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A Quasi-Ontological Argument...

Apeiron
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1/16/2013 3:31:14 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
We know that something presently exists, and only finitely many things have existed to date. Now every temporally contingent being, that is possibly generated (i.e., a time when it exists and an earlier time when it does not) or possibly corrupted (i.e., a time when it exists and a later time when it does not), begins to exist at some time and ceases to exist at some time. So everything that begins to exist at some time and ceases to exist at some time exist for a finite period of time. But if everything exists for only a finite period of time, and there have been only finitely many beings to date, then there was a time when nothing existed; which would entail that nothing presently exists!

Another option, then, is a temporally necessary being that is necessarily not generated and necessarily not corrupted, which is not the same as a temporally contingent being that is possibly generated or possibly corrupted. Now since everything has a sufficient reason for its existence and no temporally contingent being is a sufficient reason for the existence of a temporally necessary being, then every temporally necessary being that is a sufficient reason for its own existence is a being without any limitations.

But a being without any limitations is necessarily greater than any other being. And so since it"s impossible for anything to be greater than itself, then it"s necessarily the case that "greater than" is asymmetric. Therefore, there exists a supreme being.
philochristos
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1/16/2013 12:31:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
It looks more like an argument from contingency to me.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
Apeiron
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1/16/2013 1:13:23 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 12:55:33 PM, drafterman wrote:
Provide an example of a "temporally contingent being"

you, me, etc
Apeiron
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1/16/2013 1:21:04 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 12:31:27 PM, philochristos wrote:
It looks more like an argument from contingency to me.

It's the Temporal-Contingency Argument from a reformulated Third Way of St Thomas Aquinas.
Apeiron
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1/16/2013 1:21:56 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
This is Aquinas' Third Way,

The third way is taken from possibility and necessity and runs thus. We find in nature things that are possible to be and not possible to be, since they are found to be generated and cor- rupted. But it is impossible for these always to exist, for that which can not-be at some time is not. Therefore, if everything can not-be, then at one time there was nothing in existence. Now if this were true then even now there would be nothing in existence, because that which does not exist begins to exist only through something already existing. Therefore if at one time nothing was in existence, it would have been impossible for anything to have begun to exist; and thus now nothing would be in existence " which is absurd. Therefore, not all beings are merely possible, but there must exist something the existence of which is necessary. But every necessary thing has its necessity caused by another, or not. Now it is impossible to go on to infinity in necessary things which have their necessity caused by another, as has already been proved in regard to efficient causes. Therefore, we cannot but admit the existence of some being having of itself its own necessity, and not receiving it from another, but rather causing in others their necessity. This all men speak of as God.
Apeiron
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1/16/2013 1:27:48 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Here is the valid reformulated argument,

1. Something presently exists.

2 Only finitely many things have existed to date.

3 Every temporally contingent being begins to exist at some time and ceases to exist
at some time.

4 Everything that begins to exist at some time and ceases to exist at some time exists
for a finite period of time.

5 If everything exists for only a finite period of time, and there have been only finitely many beings to date, then there was a time when nothing existed.

6 If there was a time when nothing existed, then nothing presently exists.

7 A being is temporally necessary if and only if it is not temporally contingent.

8 Everything has a sufficient reason for its existence.

9 Anything that has a sufficient reason for its existence also has a sufficient reason for its existence that is a sufficient reason for its own existence.

10 No temporally contingent being is a sufficient reason for the existence of a tempo- rally necessary being.

11 Every temporally necessary being that is a sufficient reason for its own existence is a being without any limitations.

12 A being without any limitations is necessarily greater than any other being.

13 It is not possible for anything to be greater than itself.

14 It is necessarily the case that "greater than" is asymmetric.

Therefore,

15 There exists a supreme being.

... The sole premise of TCA is true if and only if there is some possible world where the premises 1-14 are true.

Only T12 requires special justification:

Assume x is a being without limitations in W. Then x possesses every great making property in W. In particular, x possesses the property in W of not being limited in world ω1 by anything In other words, if x is a being without any limitations in W, then x possesses every great making property in W.

But the property of not being limited in W1 is a great making property of W. So it is true in W that it is true in W1 that x is unlimited.

But for any statement p, if it is true in world A that p is true in world B, then p is true in world B. Hence, x is unlimited in world W1. Now if x is unlimited in W1, then in W1 x is greater than any other being in W1; otherwise x would be limited by not possessing a great making property possessed by something else. Hence it is true in W1 that x is greater than every other being. Since W1 is an arbitrarily selected possible world, it follows that it is true in every possible world that x is greater than every other being. Consequently, it is necessarily the case that x is greater than every other being. So 12 is true in W.

(Maydole 1980, p. 140)
drafterman
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1/16/2013 1:29:08 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 1:13:23 PM, Apeiron wrote:
At 1/16/2013 12:55:33 PM, drafterman wrote:
Provide an example of a "temporally contingent being"

you, me, etc

But the "me" that came into being is nothing more than an abstract concept, a label assigned to a specific configuration of material particles which were here before me and will remain after me. Is that what you are referring to?
Apeiron
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1/16/2013 1:54:28 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 1:29:08 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 1/16/2013 1:13:23 PM, Apeiron wrote:
At 1/16/2013 12:55:33 PM, drafterman wrote:
Provide an example of a "temporally contingent being"

you, me, etc

But the "me" that came into being is nothing more than an abstract concept, a label assigned to a specific configuration of material particles which were here before me and will remain after me. Is that what you are referring to?

Haha, no a necessary being isn't an abstract object. Abstract objects don't really exist.
unitedandy
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1/16/2013 2:12:58 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 1:29:08 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 1/16/2013 1:13:23 PM, Apeiron wrote:
At 1/16/2013 12:55:33 PM, drafterman wrote:
Provide an example of a "temporally contingent being"

you, me, etc

But the "me" that came into being is nothing more than an abstract concept, a label assigned to a specific configuration of material particles which were here before me and will remain after me. Is that what you are referring to?

I've heard this response before (in reference to Kalam), and it puzzles me. By virtue of things like consciousness and so on, humans and animals are clearly more than the sum of their parts. Indeed, the fact you can even make this observation is testament to a very particular (and somewhat mysterious) arrangement of these parts.
drafterman
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1/16/2013 2:13:58 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 1:54:28 PM, Apeiron wrote:
At 1/16/2013 1:29:08 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 1/16/2013 1:13:23 PM, Apeiron wrote:
At 1/16/2013 12:55:33 PM, drafterman wrote:
Provide an example of a "temporally contingent being"

you, me, etc

But the "me" that came into being is nothing more than an abstract concept, a label assigned to a specific configuration of material particles which were here before me and will remain after me. Is that what you are referring to?

Haha, no a necessary being isn't an abstract object. Abstract objects don't really exist.

Hm. Well, I wasn't talking about the necessary being part... not sure where you get that. Let's start from the beginning again:

Me: "Provide an example of a 'temporally contingent being' (note: asking for temporally contingent being, not a necessary being. Not talking about necessary being)"

You: "you, me, etc" (I presume you're still on track with the temporally contingent being part, unless you're suggesting that we're all necessary beings)

Me: "I" am nothing more than an abstract label assigned to a specific configuration of matter. Is this what you're talking about? (Note: still talking/asking about temporally contingent beings, not necessary beings)

So, again, the label "I" is an abstract label. It's an abstract object. It has to be because the physical reality behind the label is constantly changing. If it was tied to anything physical and real, it'd have only existed for an instant, then "I" would cease to exist, and I would be something else.

So which are you referring to when you say "you, me, etc." the this abstract idea of who I am, which is tied to an ever changing physical construct, or the physical construct itself?
Apeiron
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1/16/2013 2:24:38 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 2:12:58 PM, unitedandy wrote:
At 1/16/2013 1:29:08 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 1/16/2013 1:13:23 PM, Apeiron wrote:
At 1/16/2013 12:55:33 PM, drafterman wrote:
Provide an example of a "temporally contingent being"

you, me, etc

But the "me" that came into being is nothing more than an abstract concept, a label assigned to a specific configuration of material particles which were here before me and will remain after me. Is that what you are referring to?

I've heard this response before (in reference to Kalam), and it puzzles me. By virtue of things like consciousness and so on, humans and animals are clearly more than the sum of their parts. Indeed, the fact you can even make this observation is testament to a very particular (and somewhat mysterious) arrangement of these parts.

Not sure what you're getting at here, are you saying humans are necessary beings?
Apeiron
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1/16/2013 2:27:32 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 2:13:58 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 1/16/2013 1:54:28 PM, Apeiron wrote:
At 1/16/2013 1:29:08 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 1/16/2013 1:13:23 PM, Apeiron wrote:
At 1/16/2013 12:55:33 PM, drafterman wrote:
Provide an example of a "temporally contingent being"

you, me, etc

But the "me" that came into being is nothing more than an abstract concept, a label assigned to a specific configuration of material particles which were here before me and will remain after me. Is that what you are referring to?

Haha, no a necessary being isn't an abstract object. Abstract objects don't really exist.

Hm. Well, I wasn't talking about the necessary being part... not sure where you get that. Let's start from the beginning again:

Me: "Provide an example of a 'temporally contingent being' (note: asking for temporally contingent being, not a necessary being. Not talking about necessary being)"

You: "you, me, etc" (I presume you're still on track with the temporally contingent being part, unless you're suggesting that we're all necessary beings)

Me: "I" am nothing more than an abstract label assigned to a specific configuration of matter. Is this what you're talking about? (Note: still talking/asking about temporally contingent beings, not necessary beings)

So, again, the label "I" is an abstract label. It's an abstract object. It has to be because the physical reality behind the label is constantly changing. If it was tied to anything physical and real, it'd have only existed for an instant, then "I" would cease to exist, and I would be something else.

So which are you referring to when you say "you, me, etc." the this abstract idea of who I am, which is tied to an ever changing physical construct, or the physical construct itself?

Contingent existence isn't a property but necessary existence is.

When I say you I'm not being tricky, things like mountains, chairs, humans, none of these HAD to have existed. They're temporal and contingent.
philochristos
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1/16/2013 2:27:43 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
That's an interesting marriage between an argument from contingency and an ontological argument. I have sometimes wondered if "necessity" means the same thing in the argument from contingency as it does in modal ontological arguments. I suspected that in arguments from contingency, the conclusion is a metaphysically necessary being while in the ontological argument, the conclusion is a logically necessary being. But "metaphysical necessity" is hard to define.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
Apeiron
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1/16/2013 2:29:45 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 2:27:43 PM, philochristos wrote:
That's an interesting marriage between an argument from contingency and an ontological argument. I have sometimes wondered if "necessity" means the same thing in the argument from contingency as it does in modal ontological arguments. I suspected that in arguments from contingency, the conclusion is a metaphysically necessary being while in the ontological argument, the conclusion is a logically necessary being. But "metaphysical necessity" is hard to define.

http://commonsenseatheism.com...

see pg 582, it's non-question begging and not vulnerable to copossible parodies.
philochristos
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1/16/2013 2:30:52 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 2:27:32 PM, Apeiron wrote:
Contingent existence isn't a property but necessary existence is.

I don't think that existence is a property, but if necessity is a property, why isn't contingence? They are both describing existence, aren't they?
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
drafterman
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1/16/2013 2:36:38 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 2:27:32 PM, Apeiron wrote:
At 1/16/2013 2:13:58 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 1/16/2013 1:54:28 PM, Apeiron wrote:
At 1/16/2013 1:29:08 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 1/16/2013 1:13:23 PM, Apeiron wrote:
At 1/16/2013 12:55:33 PM, drafterman wrote:
Provide an example of a "temporally contingent being"

you, me, etc

But the "me" that came into being is nothing more than an abstract concept, a label assigned to a specific configuration of material particles which were here before me and will remain after me. Is that what you are referring to?

Haha, no a necessary being isn't an abstract object. Abstract objects don't really exist.

Hm. Well, I wasn't talking about the necessary being part... not sure where you get that. Let's start from the beginning again:

Me: "Provide an example of a 'temporally contingent being' (note: asking for temporally contingent being, not a necessary being. Not talking about necessary being)"

You: "you, me, etc" (I presume you're still on track with the temporally contingent being part, unless you're suggesting that we're all necessary beings)

Me: "I" am nothing more than an abstract label assigned to a specific configuration of matter. Is this what you're talking about? (Note: still talking/asking about temporally contingent beings, not necessary beings)

So, again, the label "I" is an abstract label. It's an abstract object. It has to be because the physical reality behind the label is constantly changing. If it was tied to anything physical and real, it'd have only existed for an instant, then "I" would cease to exist, and I would be something else.

So which are you referring to when you say "you, me, etc." the this abstract idea of who I am, which is tied to an ever changing physical construct, or the physical construct itself?

Contingent existence isn't a property but necessary existence is.

When I say you I'm not being tricky, things like mountains, chairs, humans, none of these HAD to have existed. They're temporal and contingent.

Yes, but they are abstract concepts. If we are talking about the abstract concepts then that throws into question your premise #5:

"5 If everything exists for only a finite period of time, and there have been only finitely many beings to date, then there was a time when nothing existed."

Because even though the chair has a beginning and an end, the matter that makes it up contributed to the existence of other entities before and after the chair. For example, a tree or firewood.

If we are instead talking about the underlying physical reality, then I challenge you to demonstrate when it came into existence, and that it will necessarily go out of existence.
philochristos
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1/16/2013 2:54:42 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 2:36:38 PM, drafterman wrote:
"5 If everything exists for only a finite period of time, and there have been only finitely many beings to date, then there was a time when nothing existed."

Because even though the chair has a beginning and an end, the matter that makes it up contributed to the existence of other entities before and after the chair. For example, a tree or firewood.

It sounds like what Apeiron is saying is that composite beings exist for only a finite period of time, which means all composite beings are contingent, and since there is only a finite number of them, then at some point in the past, there were no composite beings. I'm not sure how it follows that fundamental entities that make up composites are contingent.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
drafterman
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1/16/2013 3:03:47 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 2:54:42 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 1/16/2013 2:36:38 PM, drafterman wrote:
"5 If everything exists for only a finite period of time, and there have been only finitely many beings to date, then there was a time when nothing existed."

Because even though the chair has a beginning and an end, the matter that makes it up contributed to the existence of other entities before and after the chair. For example, a tree or firewood.

It sounds like what Apeiron is saying is that composite beings exist for only a finite period of time, which means all composite beings are contingent, and since there is only a finite number of them, then at some point in the past, there were no composite beings.

I disagree, which is why I said it calls that very premise into question. Before and after a specific composite being exists, its constituent components are merely part of another composite being. At the very least, the universe is a composite being that includes everything, and we don't know if that has a beginning or end.

I'm not sure how it follows that fundamental entities that make up composites are contingent.
philochristos
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1/16/2013 3:25:10 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 3:03:47 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 1/16/2013 2:54:42 PM, philochristos wrote:
It sounds like what Apeiron is saying is that composite beings exist for only a finite period of time, which means all composite beings are contingent, and since there is only a finite number of them, then at some point in the past, there were no composite beings.

I disagree, which is why I said it calls that very premise into question. Before and after a specific composite being exists, its constituent components are merely part of another composite being.

But there could not have been an infinite number of composite beings, and if each composite being exists for a finite amount of time, it would follow necessarily that there couldn't have always been composite beings.

At the very least, the universe is a composite being that includes everything, and we don't know if that has a beginning or end.

That is a good point.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
unitedandy
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1/16/2013 3:30:49 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 2:24:38 PM, Apeiron wrote:
At 1/16/2013 2:12:58 PM, unitedandy wrote:
At 1/16/2013 1:29:08 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 1/16/2013 1:13:23 PM, Apeiron wrote:
At 1/16/2013 12:55:33 PM, drafterman wrote:
Provide an example of a "temporally contingent being"

you, me, etc

But the "me" that came into being is nothing more than an abstract concept, a label assigned to a specific configuration of material particles which were here before me and will remain after me. Is that what you are referring to?

I've heard this response before (in reference to Kalam), and it puzzles me. By virtue of things like consciousness and so on, humans and animals are clearly more than the sum of their parts. Indeed, the fact you can even make this observation is testament to a very particular (and somewhat mysterious) arrangement of these parts.

Not sure what you're getting at here, are you saying humans are necessary beings?

No. My point is in response to drafterman's point about classing the arrangement of stuff as a person.
drafterman
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1/16/2013 3:31:31 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 3:25:10 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 1/16/2013 3:03:47 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 1/16/2013 2:54:42 PM, philochristos wrote:
It sounds like what Apeiron is saying is that composite beings exist for only a finite period of time, which means all composite beings are contingent, and since there is only a finite number of them, then at some point in the past, there were no composite beings.

I disagree, which is why I said it calls that very premise into question. Before and after a specific composite being exists, its constituent components are merely part of another composite being.

But there could not have been an infinite number of composite beings, and if each composite being exists for a finite amount of time, it would follow necessarily that there couldn't have always been composite beings.

And if the negation of a composite being results in a composite being itself?


At the very least, the universe is a composite being that includes everything, and we don't know if that has a beginning or end.

That is a good point.
Stephen_Hawkins
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1/16/2013 3:48:57 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 12:54:44 PM, unitedandy wrote:
At 1/16/2013 12:31:27 PM, philochristos wrote:
It looks more like an argument from contingency to me.

Exactly what I thought.

Aquinas' especially. If he wrote it today, it'd look very similar to that.
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philochristos
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1/16/2013 4:27:06 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 3:31:31 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 1/16/2013 3:25:10 PM, philochristos wrote:
But there could not have been an infinite number of composite beings, and if each composite being exists for a finite amount of time, it would follow necessarily that there couldn't have always been composite beings.

And if the negation of a composite being results in a composite being itself?

Eh? You mean, like:

At the very least, the universe is a composite being that includes everything, and we don't know if that has a beginning or end.

??? Well, that would negate Apeiron's claim that all composite beings exist for only a finite amount of time.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
drafterman
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1/16/2013 4:32:40 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 4:27:06 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 1/16/2013 3:31:31 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 1/16/2013 3:25:10 PM, philochristos wrote:
But there could not have been an infinite number of composite beings, and if each composite being exists for a finite amount of time, it would follow necessarily that there couldn't have always been composite beings.

And if the negation of a composite being results in a composite being itself?

Eh? You mean, like:

No, I mean that the act of destroying a composite being merely creates a new one.


At the very least, the universe is a composite being that includes everything, and we don't know if that has a beginning or end.

??? Well, that would negate Apeiron's claim that all composite beings exist for only a finite amount of time.
philochristos
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1/16/2013 5:09:58 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 4:32:40 PM, drafterman wrote:
No, I mean that the act of destroying a composite being merely creates a new one.

I'm not sure what that has to do with Apeiron's argument.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
drafterman
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1/16/2013 5:20:26 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 5:09:58 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 1/16/2013 4:32:40 PM, drafterman wrote:
No, I mean that the act of destroying a composite being merely creates a new one.

I'm not sure what that has to do with Apeiron's argument.

If you can't ever rid yourself of composite entities, then there never is a case where there are no composite entities unless there is nothing from which to build them, which simply reduces this to the second interpretation, that we are talking about the physical components, which we don't know if such things are contingent.
Apeiron
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1/18/2013 6:17:25 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 2:36:38 PM, drafterman wrote:

My dear sir, apologies for taking so long to get back to you, and philochristos, etc. My attention was elsewhere. Let's see if I'm able to answer your critiques.

When I say "you" I'm not being tricky, things like mountains, chairs, humans, none of these HAD to have existed. They're temporal and contingent.

Yes, but they are abstract concepts. If we are talking about the abstract concepts then that throws into question your premise #5:

"5 If everything exists for only a finite period of time, and there have been only finitely many beings to date, then there was a time when nothing existed."

Because even though the chair has a beginning and an end, the matter that makes it up contributed to the existence of other entities before and after the chair. For example, a tree or firewood.

If we are instead talking about the underlying physical reality, then I challenge you to demonstrate when it came into existence, and that it will necessarily go out of existence.

Note the premise in question says "if everything exists for only a finite period of time.." everything includes the 'stuff' out of which chairs, firewood, etc is all comprised. Those realities aren't necessarily existing, they're contingent- it didn't HAVE to be the case that atoms are existing I think is the point.

For ask yourself, would your keyboard be the same keyboard if it were made of silver? ... Notice I'm not asking if it could just be made of silver, but rather if THAT entity, "keyboard" can be of silver- well obviously not, it would be a different keyboard altogether, and so we find in atoms no necessity (de dicto) whatever.

But in answer to your main critique, for whatever arrangement of atoms you please, we can ascribe useful fictions to such arrangements however we see fit- as Democritus said about food, "by convention bitter, by convention sweet, but in reality atoms and void."

Do continue this discussion I find it very interesting! And again sorry for not responding quickly.
Apeiron
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1/18/2013 6:18:49 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 2:27:43 PM, philochristos wrote:
That's an interesting marriage between an argument from contingency and an ontological argument. I have sometimes wondered if "necessity" means the same thing in the argument from contingency as it does in modal ontological arguments. I suspected that in arguments from contingency, the conclusion is a metaphysically necessary being while in the ontological argument, the conclusion is a logically necessary being. But "metaphysical necessity" is hard to define.

Are you familiar with the latin medieval distinction between necessity de re and necessity de dicto?