• Pelle
    32

    God and Canada are both equally valid heuristics for moral guidance and community. People can get together and decide that they exist to make life easier and more comfortable. Different renditions of these heuristics and completely different ones can all compete with each other in the world of wisdom.
  • Matias
    42
    And you are ignoring the topic of this thread. The topic is not "how do we name objects?" (if - for the sake of argument - we'd call a piece of land an'object'), but "what is the ontological status of institutions?"
    I did not choose "Canada" as an example of an object but as an example of a set of institutions. My guess is that you keep harping on the topic "naming objects" because it is your pet subject and you have nothing to say about the topic I had in mind with my original post.
  • EnPassant
    139
    "what is the ontological status of institutions?"Matias

    An institution is an abstract concept made concrete, visible, by the people and objects that make it manifest. Communism is a concept. Capitalism is. They can be made manifest by imbuing them with energy.
  • Terrapin Station
    9.7k
    what is the ontological status of institutions?"Matias

    Your initial post was nothing about that.

    So you were wanting to talk about God as an "institution" as well?

    Why didn't you mention anything about this in the initial post in the thread? The subject line of the thread is "What is the difference between God and Canada," and you write, "Both cannot be seen or touched or smelled or detected with a microscope or any other instrument, but billions of people are firmly convinced that Canada exists. The same is true about God."

    In one common sense of "Canada," you certainly can see and touch and smell it.

    You sad nothing about only wanting to discuss the senses that you can't see or touch, etc. (and it would hardly be a revelation to say "I only want to discuss the senses that you can't see, touch, etc. . . . So, my first claim is that you can't see, touch, etc. Canada in those senses"), and you said nothing about wanting to discuss Canada or God as an "institution."
  • Matias
    42
    "In one common sense of "Canada," you certainly can see and touch and smell it."
    >> No, you cannot.
    People who claim to do so are deluded. What they can touch and smell are objects (trees, hills, rivers...) they believe (!) to be parts of Canada.

    It is the same with other institutions.
    Can you touch "POTUS" ? No, you can touch a person who is the POTUS at a given moment. Can you touch "US Dollar". No you can touch coins and bills that people believe to be US Dollars. Twenty years later, when cash will have disappeared, "US Dollar" will still "exist" but you can't touch it anymore.

    Therefore if people (atheists, to be precise) claim that the difference between God and Canada is that the former is purely fictitious whereas the latter is real and can be touched or smelled, they are erroneously reifying a concept, in this case an institution.

    That is the difference between "salt" and "Canada": if all human beings disappeared tomorrow, sodium chloride would still exist (although nobody would be left to call it "salt". But "Canada" would vanish with the human race, because "Canada" is an invention of human brains.
  • Terrapin Station
    9.7k
    People who claim to do so are deluded.Matias

    Right. So when we use "Canada" to refer to a particular area of land, your answer is that we're simply deluded? That's what I've been trying to ask you, but you don't seem to want to answer that.
  • Matias
    42
    Now that we have settled that and that you have seemed to understand that this thread is about (social) institutions and not names given to objects, be they salt or a piece of land or any other object of the world 'out there' that does not on human minds for its existence...., is there anything pertinent you'd like to contribute? , something that refers to "Canada as a set of institutions"?
    Or is this one of your favorite pastimes: playing silly games with newbies, to scare them away?
  • Matias
    42
    Canada is the type of thing that can exist by virtue of it being agreed to exist. As can 'marriage', 'the office of the president' etc. It's ontological status is that of a social fact. God is posited as having an existence independent of both society and human beings. 'His' ontological status is therefore more fundamental, metaphysically. So, the question is misframed. A God that exists only by virtue of agreement (as a social fact) is not a God at all (is in fact only the atheist conception of God), but a Canada that exists only by virtue of agreement is fully the Canada we know.Baden

    You are correct: my post was written from the perspective of an atheist. I take it to be self-evident that the theistic deity, whatever its name may be, is a socially constructed fiction. Well... even if I were a Christian, I'd say that my (!) God is the fundamental reality, whereas Zeus and Ganesha and Ishtar ... are just figments of imagination, or collective imagination , to be precise.

    I am busy on atheist forums like agnostic.com or Reddit/atheism and whenever I mention that all those institutional facts that we use and take for granted every day (our country, the US Dollar or Euro, laws etc....) are fictitious as well, as fictitious as "god", I often get angry replies like "Are you kidding??, I know that Canada exists because I am a Canadian so I should know, and the Dollar exists also, I can touch it" , and so on.

    Therefore I am sure that a lot of people are quite confused about the ontological status of these all too familiar institutions that are part of our daily lives.
  • Terrapin Station
    9.7k


    So are you using "God" as a metonym for religion, "the church," etc. ? You're not referring to a supposed entity?
  • Baden
    7.9k
    Therefore I am sure that a lot of people are quite confused about the ontological status of these all too familiar institutions that are part of our daily lives.Matias

    You're definitely right about that.
  • Wittgenstein
    64

    If you exist then your existence is both qualitative and quantitative. If He's this, He's not that. He's here and not there, for examples. And there is a long list of binary considerations that whichever applies the other doesn't.

    When we say God exists, we say he exists unlike all the possible existence and the " long list of binary consideration ".
    You can argue that we don't understand how he exists and that the sentence " God exists " cannot be understood and it is an emotional conviction which amplifies into a belief.
    But in my opinion, we cannot understand God through reason but through another medium which can be experienced second hand but cannot be expressed in logical terms.
  • Maw
    1.4k
    God never won the Stanley Cup
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