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Does The Ontological Argument Question Beg?

Rational_Thinker9119
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11/12/2013 9:19:15 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
To say something is "great" you have to have a standard of greatness that exists. In the Christian worldview, this standard is God (the greatest possible being). However, the initial premise of the Modal Ontological Argument is:

P1: It is possible that a maximally "great" being exists

Since God is the standard by which we measure greatness if Christianity is true, by using the word "great" the theist assumes God's existence as God would have to exist for their standard of "greatness" to exist in the first place. Therefore, the theist assumes God exists in the possibility premise just by using the word "great". Since the premise assumes the conclusion; it begs the question.

I got this argument from Magic8000. Does it work?
bornofgod
Posts: 11,322
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11/12/2013 10:00:11 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/12/2013 9:19:15 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
To say something is "great" you have to have a standard of greatness that exists. In the Christian worldview, this standard is God (the greatest possible being). However, the initial premise of the Modal Ontological Argument is:

P1: It is possible that a maximally "great" being exists

Since God is the standard by which we measure greatness if Christianity is true, by using the word "great" the theist assumes God's existence as God would have to exist for their standard of "greatness" to exist in the first place. Therefore, the theist assumes God exists in the possibility premise just by using the word "great". Since the premise assumes the conclusion; it begs the question.

I got this argument from Magic8000. Does it work?

Do you think Christians know our true invisible Creator when they need buildings and golden altars to worship with?

If golden altars and buildings are great, then we're in deep trouble. However, I know our invisible Creator planned on destroying all the Christian greatness of this world very soon.
Rational_Thinker9119
Posts: 9,054
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11/12/2013 2:51:35 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/12/2013 10:00:11 AM, bornofgod wrote:
At 11/12/2013 9:19:15 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
To say something is "great" you have to have a standard of greatness that exists. In the Christian worldview, this standard is God (the greatest possible being). However, the initial premise of the Modal Ontological Argument is:

P1: It is possible that a maximally "great" being exists

Since God is the standard by which we measure greatness if Christianity is true, by using the word "great" the theist assumes God's existence as God would have to exist for their standard of "greatness" to exist in the first place. Therefore, the theist assumes God exists in the possibility premise just by using the word "great". Since the premise assumes the conclusion; it begs the question.

I got this argument from Magic8000. Does it work?

Do you think Christians know our true invisible Creator when they need buildings and golden altars to worship with?

If golden altars and buildings are great, then we're in deep trouble. However, I know our invisible Creator planned on destroying all the Christian greatness of this world very soon.

That doesn't address the concern of this thread.
bladerunner060
Posts: 7,126
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11/12/2013 2:55:43 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/12/2013 9:19:15 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
To say something is "great" you have to have a standard of greatness that exists. In the Christian worldview, this standard is God (the greatest possible being). However, the initial premise of the Modal Ontological Argument is:

P1: It is possible that a maximally "great" being exists

Since God is the standard by which we measure greatness if Christianity is true, by using the word "great" the theist assumes God's existence as God would have to exist for their standard of "greatness" to exist in the first place. Therefore, the theist assumes God exists in the possibility premise just by using the word "great". Since the premise assumes the conclusion; it begs the question.

I got this argument from Magic8000. Does it work?

It does, once the "great" part is explicated (and which is not generally explicated until further on)--but in general a theist willing to use the argument is also perfectly willing to attempt to equivocate out of the problem. It is overall an attempt to define god into existence, just as much as the "original" Ontological Argument upon which the Modal version is based.
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bornofgod
Posts: 11,322
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11/12/2013 9:04:28 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/12/2013 2:51:35 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 11/12/2013 10:00:11 AM, bornofgod wrote:
At 11/12/2013 9:19:15 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
To say something is "great" you have to have a standard of greatness that exists. In the Christian worldview, this standard is God (the greatest possible being). However, the initial premise of the Modal Ontological Argument is:

P1: It is possible that a maximally "great" being exists

Since God is the standard by which we measure greatness if Christianity is true, by using the word "great" the theist assumes God's existence as God would have to exist for their standard of "greatness" to exist in the first place. Therefore, the theist assumes God exists in the possibility premise just by using the word "great". Since the premise assumes the conclusion; it begs the question.

I got this argument from Magic8000. Does it work?

Do you think Christians know our true invisible Creator when they need buildings and golden altars to worship with?

If golden altars and buildings are great, then we're in deep trouble. However, I know our invisible Creator planned on destroying all the Christian greatness of this world very soon.

That doesn't address the concern of this thread.

Of course it does. Our great God will destroy Christianity and this whole world very soon. Then we'll understand who is the greatest of all.
Rational_Thinker9119
Posts: 9,054
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11/12/2013 10:43:25 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/12/2013 2:55:43 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 11/12/2013 9:19:15 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
To say something is "great" you have to have a standard of greatness that exists. In the Christian worldview, this standard is God (the greatest possible being). However, the initial premise of the Modal Ontological Argument is:

P1: It is possible that a maximally "great" being exists

Since God is the standard by which we measure greatness if Christianity is true, by using the word "great" the theist assumes God's existence as God would have to exist for their standard of "greatness" to exist in the first place. Therefore, the theist assumes God exists in the possibility premise just by using the word "great". Since the premise assumes the conclusion; it begs the question.

I got this argument from Magic8000. Does it work?

It does, once the "great" part is explicated (and which is not generally explicated until further on)--but in general a theist willing to use the argument is also perfectly willing to attempt to equivocate out of the problem. It is overall an attempt to define god into existence, just as much as the "original" Ontological Argument upon which the Modal version is based.

The MOA doesn't try to define God into existence, because he still has to be possible. It doesn't matter what his definition is, that doesn't make him possible. Since the MOA rests on him being possible, I disagree that the argument tries to define him into existence. That would assume that a definition is sufficient to say he exists.
bladerunner060
Posts: 7,126
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11/12/2013 10:49:01 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/12/2013 10:43:25 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 11/12/2013 2:55:43 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 11/12/2013 9:19:15 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
To say something is "great" you have to have a standard of greatness that exists. In the Christian worldview, this standard is God (the greatest possible being). However, the initial premise of the Modal Ontological Argument is:

P1: It is possible that a maximally "great" being exists

Since God is the standard by which we measure greatness if Christianity is true, by using the word "great" the theist assumes God's existence as God would have to exist for their standard of "greatness" to exist in the first place. Therefore, the theist assumes God exists in the possibility premise just by using the word "great". Since the premise assumes the conclusion; it begs the question.

I got this argument from Magic8000. Does it work?

It does, once the "great" part is explicated (and which is not generally explicated until further on)--but in general a theist willing to use the argument is also perfectly willing to attempt to equivocate out of the problem. It is overall an attempt to define god into existence, just as much as the "original" Ontological Argument upon which the Modal version is based.

The MOA doesn't try to define God into existence, because he still has to be possible. It doesn't matter what his definition is, that doesn't make him possible. Since the MOA rests on him being possible, I disagree that the argument tries to define him into existence. That would assume that a definition is sufficient to say he exists.

Well, that's the "traditional" OA--"He's defined as the greatest possible, it's greater to exist than not, therefore he must exist".

The MOA attempts to skirt this by defining him as necessary if possible (again, through definition alone), then asserting his possibility and therefore his necessity. I would argue that it presumes its definition is correct--that if God is possible, he must be necessary, and attempts to use that as leverage to define god into existence--but that may be a reflection of my own annoyance at the argument.

To perhaps rephrase why I think it's an attempt to define God into existence, the MOA attempts to argue that he's possible until proven otherwise, and that, definitionally, he's necessary if he's possible, therefore he's necessary, therefore he exists.
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Rational_Thinker9119
Posts: 9,054
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11/12/2013 10:54:05 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/12/2013 10:49:01 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 11/12/2013 10:43:25 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 11/12/2013 2:55:43 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 11/12/2013 9:19:15 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
To say something is "great" you have to have a standard of greatness that exists. In the Christian worldview, this standard is God (the greatest possible being). However, the initial premise of the Modal Ontological Argument is:

P1: It is possible that a maximally "great" being exists

Since God is the standard by which we measure greatness if Christianity is true, by using the word "great" the theist assumes God's existence as God would have to exist for their standard of "greatness" to exist in the first place. Therefore, the theist assumes God exists in the possibility premise just by using the word "great". Since the premise assumes the conclusion; it begs the question.

I got this argument from Magic8000. Does it work?

It does, once the "great" part is explicated (and which is not generally explicated until further on)--but in general a theist willing to use the argument is also perfectly willing to attempt to equivocate out of the problem. It is overall an attempt to define god into existence, just as much as the "original" Ontological Argument upon which the Modal version is based.

The MOA doesn't try to define God into existence, because he still has to be possible. It doesn't matter what his definition is, that doesn't make him possible. Since the MOA rests on him being possible, I disagree that the argument tries to define him into existence. That would assume that a definition is sufficient to say he exists.

Well, that's the "traditional" OA--"He's defined as the greatest possible, it's greater to exist than not, therefore he must exist".

The MOA attempts to skirt this by defining him as necessary if possible (again, through definition alone), then asserting his possibility and therefore his necessity. I would argue that it presumes its definition is correct--that if God is possible, he must be necessary, and attempts to use that as leverage to define god into existence--but that may be a reflection of my own annoyance at the argument.

To perhaps rephrase why I think it's an attempt to define God into existence, the MOA attempts to argue that he's possible until proven otherwise, and that, definitionally, he's necessary if he's possible, therefore he's necessary, therefore he exists.

Well, I agree that no theist has proven that God is possible. Therefore, the MOA is a dud. However, the inference from "possibly necessary" to "necessary" is a logically valid one. If the MOA tries to define God into existence, it does so indirectly, as the conclusion is still contingent upon that possibility premise.
bladerunner060
Posts: 7,126
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11/13/2013 12:25:16 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/12/2013 10:54:05 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 11/12/2013 10:49:01 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 11/12/2013 10:43:25 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 11/12/2013 2:55:43 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 11/12/2013 9:19:15 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
To say something is "great" you have to have a standard of greatness that exists. In the Christian worldview, this standard is God (the greatest possible being). However, the initial premise of the Modal Ontological Argument is:

P1: It is possible that a maximally "great" being exists

Since God is the standard by which we measure greatness if Christianity is true, by using the word "great" the theist assumes God's existence as God would have to exist for their standard of "greatness" to exist in the first place. Therefore, the theist assumes God exists in the possibility premise just by using the word "great". Since the premise assumes the conclusion; it begs the question.

I got this argument from Magic8000. Does it work?

It does, once the "great" part is explicated (and which is not generally explicated until further on)--but in general a theist willing to use the argument is also perfectly willing to attempt to equivocate out of the problem. It is overall an attempt to define god into existence, just as much as the "original" Ontological Argument upon which the Modal version is based.

The MOA doesn't try to define God into existence, because he still has to be possible. It doesn't matter what his definition is, that doesn't make him possible. Since the MOA rests on him being possible, I disagree that the argument tries to define him into existence. That would assume that a definition is sufficient to say he exists.

Well, that's the "traditional" OA--"He's defined as the greatest possible, it's greater to exist than not, therefore he must exist".

The MOA attempts to skirt this by defining him as necessary if possible (again, through definition alone), then asserting his possibility and therefore his necessity. I would argue that it presumes its definition is correct--that if God is possible, he must be necessary, and attempts to use that as leverage to define god into existence--but that may be a reflection of my own annoyance at the argument.

To perhaps rephrase why I think it's an attempt to define God into existence, the MOA attempts to argue that he's possible until proven otherwise, and that, definitionally, he's necessary if he's possible, therefore he's necessary, therefore he exists.

Well, I agree that no theist has proven that God is possible. Therefore, the MOA is a dud. However, the inference from "possibly necessary" to "necessary" is a logically valid one. If the MOA tries to define God into existence, it does so indirectly, as the conclusion is still contingent upon that possibility premise.

I've always been highly skeptical of the idea of universal necessity as put forth by the proponents of the MOA. But of course, all of this is off-topic to your original question. In hindsight, I don't think it begs the question unless terms are defined as you indicate, where greatness requires god to embody the greatness to be the standard of greatness. Some theists think of God as embodying all possible greatness--but they can define it without reference to god, maximal greatness being defined as "whatever I subjectively choose to think of as possible and great".

I think it begs the question in P1, if part of its definition of "maximal greatness" is "existing in all possible worlds"--it begs the necessity by asserting "God exists" in the very first premise, the rest being merely window-dressing to expand on that definition.
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