Ontological Argument.

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Ontological Argument.

#1

Post by Silvertusk » Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:46 am

Ok. I just don't get it.

Could please someone explain it to me in laymans terms that a simple welshman can understand.

How can the possibility of a maximumly great being existing - means it does exist?

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Re: Ontological Argument.

#2

Post by Ivellious » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:07 am

I might be wrong (I'm no expert at this), but here's how I understand it:

We can conceptualize God in our mind, and understand what God is.
Nothing can be greater than God.
If the greatest possible thing (God) can exist in our mind, it necessarily must exist in reality as well.

As far as I understand, it derives the necessity of God's existence because nothing greater than God could exist. I'm not sure if I agree that this is a good argument, but as far as I know that's what it means. Though as far as I know, not even all Christians or theists in general accept the ontological argument as rational, so it might be a moot point.

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Re: Ontological Argument.

#3

Post by Silvertusk » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:27 am

Ivellious wrote:I might be wrong (I'm no expert at this), but here's how I understand it:

We can conceptualize God in our mind, and understand what God is.
Nothing can be greater than God.
If the greatest possible thing (God) can exist in our mind, it necessarily must exist in reality as well.

As far as I understand, it derives the necessity of God's existence because nothing greater than God could exist. I'm not sure if I agree that this is a good argument, but as far as I know that's what it means. Though as far as I know, not even all Christians or theists in general accept the ontological argument as rational, so it might be a moot point.
Thank you for your quick reply Ivellious. What I don't get is how you can derive the conclusion that God must exist because we can conceive of him as the greatest being. I don't understand how you can make that logical jump.

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Re: Ontological Argument.

#4

Post by Byblos » Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:31 am

Silvertusk wrote:
Ivellious wrote:I might be wrong (I'm no expert at this), but here's how I understand it:

We can conceptualize God in our mind, and understand what God is.
Nothing can be greater than God.
If the greatest possible thing (God) can exist in our mind, it necessarily must exist in reality as well.

As far as I understand, it derives the necessity of God's existence because nothing greater than God could exist. I'm not sure if I agree that this is a good argument, but as far as I know that's what it means. Though as far as I know, not even all Christians or theists in general accept the ontological argument as rational, so it might be a moot point.
Thank you for your quick reply Ivellious. What I don't get is how you can derive the conclusion that God must exist because we can conceive of him as the greatest being. I don't understand how you can make that logical jump.
It is a direct derivative of both the prime mover and first causation arguments. If everything exists has a cause and requires a mover then the first mover must be uncaused. Since there's anything at all, the first cause is the greatest of all existence (and therefore the greatest we can imagine). Since he is the greatest we can imagine and we exist, he also must exist. Honestly I wouldn't use it, I would use the prime mover and first causation instead as they can be articulated much more clearly.
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Re: Ontological Argument.

#5

Post by Silvertusk » Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:49 am

Byblos wrote:
Silvertusk wrote:
Ivellious wrote:I might be wrong (I'm no expert at this), but here's how I understand it:

We can conceptualize God in our mind, and understand what God is.
Nothing can be greater than God.
If the greatest possible thing (God) can exist in our mind, it necessarily must exist in reality as well.

As far as I understand, it derives the necessity of God's existence because nothing greater than God could exist. I'm not sure if I agree that this is a good argument, but as far as I know that's what it means. Though as far as I know, not even all Christians or theists in general accept the ontological argument as rational, so it might be a moot point.
Thank you for your quick reply Ivellious. What I don't get is how you can derive the conclusion that God must exist because we can conceive of him as the greatest being. I don't understand how you can make that logical jump.
It is a direct derivative of both the prime mover and first causation arguments. If everything exists has a cause and requires a mover then the first mover must be uncaused. Since there's anything at all, the first cause is the greatest of all existence (and therefore the greatest we can imagine). Since he is the greatest we can imagine and we exist, he also must exist. Honestly I wouldn't use it, I would use the prime mover and first causation instead as they can be articulated much more clearly.

It does seem a little redundant.

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Re: Ontological Argument.

#6

Post by PaulSacramento » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:38 am


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Re: Ontological Argument.

#7

Post by Silvertusk » Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:30 am

I have listened to WLC podcasts on this which is probably why I still didn't get it. :ewink:

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Re: Ontological Argument.

#8

Post by PaulSacramento » Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:36 am

Silvertusk wrote:
I have listened to WLC podcasts on this which is probably why I still didn't get it. :ewink:
LMAO !!
Nice one.
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Re: Ontological Argument.

#9

Post by domokunrox » Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:39 am

I will help shed some light on this one since I'm probably the one who uses the argument and I have adequate explanatory for it. Unfortunately, when people attempt to explain the argument or give it without carefully thinking about it, they end up leaving pretty important information out (like Ivellious, for example) and make it look absurd.

The first thing you need to recognize is that the argument is well over 1000 years old and there are plenty versions of it. All of which (Anselm & Post Anselm) are very well designed and well thought out by the greatest minds of philosophy in that span.

So in order to first understand the argument, one should first look at the critical point of its first formulations. Which is Anselm's version. I am going to do you the favor of bolding and underline the critical parts you need to read carefully. I will also make some VERY, VERY, VERY important parts bigger.
Anselm wrote:Therefore, Lord, who grant understanding to faith, grant me that, in so far as you know it beneficial, I understand that you are as we believe and you are that which we believe. Now we believe that you are something than which nothing greater can be imagined.

Then is there no such nature, since the fool has said in his heart: God is not? But certainly this same fool, when he hears this very thing that I am saying - something than which nothing greater can be imagined - understands what he hears; and what he understands is in his understanding, even if he does not understand that it is. For it is one thing for a thing to be in the understanding and another to understand that a thing is.

For when a painter imagines beforehand what he is going to make, he has in his undertanding what he has not yet made but he does not yet understand that it is. But when he has already painted it, he both has in his understanding what he has already painted and understands that it is.
Therefore even the fool is bound to agree that there is at least in the understanding something than which nothing greater can be imagined, because when he hears this he understands it, and whatever is understood is in the understanding.

And certainly that than which a greater cannot be imagined cannot be in the understanding alone. For if it is at least in the understanding alone, it can be imagined to be in reality too, which is greater. Therefore if that than which a greater cannot be imagined is in the understanding alone, that very thing than which a greater cannot be imagined is something than which a greater can be imagined. But certainly this cannot be. There exists, therefore, beyond doubt something than which a greater cannot be imagined, both in the understanding and in reality.
So, as you can see. What is special about this argument is that exploits YOUR UNDERSTANDING of INTUITIVE KNOWLEDGE to create a trivial statement about that knowledge. I also want to make this clear. This is epistemological CERTAINTY, NOT verificationism (which is circular reasoning or leaves you with phenomenalism at best).

So, let me go ahead and give you roadmap here. Descartes pretty much solidifies the argument with the perfection description and furthers the argument in his the mediations of first philosophy (not going to quote it). A perfect substance with ALL POSSIBLE PERFECTIONS.

The Islamic philosopher Mulla Sadra concurs with more
Mulla Sadra wrote:There is existence
Existence is a perfection above which no perfection may be conceived
God is perfection and perfection in existence
Existence is a singular and simple reality (No metaphysical pluralism)
That singular reality is graded in intensity in a scale of perfection (No monism)
That scale must have a limit point, a point of greatest intensity and of greatest existence
Hence God exists
This is where you get overloaded with information, but if you want to look into it. Feel free to look at Godel's version
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6del ... ical_proof

I would like to show Plantinga's version, but I suggest you just read it in Plantinga's writings instead if you were interested in that.

So, anyway, what is powerful about this argument is how absurd the counter arguments are (because they try to use the argument to prove the existence of something that isn't perfect or maximally great. Proving the argument's strength. :lol: ). Never mind Kant's criticisms either which is utterly laughable.

If you guys have any real serious objections of the argument, feel free to let me know what you disagree with and I'll gladly show you guys how to counter it. IMO, its the best argument in the Christian philosopher's arsenal.

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Re: Ontological Argument.

#10

Post by domokunrox » Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:59 am

Byblos wrote:It is a direct derivative of both the prime mover and first causation arguments. If everything exists has a cause and requires a mover then the first mover must be uncaused. Since there's anything at all, the first cause is the greatest of all existence (and therefore the greatest we can imagine). Since he is the greatest we can imagine and we exist, he also must exist. Honestly I wouldn't use it, I would use the prime mover and first causation instead as they can be articulated much more clearly.
I also want to point out that the ontological argument is CERTAINLY NOT SO to the underlined.

Motion is a phenomenon that leaves us with no knowledge at all. There is nothing rational about motion, forces are not experienced. There is no necessary connection, just constant conjunction.

Causation on the other hand is rational. However, its an illegitimate extension of the concept of empiricism to say what caused ALL of what we experience. Even less trying to describe the force (which you cannot experience). Again, there is no necessary connection, just constant conjunction.

Now, I'm not saying the arguments aren't good for everyone. They do work for some, but it just doesn't cover all the bases. It assumes too much, and in demonstration cannot describe what is being experienced. Its even worse when its perfectly rational to say that when it is not being experienced, there is nothing there (A position I hold).

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Re: Ontological Argument.

#11

Post by Silvertusk » Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:15 am

Nope. Still don't get it.

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Re: Ontological Argument.

#12

Post by Jac3510 » Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:18 pm

I wouldn't use the OA, Silver. There are lots of reasons for that:

1. Even if it works (and I don't think it does, for reasons I'll detail below), it isn't persuasive. Look, we have to be somewhat pragmatic here. Let's pretend that it is absolutely true in all of its glory . . . truer than even its most ardent supporters believe it be. The fact is, when you present it, people just yawn. It doesn't matter how much you explain it. It doesn't matter how much conversation you have around it. People still hear, "I know God exists because it's impossible to imagine Him not existing, and I know you think you can imagine it, but you really can't." That's true whether you take Anselm's greatest conceivable being approach or Plantinga's God-is-necessary-in-all-possible-worlds approach. Bottom line: it just isn't persuasive.

2. In order for it to have a hope of being persuasive, you have to have a very long, very extended discussion on background philosophical issues. For instance, if you want to use Plantinga's model, you have to explain the differences in possibility, necessity, and contingency, and if they really start asking good questions, you had better be able to defend modal axiom S5. I mean . . . really . . . if you are going to put that much effort into things, there are much better arguments worth spending your time developing.

3. Frankly, I think the argument fails anyway because it doesn't appreciate the two was in which something can be self-evident (that is, it conflates the two ways in which something can be self-evident). A thing is always self-evident in itself, but first, it may be self-evident to others, and in other instances, it may not be self-evident to others. Take the sentence, "All triangles have three sides." That's true by definition--the essence of triangles includes already the idea of three-sidedness. Therefore, the moment someone understands the meaning of the term "triangle," it is immediately and necessarily evident that the proposition is true. But suppose someone does not know the definition of "triangle." If so, then the proposition will not be self-evident to them.

Thus, we see that claims to self-evidence are directly related to one's already existing knowledge. It is, for instance, self-evident that abortion is wrong, because abortion is, by definition, the termination of a human life (and that, necessarily by its nature, apart from due process of the law). But termination of human life apart from due process of the law is necessarily wrong, and thus, abortion is wrong just as much as two plus two is four. But that proposition is NOT self-evident to others, for they do not know that the unborn child is human, or perhaps they think (wrongly) that they can distinguish between a human being and a human person.

Now, applying this to the OA, that God exists is self-evident in itself. We who have studied know that God's very nature is existence itself, and so to propose that existence does not exist is just self-contradictory and therefore false. Thus, I know that God's existence is self-evident. It is impossible for me to conceive of His non-existence without entailing a self-contradiction. A lot of people, though, have no such conception of God. They simply are not educated enough. The Bible itself bears witness to the fact that people do hold that God does not exist.

So what Anselm (and Plantinga and all the rest) fail to realize is that the moment they appeal to a "proper" understanding of God (which all versions ultimately do), they make their argument entirely trivial. That is because, in order to demonstrate the OA, one must FIRST who that the very notion of God necessarily entails God's existence, but in order to do that, one cannot rely on the OA (without falling into a circular argument). On the other hand, once you demonstrate that God's existence is necessary, the OA becomes completely superfluous, because God's existence has already been demonstrated.

Now, let me close by walking through Anselm's version of the argument, and as I do, I'll show how the above three statements work out in practice. It can be reconstructed as follows:
  • (1) Suppose (with the fool) that God exists in the understanding alone.
    (2) Given our definition, this means that a being than which none greater can be conceived exists in the understanding alone.
    (3) But this being can be conceived to exist in reality. That is, we can conceive of a circumstance in which theism is true, even if we do not believe that it actually obtains.
    (4) But it is greater for a thing to exist in reality than for it to exist in the understanding alone.
    (5) Hence we seem forced to conclude that a being than which none greater can be conceived can be conceived to be greater than it is.
    (6) But that is absurd.
    (7) So (1) must be false. God must exist in reality as well as in the understanding.
So (1) says, let's pretend that God doesn't exist. Now, in order to say that, you have to conceive of the idea of God. He at least exists in your mind, then. The question is whether or not He--that is, the concept in your mind--also exists outside of your mind, and the fool looks at that concept in his mind and asserts that there is no thing in reality to which that idea corresponds. The important thing here is that a conception of God exists in the mind.

Now, (2) is the important part. If we conceive of God as a flying purple spaghetti monster, we can easily deny His existence and move on. But Anselm has defined God as "the thing which nothing greater can be conceived." So, the atheist is essentially saying, "The greatest possible imaginable thing only exists in my mind; that is, the greatest thing that can be imagined doesn't really exist."

Now, in (3) Anselm points out that part of the idea of the greatest conceivable thing is that it really exists in reality--not just in the mind. So, as Plantinga would say, Anselm is asserting that "It is possible that God exists." After all, that's the entire point of theism!

(4) is the center of the argument. There, Anselm says that an idea of a thing existing in reality is greater than an idea of a thing that doesn't exist in reality. So, before I was married, I used to imagine my wife--she didn't really exist at the time. But now, when I think of her, I think of her as she really exist, and the second idea is greater. So, for Anselm, if a thing exists, it is greater than a thing that doesn't exist.

The rest just pretty easily follows. If God doesn't exist, then the God in the mind is greater than the "god" of reality, since the God of the mind exists bu the God of reality doesn't. But that goes against the definition of God--He is, by definition, the greatest conceivable thing. Therefore, it is absurd to suggest that God doesn't really exist. That is to say, God really exists.

Now let's look back at my objections. First, no matter how clearly you explain this, I'm sorry, but people just are not going to be persuaded by it. The only people who like this are people who already believe in God. It's clever. And they already believe that God is the greatest possible thing, so they go along without a fight. But other people? It just "feels" like a slight of hand. Forget about whether it works or not. They just will not buy it. Second, to defend this, you will have to have a very long discussion both about the notion of "greatest conceivable thing," and particular about the question of whether or not existence contributes to a thing's greatness. Perhaps it does, but here's the kicker--that requires a discussion about the nature of existence itself. And that is a doozy of a philosophical topic. You'll spend hours on that (believe me, I've done it), and if you are going to argue for God's existence from that perspective, there are much better arguments to use. Third, it is immediately clear that the requirement to discuss the nature of existence means that the sentence "God has to exist" is not self-evident. Granted, if we already know that existence is the type of thing that contributes to greatness (and, in turn, if we understand on a philosophical level what greatness is), then the argument follows. But if it follows, it is superfluous, for we have already concluded from our understanding of existence that God exists. On the other hand, if we don't know those things (and most modern philosophy does not know those things: Kant, for instance, and those who follow him, deny that existence is a proper predicate at all), then the whole argument fails, because you are essentially trying to prove that a triangle has three sides to a person who doesn't know the definition of a triangle.

So all in all, it's just a bad argument. The bottom line is that it is only persuasive after the fact. Don't use it. Don't go chasing that argument. Please stick to the cosmological, teleological, and moral arguments you're used to. ;)

edit:

If you want to read a thread dedicated to Plantinga's version, you can find it here:

http://discussions.godandscience.org/vi ... 19&t=34355

I don't think it's too hard to follow, and while I tried there to defend the logic of the argument itself (as I say, it's technically accurate), I held then and still hold it's really a bad argument for all the reasons I've discussed here.
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And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Ontological Argument.

#13

Post by domokunrox » Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:41 pm

Jac, I'm going to hit you with it because you are asking for it, buddy. :lol:
1. Even if it works (and I don't think it does, for reasons I'll detail below), it isn't persuasive. Look, we have to be somewhat pragmatic here. Let's pretend that it is absolutely true in all of its glory . . . truer than even its most ardent supporters believe it be. The fact is, when you present it, people just yawn. It doesn't matter how much you explain it. It doesn't matter how much conversation you have around it. People still hear, "I know God exists because it's impossible to imagine Him not existing, and I know you think you can imagine it, but you really can't." That's true whether you take Anselm's greatest conceivable being approach or Plantinga's God-is-necessary-in-all-possible-worlds approach. Bottom line: it just isn't persuasive.
I disagree. I find the argument very persuasive. People yawn when its presented? Sure, I will give it that, but that doesn't mean the argument isn't true or its a bad one. When someone argues me 1+1=2, I yawn as well. We're being told something we already know. What makes the argument persuasive? People try go against the argument or have commentary of its unsuitability (according to their philosophy).
2. In order for it to have a hope of being persuasive, you have to have a very long, very extended discussion on background philosophical issues. For instance, if you want to use Plantinga's model, you have to explain the differences in possibility, necessity, and contingency, and if they really start asking good questions, you had better be able to defend modal axiom S5. I mean . . . really . . . if you are going to put that much effort into things, there are much better arguments worth spending your time developing.
I disagree, it can be persuasive without the discussion of a host of philosophical issues. Does the discussion of those issues help? Certainly, especially for those existential skeptics you find every now and then. Its very key against eastern philosophies, but against western philosophies? Not so much. I've had much success presenting the argument with many different people who hail from asia (where some form of buddism is prominent).
3. Frankly, I think the argument fails anyway because it doesn't appreciate the two was in which something can be self-evident (that is, it conflates the two ways in which something can be self-evident). A thing is always self-evident in itself, but first, it may be self-evident to others, and in other instances, it may not be self-evident to others. Take the sentence, "All triangles have three sides." That's true by definition--the essence of triangles includes already the idea of three-sidedness. Therefore, the moment someone understands the meaning of the term "triangle," it is immediately and necessarily evident that the proposition is true. But suppose someone does not know the definition of "triangle." If so, then the proposition will not be self-evident to them.
Well, the problem with your example here is that the ontological argument is supposed to say something trivial about something you already know.

Your triangle example is excellent in showing in strength of the argument. Triangles are not intuitive knowledge, first off. Second, triangles are not Perfection and does not have all possible perfections. You pretty much gave a pit trap example of what someone shouldn't do against the argument. You've made a false analogy. There is nothing analogous to Perfection
Now, applying this to the OA, that God exists is self-evident in itself. We who have studied know that God's very nature is existence itself, and so to propose that existence does not exist is just self-contradictory and therefore false. Thus, I know that God's existence is self-evident. It is impossible for me to conceive of His non-existence without entailing a self-contradiction. A lot of people, though, have no such conception of God. They simply are not educated enough. The Bible itself bears witness to the fact that people do hold that God does not exist.
Pit fall no. 2, the ontological argument isn't telling you that "existence does not exist". You in particular keep falling into this trap saying that you don't understand "Nothing", zero, etc when it certainly does exist in understanding. You only need to understand it, and I'd already got you stuck in admitting what you already know is true. As Anselm has already started,
the fool has said in his heart: God is not? But certainly this same fool, when he hears this very thing that I am saying, understands what he hears
So what Anselm (and Plantinga and all the rest) fail to realize is that the moment they appeal to a "proper" understanding of God (which all versions ultimately do), they make their argument entirely trivial. That is because, in order to demonstrate the OA, one must FIRST who that the very notion of God necessarily entails God's existence, but in order to do that, one cannot rely on the OA (without falling into a circular argument). On the other hand, once you demonstrate that God's existence is necessary, the OA becomes completely superfluous, because God's existence has already been demonstrated.
Nobody has appealed to "proper" understandings of God. People like to play semantics (like you, for example), so it requires us to find other descriptions you cannot say you don't understand. In my position, there is no greater way to describe God aside from calling him Perfect. I however do understand that some people need to get some other descriptions so they can wrap their head around the argument itself. Like "Maximal greatness".

Again, you say the argument is trivial. Thats because it supposed to be. It is telling you something you already know.
Now let's look back at my objections.
Sure
First, no matter how clearly you explain this, I'm sorry, but people just are not going to be persuaded by it. The only people who like this are people who already believe in God. It's clever. And they already believe that God is the greatest possible thing, so they go along without a fight.
I think this is just your opinion, really. If it really wasn't persausive, people wouldn't even bother. Whats the difference between arguing 1+1=2 and 1+1=3? The first, we already know. The second is so silly, we wouldn't bother.
But other people? It just "feels" like a slight of hand. Forget about whether it works or not. They just will not buy it.
My philosophy tells me that what we often "feel" isn't reliable. Our senses and feelings are very dubitable. For example, how fast are you moving right now? In the scientific revolution, there was much resistance in going into the heliocentric model based on "it doesn't feel like I'm going that fast"
Second, to defend this, you will have to have a very long discussion both about the notion of "greatest conceivable thing," and particular about the question of whether or not existence contributes to a thing's greatness. Perhaps it does, but here's the kicker--that requires a discussion about the nature of existence itself. And that is a doozy of a philosophical topic. You'll spend hours on that (believe me, I've done it), and if you are going to argue for God's existence from that perspective, there are much better arguments to use.
I should probably make a flow chart for you guys, then. It certainly is daunting, but once you get your opponent to admit they really know nothing aside from a few basic things, you've won the argument. A modern Descartes philosophy is excellent at this.
Third, it is immediately clear that the requirement to discuss the nature of existence means that the sentence "God has to exist" is not self-evident. Granted, if we already know that existence is the type of thing that contributes to greatness (and, in turn, if we understand on a philosophical level what greatness is), then the argument follows. But if it follows, it is superfluous, for we have already concluded from our understanding of existence that God exists. On the other hand, if we don't know those things (and most modern philosophy does not know those things: Kant, for instance, and those who follow him, deny that existence is a proper predicate at all), then the whole argument fails, because you are essentially trying to prove that a triangle has three sides to a person who doesn't know the definition of a triangle.
Don't fall into the pit fall, friend. Kant, does not even challenge the argument. Not even close.

Lets say that existence isn't a predicate (Kant), then the only way to talk about existence is by identity. Thats hardly convincing at all. Impossible to do without making a mess (syllogistic errors), actually. There is no metaphysical pluralism and Monism is false. Look at Mulla Sadra's argument
There is existence
Existence is a perfection above which no perfection may be conceived
God is perfection and perfection in existence
Existence is a singular and simple reality (No metaphysical pluralism)
That singular reality is graded in intensity in a scale of perfection (No monism)
That scale must have a limit point, a point of greatest intensity and of greatest existence
Hence God exists

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Re: Ontological Argument.

#14

Post by Jac3510 » Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:16 pm

domokunrox wrote:I disagree. I find the argument very persuasive. People yawn when its presented? Sure, I will give it that, but that doesn't mean the argument isn't true or its a bad one. When someone argues me 1+1=2, I yawn as well. We're being told something we already know. What makes the argument persuasive? People try go against the argument or have commentary of its unsuitability (according to their philosophy).
You find it persuasive because you are already a Christian. And what makes it persuasive? Nothing. That's the whole point.
I disagree, it can be persuasive without the discussion of a host of philosophical issues. Does the discussion of those issues help? Certainly, especially for those existential skeptics you find every now and then. Its very key against eastern philosophies, but against western philosophies? Not so much. I've had much success presenting the argument with many different people who hail from asia (where some form of buddism is prominent).
They don't just help. The argument can't be understood without them. And I highly doubt that you've been successful with the argument to Buddhists, especially without explaining the metaphysical backgrounds to them, because they come from a completely different worldview.
Well, the problem with your example here is that the ontological argument is supposed to say something trivial about something you already know.
Trivial doesn't mean something you already know. It means something that gives you no new information. To say triangles have three sides is not trivial. To say three sided figures have three sides is. The OA is trivial once you understand the essence of God as existence itself, because then you are just saying "Existence exists." If you don't get that, then not only is the OA not trivial, it isn't intuitive and is completely devoid of any persuasiveness at all. Moreover, the OA does not speak to something you already know. There are people that don't know that God exists, so the OA says nothing to them about what they already know.
Your triangle example is excellent in showing in strength of the argument. Triangles are not intuitive knowledge, first off. Second, triangles are not Perfection and does not have all possible perfections. You pretty much gave a pit trap example of what someone shouldn't do against the argument. You've made a false analogy. There is nothing analogous to Perfection
Nihil est in intellectu quod non prius in sensu, thus, there is no such thing as intuitive knowledge. Second, don't confuse the Cartesian version of the argument with the Anselmian version. Third, everything is analogous to perfection. Fourth, the OA--at least in Anselm--doesn't start with the idea that God has all possible perfections. Rather, it deduces that the First Cause has all perfections following the OA and from there works as sort of a divine attribute generator. Since Omnipotence is the perfection of power, then the FC must be omnipotent, etc. (at least in Anselm's thought).
Pit fall no. 2, the ontological argument isn't telling you that "existence does not exist". You in particular keep falling into this trap saying that you don't understand "Nothing", zero, etc when it certainly does exist in understanding. You only need to understand it, and I'd already got you stuck in admitting what you already know is true. As Anselm has already started,
the fool has said in his heart: God is not? But certainly this same fool, when he hears this very thing that I am saying, understands what he hears
I've never said that things like "nothing" don't exist in the understanding. I've said just the opposite, but you are so painfully ignorant of basic philosophy here that you don't understand the very simple words I wrote. Read them again. Try it more slowly. If you really want to educate yourself on this matter, you should read An Interpretation of Existence by Etienne Gilson, particularly his discussion on the distinction between judgment and conceptualization.
Nobody has appealed to "proper" understandings of God. People like to play semantics (like you, for example), so it requires us to find other descriptions you cannot say you don't understand. In my position, there is no greater way to describe God aside from calling him Perfect. I however do understand that some people need to get some other descriptions so they can wrap their head around the argument itself. Like "Maximal greatness".

Again, you say the argument is trivial. Thats because it supposed to be. It is telling you something you already know.
If you don't think the OA appeals to a proper understanding of God, then you don't understand the OA. The entire argument is premised (in Anselm) on the definition of God as the greatest conceivable thing. If you don't understand that definition, then you cannot see how the argument works. In Plantinga, the argument presumes understanding what a "maximally excellent being" is.

And, again, the argument is not designed to tell you something you already know. It is designed to prove to you something that you did not know, namely, that God exists; and it attempts to do that by showing you that, properly understood, the very idea of God is such that it must exist, lest it not by God at all.
I think this is just your opinion, really. If it really wasn't persausive, people wouldn't even bother. Whats the difference between arguing 1+1=2 and 1+1=3? The first, we already know. The second is so silly, we wouldn't bother.
Most people don't bother. There is a reason it doesn't appear in many debates, and it's only been under Plantinga that it has had anything of a revival, and that thanks only to the power of his name. Craig has lent it some support recently, but even for him it isn't part of his stump speech. There's a reason for that: it's unpersuasive. But feel free to keep using it. You'll just be ineffective.
My philosophy tells me that what we often "feel" isn't reliable. Our senses and feelings are very dubitable. For example, how fast are you moving right now? In the scientific revolution, there was much resistance in going into the heliocentric model based on "it doesn't feel like I'm going that fast"
I don't care what your philosophy tells you. People ought to pay more attention to what the think is true rather than what they feel, but they don't, and your job isn't to convince you; it's to convince them. That means you have to go to them where they are, and since their philosophy puts feelings very high on the list of things to trust, you're wasting your time if you ignore them.
I should probably make a flow chart for you guys, then. It certainly is daunting, but once you get your opponent to admit they really know nothing aside from a few basic things, you've won the argument. A modern Descartes philosophy is excellent at this.
Cartesianism is an embarrassment to rational thought. About the only thing I know more embarrassing than Cartesianism is logical positivism.
Don't fall into the pit fall, friend. Kant, does not even challenge the argument. Not even close.

Lets say that existence isn't a predicate (Kant), then the only way to talk about existence is by identity. Thats hardly convincing at all. Impossible to do without making a mess (syllogistic errors), actually. There is no metaphysical pluralism and Monism is false. Look at Mulla Sadra's argument
There is existence
Existence is a perfection above which no perfection may be conceived
God is perfection and perfection in existence
Existence is a singular and simple reality (No metaphysical pluralism)
That singular reality is graded in intensity in a scale of perfection (No monism)
That scale must have a limit point, a point of greatest intensity and of greatest existence
Hence God exists
Did I say existence wasn't a predicate? Read more closely before you respond, dom. Existence certainly is a predicate, but analytical philosophy, which is the dominant form today, tends to deny that. Kant is a joke, but that's because he comes directly out of the Cartesian disaster. Or, put differently, Descarte made a giant mess of things, and Kant tried to clean it up while keeping that fool's basic assumptions. So, I agree that Kant doesn't challenge the argument. But no one else does, and in order to get them to see that, you have to undo all of Kant. Now, that's perfectly doable, and the sooner it is done, the better. But why go through all that to defend a silly, unpersuasive argument, when there are much better ones to offer?

As to your proof, do I really need to take the time to deconstruct that contortion? There are no middle terms. There are a ridiculous number of assumptions built in. And you may as well stop after the fourth statement . . . 5-8 are completely superfluous. Look, yYou start by stating that there "is existence" (if that isn't a redundant phrase, I don't know what is) that would need pages of discussion to reach any agreement on. But let that pass, you assert that it is a perfection, and then argue that God is perfection. So all you have said is, "Existence exists; it's a perfection; God is perfection; so God exists." That's a really, really bad argument, dom.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Ontological Argument.

#15

Post by domokunrox » Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:54 am

Jac3510 wrote:You find it persuasive because you are already a Christian. And what makes it persuasive? Nothing. That's the whole point.
Thats your opinion, and your opinion (for lack of a better word) sucks.
Jac3510 wrote:They don't just help. The argument can't be understood without them. And I highly doubt that you've been successful with the argument to Buddhists, especially without explaining the metaphysical backgrounds to them, because they come from a completely different worldview.
The argument can certainly be understood without them. If you cannot even grasp that, you are very lost.
Jac3510 wrote:Trivial doesn't mean something you already know. It means something that gives you no new information.
I have no other way to interpet this aside from me imagining you as you were writing this, then your pupils got huge, and you fell on the floor. Then you woke up, and forgot to check what you wrote.
Jac3510 wrote:To say triangles have three sides is not trivial. To say three sided figures have three sides is.
Triangles are not intuitive knowledge, sir.
However, once you do know what a triangle is, the statement is trivial.

Take for example, All bachelors are unmarried.
Once you know what bachelor means, the statement is trivial. The statement is true by the relation of ideas. It MUST BE TRUE. It is NECESSARILY TRUE, and it CANNOT BE FALSE. To say that the statement is not true, is a contradiction.
Jac3510 wrote:The OA is trivial once you understand the essence of God as existence itself, because then you are just saying "Existence exists."
God's existence is INTUITIVE KNOWLEDGE, sir. His existence has been understood the very moment your mental substance came into existence.
Jac3510 wrote:If you don't get that, then not only is the OA not trivial, it isn't intuitive and is completely devoid of any persuasiveness at all. Moreover, the OA does not speak to something you already know.
You're just plain wrong on this topic, sir. An argument's persuasiveness has nothing at all to do at all in regards to the argument's goodness or truth value. As I've stated before, this is your opinion, and your opinion sucks.
Jac3510 wrote:There are people that don't know that God exists, so the OA says nothing to them about what they already know.
What? Lets move the philosophy aside for a second.

You do recognize that your statement contradicts the Bible MANY, MANY, MANY, MANY, MANY, MANY times, right?
The WHOLE BOOK is about people who deny his existence and who he is.

Think this one over, again.
Jac3510 wrote:Nihil est in intellectu quod non prius in sensu, thus, there is no such thing as intuitive knowledge.
This is a false theory of knowledge. Your senses are dubitable.
Jac3510 wrote:Second, don't confuse the Cartesian version of the argument with the Anselmian version.
There is no confusion. Descartes DIRECTLY takes from Anselm, sir. He even uses it. Read Descartes before you even attempt to characterize his philosophy.
Jac3510 wrote:Third, everything is analogous to perfection.
False. Nothing is analogous to perfection.

Putting the philosophy aside.
You do realize that your statement contradicts the Bible MANY, MANY, MANY, MANY, MANY, MANY times, right?
Jac3510 wrote:Fourth, the OA--at least in Anselm--doesn't start with the idea that God has all possible perfections. Rather, it deduces that the First Cause has all perfections following the OA and from there works as sort of a divine attribute generator. Since Omnipotence is the perfection of power, then the FC must be omnipotent, etc. (at least in Anselm's thought).
No, sir. You need to read up on Anselm, again.
The Ontological argument HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with making deductions from causation. You made it up or you think it does.
Jac3510 wrote:I've never said that things like "nothing" don't exist in the understanding. I've said just the opposite, but you are so painfully ignorant of basic philosophy here that you don't understand the very simple words I wrote. Read them again. Try it more slowly. If you really want to educate yourself on this matter, you should read An Interpretation of Existence by Etienne Gilson, particularly his discussion on the distinction between judgment and conceptualization.
This some kind of joke? What I am telling you is that your characterization of the Ontological argument is wrong. Top to bottom WRONG.
I suggest you read your OWN words, then read mine. Try it slowly.
Jac3510 wrote:If you don't think the OA appeals to a proper understanding of God, then you don't understand the OA.
If you think the Ontological argument is trying to prove God exists because you don't know if he exists, then you don't understand the Ontological argument.

KNOWING AND NOT KNOWING ARE ENTIRELY DIFFERENT
Sort of like how YES and NO are different.
Jac3510 wrote:The entire argument is premised (in Anselm) on the definition of God as the greatest conceivable thing. If you don't understand that definition, then you cannot see how the argument works. In Plantinga, the argument presumes understanding what a "maximally excellent being" is.
The argument does no such thing. The only way you can attempt to get out of the argument, is only by saying that you believe actual infinity exists. (Which is Pluralism/Monism)
Jac3510 wrote:And, again, the argument is not designed to tell you something you already know. It is designed to prove to you something that you did not know, namely, that God exists; and it attempts to do that by showing you that, properly understood, the very idea of God is such that it must exist, lest it not by God at all.
Again, you're wrong.
Jac3510 wrote:Most people don't bother. There is a reason it doesn't appear in many debates, and it's only been under Plantinga that it has had anything of a revival, and that thanks only to the power of his name. Craig has lent it some support recently, but even for him it isn't part of his stump speech. There's a reason for that: it's unpersuasive. But feel free to keep using it. You'll just be ineffective.
Its ineffective if you don't know how to use it.
Jac3510 wrote:I don't care what your philosophy tells you.
Really? Then I don't care what your philosophy tells you, either. Hilarious, right? I didn't know your philosophy incorporated stubborn zen buddism.
Jac3510 wrote:People ought to pay more attention to what the think is true rather than what they feel, but they don't, and your job isn't to convince you; it's to convince them. That means you have to go to them where they are, and since their philosophy puts feelings very high on the list of things to trust, you're wasting your time if you ignore them.
I am not ignoring anyone. I am telling you that your senses are dubitable, and cannot be relying on to give you ANY knowledge until you have a foundational basis
Jac3510 wrote:Cartesianism is an embarrassment to rational thought. About the only thing I know more embarrassing than Cartesianism is logical positivism.
Thats your opinion. Again, your opinion sucks.
Jac3510 wrote:Did I say existence wasn't a predicate?
No, Did I say you said such a thing?
Jac3510 wrote:Read more closely before you respond, dom.
I suggest you do so, first.
Jac3510 wrote:Existence certainly is a predicate, but analytical philosophy, which is the dominant form today, tends to deny that. Kant is a joke, but that's because he comes directly out of the Cartesian disaster. Or, put differently, Descarte made a giant mess of things, and Kant tried to clean it up while keeping that fool's basic assumptions. So, I agree that Kant doesn't challenge the argument. But no one else does, and in order to get them to see that, you have to undo all of Kant. Now, that's perfectly doable, and the sooner it is done, the better. But why go through all that to defend a silly, unpersuasive argument, when there are much better ones to offer?
Kant comes out of "Descartes disaster"? Thats funny. Kant is responsible for Kant. Kant, attempted to take on the ontological argument by trying to talk about 100 coins. He made the SAME MISTAKE YOU DID. 100 coins is NOT ANALOGOUS to the ontological argument. Refuting Kant is so ridiculously simple, I feel terrible when I run someone over intellectually while they're gripping to their facade of ignorance for dear life. I can see the fear in their face. Its so cold, strain'd, and so ridiculous that it baffles me that they often do not desire to enter the intellectual discussion any further.
Jac3510 wrote:As to your proof, do I really need to take the time to deconstruct that contortion? There are no middle terms. There are a ridiculous number of assumptions built in. And you may as well stop after the fourth statement . . . 5-8 are completely superfluous. Look, yYou start by stating that there "is existence" (if that isn't a redundant phrase, I don't know what is) that would need pages of discussion to reach any agreement on. But let that pass, you assert that it is a perfection, and then argue that God is perfection. So all you have said is, "Existence exists; it's a perfection; God is perfection; so God exists." That's a really, really bad argument, dom.
You know, this entire discussion is like we're at the chocolate factory. So, to bring in comedy relief I went ahead and went with this.

Someone: Mr. domokunrox
Me: I am extraordinary busy, sir.
Someone: I just wanted to ask about the chocolate. The lifetime supply of chocolate for Jac. For his contribution to the discussion of the ontological argument of the philosophy section. When does he get it?
Me: He doesn't
Someone: Why not?
Me: Because he broke the rules of reality
Someone: What rules? We didn't see any rules did we, Jac?

Me: Wrong, sir. Wrong! Under section B of the contract signed by him it states quite clearly that all knowledge theories shall become null and void IF, and you can read it for yourself in this photostatic copy...
I, the undersigned, shall forfeit all rights, privileges, and licenses here and herein contained, etc etc......facts, mends, ascendem, glory, compliments, etc etc...memo bisp, pewter de la cottom! Its all there black and white, clear as crystal.
You drank Quazi-Monism philosophy fizzy lifting drinks! Instead of standing on foundational intuitive knowledge of existence and building your rational case for knowledge there. You decided instead to reject that the very basis of rational realism dualism philosophy where existence falls into 2 categories along with the intuitive necessary existence for the existence of the rest of reality. Spatial extension, Imperfect non-spatial mental substances, and the Perfection we know as God. Jac went into the ceiling of the topic which now needs to be washed and sterilized, so you get NOTHING! YOU LOSE! GOOD DAY, SIR!

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