• Philosopher19
    139
    The shape my four year old drew without a ruler, is imperfect as a triangle. Some would argue it's not even a triangle at all. Resembling a perfect triangle (being an imperfect triangle) and being a true triangle (a perfect triangle) are two different truths.

    A) Whatever's perfectly x, is indubitably x (an imperfect triangle's triangularity can either be rejected or doubted. A perfect triangle's cannot).

    B) Whatever's perfectly existing, is indubitably existing (just as whatever's perfectly triangular, is indubitably triangular).

    We know what it is for x to be perfectly triangular. What is it for x to be perfectly existing? To be, is to exist (to be an imaginary human, dream, or "real" human, is to exist as an imaginary human, dream, or "real" human. Denying this would be both logically and semantically inconsistent). Thus, to be imperfect, is to exist as an imperfect being/existent. An imperfect triangle exists imperfectly as a triangle and as an existent (better triangles and existents than it can be conceived of).

    Nothing is better than a perfect triangle when triangularity is the reference or standard. When goodness is the standard, nothing is better than the real God or a really perfect existence. I do not want a pretend/imaginary god on my side because he cannot sustain a really perfect existence for me to exist in. Real good/benefit is better than pretend good/benefit, and pretend evil/harm is better than real evil/harm, unless of course one wants Hell (it takes absurdity/irrationality/insanity/evil to want this). When existing is the standard, nothing is better than God. It is better to be the real God than to exist as just an illusion/image of God (the real God is better than all humans or image/imaginary/pretend gods). We are meaningfully/semantically aware that something perfectly/indubitably exists, semantics dictate that this is the real/true God (of which there can only be one. You cannot have two really/truly omnipotent beings).

    Just as we cannot reject three-sidedness as being a semantical component of triangle, we cannot reject existence and realness as being semantical components of God. It is contradictory/irrational to have contradictory (semantically-inconsistent) beliefs.

    For more on the above: http://philosophyneedsgods.com/2021/05/03/the-image-of-god-the-true-cogito/
  • SimpleUser
    33
    How can we prove that a triangle drawn by such a creature is ideal? Apparently, we ourselves must be perfect in order to appreciate this. After all, an evaluating instrument is always more accurate than what it evaluates. And if we have estimated and considered that the triangle is perfect, then we ourselves are God.
  • Apollodorus
    1.3k
    And if we have estimated and considered that the triangle is perfect, then we ourselves are God.SimpleUser

    Maybe we are God on a higher level, as some monistic traditions claim. And as implied in the OP title.
  • SimpleUser
    33
    The student cannot rate the professor. And if he can, then he himself is a professor.
    We must be more perfect than the god we think / feel.
  • tim wood
    7k
    Your argument like a hot-dog. Yummy, especially with mustard, ketchup, and relish, and with luck, chili. But of very little nutritional value and bad for you if too much or too many consumed. The trouble is you take it as given without concern for what's inside, what it's made of, its ingredients.

    For argument as structure, it's not enough to look at outer form, there is also the structural integrity of the beams that hold it up and in place. If the argument is insubstantial, not too much of a problem. But if weighty and subject to test, then it matters.

    Taking yours apart is tedious and has been done, especially with Anselm, whose argument yours follows. The way to do it is to look at each of your claims and ask what supports each. And what supports each is presupposition. Thus each is supported by an unexplicated hypothetical argument which simply says that if X is true, then Y follows. You accept the X. But in fact the X is not demonstrated and is in question.

    That is, your "proof" is an exercise in preaching to the choir. At best it gives those who already believe, or buy, the argument, a nice circular runaround. But to those not in the choir, it is no proof at all.
  • Bartricks
    3.3k
    Though I believe God exists and that his existence can be demonstrated, there's an air of sophistry about this sort of ontological argument.

    I think what we have here is the conflation of two distinct ideas that overlap. The idea of God is the idea of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being. Such a being will be perfect. But it does not follow that a perfect being is omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent. So, God is perfect, but there can be perfect beings who do not qualify as God. If that is correct, then the idea of God as an omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent being is not equivalent to the idea of a perfect being. The category of perfect being is larger than the category of omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being.

    This is important, it seems to me, in undermining your argument (though perhaps not decisively). For what your case seems to depend on, is the idea that existence is a perfection. But even if that is true - and I am not sure it is - that would not show that God exists, rather all it would show is that one way to be perfect includes existing.

    If instead we focus on the idea of God - not the more expansive category of perfect being - there seems nothing in the concept of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being that essentially involves existence. Someone who wonders if that idea of God has anything answering to it in reality is not confused, even if careful reasoning will reveal that a definitive 'yes' answer can be given to it. And so there seems nothing in the bare idea of God that forces one to acknowledge his existence. Or so it seems to me.

    Indeed, it seems to me that reflection on the idea of God reveals that if God exists, God exists contingently and not of necessity. For the idea of God is the idea of a person who can do anything. And a person who can do anything can destroy themselves. Thus such a person does not exist of necessity, but contingently. That is, if they exist, it is possible for them not to. Doesn't that show that the idea of existing is not contained in the idea of God? For if it were, then we would have a contradictory idea on our hands, for it would be the idea of a being who both must exist, and does not have to exist.
  • Bartricks
    3.3k
    In case one wonders how it can be that there can be more than one way to be perfect, consider that an omnipotent being can do anything. And so that must include being able to bestow perfection on anything. That is, God can make anything perfect if he so wills it. And God is not constrained to consider himself and himself alone perfect, for God is not in any way constrained (he would not be omnipotent if he were). Thus, if an omnipotent being exists, there are as many ways to be perfect as the omnipotent being allows. And as such even though the omnipotent being would itself be perfect - or so we can reasonably conclude, given that it stands to reason that an omnipotent being would consider itself perfect and thus be so - we cannot conclude from its possession of this property that it exists, for nothing in the idea of perfection entails existence. If it did, then the omnipotent being would be constrained to exist, and in that case the omnipotent being would not be omnipotent. And furthermore, the omnipotent being would be constrained to consider perfect only those things that exist, which once more is incompatible with being omnipotent.
  • Amalac
    309


    The most effective refutation of such kinds of ontological arguments that I know of is the one invented by Kant: existence is not a predicate, or if you prefer Frege: existence is a second order predicate.

    If that is true, then it makes no sense to think of existence as a “quality which is better to have”:

    Suppose I express my idea of ​​a blue apple by painting a picture of five blue apples. I point my finger at it and say, "This represents five blue apples." If later I discover that blue apples really exist, I can still point to the same picture and say, "This represents five real blue apples." And if I can't discover the existence of the blue apples, I can point to the painting and say, "This represents five imaginary blue apples." In all three cases the picture is the same. The concept of five real apples does not contain one more apple than the concept of five possible apples. The idea of ​​a unicorn will not get more horns just because unicorns exist in reality. In Kant's terminology, one does not add any new properties to a concept by expressing the belief that the concept corresponds to a real object external to one's mind. — Martin Gardner

    Here is a (short) explanation of Frege's criticism
  • Amalac
    309
    There is also the devil corollary:

    The devil corollary proposes that a being than which nothing worse can be conceived exists in the understanding (sometimes the term lesser is used in place of worse). Using Anselm's logical form, the parody argues that if it exists in the understanding, a worse being would be one that exists in reality; thus, such a being exists. — Wikipedia
  • god must be atheist
    3.2k
    B) Whatever's perfectly existing, is indubitably existingPhilosopher19

    This can be reduced to "Whatever is existing is indubitably existing" and therefore it has no informative value as it is a tautology. (The "Whatever" can be perfect, imperfect, green, married or statuesque, it is existing. Its quality has no bearing on the fact that it exits, once it has been established that it exists.)
  • Bartricks
    3.3k
    Those who seek to dismiss ontological argumetns for God by dismissing all ontological arguments are on a hiding to nothing.

    Take the cogito. That's an ontological argument. Not for God, but for you. From the idea of your self you can conclude that you exist. The idea of my self could not exist absent me, thus if I have the idea of my self, I exist.

    Anyone who seeks to dismiss all ontological arguments is, then, misguided from the get go. For some of them - such as that one - clearly work. I really can conclude that I exist from my possession of the idea of my self.

    Obviously there are lots of ideas for which this does not work. THe idea of an apple, for instance. Nothing in the idea of an apple seems to entail that the apple exists. And if we make the idea more complex, such as the idea of an existent apple, then though one cannot entertain that idea without taking the apple to exist - for it is the idea of an existent apple - nevertheless the idea of existence can be separated from the idea of the apple.

    The question, then, is whether idea of God - that is, the idea of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being - is more akin to the idea of the self, or more akin to the idea of an apple.
  • tim wood
    7k
    From the idea of your self you can conclude that you exist.Bartricks
    Not quite. What you get is a thinking being exists. That thinking being only becomes Bartricks when Descartes argues that God would not deceive. And from that, therefore, you can recover Barticks so long as you were quite sure you were Bartricks. That is, not just from the "I think therefore I am."
  • Bartricks
    3.3k
    Not quite. What you get is a thinking being exists.tim wood

    No, the thought of my self - so, the idea of my self - is an idea that cannot be entertained absent the existence of the self in question. And thus it is an idea that, if you have it, you can know has something answering to it. Thus you can know that you exist. Not jsut someone. You.

    Descartes' point - later on - is that the idea of God is like this too. So the cogito is an ontological argument par excellence and sets the stage for the divine ontological argument that follows.
  • Bartricks
    3.3k
    The devil's corollary does not work for two reasons. First, if it works it does not show that the ontological argument for God does not work, it just establishes the devil's existence as well. Second, it does not work, for to make the being maximally bad one would have to suppose it omnipotent and omniscient. But an omnipotent and omniscient being will also be omnibenevolent, and thus in trying to conceive of a maximally bad being one will end up with its opposite: God.
  • Amalac
    309


    First, if it works it does not show that the ontological argument for God does not work, it just establishes the devil's existence as well.Bartricks

    No, the point is that it's challenging the idea that it is better to exist than not to exist, since we naturally think that such a devil would be worse if it existed.

    It is complemented also by the “no devil corollary” and the “extreme no devil corollary”:

    The no devil corollary is similar, but argues that a worse being would be one that does not exist in reality, so does not exist. The extreme no devil corollary advances on this, proposing that a worse being would be that which does not exist in the understanding, so such a being exists neither in reality nor in the understanding. Timothy Chambers argued that the devil corollary is more powerful than Gaunilo's challenge because it withstands the challenges that may defeat Gaunilo's parody. He also claimed that the no devil corollary is a strong challenge, as it "underwrites" the no devil corollary, which "threatens Anselm's argument at its very foundations".
    — Wikipedia
    But an omnipotent and omniscient being will also be omnibenevolentBartricks

    How do you know that? Can you prove this claim?
  • Bartricks
    3.3k
    No, the point is that it's challenging the idea that it is better to exist than not to exist, since we naturally think that such a devil would be worse if it existed.Amalac

    If it works, then a maximally bad being would exist. That's what it would establish. And so it wouldn't challenge the idea that a maximally good being exists. Existence makes a good thing better, and a worse thing worse.

    But an omnipotent and omniscient being will also be omnibenevolent
    — Bartricks

    How do you know that? Can you prove this claim?
    Amalac

    I know it because I can prove it (in the 'beyond a reasonable doubt' sense of that term). There is only one way in which a being can be omnipotent: the being in question must be the arbiter of the norms of Reason, for otherwise they will be constrained by them, and only a being unconstrained by such norms can do anything and everything. Thus an omnipotent being will be the author of the norms of Reason - she will be Reason, that is - and as such she will also be the arbiter of good and bad, for what it is for something to be good is for it to be approved of by Reason, and what it is for something to be bad is for it to be disapproved of by Reason. Thus, an omnibenevolent being is a being who is fully approved of by Reason. Reason will fully approve of herself, for she is omnipotent and so if there was any aspect of her she disapproved of, she could change it. Thus it is beyond a reasonable doubt that an omnipotent being will also be omnibenevolent.
  • tim wood
    7k
    Read your Descartes
  • Bartricks
    3.3k
    Er, I have. As should be blindingly obvious to anyone else who has. So, just to be clear Timbo, you think the cogito is irrelevant to his later divine ontological argument do you? Is that what you think?
  • Banno
    12.7k
    Well said. There's an odd sort of self-deception needed to accept such arguments.
  • Philosopher19
    139


    This is neither Descartes' or Anselm's ontological argument. Their instincts and intentions may have been right, but their execution not through enough.

    I think the argument presented in the OP is solid and clear. Its rejection leads to inconsistencies in semantics. Plus, the link adds more detail to this if you are at all interest in a truly perfect existence.

    If you say exactly which specific part you disagree with, I believe I will show you that your disagreement will lead to a contradiction in semantics.
  • Philosopher19
    139


    If one is sincere to the semantics that they are aware of, then they are not insincere to the truth. We are aware of the semantic of triangle. We are obliged to acknowledge that three-sidedness is a semantical component of the semantic of triangle. Similarly, we are obliged to acknowledge that reality and existence are semantical components of God, or a truly perfect existence.

    We can compare how good something is in terms of triangularity by comparing it to a perfect triangle.
    We can compare how good something is in terms of goodness by comparing it to God. Why else do you think semantics are such that true perfection = a truly perfect existence or God? Can you deny this? Can you say there are better things than a truly perfect existence or God? You cannot, just as you cannot deny the three-sidedness of a triangle.

    These are the dictates of pure reason and semantics. We do not create semantics, we access them. It is nature of that which truly/perfectly exists (God) that allows us access to an infinite number of semantics.
  • Philosopher19
    139
    Well said. There's an odd sort of self-deception needed to accept such arguments.Banno

    One just has to be sincere to the semantics that they are aware of without bias and prejudice.

    If you think there is/exists something better than God or a truly perfect existence, then you should serve, commit or worship that. But you will not find such a thing.

    You can doubt yourselves (check Descartes' cogito's flaws), but you cannot doubt that which perfectly exists. Semantics/reason dictate that this is God (or a truly perfect existence. God and a truly perfect existence amount to the same thing).
  • Philosopher19
    139
    There is also the devil corollary:Amalac

    We know what it is to be perfectly triangular. I then asked "what is it to perfectly exist?" and the answer is clear:

    Real good/benefit is better than pretend good/benefit, and pretend evil/harm is better than real evil/harm, unless of course one wants Hell (it takes absurdity/irrationality/insanity/evil to want this). When existing is the standard, nothing is better than God. It is better to be the real God than to exist as just an illusion/image of God (the real God is better than all humans or image/imaginary/pretend gods). We are meaningfully/semantically aware that something perfectly/indubitably exists, semantics dictate that this is the real/true God

    The only people who think being evil is perfection, are those who are absurd/evil/contradictory/inconsistent/incoherent. Only an idiot/fool would want to be pig-like as opposed to god-like. And only an idiot would favour an imperfect existence over a truly perfect existence.
  • Philosopher19
    139


    Only one thing is truly existing. The link has more info on the OP if you are interested.
  • Philosopher19
    139
    But it does not follow that a perfect being is omnipotent, omniscientBartricks

    If x is not omnipotent and omnipresent, then x is not a perfect being (or perfectly existing), because better being/existents than it can be conceived of.

    Either you recognise this semantically, or don't. If you don't recognise it, then I cannot convince you. But I don't understand how you can say x is truly perfect despite x lacking absolute freedom (omnipotence).
  • Amalac
    309


    It is better to be the real God than to exist as just an illusion/image of God (the real God is better than all humans or image/imaginary/pretend gods). We are meaningfully/semantically aware that something perfectly/indubitably existsPhilosopher19

    That’s quite the jump there, if you are trying to argue that God’s existence is analytic, that could only happen if God was a being whose essence involves his existence, his essence being all the predicates that could be truly asserted of him, these being God’s perfections (otherwise if I take your argument literally I can just say: it would be better for God to exist, but unfortunately not all great things are the case in this world).

    This sort of argument fails if existence is not a predicate, for in that case “existence” cannot be predicated of God, therefore it can’t be part of God’s essence and the argument is invalid.

    See my other post you ignored here:

    The most effective refutation of such kinds of ontological arguments that I know of is the one invented by Kant: existence is not a predicate, or if you prefer Frege: existence is a second order predicate.

    If that is true, then it makes no sense to think of existence as a “quality which is better to have”:

    Suppose I express my idea of ​​a blue apple by painting a picture of five blue apples. I point my finger at it and say, "This represents five blue apples." If later I discover that blue apples really exist, I can still point to the same picture and say, "This represents five real blue apples." And if I can't discover the existence of the blue apples, I can point to the painting and say, "This represents five imaginary blue apples." In all three cases the picture is the same. The concept of five real apples does not contain one more apple than the concept of five possible apples. The idea of ​​a unicorn will not get more horns just because unicorns exist in reality. In Kant's terminology, one does not add any new properties to a concept by expressing the belief that the concept corresponds to a real object external to one's mind.
    — Martin Gardner

    Here is a (short) explanation of Frege's criticism
    Amalac
  • Philosopher19
    139


    I'm well aware of Kant and Descartes. But my argument is different. You are not addressing my argument directly. Quote something directly from the OP and show a problem with it if you are able.

    1) Do you think it's better to be in a truly perfect existence or not?
    2) Do you think it's better to be God or not?

    You cannot say no to 1 and 2 without contradicting or being insincere to the semantics that you are aware of.

    "existence is not a predicate" is not a refutation of what I have presented. When I say to you what perfectly exists or what is perfectly triangular? You can answer both. A perfect triangle regarding the latter, and a perfect being/existent regarding the former. To reject the latter or the former, is to contradict the semantics that you are aware of.

    Descartes seemed to want to reject pantheism. So he did not equate God with Existence. And given the confusion of western philosophers with regards to the semantic of being and existence, they did not provide a complete ontological argument.
  • Philosopher19
    139
    See my other post you ignored here:Amalac

    The reason you can tell that x is better than y in terms of triangularity, is because x is greater in resembling perfect triangularity (or a perfect triangle).

    The reason you can tell that x is better than y in being/existing, is because x is greater in resembling a perfect being.

    It’s not random or magic that you can tell which is a better triangle
    It’s not random or magic that you can tell which is a better being.
    Good and evil is not a matter of randomness or magic. Evil is that which is insincere to truth, goodness, and God.

    Any given theory or belief or statement that is contradictory (semantically-inconsistent), is contradictory or false by definition/semantics. It’s just the way existence is. Anyone who believes in that which is contradictory is absurd/contradictory/unreasonable/evil.

    I strongly recommend the link in the OP. I believe it makes this matter (the difference between the true cogito and Descartes') more clearer.
  • Banno
    12.7k
    If you think there is/exists something better than God or a truly perfect existence,Philosopher19
    Well, no, I don't believe there exists something better than god, nor there exists a god, for that matter.
    Just as we cannot reject three-sidedness as being a semantical component of triangle, we cannot reject existence and realness as being semantical components of GodPhilosopher19

    It's the treating existence as a predicate that gets me; saying something exists is not like saying it has three sides. That's why existential quantifiers are not first-order predicates.

    One just has to be sincere to the semantics that they are aware of without bias and prejudice...Philosopher19

    ...or logic, it appears.
  • Amalac
    309
    Do you think it's better to be in a truly perfect existence or not?
    Do you think it's better to be God or not?
    Philosopher19

    Obviously yes, but I don't see how you go from that to «therefore God exists», since you say your argument is not like Anselm’s, or Descartes’s, or Leibniz’s...

    B) Whatever's perfectly existing, is indubitably existing (just as whatever's perfectly triangular, is indubitably triangular).Philosopher19

    What do you mean by “perfectly existing”? I understand how a shape could be perfectly triangular (in our minds), but not how something could be “perfectly existing”. Either a thing exists outside the mind or it does not. If God did exist, then he would not exist more “perfectly” than I would (since all that means is that God exists both as an idea in the mind and also outside the mind, just like I). It is not comparable to triangularity because there are no degrees of existence outside the mind as there are degrees of a shape approaching an ideal triangle.

    You could say God would have a more perfect existence than I in the sense that he would be better than me, but then you are no longer talking about a quality of “existence” in the same sense in which you were talking about a quality of “triangularity” which doesn't involve a perfect triangle being better (morally) than an imperfect one, you are just equivocating the meaning of “perfection”, it seems to me, and so your analogy breaks down.
  • Philosopher19
    139
    It's the treating existence as a predicate that gets me; saying something exists is not like saying it has three sides. That's why existential quantifiers are not first-order predicates.Banno

    Triangularity and existence/being/existing are both meaningful, and I believe I have been sincere to those semantics.

    If I asked you what's perfectly triangular, an objective answer can be given.

    If I asked you what's perfectly existing/being, again an objective answer can be given.

    1) Do you acknowledge that it's contradictory to say x exists perfectly when x is not God (or a truly/really perfect existence, or at least existing in a truly perfect existence)?

    2) Do you acknowledge that whatever's perfectly x, is indubitably x? Thus, whatever's perfectly existing, is indubitably existing?

    Again, Descartes' cogito showed that we cannot be sure of our own being/existence. Yet we cannot deny being/existence. I think the OP and the link provided sheds light on this issue.
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