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Ontological Argument

Rational_Thinker9119
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5/24/2012 3:39:01 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Just a quick question, how many Theist's actually take the ontological argument seriously? Also, what do Atheists think about this argument?
stubs
Posts: 1,887
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5/24/2012 3:42:10 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/24/2012 3:39:01 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
Just a quick question, how many Theist's actually take the ontological argument seriously? Also, what do Atheists think about this argument?

I always thought it was really interesting, but I never studied it enough to use it in a debate of my own.
Skyhook
Posts: 77
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5/24/2012 4:46:07 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/24/2012 3:39:01 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
Just a quick question, how many Theist's actually take the ontological argument seriously? Also, what do Atheists think about this argument?

When I first heard it, it went over my head and just seemed like philosophical ramblings. It takes a while to fully appreciate what the argument is saying. I notice this because the objections to the OA aren't really objections but moreso misunderstandings ("great" is a subjective term, you can't go from the mind to reality, etc.)

I think even Bertrand Russell once was struck with the thought that the OA was sound. He even remarked that it's easy to see it as a ridiculous argument but very challenging to figure out where it goes wrong. So, yeah, I take it seriously when properly presented. Probably the most challenging argument for God's existence to wrap your head around, especially if metaphysics isn't your forte. If you're asking for a specific version of OA that is most compelling, I think the modal OA is most popular.
Gileandos
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5/24/2012 4:52:15 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I agree with Skyhook.

Once the definitions and metaphysical underpinnings are fully understood the argument is absolutely sound.

Plantinga did a great job drawing out a more clear concept with more clear language and I believe that is the most easily understood version.

Any atheistic complaint I have seen against it, is merely a misunderstanding.
Skyhook
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5/24/2012 5:24:44 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/24/2012 4:46:07 PM, Skyhook wrote:
At 5/24/2012 3:39:01 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
Just a quick question, how many Theist's actually take the ontological argument seriously? Also, what do Atheists think about this argument?

When I first heard it, it went over my head and just seemed like philosophical ramblings. It takes a while to fully appreciate what the argument is saying. I notice this because the objections to the OA aren't really objections but moreso misunderstandings ("great" is a subjective term, you can't go from the mind to reality, etc.)

Whoops, I mispoke a little here. I meant most objections I've encountered and not that there aren't any good objections to the OA.
Gileandos
Posts: 2,394
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5/24/2012 5:28:11 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/24/2012 5:24:44 PM, Skyhook wrote:
At 5/24/2012 4:46:07 PM, Skyhook wrote:
At 5/24/2012 3:39:01 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
Just a quick question, how many Theist's actually take the ontological argument seriously? Also, what do Atheists think about this argument?

When I first heard it, it went over my head and just seemed like philosophical ramblings. It takes a while to fully appreciate what the argument is saying. I notice this because the objections to the OA aren't really objections but moreso misunderstandings ("great" is a subjective term, you can't go from the mind to reality, etc.)

Whoops, I mispoke a little here. I meant most objections I've encountered and not that there aren't any good objections to the OA.

Interesting. I have not encountered a good objection against it. Can you cite the strongest?
bossyburrito
Posts: 14,075
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5/24/2012 5:32:56 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
"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
A being has maximal greatness if it has maximal excellence in every possible world.
It is possible that there is not a being that has maximal greatness. (Premise)
Therefore, possibly, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good being does not exist.
Therefore, (by axiom S5) it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being does not exist.
Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being does not exist."
-Juan Manuel Correa
#UnbanTheMadman

"Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight
Somewhere out of a memory of lighted streets on quiet nights..."

~ Rush
Gileandos
Posts: 2,394
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5/24/2012 5:45:25 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/24/2012 5:32:56 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
"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
A being has maximal greatness if it has maximal excellence in every possible world.
It is possible that there is not a being that has maximal greatness. (Premise)
Therefore, possibly, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good being does not exist.
Therefore, (by axiom S5) it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being does not exist.
Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being does not exist."
-Juan Manuel Correa

This is a prime example of misuse of definitions.

Is this an example for your of a bad refutation? or are you asserting this one as a good refutation?
bossyburrito
Posts: 14,075
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5/24/2012 5:49:17 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/24/2012 5:45:25 PM, Gileandos wrote:
At 5/24/2012 5:32:56 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
"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
A being has maximal greatness if it has maximal excellence in every possible world.
It is possible that there is not a being that has maximal greatness. (Premise)
Therefore, possibly, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good being does not exist.
Therefore, (by axiom S5) it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being does not exist.
Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being does not exist."
-Juan Manuel Correa

This is a prime example of misuse of definitions.

Is this an example for your of a bad refutation? or are you asserting this one as a good refutation?

Please explain your reasoning.
#UnbanTheMadman

"Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight
Somewhere out of a memory of lighted streets on quiet nights..."

~ Rush
bossyburrito
Posts: 14,075
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5/24/2012 5:54:42 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/24/2012 5:53:48 PM, ScottyDouglas wrote:
I am ignorant in this subject. What is the Ontological arguement?

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
A being has maximal greatness if it has maximal excellence in every possible world.
It is possible that there is a being that has maximal greatness. (Premise)
Therefore, possibly, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good being exists.
Therefore, (by axiom S5) it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.
Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.
#UnbanTheMadman

"Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight
Somewhere out of a memory of lighted streets on quiet nights..."

~ Rush
Gileandos
Posts: 2,394
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5/24/2012 5:57:09 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/24/2012 5:49:17 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
At 5/24/2012 5:45:25 PM, Gileandos wrote:
At 5/24/2012 5:32:56 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
"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
A being has maximal greatness if it has maximal excellence in every possible world.
It is possible that there is not a being that has maximal greatness. (Premise)
Therefore, possibly, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good being does not exist.
Therefore, (by axiom S5) it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being does not exist.
Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being does not exist."
-Juan Manuel Correa

This is a prime example of misuse of definitions.

Is this an example for your of a bad refutation? or are you asserting this one as a good refutation?

Please explain your reasoning.

Do you believe this to be a valid refutation of the ontological argument? or are you citing this as an example of a bad attempt?
bossyburrito
Posts: 14,075
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5/24/2012 6:00:43 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/24/2012 5:57:09 PM, Gileandos wrote:
At 5/24/2012 5:49:17 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
At 5/24/2012 5:45:25 PM, Gileandos wrote:
At 5/24/2012 5:32:56 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
"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
A being has maximal greatness if it has maximal excellence in every possible world.
It is possible that there is not a being that has maximal greatness. (Premise)
Therefore, possibly, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good being does not exist.
Therefore, (by axiom S5) it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being does not exist.
Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being does not exist."
-Juan Manuel Correa

This is a prime example of misuse of definitions.

Is this an example for your of a bad refutation? or are you asserting this one as a good refutation?

Please explain your reasoning.

Do you believe this to be a valid refutation of the ontological argument? or are you citing this as an example of a bad attempt?

I believe it to be valid.
#UnbanTheMadman

"Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight
Somewhere out of a memory of lighted streets on quiet nights..."

~ Rush
THEBOMB
Posts: 2,872
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5/24/2012 6:05:41 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/24/2012 6:00:43 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
At 5/24/2012 5:57:09 PM, Gileandos wrote:
At 5/24/2012 5:49:17 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
At 5/24/2012 5:45:25 PM, Gileandos wrote:
At 5/24/2012 5:32:56 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
"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
A being has maximal greatness if it has maximal excellence in every possible world.
It is possible that there is not a being that has maximal greatness. (Premise)
Therefore, possibly, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good being does not exist.
Therefore, (by axiom S5) it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being does not exist.
Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being does not exist."
-Juan Manuel Correa

This is a prime example of misuse of definitions.

Is this an example for your of a bad refutation? or are you asserting this one as a good refutation?

Please explain your reasoning.

Do you believe this to be a valid refutation of the ontological argument? or are you citing this as an example of a bad attempt?

I believe it to be valid.

If conceive a maximally great being to not exist then, there is a greater maximally great being which can exist. If something greater can be conceived to not exist, then, something greater can be conceived. Therefore, a thing which nothing greater can be conceived cannot be conceived to not exist and so, it must exist.
bossyburrito
Posts: 14,075
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5/24/2012 6:12:57 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/24/2012 6:05:41 PM, THEBOMB wrote:
At 5/24/2012 6:00:43 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
At 5/24/2012 5:57:09 PM, Gileandos wrote:
At 5/24/2012 5:49:17 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
At 5/24/2012 5:45:25 PM, Gileandos wrote:
At 5/24/2012 5:32:56 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
"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
A being has maximal greatness if it has maximal excellence in every possible world.
It is possible that there is not a being that has maximal greatness. (Premise)
Therefore, possibly, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good being does not exist.
Therefore, (by axiom S5) it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being does not exist.
Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being does not exist."
-Juan Manuel Correa

This is a prime example of misuse of definitions.

Is this an example for your of a bad refutation? or are you asserting this one as a good refutation?

Please explain your reasoning.

Do you believe this to be a valid refutation of the ontological argument? or are you citing this as an example of a bad attempt?

I believe it to be valid.

If conceive a maximally great being to not exist then, there is a greater maximally great being which can exist. If something greater can be conceived to not exist, then, something greater can be conceived. Therefore, a thing which nothing greater can be conceived cannot be conceived to not exist and so, it must exist.

Nothing is certain. This universe is what we, as a collective, perceive of it. Human perception is naturally flawed. Therefore, you cannot say that what a probable universe is based off our own.
#UnbanTheMadman

"Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight
Somewhere out of a memory of lighted streets on quiet nights..."

~ Rush
Skyhook
Posts: 77
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5/24/2012 6:24:11 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/24/2012 5:28:11 PM, Gileandos wrote:
At 5/24/2012 5:24:44 PM, Skyhook wrote:
At 5/24/2012 4:46:07 PM, Skyhook wrote:
At 5/24/2012 3:39:01 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
Just a quick question, how many Theist's actually take the ontological argument seriously? Also, what do Atheists think about this argument?

When I first heard it, it went over my head and just seemed like philosophical ramblings. It takes a while to fully appreciate what the argument is saying. I notice this because the objections to the OA aren't really objections but moreso misunderstandings ("great" is a subjective term, you can't go from the mind to reality, etc.)

Whoops, I mispoke a little here. I meant most objections I've encountered and not that there aren't any good objections to the OA.

Interesting. I have not encountered a good objection against it. Can you cite the strongest?

Sure. If you find or come up with good replies to these objections, I would love to see them.

In regards to the modal OA, in Peter van Inwagen's book of Metaphysics, he argues that a possible being (a know-no, in other words a being that knows there is no god) who posesses the property of necessary existence would mean that there is no god. Not the strongest objection, but good food for thought.

van Inwagen also further spells out the premises of the OA. In other words, which premise is more plausible?

"Anything that is perfect has all perfect properties" or "There is a perfect being that has all perfect properties."

The first is a basically tautology and true regardless if a perfect being exists or not and the second one still has to be demonstrated for. In other words, with the latter premise, van Inwagen argues you are begging the question if you arrive to the conclusion a perfect being exists.

If you spell it out the argument with the second version of the first premise, you have, according to van Inwagen (p. 122 of the 3rd edition):
1. There is a perfect being that has all perfections.
2. Necessary existence is a perfection
3. Hence there is a perfect being that has necessary existence (from 1 and 2)
4. Whatever has necessary existence has existence
5. Hence there is a perfect being that has existence (from 4)
6. Whatever has existence exists
7. Hence there is a perfect being that exists

But P1 is the conclusion of the argument and the rest of the premises are unnecessary if P1 is granted.

The OA is still my favorite argument for God's existence but I'm still scratching my head on how to respond particularly to the third objection.
Rational_Thinker9119
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5/24/2012 6:27:26 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
"1. It is possible that a maximally great being exists.

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

3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.

4. If it exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.

5. Therefore, a maximally great being exists."

The argument seems sound, and is actually very beautiful logic once you understand it. One of the problems I found with it is, there is no empirical evidence at all to back up any of the premises, and this type of logic is heavily disputed and is not universally accepted (W.V. Quine has criticised it, same with Michael Tooley, and many others). Also:

"In philosophy and logic, the concept of a possible world is used to express modal claims. The concept of possible worlds is common in contemporary philosophical discourse and has also been disputed." - http://en.wikipedia.org...

Thus, as beautiful as the logic may seem, one should be skeptical on any argument's ability to accurately describe objective reality without a shred of evidence from the actual world to support it, and without clarity on the validity of "possible worlds".

Regardless, lets assume modal logic can accurately predict reality. Premise 1 is false, thus the conclusion is false and Atheism is true. There are many reasons why it is not possible for a maximally great being to exist (thus, necessarily, a maximally great being does not exist in the actual world).

P1: It is greater to be infinite than finite.
P2: It is greater to be actually infinite, rather than potentially infinite.
P3: A maximally great being is actually infinite.
P4: An actual infinity cannot exist in the actual world.
P5: It is not possible for a maximally great being to exist in the actual world.
C: P1 of the Ontological Argument is false.

The theist could deny Premise P4, but then would have to reject the philosophical support for P2 of the Kalam Cosmological Argument.

Also, It is greater to not be bound by anything, than to be bound by something, thus a maximally great being is bound by nothing. Therefore, a maximally great being is not bound by logic, but the ontological Argument attempting to demonstrate it's existence, is bound by logic .Thus, the ontological argument cannot not logically demonstrate a the existence of a maximally great being, because a maximally great being is not bound by logic.

There are also many other reasons in my opinion, to doubt how accurately an argument like that could describe reality. Either way if we accepted it, there are still many reasons to believe a maximally great being could not exist (thus, Atheism would be true if God is defined as maximally great).
LeoL
Posts: 109
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5/24/2012 6:34:08 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Can someone explain the ontological argument in simple terms? Because I can't wrap my head around the argument...
Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -Douglas Adams
Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
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5/24/2012 6:35:29 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/24/2012 5:54:42 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
At 5/24/2012 5:53:48 PM, ScottyDouglas wrote:
I am ignorant in this subject. What is the Ontological arguement?

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
A being has maximal greatness if it has maximal excellence in every possible world.
It is possible that there is a being that has maximal greatness. (Premise)
Therefore, possibly, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good being exists.
Therefore, (by axiom S5) it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.
Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.

In other words, a posher way of saying:

P1 - God is that which is greater than all things
P2 - Existence is greater in reality than concept
C1 - Therefore, God exists.

They work on the same logic, except Anselm did it quicker. Like Coffee: do things wrong, fast! Except Axiom S5 is just a misapplication. Necessarily true in one possible world does not entail it's necessarily true in another. It's only when it is necessary that it's possible to be necessarily possible that it becomes possible (all my maths knowledge went out my head right now, so I'll try to explain that later).
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
Stephen_Hawkins
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5/24/2012 6:37:31 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
A common example explains the criticism: It's contingently true that Horse B in a ten-horse-race won, but it is necessarily true that a horse won the race. (Ignoring possibility of all horses spontaneously combusting or something)
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
bossyburrito
Posts: 14,075
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5/24/2012 6:41:09 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/24/2012 6:27:26 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
"1. It is possible that a maximally great being exists.

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

3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.

4. If it exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.

5. Therefore, a maximally great being exists."

The argument seems sound, and is actually very beautiful logic once you understand it. One of the problems I found with it is, there is no empirical evidence at all to back up any of the premises, and this type of logic is heavily disputed and is not universally accepted (W.V. Quine has criticised it, same with Michael Tooley, and many others). Also:

"In philosophy and logic, the concept of a possible world is used to express modal claims. The concept of possible worlds is common in contemporary philosophical discourse and has also been disputed." - http://en.wikipedia.org...

Thus, as beautiful as the logic may seem, one should be skeptical on any argument's ability to accurately describe objective reality without a shred of evidence from the actual world to support it, and without clarity on the validity of "possible worlds".

Regardless, lets assume modal logic can accurately predict reality. Premise 1 is false, thus the conclusion is false and Atheism is true. There are many reasons why it is not possible for a maximally great being to exist (thus, necessarily, a maximally great being does not exist in the actual world).

P1: It is greater to be infinite than finite.
P2: It is greater to be actually infinite, rather than potentially infinite.
P3: A maximally great being is actually infinite.
P4: An actual infinity cannot exist in the actual world.
P5: It is not possible for a maximally great being to exist in the actual world.
C: P1 of the Ontological Argument is false.

The theist could deny Premise P4, but then would have to reject the philosophical support for P2 of the Kalam Cosmological Argument.

Also, It is greater to not be bound by anything, than to be bound by something, thus a maximally great being is bound by nothing. Therefore, a maximally great being is not bound by logic, but the ontological Argument attempting to demonstrate it's existence, is bound by logic .Thus, the ontological argument cannot not logically demonstrate a the existence of a maximally great being, because a maximally great being is not bound by logic.

There are also many other reasons in my opinion, to doubt how accurately an argument like that could describe reality. Either way if we accepted it, there are still many reasons to believe a maximally great being could not exist (thus, Atheism would be true if God is defined as maximally great).

You said what I said in a way that made sense :)
#UnbanTheMadman

"Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight
Somewhere out of a memory of lighted streets on quiet nights..."

~ Rush
Gileandos
Posts: 2,394
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5/24/2012 7:05:06 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/24/2012 6:00:43 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
At 5/24/2012 5:57:09 PM, Gileandos wrote:
At 5/24/2012 5:49:17 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
At 5/24/2012 5:45:25 PM, Gileandos wrote:
At 5/24/2012 5:32:56 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
"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
A being has maximal greatness if it has maximal excellence in every possible world.
It is possible that there is not a being that has maximal greatness. (Premise)
Therefore, possibly, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good being does not exist.
Therefore, (by axiom S5) it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being does not exist.
Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being does not exist."
-Juan Manuel Correa

This is a prime example of misuse of definitions.

Is this an example for your of a bad refutation? or are you asserting this one as a good refutation?

Please explain your reasoning.

Do you believe this to be a valid refutation of the ontological argument? or are you citing this as an example of a bad attempt?

I believe it to be valid.

Ontological argumentation is valid only based upon logical coherency.

It is possible that there is not a being that has maximal greatness.

'Not' cannot be used here as the antithesis precludes this premise from existing, whereas this premise does not preclude the antithesis.

As Descartes sufficiently refuted Kant, as this stanford article articulates below, the concept of contingent and necessary is an attribute and cannot 'NOT' be an attribute of the maximal being. Thus this refutation again is logically incoherent.

http://plato.stanford.edu...
"He [Descartes] did not make the ad hoc assumption that existence is an attribute in order to serve the needs of the ontological argument. Indeed, on Descartes' view, existence is not a property in the traditional sense, nor can one conceive something without regarding it as existing. Descartes' critics might not be convinced by his account of existence, but then they have the burden of providing a better account. The focus of the debate will then be shifted to the question of who has the correct ontology, rather than whether the ontological argument is sound."

No Ontological argument can apply negative attributes without winding up as logically incoherent.

So again stated; if Plantinga's formulation is true then it precludes the opposite conclusion. However, if Correa's is true there is no preclusion as it is logically incoherent for a maximal being to not exist.
Skyhook
Posts: 77
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5/24/2012 7:24:45 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/24/2012 6:27:26 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
"1. It is possible that a maximally great being exists.

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

3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.

4. If it exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.

5. Therefore, a maximally great being exists."

The argument seems sound, and is actually very beautiful logic once you understand it. One of the problems I found with it is, there is no empirical evidence at all to back up any of the premises, and this type of logic is heavily disputed and is not universally accepted (W.V. Quine has criticised it, same with Michael Tooley, and many others). Also:

"In philosophy and logic, the concept of a possible world is used to express modal claims. The concept of possible worlds is common in contemporary philosophical discourse and has also been disputed." - http://en.wikipedia.org...

Thus, as beautiful as the logic may seem, one should be skeptical on any argument's ability to accurately describe objective reality without a shred of evidence from the actual world to support it, and without clarity on the validity of "possible worlds".

Regardless, lets assume modal logic can accurately predict reality. Premise 1 is false, thus the conclusion is false and Atheism is true. There are many reasons why it is not possible for a maximally great being to exist (thus, necessarily, a maximally great being does not exist in the actual world).

P1: It is greater to be infinite than finite.
P2: It is greater to be actually infinite, rather than potentially infinite.
P3: A maximally great being is actually infinite.
P4: An actual infinity cannot exist in the actual world.
P5: It is not possible for a maximally great being to exist in the actual world.
C: P1 of the Ontological Argument is false.

The theist could deny Premise P4, but then would have to reject the philosophical support for P2 of the Kalam Cosmological Argument.

Also, It is greater to not be bound by anything, than to be bound by something, thus a maximally great being is bound by nothing. Therefore, a maximally great being is not bound by logic, but the ontological Argument attempting to demonstrate it's existence, is bound by logic .Thus, the ontological argument cannot not logically demonstrate a the existence of a maximally great being, because a maximally great being is not bound by logic.

There are also many other reasons in my opinion, to doubt how accurately an argument like that could describe reality. Either way if we accepted it, there are still many reasons to believe a maximally great being could not exist (thus, Atheism would be true if God is defined as maximally great).

I'm not sure why you brought up the kalam argument. Premise 4 of your argument could be challenged. You would have to spell out what you mean by "actual". If you mean something physical, then sure an infinte amount of something physical (like apples) wouldn't exist, but if God is immaterial (as argued by the kalam argument), then that objection wouldn't apply since God never began to exist. Numbers are immaterial and infinite, but we don't reject the existence of numbers. In fact Bill Craig argues that existence of the universe under kalam is either God or numbers. You could even look at the Forms (the forms are infinite and they exist in the mind of God from an Augustinian point of view or platonically they can exist on their own which either way would violate your premise 4). Even if you demonstrate that the kalam cosmological argument is incompatible, with any version of the OA, one could use the LCA or some other variation of a cosmological argument that would be compatible with the OA or at least not make the same requirements kalam does.

Also, not sure why you brought in TAG and logic. Being logically unintelligble is not a great making property. To demand God become a married bachelor in order to defy logic is an incoherent request. You would be assuming that the theist accepts maximal omnipotence over common omnipotence(and that's another debate entirely, and most Christian philosophers don't subscribe to maximal omnipotence).
Rational_Thinker9119
Posts: 9,054
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5/24/2012 8:02:32 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/24/2012 7:24:45 PM, Skyhook wrote:
At 5/24/2012 6:27:26 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
"1. It is possible that a maximally great being exists.

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

3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.

4. If it exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.

5. Therefore, a maximally great being exists."

The argument seems sound, and is actually very beautiful logic once you understand it. One of the problems I found with it is, there is no empirical evidence at all to back up any of the premises, and this type of logic is heavily disputed and is not universally accepted (W.V. Quine has criticised it, same with Michael Tooley, and many others). Also:

"In philosophy and logic, the concept of a possible world is used to express modal claims. The concept of possible worlds is common in contemporary philosophical discourse and has also been disputed." - http://en.wikipedia.org...

Thus, as beautiful as the logic may seem, one should be skeptical on any argument's ability to accurately describe objective reality without a shred of evidence from the actual world to support it, and without clarity on the validity of "possible worlds".

Regardless, lets assume modal logic can accurately predict reality. Premise 1 is false, thus the conclusion is false and Atheism is true. There are many reasons why it is not possible for a maximally great being to exist (thus, necessarily, a maximally great being does not exist in the actual world).

P1: It is greater to be infinite than finite.
P2: It is greater to be actually infinite, rather than potentially infinite.
P3: A maximally great being is actually infinite.
P4: An actual infinity cannot exist in the actual world.
P5: It is not possible for a maximally great being to exist in the actual world.
C: P1 of the Ontological Argument is false.

The theist could deny Premise P4, but then would have to reject the philosophical support for P2 of the Kalam Cosmological Argument.

Also, It is greater to not be bound by anything, than to be bound by something, thus a maximally great being is bound by nothing. Therefore, a maximally great being is not bound by logic, but the ontological Argument attempting to demonstrate it's existence, is bound by logic .Thus, the ontological argument cannot not logically demonstrate a the existence of a maximally great being, because a maximally great being is not bound by logic.

There are also many other reasons in my opinion, to doubt how accurately an argument like that could describe reality. Either way if we accepted it, there are still many reasons to believe a maximally great being could not exist (thus, Atheism would be true if God is defined as maximally great).

I'm not sure why you brought up the kalam argument. Premise 4 of your argument could be challenged. You would have to spell out what you mean by "actual". If you mean something physical, then sure an infinte amount of something physical (like apples) wouldn't exist, but if God is immaterial (as argued by the kalam argument), then that objection wouldn't apply since God never began to exist. Numbers are immaterial and infinite, but we don't reject the existence of numbers. In fact Bill Craig argues that existence of the universe under kalam is either God or numbers. You could even look at the Forms (the forms are infinite and they exist in the mind of God from an Augustinian point of view or platonically they can exist on their own which either way would violate your premise 4). Even if you demonstrate that the kalam cosmological argument is incompatible, with any version of the OA, one could use the LCA or some other variation of a cosmological argument that would be compatible with the OA or at least not make the same requirements kalam does.

Also, not sure why you brought in TAG and logic. Being logically unintelligble is not a great making property. To demand God become a married bachelor in order to defy logic is an incoherent request. You would be assuming that the theist accepts maximal omnipotence over common omnipotence(and that's another debate entirely, and most Christian philosophers don't subscribe to maximal omnipotence).

Craig argues that an actually infinite number of something is impossible to combat infinite universe claims. However, this would mean God has a finite number of thoughts and abilities (thus, would not be a maximally great being).

It is better to be not bound by anything than to be bound by something, because if you were bound by something, then that something is greater than you in at least one way, meaning the being wouldn't be maximally great. Thus a maximally great being cannot be bound by logic, because if he was, then logic is greater than him in at least one way, and the being wouldn't be maximally great. Thus, you cannot use an argument bound by logic to demonstrate the actual existence of that which is not bound by logic.

Also, a maximally great being is perfect. However, a perfect being is complete and is missing nothing (if it is missing something, it wouldn't be complete and could be improved, and thus wouldn't be perfect). Now, a perfect being needs or wants nothing, because if it needs or wants something, then it is missing something that it doesn't have. Now if a maximally great being exists, he created the universe, if it created the universe, then it either wanted to or needed to. However, a maximally being can have no needs or wants, because this would mean he was missing something he didn't already have (or else he wouldn't need or want it), and thus would not be maximally great.

The universe itself disproves the possibility of a maximally great being.
Dan4reason
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5/24/2012 10:22:25 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Lets look at plantigena's cosmological argument.

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.
6: Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.

Let go over this little piece of fallacious reasoning. Premise 1 uses the term "possible world." A possible world is a world that could have been. However in fact there is only one possible world, this one.

This world contains contingent and necessary facts. Contingent facts require something else to exist and necessary fact exist no matter what. Necessary facts exists necessarily and exist without cause, and would always exist in every scenario.

This is why necessary facts exist in all possible worlds. However given strict causality, one specific cause in a specific environment will produce one specific effect with specific traits. If a cause produced all sorts of different effects without reason, then causality is broken.

In the case of a dice roll, every dice roll is in a different location in different environmental conditions so of course there is going to be differences in the effects because the causes are different. If you saw a dice falling and then rewound that event and then played it again, and the result turned out different, the causes could not have been different because they were by definition the same. So there was no reason for them to be different therefore causality is broke.

There is no evidence that causality is not universal and all evidence points to the world following causality to the letter so that is the model we should use. I is more likely that causality is universal than that it is not.

So if we rewound the universe, and played it back, things would happen exactly the same way they did. Since necessary facts cannot be changed because they are causeless and they will only produce one possible world, therefore there is only one possible world, the actual one. This undermines the whole reasoning of the ontological argument.

But lets assume for the moment that premise 1 is true.

Premise 2 is flawed. When you say that something is maximally great, you mean that it is maximally great in the actual world. It does not need to be maximally great in all possible worlds to be maximally great in this one. Further, maximally great indicates that there are some logical limitations.

You don't know whether it is possible for a maximally great being to be great in all possible worlds.

Premise 3 is also flawed. This world is set up with necessary conditions that then produced contingent things. If you propose a necessary being, and that being is not among the necessary things in this world then you know two things. Necessary things are true by definition so if your necessary being does not exist in the actual world then it is not necessary making such a proposed being logically impossible.

This is what this debate is about. If the atheist position is true then the necessary being God is not among all the necessary things in existence making him anything but a necessary being, and therefore making him not possible. Theists argue that he does exist. This is what this whole debate is about. Asserting that a necessary God exists in a possible world asserts that he must exist, but we don't even know whether he is among the set of necessary things in this world therefore we don't even know if he is possible.

Also we don't even show that a person can be omnipotent and omniscient so this is another reason for doubting whether a necessary being is even possible.

When you assert that something is possible, you are asserting that it exists in the actual world. it either does or it doesn't. Asserting that it exists in a possible world is a whole different claim. It is different to claim that UFOs visited earth in this actual world than it is to argue that in a possible alternate world aliens exist.

If there is only one possible world, then this is the actual world, and you cannot assume in premise 3 that God exists in the possible world which is also the actual world.

I can argue that it is possible that God as a necessary being does not exist, therefore God does not exist in a possible world, meaning that he does not exist because necessary beings exist in all possible worlds. However I have shown above that this reasoning is fallacious.

This ontological argument can be used to show that Allah exists. Just insert Allah for God in this argument.
Skyhook
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5/25/2012 12:01:10 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/24/2012 10:22:25 PM, Dan4reason wrote:
Lets look at plantigena's cosmological argument.

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.
6: Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.

Let go over this little piece of fallacious reasoning. Premise 1 uses the term "possible world." A possible world is a world that could have been. However in fact there is only one possible world, this one.

I think your first objection ends up shooting itself in the foot. You'll see what I mean.

But more to your second objection. If God had the property of omniscience for example in one possible world but not in another, then he wouldn't be God because the perfect properties he would have are essential properties, meaning without them, he wouldn't exist or wouldn't be God (a Supreme Mind with all perfect properties). If God's properties are essential, then they can't vary from possible world to possible world. Omnisicience for example isn't a contingent property God could have or could not have.

But if your argument that necessary preconditions determine only one possible world (the actual world) is true, then the notion of contingent things wouldn't be coherent since contingent implies that there is a possible state of affairs it couldn't have been. This would mean that there are possible worlds that demonstrate certain things to be contingent. In a sense you might find yourself accepting that everything in the actual world is neccessary since it couldn't have been any other way.
Dan4reason
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5/25/2012 12:24:00 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/25/2012 12:01:10 AM, Skyhook wrote:

But more to your second objection. If God had the property of omniscience for example in one possible world but not in another, then he wouldn't be God because the perfect properties he would have are essential properties, meaning without them, he wouldn't exist or wouldn't be God (a Supreme Mind with all perfect properties). If God's properties are essential, then they can't vary from possible world to possible world.

When it is said that God in omniscient it means that God knows all things, this statement assumes that we are talking about the God in this world. If there was an alternate possible reality where God is not omniscient, this would not make the God in this actual world any less omniscient because that reality didn't happen. The God in this universe may have knowledge of events in other possible worlds.

If I suddenly became able to know all things, the fact that there is a possible reality that I am not omniscient would not make me any less omniscient. So descriptions of the ability of people in this reality have nothing to do with their counterparts in other possible worlds.

Notice that I am trying to refute point 2 which is trying to show that God is a necessary being so arguments against my rebuttal cannot assume that God is a necessary being.

Omnisicience for example isn't a contingent property God could have or could not have.

Why do you say that?

But if your argument that necessary preconditions determine only one possible world (the actual world) is true, then the notion of contingent things wouldn't be coherent since contingent implies that there is a possible state of affairs it couldn't have been. This would mean that there are possible worlds that demonstrate certain things to be contingent. In a sense you might find yourself accepting that everything in the actual world is neccessary since it couldn't have been any other way.

My argument is suggesting a whole rethinking of the idea of possible worlds, continence, and the necessary. In my view both contingent and necessary facts are in this one and only one possible world: this one.

So how can you tell them apart? Well, contingent facts require the existence of something else to exist, while necessary fact exist no matter what. Math is a necessary fact because it exists no matter what without cause, however the earth required the process of planetary formation to exist even though the existence of earth was determined from the "beginning."
Skyhook
Posts: 77
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5/25/2012 12:25:16 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
@rationalthinker

Yeah, I honestly can't decipher what Craig means with his analogy of infinites not existing in reality and being absurd. I'd have to read more up on that, but even if Craig's position that actual infinite don't exist in reality, one can certainly reply with for example the Platonic or Augustinian Forms, numbers, and the laws of logics as realities that don't exist finitely (? not sure if that's a word) or at least in a limited/finite way. God, if he exists (which I'm personally inclined to believe he does), could fit that category of metaphysical infinites.

As for the defying of logic, I think we could run the risk of going into something like the omnipotence paradox (which InquireTruth has defended). He at least shows that is more reasonable for the theist to accept common omnipotence over maximal omnipotence, and that isn't a concession of God not being perfect.
http://www.debate.org...

I would recommend PCP's debate with Unitedandy on TAG, since honestly, the metaphysics is out of my understanding in regards to logic and God.
http://www.debate.org...
ScottyDouglas
Posts: 2,350
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5/25/2012 3:01:10 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
I do not put a label on my belief or faith. I have no religion or people I mingle with. I have friends and most time they do not care either for religion or faith. I talk when time permits about such things but to be fair they must come to terms on their own. This seems reasonable but I think people in general tend to want to out think each other and rationalize things to much. You can do this.
Truth is we are planet Earth. We see many bodies from our sky. Many we have never been too or truely know about. Just lack of this knowledge is enough to determine we can attempt to define the answers in one sum. But we also see billions of stars in the sky and throughout space to know we are a old planet but a young species. A species as young as ours truely think without divine knowledge we can sum up the be all of creation? Our world? Our origin? No we can not.
We have one side the Thiest who have thousands of years of documented evidence of their faith. Then we have people who believe in nothing. Then we have people who believe in evolution and ultimately nothing. We have many who believe in multiple Gods. These are included here for only one is needed, right?
We have many that just believe in nature which really falls with evolution. So two monster sides. Evolution and Creationism. Hmm....which one is real! Since evolution could be fit inside the theories of theist then it can be. But something from nothing can not. So did God evolve things? I do not believe he did. Thats a debate Ill accept!
TheAsylum
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5/25/2012 3:14:06 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
I don't think that the ontological argument is a good argument for God's existence. I have never found that argument convincing.