Ontological Arguments For of Gods Existence

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Cinlef

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Ontological Arguments For of Gods Existence
« on: June 14, 2006, 07:22:26 AM »
ASll these disscussions on religion got me thinking. I noticed the forum has oddly enought ignored ontological arguments for the existence of God.
There are really two main ones St. Anselms'  and Rene Descartes.
St Anselms is as follows
    ... we believe that thou art a being than which nothing greater can be conceived.

This is Anselm's definition. We might paraphrase it as follows:

    By "God" we mean an absolutely unsurpassable being, a being that cannot conceivably be improved upon.

As we've stressed, you do not need to agree that this is what the word "God" ordinarily means. Treat it as a stipulation. Clearly, if Anselm can establish the existence of a being of this sort, his conclusion would be of immense philosophical and theological significance.

    Or is there no such nature, since the Fool has said in his heart, there is no God?

This puts the question: Is there in fact a being with the properties our definition assigns to God?

    But, at any rate, this very fool, when he hears of this being of which I speak - a being than which nothing greater can be conceived - understands what he hears, and what he understands is in his understanding; although he does not understand it to exist.

This begins and ends straightforwardly. The fool understands the definition of God but denies that God exists. The first hint of strangeness comes in what seems to be a parenthetical remark: "what he understands is in his understanding". Anselm apparently proposes to treat the understanding or the mind as if it were a place, and to speak of things existing "in the understanding". Anselm's assumption here is that if I understand claims about God, then we may say that God exists in my understanding or in my mind.

    For it is one thing for an object to be in the understanding, another to understand that the object exists. For when a painter first conceives of what he will afterwards perform, he has it in his understanding be he does not yet understand it to be, because he has not yet performed it. But after he has made the painting, he both has it in his understanding and he understands that it exists, because he has made it.

Anselm here explains a distinction. It is one thing for an object to exist in my understanding, and another for me to understand it to exist. This is a familiar distinction, even if the terms are not familiar. Ghosts, trolls, flying saucers and the like are all things I can think about. We might say that I have ideas of these things; Anselm says that they exist in the understanding. Anselm's point is that in general there is a difference between saying that something exists in my understanding and saying that I understand (or believe) it to exist. Trolls exist in my understanding; but I do not understand them to exist.

    Hence even the fool is convinced that something exists in the understanding, at least, than which nothing greater can be conceived. For when he hears of this, he understands it. And whatever is understood, exists in the understanding.

Here Anselm applies the distinction he has just drawn to the case of God. The fool understands claims about God. So God - a being than which none greater can be conceived - exists in his understanding. Anselm means this to be an entirely uncontroversial claim.

    And assuredly, that than which nothing greater can be conceived cannot exist in the understanding alone: then it can be conceived to exist in reality, which is greater.

    Therefore, if that than which nothing greater can be conceived exists in the understanding alone, the very being than which nothing greater can be conceived is one than which a greater can be conceived. But obviously this is impossible.

This is the heart of the argument. The trick is to show that God cannot possibly exist in the understanding alone. Anselm begins by contrasting existing in the understanding with existing in reality. This by itself is not problematic. Trolls exist in the understanding alone; Bill Clinton exists both in the understanding and in reality; and no doubt there are things that exist in reality that do not yet exist in the understanding because no human being has ever managed to frame a thought about them. The picture seems to be as follows:


In the area marked A we have things that exist in the understanding alone; in the area marked B we have things that exist both in the understanding and in reality; and in the area marked C we have things that exist in reality but not in the understanding. (For obvious reasons, we cannot give any concrete examples of the last category.)

At this stage the fool has conceded that God exists in the understanding: so God belongs either in A or in B. Anselm now argues that God cannot exist in the understanding alone. The argument seems to proceed 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.

    This reading of the argument is amply confirmed by the final paragraph:

    Therefore, if that than which nothing greater can be conceived exists in the understanding alone, the very being than which nothing greater can be conceived is one than which a greater can be conceived. But obviously this is impossible. Hence there is no doubt that there exists a being than which nothing greater can be conceived, and it exists both in the understanding and in reality.

This summary of it is found on http://www.princeton.edu/~grosen/puc/phi203/ontological.html
More on Anselms work http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/anselm/#3
THoughts objections rants?
I shall give Descartes ontological argument its own post.
Please disscuss without flamiong or going off topic.
An enraged
Cinlef
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Cinlef

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Ontological Arguments For of Gods Existence
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2006, 07:26:07 AM »
Rene Descartes Ontological Argument
One of the hallmarks of Descartes' version of the ontological argument is its simplicity. Indeed, it reads more like the report of an intuition than a formal proof. Descartes underscores the simplicity of his demonstration by comparing it to the way we ordinarily establish very basic truths in arithmetic and geometry, such as that the number two is even or that the sum of the angles of a triangle is equal to the sum of two right angles. We intuit such truths directly by inspecting our clear and distinct ideas of the number two and of a triangle. So, likewise, we are able to attain knowledge of God's existence simply by apprehending that necessary existence is included in the clear and distinct idea of a supremely perfect being. As Descartes writes in the Fifth Meditation:

    [1] But if the mere fact that I can produce from my thought the idea of something entails that everything which I clearly and distinctly perceive to belong to that thing really does belong to it, is not this a possible basis for another argument to prove the existence of God? Certainly, the idea of God, or a supremely perfect being, is one that I find within me just as surely as the idea of any shape or number. And my understanding that it belongs to his nature that he always exists is no less clear and distinct than is the case when I prove of any shape or number that some property belongs to its nature (AT 7:65; CSM 2:45).

One is easily misled by the analogy between the ontological argument and a geometric demonstration, and by the language of "proof" in this passage and others like it. Descartes does not conceive the ontological argument on the model of an Euclidean or axiomatic proof, in which theorems are derived from epistemically prior axioms and definitions. On the contrary, he is drawing our attention to another method of establishing truths that informs our ordinary practices and is non-discursive. This method employs intuition or, what is the same for Descartes, clear and distinct perception. It consists in unveiling the contents of our clear and distinct ideas. The basis for this method is the rule for truth, which was previously established in the Fourth Meditation. According to the version of this rule invoked in the Fifth Meditation, whatever I clearly and distinctly perceive to be contained in the idea of something is true of that thing. So if I clearly and distinctly perceive that necessary existence pertains to the idea of a supremely perfect being, then such a being truly exists.

Although Descartes maintains that God's existence is ultimately known through intuition, he is not averse to presenting formal versions of the ontological argument. He never forgets that he is writing for a seventeenth-century audience, steeped in scholastic logic, that would have expected to be engaged at the level of the Aristotelian syllogism. Descartes satisfies such expectations, presenting not one but at least two separate versions of the ontological argument. These proofs, however, are stunningly brief and betray his true intentions. One version of the argument simply codifies the psychological process by which one intuits God's existence, in the manner described above:

    Version A:

       1. Whatever I clearly and distinctly perceive to be contained in the idea of something is true of that thing.
       2. I clearly and distinctly perceive that necessary existence is contained in the idea of God.
       3. Therefore, God exists.

The rule for truth appears here in the guise of the first premise, but it is more naturally read as a statement of Descartes' own alternative method of "demonstration" via clear and distinct perception or intuition. In effect, the first "premise" is designed to instruct the meditator on how to apply this method, the same role that the analogy with a geometric demonstration serves in passage [1].

When presenting this version of the argument in the First Replies, Descartes sets aside this first premise and focuses our attention on the second. In so doing, he is indicating the relative unimportance of the proof itself. Having learned how to apply Descartes' alternative method of reasoning, one need only perceive that necessary existence pertains to the idea of a supremely perfect being. Once one attains this perception, formal arguments are no longer required; God's existence will be self-evident (Second Replies, Fifth Postulate; AT 7:163-4; CSM 2:115).

Descartes sometimes uses traditional arguments as heuristic devices, not merely to appease a scholastically trained audience but to help induce clear and distinct perceptions. This is evident for example in the version of the ontological argument standardly associated with his name:

    Version B:

       1. I have an idea of supremely perfect being, i.e. a being having all perfections.
       2. Necessary existence is a perfection.
       3. Therefore, a supremely perfect being exists.

While this set of sentences has the surface structure of a formal argument, its persuasive force lies at a different level. A meditator who is having trouble perceiving that necessary existence is contained in the idea of a supreme perfect being can attain this perception indirectly by first recognizing that this idea includes every perfection. Indeed, the idea of a supremely perfect being just is the idea of a being having all perfections. To attempt to exclude any or all perfections from the idea of a supremely being, Descartes observes, involves one in a contradiction and is akin to conceiving a mountain without a valley (or, better, an up-slope without a down-slope). Having formed this perception, one need only intuit that necessary existence is itself a perfection. It will then be clear that necessary existence is one of the attributes included in the idea of a supremely perfect being.

While such considerations might suffice to induce the requisite clear and distinct perception in the meditator, Descartes is aiming a deeper point, namely that there is a conceptual link between necessary existence and each of the other divine perfections. It is important to recall that in the Third Meditation, in the midst of the causal argument for the existence of God, the meditator already discovered many of these perfections -- omnipotence, omniscience, immutability, eternality, simplicity, etc. Because our mind is finite, we normally think of the divine perfections separately and "hence may not immediately notice the necessity of their being joined together" (First Replies, AT 7:119; CSM 2:85). But if we attend carefully to "whether existence belongs to a supremely perfect being, and what sort of existence it is" we shall discover that we cannot conceive any one of the other attributes while excluding necessary existence from it (ibid.).

To illustrate this point Descartes appeals to divine omnipotence. He thinks that we cannot conceive an omnipotent being except as existing. Descartes' illustration presupposes the traditional, medieval understanding of "necessary existence." When speaking of this divine attribute, he sometimes uses the term "existence" simpliciter as shorthand. But in his more careful pronouncements he always insists on the phrase "necessary and eternal existence," which resonates with tradition. Medieval, scholastic philosophers often spoke of God as the sole "necessary being," by which they meant a being who depends only on himself for his existence (a se esse). This is the notion of "aseity" or self-existence. Since such a being does not depend on anything else for its existence, he has neither a beginning nor an end, but is eternal. Returning to the discussion in the First Replies, one can see how omnipotence is linked conceptually to necessary existence in this traditional sense. An omnipotent or all-powerful being does not depend ontologically on anything (for if it did then it would not be omnipotent). It exists by its own power:

    [2] when we attend to immense power of this being, we shall be unable to think of its existence as possible without also recognizing that it can exist by its own power; and we shall infer from this that this being does really exist and has existed from eternity, since it is quite evident by the natural light that what can exist by its own power always exists. So we shall come to understand that necessary existence is contained in the idea of a supremely perfect being ... . (ibid.)

Some readers have thought that Descartes offers yet a third version of the ontological argument in this passage (Wilson, 1978, 174-76), but whether or not that was his intention is unimportant, since his primary aim, as indicated in the last line, is to enable his meditator to intuit that necessary existence is included in the idea of God. Since there is a conceptual link between the divine attributes, a clear and distinct perception of one provides a cognitive route to any of the others.

Although Descartes sometimes uses formal versions of the ontological argument to achieve his aims, he consistently affirms that God's existence is ultimately known through clear and distinct perception. The formal versions of the argument are merely heuristic devices, to be jettisoned once has attained the requisite intuition of a supremely perfect being. Descartes stresses this point explicitly in the Fifth Meditation, immediately after presenting the two versions of the argument considered above:

    [3] whatever method of proof I use, I am always brought back to the fact that it is only what I clearly and distinctly perceive that completely convinces me. Some of the things I clearly and distinctly perceive are obvious to everyone, while others are discovered only by those who look more closely and investigate more carefully; but once they have been discovered, the latter are judged to be just as certain as the former. In the case of a right-angled triangle, for example, the fact that the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the square on the other two sides is not so readily apparent as the fact that the hypotenuse subtends the largest angle; but once one has seen it, one believes it just as strongly. But as regards God, if I were not overwhelmed by philosophical prejudices, and if the images of things perceived by the senses did not besiege my thought on every side, I would certainly acknowledge him sooner and more easily than anything else. For what is more manifest than the fact that the supreme being exists, or that God, to whose essence alone existence belongs, exists? (AT 7:68-69; CSM 2:47)

Here Descartes develops his earlier analogy between the (so-called) ontological argument and a geometric demonstration. He suggests that there are some meditators for whom God's existence is immediately manifest; for them God's existence is akin to an axiom or definition in geometry, such as that the hypotenuse of a right triangle subtends its largest angle. But other meditators, whose minds are confused and mired in sensory images, must work much harder, and might even require a proof to attain the requisite clear and distinct perception. For them, God's existence is akin to the Pythagorean Theorem. The important point is that both kinds of meditators ultimately attain knowledge of God's by clearly and distinctly perceiving that necessary existence is contained in the idea of supremely perfect being. Once one has achieved this perception, God's existence will be manifest or, as Descartes says elsewhere, "self-evident" (per se notam) (Second Replies, Fifth Postulate; AT 7: 164; CSM 2:115).

Descartes' contemporaries would have been surprised by this last remark. While reviewing an earlier version of the ontological argument, Aquinas had rejected the claim that God's existence is self-evident, at least with respect to us. He argued that what is self-evident cannot be denied without contradiction, but God's existence can be denied. Indeed, the proverbial fool says in his heart "There is no God" (Psalm 53.1).

When confronted with this criticism by a contemporary objector, Descartes tries to find common ground: "St. Thomas asks whether existence is self-evident as far as we are concerned, that is, whether it is obvious to everyone; and he answers, correctly, that it is not" (First Replies, AT 7:115; CSM 2:82). Descartes interprets Aquinas to be claiming that God's existence is not self-evident to everyone, which is something with which he can agree. Descartes does not hold that God's existence is immediately self-evident, or self-evident to everyone, but that it can become self-evident to some careful and industrious meditators.

Taken from
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/descartes-ontological/
Thoughts comments aruments against or defenses of arguments welcome as would be the text sans comments and explinations( I have both in book form cannot find them online)
Happy debating
Cinlef
Truth is great and will prevail-Thomas Jefferson

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Cinlef is the bestest!

Melior est sapientia quam vires-Wisdom

Ontological Arguments For of Gods Existence
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2006, 02:47:02 PM »
hmmm either you cut and past or you like the sound of your own typing.


i'm sure it is a good post, but i just can't be bothered going through all of that.

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Cinlef

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Ontological Arguments For of Gods Existence
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2006, 05:47:49 PM »
Wow insightful
An amused
Cinlef
Truth is great and will prevail-Thomas Jefferson

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Cinlef is the bestest!

Melior est sapientia quam vires-Wisdom

Ontological Arguments For of Gods Existence
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2006, 11:23:36 PM »
Can God exist though?  On one hand, of course.  Anything is possible for God.  But by the same token, noting the very fact of how "powerful" it/he/she is how could something such as that exist?  Can we even call God a something or a someone?

Believing in the Sentient Grandfather God is just so much easier to handle sometimes.
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joffenz

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Ontological Arguments For of Gods Existence
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2006, 04:50:37 AM »
Hm...imagine an object (a pizza) travelling at the speed of light with infinite mass (impossible under relativity).

(1) Suppose (with the fool) that pizza exists in the understanding alone.

(2) Given our definition, this means that a pizza than which none greater mass exists in the understanding alone.

(3) But this pizza can be conceived to exist in reality. That is, we can conceive of a circumstance in which relativity is flawed, even if we do not believe that it actually is.

(4) But it is of a greater mass for a pizza to exist in reality than for it to exist in the understanding alone.

(5) Hence we seem forced to conclude that a pizza than which none with more mass can be conceived can be conceived to be have more mass than it has.

(6) But that is absurd.

(7) So (1) must be false. Pizza must exist in reality as well as in the understanding.

You have just disproved Einstein's theory of relativity.

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Cinlef

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Ontological Arguments For of Gods Existence
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2006, 07:52:28 AM »
The most common objection to Anselm's argument. However he himself responded to that (well not the pizza analogy but some Benedictine monk saying that his moethod could prove the existence of a perfect island that maniefestly did not exists) by pointing out that the quality of perfection is attributable to God alohne, and that his reasoning thus only applies to he question of Gods existence..
If I failed to explain that thouroughtly enought please say so
An intrigued
Cinlef
Truth is great and will prevail-Thomas Jefferson

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joffenz

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Ontological Arguments For of Gods Existence
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2006, 08:22:46 AM »
Quote from: "Cinlef"
The most common objection to Anselm's argument. However he himself responded to that (well not the pizza analogy but some Benedictine monk saying that his moethod could prove the existence of a perfect island that maniefestly did not exists) by pointing out that the quality of perfection is attributable to God alohne, and that his reasoning thus only applies to he question of Gods existence..
If I failed to explain that thouroughtly enought please say so
An intrigued
Cinlef


But how do you know it only applies to God alone? That relies on the assumption that God in the imagination is the God in reality, which means the argument proves itself in a circular way.

It is possible to imagine any number of pefect entities in the imagination, but only one of them (or possibly none of them) will be real. You cannot prove which one is real by stating that only God can be perfect, because in reality something else could be perfect that is not God.

Anyway I was talking about infintite mass, which is not the same as perfection.

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Cinlef

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Ontological Arguments For of Gods Existence
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2006, 08:34:10 AM »
Quote from: "cheesejoff"
Quote from: "Cinlef"
The most common objection to Anselm's argument. However he himself responded to that (well not the pizza analogy but some Benedictine monk saying that his moethod could prove the existence of a perfect island that maniefestly did not exists) by pointing out that the quality of perfection is attributable to God alohne, and that his reasoning thus only applies to he question of Gods existence..
If I failed to explain that thouroughtly enought please say so
An intrigued
Cinlef


But how do you know it only applies to God alone? That relies on the assumption that God in the imagination is the God in reality, which means the argument proves itself in a circular way.

It is possible to imagine any number of pefect entities in the imagination, but only one of them (or possibly none of them) will be real. You cannot prove which one is real by stating that only God can be perfect, because in reality something else could be perfect that is not God.

Anyway I was talking about infintite mass, which is not the same as perfection.

Anselms definition of God a being which no greater being can be conceived.. That means that God is perfect because if he was inperfect He would not be God as a greater being (one that is perfect can be conceived).Thus the definition of God by Anselm is that God is perfect. His reasoning is not circular therefore in the manner that you desciribe. As to the fact you cna imagine any number of perfect beings for them to be perfect wouldn't they have identical atrributes? (All attributes perfect) thus meaning you can conceive of ohnly one type of perfect being?
Am pressed for time will deal with infinte mass thing later
An intrigued
Cinlef
Truth is great and will prevail-Thomas Jefferson

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Cinlef is the bestest!

Melior est sapientia quam vires-Wisdom

Ontological Arguments For of Gods Existence
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2006, 10:38:43 AM »
That's why I love this forum.  Posts like these and to a greater extent others reguarding more classical sciences astound me because I honestly can't keep up at times.  I can safely say that I'm learning quite a bit on this community.
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"Against criticism a man can neither protest nor defend himself; he must act in spite of it, and then it will gradually yield to him." -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Ontological Arguments For of Gods Existence
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2006, 04:09:02 PM »
Pythagorus' Ontological Argument

Version A

1)  Whatever I clearly and distinctly perceive to be contained in the idea of something is true of that thing.
2)  I clearly and distinctly perceive that humans are contained in the idea of creatures.
3)  Therefore, creatures are humans.

While humans are definitely creatures, creatures are not always human.
So it is the same with Descartes' first argument: existence is always necessary for the idea of God, but God is not always necessarily existent.

Version B

1)  I have an idea that organisms encompass all species.
2)  Humans are a species.
3)  Therefore, organisms are humans.

Compare to:
1)  I have an idea of a supremely perfect being, i.e. a being having all perfections.
2)  Necessary existence is a perfection.
3)  Therefore, a supremely perfect being exists.

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Erasmus

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« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2006, 05:11:24 PM »
St. Anselm's argument doesn't stand up to critical analysis.

Assuming, for a moment, that I concede that "existing in understanding" is a well-defined notion, that it's possible to conceive of a thing greater than which nothing is conceivable, that "greater than" is also well-defined, and that existing in reality is greater than existing in the understanding, you still have the following problem:

All St. Anselm's argument says is that any conception of God (in the understanding) must include the property that God exists in reality.

In other words, even if you think that Anselm's argument is sound, you're still not forced to believe anything other than the following: "If you conceive of God, you must conceive that he exists in reality."

Let's consider trolls.  Suppose we consider the definition of trolls to be those things nothing more terrifying than which can be conceived.  That is, trolls are those things that it's impossible to make more terrifying.

(1)  Suppose that trolls exist in the understanding alone.

(2)  Given our definition , this means that beings than which none more terrifying can be conceived exist in the understanding alone.

(3)  But these beings can be conceived to exist in reality.  That is, we can conceive of a circumstance in which trolls really exist, even if we do not believe that this circumstance actually obtains.

(4)  But it is more terrifying for evil things to exist in reality than for them to exist in the understanding alone.

(5)  Hence, we seem forced to conclude that beings than which none more terrifying can be conceived can be conceived to be more terrifying than they are.

(6)  But that is absurd.

(7)  So (1) must be false.  Trolls must exist in reality as well as in the understanding.

In this case it's really easy to see that all I've really shown is that  trolls must be imagined to be real in order to be imagined to be the most terrifying things conceivable.

*edit* p.s. I'll rip Descartes' argument to shreds some other time })
Why did the chicken cross the Möbius strip?

Ontological Arguments For of Gods Existence
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2006, 05:57:28 PM »

Ontological Arguments For of Gods Existence
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2006, 06:00:41 PM »
Quote from: "UNCLE JIM BOB"
http://godandscience.org/apologetics/nogod.html
In Glory
-ujb.


isnt that your site?
 am the center of the universe

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Erasmus

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Ontological Arguments For of Gods Existence
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2006, 01:08:54 PM »
Quote from: "UNCLE JIM BOB"
http://godandscience.org/apologetics/nogod.html
In Glory
-ujb.


The degree to which the arguments on this website are idiotic is shocking.
Why did the chicken cross the Möbius strip?

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Cinlef

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Ontological Arguments For of Gods Existence
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2006, 05:23:15 PM »
Quote from: "Erasmus"
St. Anselm's argument doesn't stand up to critical analysis.

Assuming, for a moment, that I concede that "existing in understanding" is a well-defined notion, that it's possible to conceive of a thing greater than which nothing is conceivable, that "greater than" is also well-defined, and that existing in reality is greater than existing in the understanding, you still have the following problem:

All St. Anselm's argument says is that any conception of God (in the understanding) must include the property that God exists in reality.

In other words, even if you think that Anselm's argument is sound, you're still not forced to believe anything other than the following: "If you conceive of God, you must conceive that he exists in reality."

Let's consider trolls.  Suppose we consider the definition of trolls to be those things nothing more terrifying than which can be conceived.  That is, trolls are those things that it's impossible to make more terrifying.

(1)  Suppose that trolls exist in the understanding alone.

(2)  Given our definition , this means that beings than which none more terrifying can be conceived exist in the understanding alone.

(3)  But these beings can be conceived to exist in reality.  That is, we can conceive of a circumstance in which trolls really exist, even if we do not believe that this circumstance actually obtains.

(4)  But it is more terrifying for evil things to exist in reality than for them to exist in the understanding alone.

(5)  Hence, we seem forced to conclude that beings than which none more terrifying can be conceived can be conceived to be more terrifying than they are.

(6)  But that is absurd.

(7)  So (1) must be false.  Trolls must exist in reality as well as in the understanding.

In this case it's really easy to see that all I've really shown is that  trolls must be imagined to be real in order to be imagined to be the most terrifying things conceivable.

*edit* p.s. I'll rip Descartes' argument to shreds some other time })

Hold on Erasmus point 4 of your reasoning is not nessecarily sound thus your ontological arguemtn for the exsistence of trolls falls apart.
Why are things that exist in reality more frightening that things that exists in the understanding alone. Its obvious why things that exists are greater than things that exist in the understaning alone (things in the understanding exists only in understanding things that exists in reality exists in reality and understanding. But just because their greater does not nessecarily make them more terrifying. The greatest thing is not always the most terrifying take phobias. And trolls taht exists in reality are to me less terrifying (as I live in a country with and army that could probably dispatch them) than trolls that exists only in my understanding and thus could torment me endlessly.
Therefore your particular example of reductio ad absurdum is not valid.
An enraged
Cinlef
Truth is great and will prevail-Thomas Jefferson

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Cinlef is the bestest!

Melior est sapientia quam vires-Wisdom

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Erasmus

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Ontological Arguments For of Gods Existence
« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2006, 11:14:48 AM »
Quote from: "Cinlef"
Why are things that exist in reality more frightening that things that exists in the understanding alone.


Well, if you want an actual reason, then consider this one:

Sure, some things that exist only in the understanding might be more terrifying than some things that actually exist.  But trolls are the most terrifying things conceivable, so they are at least as terrifying as all things that exist only in the understanding.

Now, taking that into consideration, wouldn't it be a relief if trolls existed only in the understanding?  Obviously it would, since then anytime we contemplated their nature, and were terrified by it, we could always say, "Well, at least they don't exist in reality," and would thus be slightly less terrified by them.  Whew.

But if that were the case, then we could conceive of such trolls existing in reality as well, at which point we would realize that we could no longer take solice in the fact that they are fantasy.  We would be faced with the possibility of actually encountering a troll one day, which, by definition, would be the most terrifying experience conceivable.

I think it's pretty clear that experiencing the most terrifying experience conceivable would be more terrifying than merely imagining the most terrifying experience conceivable, especially since the former (actually experiencing it) would necessarily have all the features of the latter.

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Its obvious why things that exists are greater than things that exist in the understaning alone (things in the understanding exists only in understanding things that exists in reality exists in reality and understanding.


That argument sounds really circular.  You still haven't really stated what "greater" means.

What about the greatest hero of fantasy?  By definition, he exists in the understanding alone, since if he did not, he would not be a hero of fantasy.  If you conceive of him existing in reality, you've conceived of him being necessarily no longer as great as he was when he existed only in your understanding.

If you doubt that argument, consider a hero of fantasy who wields magical powers.  If you conceive of him existing in reality, you have two choices:

1)  Admit the existence of magical powers
2)  Deny the hero his magical powers

I can choose the definition of "magical powers" so that (1) is absurd, and (2) means the hero is less great in reality than in the understanding.

Thus I claim that existing in reality is not necessarily a greater thing than existing in the understanding alone.

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And trolls taht exists in reality are to me less terrifying (as I live in a country with and army that could probably dispatch them)


No, they couldn't.  The army would be too terrified.  Don't forget that I defined trolls as the most terrifying things conceivable, so you're not allowed to say, "Well, I wouldn't be so scared of them."

If you object to that, recall that Anselm felt that he was free to define God as the greatest thing conceivable, even if that is not what is ordinarily meant by "God".  If Anselm's argument is valid, then so is mine.  In fact, that was the whole point of my argument.

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Therefore your particular example of reductio ad absurdum is not valid.


My argument is isomorphic to Anselm's, merely with a change of some symbols.  If mine is invalid, so is his.  Don't forget that the logical validity of an argument is not related to the meanings of any of the symbols involved.

You could render his argument more valid than mine by adding additional premises: for example, a more solid statement about "greatness" would help quite a bit.  Personally I think I was much better able to defend my statement (4) than Anselm was (he took it as obvious, whereas I offered justification), so you would have to provide an ever better justification.  I think this will be difficult in light of my "greatest hero of fantasy" example.  Certainly, I took no more liberties in my reasoning than Anselm did, and in fact, my argument is better rooted in well-defined terms than his.

-Erasmus
Why did the chicken cross the Möbius strip?

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RenaissanceMan

Ontological Arguments For of Gods Existence
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2006, 10:46:42 AM »
Quote from: "Cinlef"
Wow insightful
An amused
Cinlef


So... If I imagine people with 4 arms that are awesome fighters, that makes it so?

Imagining things doesn't make them so. Spending 100 lines of text on a concept doesn't give it validity.

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Erasmus

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Ontological Arguments For of Gods Existence
« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2006, 12:01:38 PM »
Quote from: "Cinlef"
Rene Descartes Ontological Argument


Yeah, so, do we have any good reason to believe either that

1)  Descartes' "clear and distinct perception" thing constitutes an argument at all, let alone a sound argument?

or that

2)  "clear and distinct perception" is even a well-defined concept?  I mean, I clearly and distinctly perceive that an essential property of perception is that it is neither clear nor distinct.  Therefore it must be true.

Sorry, but whereas Anselm's argument at least had to be analyzed for flaws, and once found it required some interesting work to expose those flaws, I don't think Descartes' is worth even the attention I've given it so far.  It basically sounds like he's saying, "I feel like God must exist, therefore he does."
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Cinlef

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Ontological Arguments For of Gods Existence
« Reply #19 on: July 03, 2006, 07:07:47 PM »
Quote from: "Erasmus"
Quote from: "Cinlef"
Rene Descartes Ontological Argument


Yeah, so, do we have any good reason to believe either that

1)  Descartes' "clear and distinct perception" thing constitutes an argument at all, let alone a sound argument?

or that

2)  "clear and distinct perception" is even a well-defined concept?  I mean, I clearly and distinctly perceive that an essential property of perception is that it is neither clear nor distinct.  Therefore it must be true.

Sorry, but whereas Anselm's argument at least had to be analyzed for flaws, and once found it required some interesting work to expose those flaws, I don't think Descartes' is worth even the attention I've given it so far.  It basically sounds like he's saying, "I feel like God must exist, therefore he does."

I shall return to Anselm later as the post required to expose the flaw in your debunking of it is long and I'm pressed for time
Your misrepresenting Descartes argument. The essence of it if you wanted to put it into a few sentences (which doesn't do it justice) (also please not that my condesation foit is not nessecarily 100% perfect. is  "I feel that I am imperfect This menas I must have the concept of things more perfect than myself that I am comparing myself to and finding myself lacking. I (as a human could not create these standards therefore they must come from a perfet being , God.
Descartes in his Discources on The Method does a far better job of exp[laining why he as a human could not create those standards. I have been unable to find online the text of his argument in full. I shall type of the relevant part tommorow or this weekend and post it. Further debate until then is pointless as dismantling a misrepresented version of his arguemmtn accomplishes nothing . (I know I'm the one who gave the misrepresented verrsion but even so). Unless anyone has the text online?
An enraged
Cinlef
Truth is great and will prevail-Thomas Jefferson

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Cinlef is the bestest!

Melior est sapientia quam vires-Wisdom

?

Erasmus

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Ontological Arguments For of Gods Existence
« Reply #20 on: July 04, 2006, 12:43:23 AM »
Quote from: "Cinlef"
Your misrepresenting Descartes argument. The essence of it if you wanted to put it into a few sentences (which doesn't do it justice) (also please not that my condesation foit is not nessecarily 100% perfect. is  "I feel that I am imperfect This menas I must have the concept of things more perfect than myself that I am comparing myself to and finding myself lacking. I (as a human could not create these standards therefore they must come from a perfet being , God.


You're not really addressing either of my objections.  Descartes' argument relies on these very weak assumptions about human perceptual and conceptual abilities that he fails to even explain, let alone justify, e.g. my ability to "clearly and distinctly perceive" of something, or my ability to "conceive of something more perfect than myself".

As for the "I am imperfect therefore yadda yadda yadda" issue, this simply doesn't follow.  I may paint a picture and find that something about it is lacking yet be unable to imagine a better picture.  On the other hand, I may have an exact idea of what's missing -- the perspective may be flawed, for example -- and yet I may realize this without any external entity telling me what sort of standards of quality a good painting must live up to.

Of course this whole line of reasoning is rendered moot when you make the simple and rather obvious realization that Descartes' notion of perfection is begging the question.
Why did the chicken cross the Möbius strip?

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Rick_James

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Ontological Arguments For of Gods Existence
« Reply #21 on: July 04, 2006, 02:51:48 AM »
Just an extract from this website that should be a good example of the content for anyone who didnt take the time to visit:
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http://godandscience.org/apologetics/nogod.html
In Glory
-ujb.


It relates to the view that if you live your life by God's commandments etc (i realise the inadequecy of "etc") you will live forever (i assume this refers to "heaven")-

This is the only valid direct test for the Christian God's existence. However, it will cost you your life (7), and require you to bend your knee in submission (8). I can tell you from experience that Jesus will follow through with His promise and reveal Himself to you, and surprisingly, you will be filled with great joy

So if he's speaking from experience, has he posted this msg from the giant lan cafe in the sky??

To quote a local celebrity here in Australia (actually a terrible rip off of one D. Letterman) "What the??"

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Erasmus

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Ontological Arguments For of Gods Existence
« Reply #22 on: July 04, 2006, 09:48:03 AM »
Quote from: "Rick_James"
This is the only valid direct test for the Christian God's existence. However, it will cost you your life (7), and require you to bend your knee in submission (8).


This is an empirical argument for the existence of God, not an ontological one.
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Rick_James

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Ontological Arguments For of Gods Existence
« Reply #23 on: July 04, 2006, 02:44:55 PM »
Sorry, didnt mean it as a submission for the topic, was just giving an example of the content on that website for those who didnt go to visit (I find a lot of it laughable to say the least) :?