So this is the second thread, I have started generated by the first thread, as that discusion is for those who have faith in something of a higher order (God, gods, or whatever)
The question posed is there any proof of God (or any higher order) and if so what is it.
For my own beliefs, the only thing I have absolute proof of is that I exist. Now I have faith that things outside me exist, and subsequently have faith that there is a higher order of inteligence. As the saying goes, in all my studies I have learned two truths. There is a god, and I am not him.
The proof is in the music. Take the time to listen to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata or the opening movement of Chopin’s First Piano Concerto - they (and other pieces, though IMO mostly ones by these two composers) somehow transcend the world as we know it. Which isn’t to say that there is certainly a God akin to the Judeo-Christian beliefs, but there is some extent of potential for the divine in the human mind.
That seems like a misrepresentation of Descartes’ argument. Existence precedes thought, at least metaphysically. If one thinks, it follows necessarily that they exist. The problem with Descartes’ Cogito is that he presumes his existence from the very first word – the first letter. “I”.
Interesting argument, Liberal. Took me quite some time to travel through it, but I think I have the fundamental basics of the argument. Naturally, I have a few problems with it. But, the way it’s put forward there is a lot stronger than Anselm’s proposal. The argument at that link was at least deductively valid, however. I couldn’t see any fallacies in reasoning, just a few inconsistencies with terms.
The proof of necessary existence, really, only applies to the axioms of logic. They are the only necessary existence; positing that some supernatural entity should have the attribute of necessary existence seems a little misleading. What would be incoherent about a possible world with only the axioms of logic? If such a world is not impossible, then it follows that attributing necessary existence to the “greatest possible being” would seem problematic.
On another note, granted for the minute that there is no leap of logic in attributing “necessary existence” to the “greatest possible being”, the rest of those “powers” attributed to the being at your link are speculation. Why should the “greatest possible being” have the “greatest possible knowledge”, or “greatest possible power”? In fact, why should the being be conscious? What is incoherent with proffering it to be an impersonal entity?
Defining God as ontological perfection is just like defining him as an axiom of logic; there’s not much difference.
Yes, we agree. That is exactly the audiatur et altera pars that I was refering to. In order to do anything at all, including prove one’s own existence, it is necessary that one first exist. Therefore, there is an unstated premise, “I exist”. Since the premise is the same as the conclusion, the argument is valid but unsound.
Okay, maybe my lack of Latin is going to bite me here, but the second argument says nothing about the “broadness” of the first.
The first is
Premise : “If A, then B”
Premise : “Not B”
Conclusion : “Not A” - Valid.
The second is
Premise : “If A, then B”
Premise : “B”
Conclusion : “A”. - which is not valid. Premise 1 merely states that IF condition A exists, conditions B also exists… it says nothing about B’s existence in condition A’s absence.
Agreed. Circular reasoning. I don’t mean to press, but what do you make of my rebuttals? Are they a refutation?
In the meantime, I thought of another problem. The axioms of logic are drawn by studying nature; it seems to me as though the God proposed here is palpably supernatural. What is there to suggest that the laws and axioms of logic apply to this being?
You’re quite right, by the looks of it. That’s an affirmation of the consequent - a logical fallacy. Still, Descartes argument is more of an exemplified axiom than any sort of formal proof.
You mean your rebuttals of the modal ontological proof? I didn’t really see a rebuttal, but merely a reservation or two about a possible amphiboly or equivocation. Could you state your rebuttal a bit more specifically?
I disagree that axioms of logic are drawn by studying nature. They are, in fact, entirely analytic, it seems to me — the Identity Axiom, for example, or the Law of Noncontradiction. I think that it is in fact observation of nature that has led to some of the modern “antilogics” that do not recognize identity or contradiction or in some cases, even truth.
Finally, all that applies to the Being in the MOP is Its ontological nature. It is, after all, a statement of ontological commitment — in this case, necessity.