent.

4. Whatever is possible has a cause.

Two problems with this:

- It is arbitrary and self-serving. Why doesn't it just say, "Whatever exists has a cause?" Of course, defining "possible" and "necessary" might eliminate this objection.

- It is an archaic notion, predating quantum mechanics.


I'll grant you this. This is probably the most controversial premise, since any version of the PSR are always controversial.

5. So if that something which exists is possible, then it has a cause.

I would be able to grant this if I were able to grant #4.

Correct.


6. The totality of possible things is either necessary in itself or possible in itself.

7. The totality cannot be necessary in itself since it exists only through the existence of its members.

I can't see my way to granting this. For instance, some people say that nothingness is impossible. If so, there might not be specific thing that is necessary, but it would still be necessary that there be something.

Sure. However, if the totality of possible things is possible in itself, then it cannot be necessary. Since the totality of possible things is just that, the totality of possible things, we must accept that if all these possible things went out of existence, which they can, then the totality would also go out of existence, and thus it cannot be necessary.


8. So the totality of possible things is possible in itself.

This depends on #7, which is iffy.

IF every possible thing is possible to not exist, THEN the totality of possible things is possible to not exist, since the totality only exists inasmuch as its members do.
It it possible for every possible thing to not exist.
.'. The totality of possible things is possible to not exist.


9. So the totality of possible things has a cause.

10. This cause is either internal to the totality or external to it.

11. If it is internal to the totality, then it is either necessary or possible.

12. But it cannot in that case be necessary, because the totality is comprised of possible things.

13. And it also cannot in that case be possible, since as the cause of all possible things it would in that case be its own cause, which would make it necessary and not possible after all, which is a contradiction.

How does something being its own cause make it necessary?

To quote Feser...

"Note that in step (13) the idea of self-causation is raised. Avicenna does not actually think that such a thing is possible, but is merely allowing it for the sake of argument. His point is that if a possible thing were its own cause then it would be entirely determinate in itself and rely on nothing outside it, in which case it would not really be possible but necessary. Since this is a contradiction, what led us to it -- the assumption that the cause of the totality of possible things is internal to the totality and thus itself possible -- must be rejected. Of course, if we simply reject the possibility of self-causation out of hand, the same result follows more quickly."

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com...

It's easier to just reject the idea of self-causation altogether.


14. So the cause of the totality of possible things is not internal to that totality, but external to it.

This depends on iffy prior premises.

15. But if it is outside the totality of possible things, then it is necessary.

16. So there is a necessary existent.

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com...
http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com...

It's an interesting argument, but, so far at least, it appears to be full of holes.


I think the strongest weakness is the PSR-like premise.
"Delete your fvcking sig" -1hard

"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
drafterman
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10/4/2013 10:00:27 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/3/2013 10:08:25 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
I found this interesting, though I'm not sure it's entirely sound... Thoughts?

1. Something exists.

Agreed.

2. Whatever exists is either possible or necessary.

This statement is poorly worded. There are many meanings for these words. Their use today, would seem to imply modal logic, in which case this statement is false (In most systems, if something is necessary, then it is also possible, which contradicts the exclusive "or" proposed int his statement.)

Now, obviously Avicenna was not using modal logic in constructing his argument but, nevertheless, I'm more inclined to use formal language as there is less room for error and more common understanding of the nature of the terms.

Instead, I would propose this:

"2. Whatever exists is either necessary, or could have possibly not existed."

3. If that something which exists is necessary, then there is a necessary existent.

Tautology.

4. Whatever is possible has a cause.

Again, this is ill defined and, upon inspection, is false. First, let's reword given our new #2:

"4. Whatever could have possibly not existed has a cause for its existence."

Even this is wrong as it ignores the fact that something can have more than one cause. So let's reword again:

"4. Whatever could have possibly not existed has at least one cause for its existence."

And, really, this is just a long way of saying that, whatever could have possibly not existed is contingent (upon that which caused it to be, as opposed to not be).

But is even this statement true? The very idea of causality is not something that is universally granted, but rather than get into all that, we'll accept the statement above as is ... with an asterisk.

5. So if that something which exists is possible, then it has a cause.

Restated:

"5. If something could have possibly not existed has at least one cause for its existence."

6. The totality of possible things is either necessary in itself or possible in itself.

False on the surface. After all, whatever is possible (but not necessary) is also possibly not meaning it's contradiction is also possible. Thus, the "totality of possible things" contains contradictions.

For example, "a red moon orbiting the Earth at a specific location" is possible. As is "a blue moon orbiting the Earth at that same location." However, the conjunction of those two things is not possible. From a modal sense, we cannot say:

<>a /\ <>b -> <>(a /\ b)

We can fix this by limiting ourselves only to things which actually exist, and are possible (but not necessary). Adding our previous modifications, we get:

"6. The totality of things which exist, but could have possibly not existed, is either necessary or could possibly not have existed."

7. The totality cannot be necessary in itself since it exists only through the existence of its members.

Ok, sure.

8. So the totality of possible things is possible in itself.

Follows form above.

9. So the totality of possible things has a cause.

At least one cause, to be sure, given our previous discussion. But this is misleading. The "totality" isn't a thing in and of itself. It is merely our collection of "possible"
things, which themselves have causes. The totality doesn't have any causes outside of that. But, I see this is where it is going, we just need to reword and refine this.

10. This cause is either internal to the totality or external to it.

11. If it is internal to the totality, then it is either necessary or possible.


12. But it cannot in that case be necessary, because the totality is comprised of possible things.

13. And it also cannot in that case be possible, since as the cause of all possible things it would in that case be its own cause, which would make it necessary and not possible after all, which is a contradiction.

14. So the cause of the totality of possible things is not internal to that totality, but external to it.

15. But if it is outside the totality of possible things, then it is necessary.

Ok, so here is the issue. We have a set which we are calling "the totality possible things." These things have causes. Those causes can either be possible themselves (in which case they are a member of the set) or necessary (in which case they are not).

Now, what this is saying is that, if all the causes of all of the members of the set are also members of the set, then it would "be its own cause" and, therefore necessary.

I'm not sure that this follows. There is nothing inherent in this kind of modal logic that says that possible things can't cause themselves or that this self-causality confers necessity upon them as sets or as members of sets. Thus I see no contradiction.

Now, from an intuitive perspective, I balk against self-causality, but I also recognize that my thinking is rooted in my asymmetric temporal experiences and not necessarily a guide for establishing the logical absolutes of reality.

As it is, I see no logical reason to deny the existence of a set of all extant, possibly not things, for which no causes lie outside the set.

16. So there is a necessary existent.

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com...
http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com...
zmikecuber
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10/4/2013 10:28:41 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/4/2013 10:00:27 AM, drafterman wrote:
At 10/3/2013 10:08:25 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
I found this interesting, though I'm not sure it's entirely sound... Thoughts?

1. Something exists.

Agreed.

2. Whatever exists is either possible or necessary.

This statement is poorly worded. There are many meanings for these words. Their use today, would seem to imply modal logic, in which case this statement is false (In most systems, if something is necessary, then it is also possible, which contradicts the exclusive "or" proposed int his statement.)

Now, obviously Avicenna was not using modal logic in constructing his argument but, nevertheless, I'm more inclined to use formal language as there is less room for error and more common understanding of the nature of the terms.

Instead, I would propose this:

"2. Whatever exists is either necessary, or could have possibly not existed."


Sounds right.

3. If that something which exists is necessary, then there is a necessary existent.

Tautology.

Granted.


4. Whatever is possible has a cause.

Again, this is ill defined and, upon inspection, is false. First, let's reword given our new #2:

"4. Whatever could have possibly not existed has a cause for its existence."

Even this is wrong as it ignores the fact that something can have more than one cause. So let's reword again:

"4. Whatever could have possibly not existed has at least one cause for its existence."

Applying Ockhams razor, shouldn't we assume there is only one cause until evidence points otherwise?


And, really, this is just a long way of saying that, whatever could have possibly not existed is contingent (upon that which caused it to be, as opposed to not be).

But is even this statement true? The very idea of causality is not something that is universally granted, but rather than get into all that, we'll accept the statement above as is ... with an asterisk.

You're right. I think this is the most controversial part of the argument. It seem cosmological arguments always come down to some sort of the PSR.


5. So if that something which exists is possible, then it has a cause.

Restated:

"5. If something could have possibly not existed has at least one cause for its existence."

6. The totality of possible things is either necessary in itself or possible in itself.

False on the surface. After all, whatever is possible (but not necessary) is also possibly not meaning it's contradiction is also possible. Thus, the "totality of possible things" contains contradictions.

For example, "a red moon orbiting the Earth at a specific location" is possible. As is "a blue moon orbiting the Earth at that same location." However, the conjunction of those two things is not possible. From a modal sense, we cannot say:

<>a /\ <>b -> <>(a /\ b)

We can fix this by limiting ourselves only to things which actually exist, and are possible (but not necessary). Adding our previous modifications, we get:

"6. The totality of things which exist, but could have possibly not existed, is either necessary or could possibly not have existed."

Alright. I'm unfortunately rather ignorant of modal logic, but alright.


7. The totality cannot be necessary in itself since it exists only through the existence of its members.

Ok, sure.

8. So the totality of possible things is possible in itself.

Follows form above.

9. So the totality of possible things has a cause.

At least one cause, to be sure, given our previous discussion. But this is misleading. The "totality" isn't a thing in and of itself. It is merely our collection of "possible"
things, which themselves have causes. The totality doesn't have any causes outside of that. But, I see this is where it is going, we just need to reword and refine this.

Which raises the question what is a "thing"? I mean... is this coffee mug a thing, or is it merely a totality of different things? And what of its components? Are they things or not? If the totality isn't a thing in and of itself, then what of the "things" which compose it? Perhaps it's a totality of totalities of totalities ad infinitum.


10. This cause is either internal to the totality or external to it.

11. If it is internal to the totality, then it is either necessary or possible.


12. But it cannot in that case be necessary, because the totality is comprised of possible things.

13. And it also cannot in that case be possible, since as the cause of all possible things it would in that case be its own cause, which would make it necessary and not possible after all, which is a contradiction.

14. So the cause of the totality of possible things is not internal to that totality, but external to it.

15. But if it is outside the totality of possible things, then it is necessary.

Ok, so here is the issue. We have a set which we are calling "the totality possible things." These things have causes. Those causes can either be possible themselves (in which case they are a member of the set) or necessary (in which case they are not).

Now, what this is saying is that, if all the causes of all of the members of the set are also members of the set, then it would "be its own cause" and, therefore necessary.

Well say X here is the cause of the totality of possible things, but X is also a possible thing. Then X would be the cause of itself (as well as the rest of the things). However I think the argument is that if X is the reason why X exists, then it isn't really possible anymore, but more similar to a necessary being. If something causes itself, is it possible for it not to exist? I would think not, since it doesn't need anything else other than itself to exist...


I'm not sure that this follows. There is nothing inherent in this kind of modal logic that says that possible things can't cause themselves or that this self-causality confers necessity upon them as sets or as members of sets. Thus I see no contradiction.

I'll agree it's a bit unclear. Perhaps a better understanding in Avicenna's foundational metaphysics would cast light on this issue.


Now, from an intuitive perspective, I balk against self-causality, but I also recognize that my thinking is rooted in my asymmetric temporal experiences and not necessarily a guide for establishing the logical absolutes of reality.

That's true.


As it is, I see no logical reason to deny the existence of a set of all extant, possibly not things, for which no causes lie outside the set.

I think the ideas of self causation, and causation in general are probably this arguments weaknesses. I did like however, that it doesn't matter whether the totality of possible things is finite or infinite, or whether the duration is finite or infinite. Whenever an argument deals with infinity, that's always a confusing element, which harms the argument's thrust.
"Delete your fvcking sig" -1hard

"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
drafterman
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10/4/2013 11:03:22 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/4/2013 10:28:41 AM, zmikecuber wrote:

4. Whatever is possible has a cause.

Again, this is ill defined and, upon inspection, is false. First, let's reword given our new #2:

"4. Whatever could have possibly not existed has a cause for its existence."

Even this is wrong as it ignores the fact that something can have more than one cause. So let's reword again:

"4. Whatever could have possibly not existed has at least one cause for its existence."

Applying Ockhams razor, shouldn't we assume there is only one cause until evidence points otherwise?

Since we are making a general statement, and not a specific one, no. Simply saying "a" can lead to to confusion with some people thinking "only one." And the statement, "Whatever is possible has only one cause" is outright false.

If we step back and look at the overall conclusion and intention of the argument: that all possible things have a necessary cause. It seems obvious that the implication is that all possible things have one necessary cause (and that cause is God). I'd just as soon take the wind out of that sail sooner, rather than later.

And, really, this is just a long way of saying that, whatever could have possibly not existed is contingent (upon that which caused it to be, as opposed to not be).

But is even this statement true? The very idea of causality is not something that is universally granted, but rather than get into all that, we'll accept the statement above as is ... with an asterisk.

You're right. I think this is the most controversial part of the argument. It seem cosmological arguments always come down to some sort of the PSR.


5. So if that something which exists is possible, then it has a cause.

Restated:

"5. If something could have possibly not existed has at least one cause for its existence."

6. The totality of possible things is either necessary in itself or possible in itself.

False on the surface. After all, whatever is possible (but not necessary) is also possibly not meaning it's contradiction is also possible. Thus, the "totality of possible things" contains contradictions.

For example, "a red moon orbiting the Earth at a specific location" is possible. As is "a blue moon orbiting the Earth at that same location." However, the conjunction of those two things is not possible. From a modal sense, we cannot say:

<>a /\ <>b -> <>(a /\ b)

We can fix this by limiting ourselves only to things which actually exist, and are possible (but not necessary). Adding our previous modifications, we get:

"6. The totality of things which exist, but could have possibly not existed, is either necessary or could possibly not have existed."

Alright. I'm unfortunately rather ignorant of modal logic, but alright.


7. The totality cannot be necessary in itself since it exists only through the existence of its members.

Ok, sure.

8. So the totality of possible things is possible in itself.

Follows form above.

9. So the totality of possible things has a cause.

At least one cause, to be sure, given our previous discussion. But this is misleading. The "totality" isn't a thing in and of itself. It is merely our collection of "possible"
things, which themselves have causes. The totality doesn't have any causes outside of that. But, I see this is where it is going, we just need to reword and refine this.

Which raises the question what is a "thing"? I mean... is this coffee mug a thing, or is it merely a totality of different things? And what of its components? Are they things or not? If the totality isn't a thing in and of itself, then what of the "things" which compose it? Perhaps it's a totality of totalities of totalities ad infinitum.

Agreed and there appears to be a certain amount of equivocation, not to mention a bit of "fallacy of composition."

10. This cause is either internal to the totality or external to it.

11. If it is internal to the totality, then it is either necessary or possible.


12. But it cannot in that case be necessary, because the totality is comprised of possible things.

13. And it also cannot in that case be possible, since as the cause of all possible things it would in that case be its own cause, which would make it necessary and not possible after all, which is a contradiction.

14. So the cause of the totality of possible things is not internal to that totality, but external to it.

15. But if it is outside the totality of possible things, then it is necessary.

Ok, so here is the issue. We have a set which we are calling "the totality possible things." These things have causes. Those causes can either be possible themselves (in which case they are a member of the set) or necessary (in which case they are not).

Now, what this is saying is that, if all the causes of all of the members of the set are also members of the set, then it would "be its own cause" and, therefore necessary.

Well say X here is the cause of the totality of possible things, but X is also a possible thing. Then X would be the cause of itself (as well as the rest of the things). However I think the argument is that if X is the reason why X exists, then it isn't really possible anymore, but more similar to a necessary being. If something causes itself, is it possible for it not to exist? I would think not, since it doesn't need anything else other than itself to exist...

It makes it a tautology, but not necessarily a necessity.



I'm not sure that this follows. There is nothing inherent in this kind of modal logic that says that possible things can't cause themselves or that this self-causality confers necessity upon them as sets or as members of sets. Thus I see no contradiction.

I'll agree it's a bit unclear. Perhaps a better understanding in Avicenna's foundational metaphysics would cast light on this issue.


Now, from an intuitive perspective, I balk against self-causality, but I also recognize that my thinking is rooted in my asymmetric temporal experiences and not necessarily a guide for establishing the logical absolutes of reality.

That's true.


As it is, I see no logical reason to deny the existence of a set of all extant, possibly not things, for which no causes lie outside the set.

I think the ideas of self causation, and causation in general are probably this arguments weaknesses. I did like however, that it doesn't matter whether the totality of possible things is finite or infinite, or whether the duration is finite or infinite. Whenever an argument deals with infinity, that's always a confusing element, which harms the argument's thrust.
Graincruncher
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10/4/2013 11:55:49 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/4/2013 9:39:12 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
Necessary means the denial of leads to an impossibility. Sure, nothing so far has been established as "necessary," according to these definitions, but that's the whole point of the argument.

So necessaries are purely speculative. This is just another worthless variation on the cosmological argument - I was confused by the very vague similarity to the opening section of a proper philosophical work by someone else.

I did start making more detailed notes on quite how terrible this argument is, but to be honest I could be at that all weekend and still not finish. However, I leave you with a few thoughts to start from:

1) Clause 4 claims that all possible things have causes. Clause 5 says that possible things only have a cause if they exist. Which is it?

2) Clause 7 is probably one of the single stupidest philosophical statements I have ever come across. Things only exist because they exist. Yes. This is equally true for necessary things as it is for possible things, because if something doesn't exist then it doesn't exist. Pointing out that because something exists it is contingent on its existence to continue exist is, pardon my French, magnificently f*cking stupid.

3) If the world came out of the back of a chicken then it is an egg. So long as we arbitrarily state that it can't be chicken poo on the grounds that chicken poo only exists because it exists. Give these things, the world is an egg. "If" is quite a big word. Yet also a completely meaningless one if there is no reason to assume one way or the other over it.
drafterman
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10/4/2013 12:19:47 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/4/2013 11:55:49 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 10/4/2013 9:39:12 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
Necessary means the denial of leads to an impossibility. Sure, nothing so far has been established as "necessary," according to these definitions, but that's the whole point of the argument.

So necessaries are purely speculative. This is just another worthless variation on the cosmological argument - I was confused by the very vague similarity to the opening section of a proper philosophical work by someone else.

I did start making more detailed notes on quite how terrible this argument is, but to be honest I could be at that all weekend and still not finish. However, I leave you with a few thoughts to start from:

1) Clause 4 claims that all possible things have causes. Clause 5 says that possible things only have a cause if they exist. Which is it?

To be fair, clause 5 doesn't say that. Clause 5 is merely a specific instantiation of clause 4. That is, clause 4 makes a statement about all possible things and clause 5 applies that to a specific subset of all possible things (those possible things that actually exist). Clause 5 doesn't limit clause 4.

It's like you're typical syllogism:
All men are mortal.
Socrates is a man, therefore he is mortal.

The second clause does imply that only Socrates is mortal.

2) Clause 7 is probably one of the single stupidest philosophical statements I have ever come across. Things only exist because they exist. Yes. This is equally true for necessary things as it is for possible things, because if something doesn't exist then it doesn't exist. Pointing out that because something exists it is contingent on its existence to continue exist is, pardon my French, magnificently f*cking stupid.

3) If the world came out of the back of a chicken then it is an egg. So long as we arbitrarily state that it can't be chicken poo on the grounds that chicken poo only exists because it exists. Give these things, the world is an egg. "If" is quite a big word. Yet also a completely meaningless one if there is no reason to assume one way or the other over it.
zmikecuber
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10/4/2013 10:50:36 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/4/2013 11:55:49 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 10/4/2013 9:39:12 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
Necessary means the denial of leads to an impossibility. Sure, nothing so far has been established as "necessary," according to these definitions, but that's the whole point of the argument.

So necessaries are purely speculative. This is just another worthless variation on the cosmological argument - I was confused by the very vague similarity to the opening section of a proper philosophical work by someone else.

I did start making more detailed notes on quite how terrible this argument is, but to be honest I could be at that all weekend and still not finish. However, I leave you with a few thoughts to start from:

I'd like to point out that while the argument may not be sound, Avicenna is considered one of the greatest Muslim philosophers. It's hard to really give his argument justice, since this is just a paraphrasing of his argument, and we're pretty ignorant of the background metaphysics he's committed to. I was trying to find his works online, but all I could find them in was persian so far.

Often the cosmological arguments are presented in a way that they seem so stupid it's a wonder that any philosopher could argue in favor of them. But then we have philosophers who most assuredly aren't stupid arguing for them. Leibniz, Aristotle, Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, and Avicenna to name a few. I think that we should be fair and assume that if the argument seems completely stupid, we're probably misunderstanding it. (That's not to say their arguments are all sound... just that they're not inherently stupid, since the people presenting them were not so.)

In other words... If you see some sort of argument outlined by a brilliant philosopher, whether it be Kant or even Russell, and it seems just incredibly stupid... Give them the benefit of the doubt.

Now onto your objections.

At 10/4/2013 11:55:49 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 10/4/2013 9:39:12 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
Necessary means the denial of leads to an impossibility. Sure, nothing so far has been established as "necessary," according to these definitions, but that's the whole point of the argument.

So necessaries are purely speculative. This is just another worthless variation on the cosmological argument - I was confused by the very vague similarity to the opening section of a proper philosophical work by someone else.

I did start making more detailed notes on quite how terrible this argument is, but to be honest I could be at that all weekend and still not finish. However, I leave you with a few thoughts to start from:

1) Clause 4 claims that all possible things have causes. Clause 5 says that possible things only have a cause if they exist. Which is it?

I don't see how this is a serious objection exactly. Premise 4 states that all possible things, generally speaking, have a cause. Now if the "something which exists" that we're talking about is possible, then it has a cause.

2) Clause 7 is probably one of the single stupidest philosophical statements I have ever come across. Things only exist because they exist. Yes. This is equally true for necessary things as it is for possible things, because if something doesn't exist then it doesn't exist. Pointing out that because something exists it is contingent on its existence to continue exist is, pardon my French, magnificently f*cking stupid.

I'm not sure if you've understood premise 7. What this premise means is that if every member of the totality of possible things went out of existence (which is indeed possible due to their nature), then the totality would also go out of existence, since it only exists inasmuch as it's members do. Thus, the totality of possible things can go out of existence, and thus cannot be a "necessary" thing.

3) If the world came out of the back of a chicken then it is an egg. So long as we arbitrarily state that it can't be chicken poo on the grounds that chicken poo only exists because it exists. Give these things, the world is an egg. "If" is quite a big word. Yet also a completely meaningless one if there is no reason to assume one way or the other over it.

Please clarify this... I'm a bit confused as to how chicken sh** is relevant to the topic.

Actually it is entirely relevant. The argument is entire chicken crap. #sarcasm
"Delete your fvcking sig" -1hard

"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
sdavio
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10/4/2013 11:53:33 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/3/2013 10:08:25 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
10. This cause is either internal to the totality or external to it.

How can something be external to the totality?
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Rational_Thinker9119
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10/5/2013 2:29:41 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/3/2013 10:08:25 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
I found this interesting, though I'm not sure it's entirely sound... Thoughts?

1. Something exists.

Damn, I had to think about it, but that seems about right.... lol


2. Whatever exists is either possible or necessary.

This is a false dichotomy, because if something is necessary, then it has to be possible as well or else it couldn't exist at all!


3. If that something which exists is necessary, then there is a necessary existent.

Ok, this is self-evident...


4. Whatever is possible has a cause.

Why should anyone believe this premise?


5. So if that something which exists is possible, then it has a cause.

Well, if God is not possible, then he has to be impossible (and thus cannot exist). If God is possible, then according to your own argument he has to have a cause.


6. The totality of possible things is either necessary in itself or possible in itself.

Dude, if something is necessary, then it has to be possible as well....This is the worst argument of life.


7. The totality cannot be necessary in itself since it exists only through the existence of its members.

Why should anyone believe this premise is true?


8. So the totality of possible things is possible in itself.

Yes, the totality of things that are possible, are possible....


9. So the totality of possible things has a cause.

Why should anyone believe that everything possible has a cause?


10. This cause is either internal to the totality or external to it.

Assuming there is a cause, sure.


11. If it is internal to the totality, then it is either necessary or possible.

Once more, it's not one or the other. If something is necessary, then it has to be possible.


12. But it cannot in that case be necessary, because the totality is comprised of possible things.

This is a fallacy of composition. Just because something is true for all of the parts, that doesn't mean it is true for the whole.


13. And it also cannot in that case be possible, since as the cause of all possible things it would in that case be its own cause, which would make it necessary and not possible after all, which is a contradiction.

Huh? Have you been smoking crack?


14. So the cause of the totality of possible things is not internal to that totality, but external to it.

Says who? Your argument isn't even valid.


15. But if it is outside the totality of possible things, then it is necessary.

This is incoherent, because if something is necessary, then it has to be possible as well.... If it is not possible, then it is impossible and thus cannot be necessary.


16. So there is a necessary existent.

Such a crappy argument....This is utterly embarrassing.


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Smithereens
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10/5/2013 3:12:06 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/5/2013 2:29:41 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/3/2013 10:08:25 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
I found this interesting, though I'm not sure it's entirely sound... Thoughts?

1. Something exists.

Damn, I had to think about it, but that seems about right.... lol
Beware of the first premise..


2. Whatever exists is either possible or necessary.

This is a false dichotomy, because if something is necessary, then it has to be possible as well or else it couldn't exist at all!
Possible has a different definition in this sense. Something which has necessary existence doesn't have possible existence.


3. If that something which exists is necessary, then there is a necessary existent.

Ok, this is self-evident...


4. Whatever is possible has a cause.

Why should anyone believe this premise?
It should actually read: Whatever has possible existence must have a cause of its existence if it exists. If something with P(E) exists uncaused, then it must actually be N(E)


5. So if that something which exists is possible, then it has a cause.

Well, if God is not possible, then he has to be impossible (and thus cannot exist). If God is possible, then according to your own argument he has to have a cause.
If God is not P(E), then He is N(E). It's just like existence and non-existence, there can be no third option.


6. The totality of possible things is either necessary in itself or possible in itself.

Dude, if something is necessary, then it has to be possible as well....This is the worst argument of life.
Well now that you know that possible are necessary are two different terms, you should reconsider. I suggest researching into modal logic.


7. The totality cannot be necessary in itself since it exists only through the existence of its members.

Why should anyone believe this premise is true?
If you put together a whole heap of things which only have P(E), it would be logically unsound to suggest that as a collective they are N(E)


8. So the totality of possible things is possible in itself.

Yes, the totality of things that are possible, are possible....


9. So the totality of possible things has a cause.

Why should anyone believe that everything possible has a cause?
Refer to previous.


10. This cause is either internal to the totality or external to it.

Assuming there is a cause, sure.


11. If it is internal to the totality, then it is either necessary or possible.

Once more, it's not one or the other. If something is necessary, then it has to be possible.
Once more, it's one or the other. If something is N(E), then it cannot be P(E)


12. But it cannot in that case be necessary, because the totality is comprised of possible things.

This is a fallacy of composition. Just because something is true for all of the parts, that doesn't mean it is true for the whole.

If you take that nothing inside a collective must exist, then why should the collective itself exist?


13. And it also cannot in that case be possible, since as the cause of all possible things it would in that case be its own cause, which would make it necessary and not possible after all, which is a contradiction.

Huh? Have you been smoking crack?
This makes perfect sense, the first cause of a collection of entities with property P(E) cannot also be P(E) otherwise it needs a cause for itself. If it was uncaused, then it must be N(E).


14. So the cause of the totality of possible things is not internal to that totality, but external to it.

Says who? Your argument isn't even valid.
Now you know that this premise follows.


15. But if it is outside the totality of possible things, then it is necessary.

This is incoherent, because if something is necessary, then it has to be possible as well.... If it is not possible, then it is impossible and thus cannot be necessary.
If something is not possible, then it must be necessary.


16. So there is a necessary existent.

Such a crappy argument....This is utterly embarrassing.

I don't believe you understood a word of what he was saying or the type of logic he was employing.
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Graincruncher
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10/5/2013 9:45:22 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/4/2013 10:50:36 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
I'd like to point out that while the argument may not be sound, Avicenna is considered one of the greatest Muslim philosophers. It's hard to really give his argument justice, since this is just a paraphrasing of his argument, and we're pretty ignorant of the background metaphysics he's committed to. I was trying to find his works online, but all I could find them in was persian so far.

I don't care what he was considered or who he was; his argument is crap.

Often the cosmological arguments are presented in a way that they seem so stupid it's a wonder that any philosopher could argue in favor of them. But then we have philosophers who most assuredly aren't stupid arguing for them. Leibniz, Aristotle, Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, and Avicenna to name a few. I think that we should be fair and assume that if the argument seems completely stupid, we're probably misunderstanding it. (That's not to say their arguments are all sound... just that they're not inherently stupid, since the people presenting them were not so.)

It is entirely possible for great thinkers to put forward crap arguments. All of the examples you mention would be fine examples of just that happening. An argument most certainly can be inherently stupid and presented by an intelligent person, so long as that person is fallible. Since we know all people to be fallible, we know all people have the capacity to present inherently stupid arguments.

In other words... If you see some sort of argument outlined by a brilliant philosopher, whether it be Kant or even Russell, and it seems just incredibly stupid... Give them the benefit of the doubt.

Much as I appreciate being patronised into next week, I will continue to assess arguments on the basis of their content rather than origin.

I don't see how this is a serious objection exactly. Premise 4 states that all possible things, generally speaking, have a cause. Now if the "something which exists" that we're talking about is possible, then it has a cause.

Then it is saying even less than I thought.

I'm not sure if you've understood premise 7. What this premise means is that if every member of the totality of possible things went out of existence (which is indeed possible due to their nature), then the totality would also go out of existence, since it only exists inasmuch as it's members do. Thus, the totality of possible things can go out of existence, and thus cannot be a "necessary" thing.

The point is that ANYTHING that ceases to exists no longer exists. You can't just wander around going "oh, except for these things" without giving good reason. Since he hasn't done that, all that is being said is that, arbitrarily, something cannot not exist and that some other things can not exist because if they don't exist then they don't exist. Why? How? What does it even mean to say "this thing that exists cannot not exist" in such a way? The point is, nothing has been usefully defined, just arbitrarily labelled with one of two symbols that are quite literally nonsense. Stuff exists. Granted. Everything else is senseless blathering. This is a problem with all cosmological arguments - they are totally meaningless speculation involving terms that, when properly analysed, don't actually mean what they appear to mean. Our concepts such as 'existence', 'contingent', 'necessary' are internal to language games that have arisen within and are predicated on the system which cosmological arguments necessarily (hah) try to leave. It would be like a game of tennis being stopped and a foul awarded because one of the players performed an illegal pass; a fundamental misunderstanding not only of the game in question, but of games in general and what a 'rule' actually is.

So no, it is the author of the argument who has not understood what he is saying, because in terms of semantic content it is near zero.

Please clarify this... I'm a bit confused as to how chicken sh** is relevant to the topic.

I do not know how I can clarify it any further; I was merely giving an example of an argument of the same type. Any unsubstantiated 'if' and arbitrary, vague definitions is just as worth consideration as the cosmological argument in all its forms. That is to say, not at all.
Graincruncher
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10/5/2013 9:54:56 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/4/2013 12:19:47 PM, drafterman wrote:
To be fair, clause 5 doesn't say that. Clause 5 is merely a specific instantiation of clause 4. That is, clause 4 makes a statement about all possible things and clause 5 applies that to a specific subset of all possible things (those possible things that actually exist). Clause 5 doesn't limit clause 4.

Then I am totally baffled as to why it is included. If all of a set are X then there is no need to specify that specific elements of that set are X.

Smithereens wrote
If you put together a whole heap of things which only have P(E), it would be logically unsound to suggest that as a collective they are N(E)

There is absolutely no reason to think that unless you propose that there are NO interactive processes between possible entities. Since there is not only no reason to suggest this, but good reason to think the complete opposite, your above point is not persuasive at all. It is what left Leibniz with a dead, correlative rather than causative universe. Which, of course, means that an argument relying on causation as an element is invalid and is one of the issues with his variation on the cosmological argument.
drafterman
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10/5/2013 10:22:55 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/5/2013 9:54:56 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 10/4/2013 12:19:47 PM, drafterman wrote:
To be fair, clause 5 doesn't say that. Clause 5 is merely a specific instantiation of clause 4. That is, clause 4 makes a statement about all possible things and clause 5 applies that to a specific subset of all possible things (those possible things that actually exist). Clause 5 doesn't limit clause 4.

Then I am totally baffled as to why it is included. If all of a set are X then there is no need to specify that specific elements of that set are X.

Informally, correct. Formally, you have to make all your inferences explicit.
Graincruncher
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10/5/2013 10:32:41 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Non-existent possibles are irrelevant to the argument though, so there is no purpose in even mentioning them. If something doesn't exist then it doesn't have a cause. I am always very suspicious of arguments that try and make themselves seem more complex than they really are. It suggests they are trying to hide something.
drafterman
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10/5/2013 12:59:11 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/5/2013 10:32:41 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
Non-existent possibles are irrelevant to the argument though, so there is no purpose in even mentioning them. If something doesn't exist then it doesn't have a cause. I am always very suspicious of arguments that try and make themselves seem more complex than they really are. It suggests they are trying to hide something.

It's not "more ccomplex," it's just more explicit.
Graincruncher
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10/5/2013 2:03:29 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/5/2013 12:59:11 PM, drafterman wrote:
It's not "more ccomplex," it's just more explicit.

I would argue that complexity and degree of detail are the same thing.
drafterman
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10/5/2013 2:08:15 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/5/2013 2:03:29 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 10/5/2013 12:59:11 PM, drafterman wrote:
It's not "more ccomplex," it's just more explicit.

I would argue that complexity and degree of detail are the same thing.

But not explicitness. The premise in question is part of the argument, whether it is stated or not.
Rational_Thinker9119
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10/5/2013 3:00:02 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/5/2013 3:12:06 AM, Smithereens wrote:
At 10/5/2013 2:29:41 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/3/2013 10:08:25 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
I found this interesting, though I'm not sure it's entirely sound... Thoughts?

1. Something exists.

Damn, I had to think about it, but that seems about right.... lol
Beware of the first premise..

Beware of it? Are you serious?



2. Whatever exists is either possible or necessary.

This is a false dichotomy, because if something is necessary, then it has to be possible as well or else it couldn't exist at all!
Possible has a different definition in this sense. Something which has necessary existence doesn't have possible existence.

If it doesn't have possible existence, then it has impossible existence...Meaning it cannot exist, let alone be necessary. This is why the argument is so bad lol



3. If that something which exists is necessary, then there is a necessary existent.

Ok, this is self-evident...


4. Whatever is possible has a cause.

Why should anyone believe this premise?
It should actually read: Whatever has possible existence must have a cause of its existence if it exists. If something with P(E) exists uncaused, then it must actually be N(E)

Why should anyone believe the premise?



5. So if that something which exists is possible, then it has a cause.

Well, if God is not possible, then he has to be impossible (and thus cannot exist). If God is possible, then according to your own argument he has to have a cause.
If God is not P(E), then He is N(E). It's just like existence and non-existence, there can be no third option.

False. If God is not possible, then he is impossible... Meaning he cannot exist. Something that cannot exist, cannot be necessary.



6. The totality of possible things is either necessary in itself or possible in itself.

Dude, if something is necessary, then it has to be possible as well....This is the worst argument of life.
Well now that you know that possible are necessary are two different terms, you should reconsider. I suggest researching into modal logic.

I know about Modal Logic, and have plenty of debates on it. It's clear you don't have the slightest clue about Modal Logic.... If you did, you would know that if something is necessary, then it has to be possible as well. Something is either possible, or impossible; there is no third option. I suggest you look into Modal Logic, but it's clear you haven't the slightest clue what you are talking about.



7. The totality cannot be necessary in itself since it exists only through the existence of its members.

Why should anyone believe this premise is true?
If you put together a whole heap of things which only have P(E), it would be logically unsound to suggest that as a collective they are N(E)

No, what you are suggesting is logically unsound, as it is a fallacy of composition.



8. So the totality of possible things is possible in itself.

Yes, the totality of things that are possible, are possible....


9. So the totality of possible things has a cause.

Why should anyone believe that everything possible has a cause?
Refer to previous.


10. This cause is either internal to the totality or external to it.

Assuming there is a cause, sure.


11. If it is internal to the totality, then it is either necessary or possible.

Once more, it's not one or the other. If something is necessary, then it has to be possible.
Once more, it's one or the other. If something is N(E), then it cannot be P(E)

If it cannot be possible, then it is impossible... And thus cannot exist. How can something impossible, be necessary? Any philosopher would laugh at this argument.



12. But it cannot in that case be necessary, because the totality is comprised of possible things.

This is a fallacy of composition. Just because something is true for all of the parts, that doesn't mean it is true for the whole.

If you take that nothing inside a collective must exist, then why should the collective itself exist?


13. And it also cannot in that case be possible, since as the cause of all possible things it would in that case be its own cause, which would make it necessary and not possible after all, which is a contradiction.

Huh? Have you been smoking crack?
This makes perfect sense, the first cause of a collection of entities with property P(E) cannot also be P(E) otherwise it needs a cause for itself. If it was uncaused, then it must be N(E).

You don't understand logic dude. Look up the Law of Excluded middle, if you are saying X is not possible, that means it is impossible. Something impossible CANNOT exist. You are arguing that something impossible can be necessary, which is the worst argument in the world.



14. So the cause of the totality of possible things is not internal to that totality, but external to it.

Says who? Your argument isn't even valid.
Now you know that this premise follows.


15. But if it is outside the totality of possible things, then it is necessary.

This is incoherent, because if something is necessary, then it has to be possible as well.... If it is not possible, then it is impossible and thus cannot be necessary.
If something is not possible, then it must be necessary.

That's retarded. If something is not possible, then it is impossible. Something impossible cannot exist, let alone be necessary. Either you are a troll, or an absolute retard.



16. So there is a necessary existent.

Such a crappy argument....This is utterly embarrassing.

I don't believe you understood a word of what he was saying or the type of logic he was employing.

Of course I understood it, which is how I know it is such a bad argument. You are saying that something impossible is necessary when the exact opposite is true. How embarrassing lol
Rational_Thinker9119
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10/5/2013 3:02:42 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Anybody who argues that if x is not possible, x is necessary should be shot in the face. Everything that is necessary is ALSO possible.... If not, then it is impossible and cannot exist.
Rational_Thinker9119
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10/5/2013 3:07:30 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Anybody who knows the first thing about logic can tell you that everything that is necessary, is also possible. Why? Because if everything necessary was not possible, then it couldn't exist let alone be necessary. Something impossible cannot exist.

I'll debate anybody on this argument, and you will lose; BADLY!
Rational_Thinker9119
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10/5/2013 3:10:48 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I've had an account on this site for a year or two, and I've seen it all.....This is by far the worst argument I have come across on this site. I hope someone defends this against me in a debate....