• charleton
    1.2k
    I'm surprised you think criticisms of ontological arguments in general are bollocks. You actually read me as someone who believed they could summon a God into actuality through an operation of thought.fdrake

    You are dreaming.
    I stated exactly what I stated. No more no less. All the accretion is your invention.
    Belief does not make things real. Imagination does not make things real.
    Since the essence of this particular argument lives or dies with these falsehoods, the argument dies.
  • fdrake
    1.1k


    Belief does not make things real. Imagination does not make things real.

    Aaaaaaand you interpreted me as disagreeing with this? Or worthy of scorn because I put more effort and nuance in defending the position, or a position close to, the one you're advocating?
  • fdrake
    1.1k


    The only explanation I can see for your behaviour is that you think an appropriate response to the ontological argument is immediate dismissal through ridicule with the purpose of derailing the thread into a flame war.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Yeah, and the premise is nonsense, or at least worded in a purposely misleading way.StreetlightX
    You think reputable philosophers like Alvin Plantinga would "purposefully" word an argument in a misleading way?

    Regardless of that, I don't think the argument is misleading. That a cake exists in the understanding does not tell me whether or not it (being finite) also exists in reality. So, by all means, the cake existing in the understanding doesn't tell me that the cake doesn't exist in reality. It could also exist in reality.

    As for the hand waving distinction between 'finite and 'infinite beings', that's just what you're trying to proveStreetlightX
    No, we're not. This is something that is involved in understanding the concept of God, so that we can say that such a concept is present in the understanding.

    But the premise is that we can imagine something greater.Michael
    The only place where I see the word "imagine" is in your post, not in the argument. The argument merely says that something that doesn't only exist as a concept, and also exists in reality, is greater than something that only exists as a concept.

    So we have two different concepts: G1 and G2.Michael
    Sure.

    How do these concepts differ such that G2 is greater than G1?Michael
    They don't (at least not existentially)! It's not in differing qua concepts that G2 is greater than G1. Plantinga doesn't claim they differ either, in fact:

    plantinga.png
  • Michael
    7.1k
    The only place where I see the word "imagine" is in your post, not in the argument. The argument merely says that something that doesn't only exist as a concept, and also exists in reality, is greater than something that only exists as a concept.Agustino

    Here:

    (5) From (3) and (4), a Being greater than God can be conceived.

    This is the problematic part. It's wrong. God is imagined/conceived to exist in reality. So how can we imagine/conceive of something greater?

    That God is presupposed to not exist isn't that he's conceived of as not existing. The argument conflates.
  • Michael
    7.1k
    What do I conceive of when I conceive of God? What do I conceive of when I conceive of this "greater" Being? If there isn't a difference then I don't conceive of something greater than God, and so the premise is false.

    The argument wants to say that when I conceive of this "greater" Being I conceive of something that exists in reality and when I conceive of God I conceive of something that exists in understanding alone. But this is wrong. When I conceive of God I conceive of something that exists in reality. It's just that, as a matter of fact, it doesn't exist in reality (as per the presupposition).
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    I will come back to this later, but you really should read that paper, it addresses your concern.

    http://www.andrewmbailey.com/ap/Kants_Objection.pdf
  • Michael
    7.1k
    I will come back to this later, but you really should read that paper, it addresses your concern.Agustino

    I don't think it does. My concern isn't with existence being or not being a predicate. My concern is with the claim that we can conceive of something greater than God if God doesn't exist (as explained here). It conflates "God doesn't exist" with "God is conceived of as not existing".
  • Maw
    917
    As has been pointed out, the Ontological argument is a sophistic display of thaumaturgical witchery, whereby mere words and definitions are able to conjure concepts into existence. As Cioran writes, "God Himself lives only by the adjectives we add to him."
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    As has been pointed out, the Ontological argument is a sophistic display of thaumaturgical witchery, whereby mere words and definitions are able to conjure concepts into existence. As Cioran writes, "God Himself lives only by the adjectives we add to him."Maw
    Merely repeating something does not make it true.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    My concern isn't with existence being or not being a predicate.Michael
    I know, but that article also addresses your concern.

    My concern is with the claim that we can conceive of something greater than God if God doesn't exist (as explained here).Michael
    What do I conceive of when I conceive of God? What do I conceive of when I conceive of this "greater" Being? If there isn't a difference then I don't conceive of something greater than God, and so the premise is false.Michael
    Call X the whole concept of God, including all possible predicates. Now subtract existence from X and call this X-e. The two concepts are existentially equivalent.

    The concept of a pizza in the mind is the same as the concept found in an existing pizza (ideally). That doesn't mean that the predicate of existence does not make a difference though. Clearly the pizza in your mind is different than the pizza in reality, even though their concept is existentially the same.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Also, if for nothing else, you should also read that article because the ontological argument has played an essential role in philosophy historically. The history of the ontological argument is almost the history of Western philosophy!
  • Michael
    7.1k
    Call X the whole concept of God, including all possible predicates. Now subtract existence from X and call this X-e. The two concepts are existentially equivalent.

    The concept of a pizza in the mind is the same as the concept found in an existing pizza (ideally). That doesn't mean that the predicate of existence does not make a difference though. Clearly the pizza in your mind is different than the pizza in reality, even though their concept is existentially the same.
    Agustino

    I'm not saying that there isn't a difference between a real X and an imaginary X. I'm saying that if we imagine God to be real then we can't imagine something greater than God, even if God isn't real.

    When we imagine God, we imagine X, not X-e. The ontological argument implies that we imagine X-e, and so can imagine something greater, which is false.
  • StreetlightX
    2.7k
    You think reputable philosophers like Alvin Plantinga would "purposefully" word an argument in a misleading way?Agustino

    That Alvin Plantinga is in any way reputable is an indictment on the intelligence of our species.

    Regardless of that, I don't think the argument is misleading. That a cake exists in the understanding does not tell me whether or not it (being finite) also exists in realityAgustino

    I've given reasons why the formulation is grammatically suspect, reasons which you've not addressed. Brute insistence does not a discussion make.

    No, we're not. This is something that is involved in understanding the concept of God, so that we can say that such a concept is present in the understanding.Agustino

    It also has nothing to do with the syllogism at hand, so has zero import on the argument. I will ignore any argument by you that invokes this pseudo-distinction.
  • charleton
    1.2k
    The only explanation I can see for your behaviour is that you think an appropriate response to the ontological argument is immediate dismissal through ridicule with the purpose of derailing the thread into a flame war.fdrake

    No, that would be your intention.
    You seem to see everything as a confrontation.
  • charleton
    1.2k
    You think reputable philosophers like Alvin Plantinga would "purposefully" word an argument in a misleading way?Agustino

    Platinga is not reputable in anyway.
    He's a total nut case.
  • charleton
    1.2k
    The concept of a pizza in the mind is the same as the concept found in an existing pizza (ideally). That doesn't mean that the predicate of existence does not make a difference though. Clearly the pizza in your mind is different than the pizza in reality, even though their concept is existentially the same.Agustino

    But we know Pizzas exist, so your analogy is faulty.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    I'm saying that if we imagine God to be real then we can't imagine something greater than GodMichael
    This part is okay, without the ending.

    When we imagine God, we imagine X, not X-e. The ontological argument implies that we imagine X-e, and so can imagine something greater, which is false.Michael
    No, it's not false starting from the assumption of the ontological argument. You keep claiming that we imagine X and not X-e, but that's not what the argument claims.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    That Alvin Plantinga is in any way reputable is an indictment on the intelligence of our species.StreetlightX

    Platinga is not reputable in anyway.
    He's a total nut case.
    charleton
    These statements say more about you than about Plantinga. It's okay to disagree with someone, but I don't see why you insult his intelligence. He is a reputable, published scholar, a professional philosopher with a PhD from Yale, who also studied at Harvard and other prestigious institutions. On the other hand, I'm not sure where the two of you learned philosophy.

    Brute insistence does not a discussion make.StreetlightX
    Sure, but I didn't insist. I merely quoted you saying that:
    That a cake 'exists in the understanding' means precisely that the cake doesn't exist, or rather, what exists is the 'understanding' of a cake.StreetlightX
    And then explained that the existence of a cake in the understanding does not "mean precisely that the cake doesn't exist", because it could very well exist.

    I've given reasons why the formulation is grammatically suspect, reasons which you've not addressed.StreetlightX
    Your so-called "reasons" mask presuppositions that you have not bothered to make transparent.
    the understanding of the cake, and not the cake, is the subject of the sentence.StreetlightX
    For example, as if there was no connection between "the understanding of the cake" and "the cake". "The understanding of the cake", for example, exists in the cake. That is why experiencing the cake can help me form the concept of the cake in my understanding. You are adopting what looks like a form of nominalism, that entirely divorces the two, such that saying something about the one has no bearing on the other.

    Brute insistence does not a discussion make.StreetlightX
    Sure, of course it doesn't. Neither does calling something a sophism repeatedly, saying that even a 10 year old could understand it, deriding people who hold those views, etc. make a discussion. That might be a monologue though, which helps you feel that you're right and your opponents have nothing useful to say. It kind of betrays the purpose though - if you're so confident, there's no need to deride the opposition.

    It also has nothing to do with the syllogism at hand, so has zero import on the argument. I will ignore any argument by you that invokes this pseudo-distinction.StreetlightX
    At first, you said it has everything to do with the syllogism:
    As for the hand waving distinction between 'finite and 'infinite beings', that's just what you're trying to proveStreetlightX
    Now it seems you have suddenly changed gears, now it has absolutely nothing to do with the argument. So it seems to me that you're quite confused. What I said is important, because having an idea of God in the understanding is one requirement for the argument. And part of having an idea of God in the understanding involves understanding the difference between finite beings, and the infinite Being. This was part of the Hegelian criticism of Anselm, that Anselm never actually clarified the concept of God.
  • Michael
    7.1k
    You keep claiming that we imagine X and not X-e, but that's not what the argument claims.Agustino

    I know that's not what the argument claims. That's the problem. The argument is wrong. We imagine God to be real, even if he isn't.

    No, it's not false starting from the assumption of the ontological argument.

    The assumption is "God doesn't exist in reality". But that's not the same thing as "God is imagined to not exist in reality". The argument conflates, which is why the argument fails. To repeat what I said earlier:

    God is defined as a being than which none greater can be imagined. If a being that is imagined to exist in reality is greater than a being that is imagined to exist in understanding alone then the first premise of the argument is:

    1) [A being that is imagined to exist in reality ... ] exists in the understanding, but not in reality.

    We can't imagine something greater than [A being that is imagined to exist in reality ... ]. 5) is false, and so the argument fails.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    I know that's not what the argument claims. That's the problem. The argument is wrong. We imagine God to be real, even if he isn't.Michael
    No we don't. We just become aware that God existing in reality is greater than God (existing only in the understanding). That's not the same as imagining a non-existent thing as existing.

    The assumption is "God doesn't exist".Michael
    No, that's not the assumption. The assumption is that God exists in the understanding (not in reality).

    5) implies that the bit in brackets is X-e, which is wrong.Michael
    No, it's not wrong - it actually is X-e in (1).

    1) [A being that is imagined to exist in reality ... ] exists in the understanding, but not in reality.Michael
    No.

    (1) God exists in the understanding, but not in reality.

    Or

    (1) A being than which none greater can be imagined exists in the understanding, but not in reality.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    And I actually agree that we cannot carry out the argument, but not because the argument is faulty, but rather because of our finitude. As radically finite beings, we cannot form the idea of God in our understanding. So we cannot have the idea of God in the understanding that is presupposed in order to carry out the argument. Nevertheless, the argument does an excellent job at displaying our finitude, and providing us with something to attach our faith to - our hope for something unseen, that our minds are incapable of grasping.
  • Michael
    7.1k
    (1) A being than which none greater can be imagined exists in the understanding, but not in reality.Agustino

    And what properties do we imagine a being than which none greater can be imagined to have? Is "existence in reality" one such property? Then we're imagining X, not X-e.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    And what properties do we imagine a being than which none greater can be imagined to have? Is "existence in reality" one such property? Then we're imagining X, not X-e.Michael
    Yes, that comes later in the argument, where we see that if God is the being than which none greater can be imagined, then existence must also be one such property, CONTRARY to (1), which is an assumption that is later rejected in the conclusion.
  • Michael
    7.1k
    Yes, that comes later in the argument, where we see that if God is the being than which none greater can be imagined, then existence must also be one such property, CONTRARY to (1), which is an assumption that is later rejected in the conclusion.Agustino

    Then it is what I crossed-out earlier:

    The argument only shows that a being who is imagined to be real and have God's properties is greater than a being who is imagined to be imaginary and have God's properties. But there's no way to deduce from this that there is a being who is real and has God's properties.
  • StreetlightX
    2.7k
    At first, you said it has everything to do with the syllogismAgustino

    If you can read 'hand waving' as 'everything to do with', then I suggest you brush up on your comprehension skills.

    For example, as if there was no connection between "the understanding of the cake" and "the cake".Agustino

    Irrelavant. What exists is the understanding of God, not 'God in the understanding', with is just an ungrammatical obfuscatory piece of sophistry.
  • charleton
    1.2k
    It's okay to disagree with someone, but I don't see why you insult his intelligence.Agustino

    LOL
    He does that for himself.
  • The Curiorist
    6
    God is not the greatest conceivable being- many philosophers have argued this, many will do so in the future.
  • Abdul
    34
    I don't think this proves that God exists. All that it does is give the definition of what traits or properties God must possess.

    And please use more accurate words. "Better"? What does that mean?
  • charleton
    1.2k
    God is not the greatest conceivable being- many philosophers have argued this, many will do so in the future.The Curiorist

    Since we don't know what god is and the whole point of the exercise is to define god AS "the greatest conceivable being", your statement is empty.
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