THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT

Save this PDF as:
 WORD  PNG  TXT  JPG

Size: px
Start display at page:

Download "THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT"

Transcription

1 36 THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT E. J. Lowe The ontological argument is an a priori argument for God s existence which was first formulated in the eleventh century by St Anselm, was famously defended by René Descartes in the seventeenth century, and still has important modern advocates, such as Alvin Plantinga. It has also had equally famous critics, such as Immanuel Kant in the eighteenth century and Gottlob Frege and Bertrand Russell in the nineteenth to twentieth centuries. To say that the argument is an a priori one is just to say that it is a deductive argument from premises whose truth is deemed to be knowable without recourse to empirical evidence of any kind. The argument has received many different formulations in the course of its long history, but St Anselm s original version in his Proslogion of 1077/8 (chs. 2 and 3: see Charlesworth 1965) can be reconstructed in something like the following way: 1 God is, by definition, a being than which none greater can be conceived. 2 A being than which none greater can be conceived exists at least in the mind. 3 It is greater to exist in reality than to exist only in the mind. 4 Therefore, God a being than which none greater can be conceived exists not only in the mind but also in reality. The premises here need some elucidation. Premise (1) is supposed to be a conceptual truth. It tells us that the concept of God is the concept of a greatest possible being a being so great that it is impossible to conceive of a greater being, or, in other words, a being of maximal greatness. This is a plausible claim, certainly concerning the traditional Christian conception of God as a being who is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, and the creator of all things. Even so, the idea of maximal greatness may appear a little puzzling to the modern mind, because it seems to imply that there are degrees of being, as though being lies on a scale with a maximum at one end and a minimum at the other. And yet modern philosophers tend to assume that being is simply an all-or-nothing affair: either something exists, or it does not, and exists means exactly the same as it applies to any sort of entity.

2 E. J. LOWE However, this modern view is not incontrovertible, and for many centuries philosophers have thought differently about existence. In particular, traditional metaphysics, with its roots in the thought of Aristotle and his medieval followers, the Scholastics, holds that entities belonging to different ontological categories do not all exist in exactly the same way. For example, it holds that entities in the category of substance have a more basic kind of existence than entities in the category of quality or mode, because entities of the latter sort depend for their existence on substances, whereas the reverse is not the case (see Lowe 1998: ch. 6). Thus it would be said that the shape and color of an individual substance of an individual animal, let us say, such as a horse depend for their existence on that individual, precisely because they are essentially its qualities and so cannot exist separately from it. But it would also be said that even within the most fundamental category of substance, there are degrees of being, because there are degrees of existential dependence. Consider, for instance, something such as a pile or heap of rocks. This is clearly an individual thing or substance, rather than a quality or mode of any such thing. Even so, the pile evidently depends for its existence on the individual rocks that make it up whereas they do not, conversely, depend for their existence on it. In that sense, the pile is a more dependent being than is any of the rocks that compose it. However, the rocks in turn depend for their existence on other things, most obviously the various mineral particles of which they themselves are composed. It would seem that all material substances are, very plausibly, dependent beings in this sense, even if some should turn out to be simple substances, not composed of anything further. For it seems that they are all contingent beings, where a contingent being is one that does not exist of necessity. Consider, for example, a single elementary particle of physics, such as a certain individual electron, e, which is, according to current physical theory, not composed of anything more fundamental. Surely, e might not have existed at all. But could e have been the only thing to exist? We might think that we can imagine a world in which all that exists is this single electron, e. But, in fact, modern physics would repudiate this idea as nonsensical. Electrons are not really to be thought of as being particles in a commonsense way, but are, rather, best thought of as quantized states of a space-permeating field; and according to this way of thinking of them, it really makes no sense to envisage one of them as having an existence that is wholly independent of anything else. However, even though it makes no sense to think of an electron, or indeed any material substance, as having such a wholly independent existence, we clearly can make sense of the idea of a being that does have such an existence: a being that depends for its existence, in any sense whatever, on absolutely nothing other than itself. This, indeed, would seem to be the core of the idea of a maximally great being. Without presuming that such a being does exist, we can surely affirm that such a being could exist. And this, in effect, is what premise (2) of the argument is affirming. So let us turn to that premise. Premise (2) states that A being than which none greater can be conceived exists at least in the mind. In other words, we can coherently think of there existing such a being, one which has an absolutely independent existence. A corollary seems to be, 392

3 THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT as I have just remarked, that such a being could exist: it has at least possible existence, even if it does not actually exist. The reference to the mind in premise (2) suggests that something of a purely psychological nature is being affirmed by it, but this is misleading. The ontological argument is not supposed to be about our powers of thought or imagination, but about whether a being of a certain kind could and indeed does exist. Understood in this way, premise (2) seems to be fairly compelling. That being so, the cogency of the ontological argument in its present formulation turns on the status of premise (3), which affirms that It is greater to exist in reality than to exist only in the mind. This premise, too, needs some unpacking. The idea behind it can be cashed out in the following way. I have already said that it seems plausible to suppose, in line with premise (2), that a maximally great being could exist. But suppose that such a being is a merely possible being, that is to say, a being that could exist, but does not actually exist, and therefore does not exist of necessity. To suppose this is to suppose that a maximally great being could be a contingent being. However, expressed this way, the supposition looks decidedly suspect. For we have already seen that it is very plausible to suppose that all contingent beings are, in one way or another, dependent beings, and hence not maximally great, in the sense of having an absolutely independent existence. In other words, a supposedly maximally great being that did not exist of necessity and so also in actuality ( in reality ) would not really be a maximally great being. This, in effect, is what premise (3) can be construed as saying. Of course, this is not the only possible way of construing (3): it could be construed instead as saying, merely, that anything that actually exists is, for that reason alone, a greater being than anything that does not actually exist but merely could exist. Indeed, that is what (3) more literally seems to be saying. But understood in that way (3) is not at all plausible. Clearly, given that we are now interpreting the notion of degrees of being in terms of degrees of existential dependency, it is rather implausible to contend that no merely possible being is less dependent in nature than any actually existent being. Consider, for instance, some merely possible material substance, such as an individual horse that might have existed but does not in fact exist, and contrast this with an actually existing quality or mode of an actually existing horse. Surely, the actually existing quality is an entity that is more of a dependent being in its nature than is the merely possible horse: for the latter is (or would be) a substance whereas the former is merely a quality, and all qualities are subordinate to substances in their degree of dependency. Of course, if one thought of possible existence as being a lesser (because, presumably, more dependent) kind of existence than actual existence, then indeed one might suppose that even the most dependent actually existing entity is less dependent than the least dependent merely possible entity. But that way of thinking is very arguably confused. To say that something could exist ( has possible existence ) is, plausibly, not to assign to it a kind of existence, but merely to qualify or modify, in a certain manner, a claim concerning the existence of that thing. For example, when I say that the golden mountain could exist, I am not assigning to it a shadowy sort of existence: indeed, I am not affirming that it does exist at all, in any sense whatever. 393

4 E. J. LOWE Rather, I am retreating from any such existence claim to a weaker claim: one that is entailed by, but does not entail, the claim that it exists. Let me now try to reformulate the ontological argument, as it was set out earlier, with the foregoing elucidations in mind. It now comes out as follows: 1* God is, by definition, a maximally great being that is, a being that is absolutely independent of anything else for its existence. 2* A maximally great being could exist. 3* A maximally great being could not have merely possible existence it would have to exist of necessity and so also in actuality. 4* Therefore, God a maximally great being does actually exist. Is this a sound argument? That is to say, are its premises true and does its conclusion follow deductively from those premises? On the face of it, it would seem so. Of course, one might have doubts as to whether the being whose existence is affirmed in the conclusion, (4*), must have all of the various divine attributes traditionally assigned to God, such as omniscience and omnibenevolence. But let s set aside that difficulty for present purposes. Even without assuming that the argument establishes the existence of the traditional Christian God in this sense, it is a remarkable enough argument. Before I proceed, let me say something concerning Descartes s version of the ontological argument, which appears in his Fifth Meditation of 1641 (see Descartes 1984). Although Descartes did not formulate the argument in anything much like the way that Anselm did, he did formulate it in a way that seems reasonably close to the version that I have just presented above. Descartes maintained that, because God is by definition a perfect being, eternal and necessary existence belongs to the nature or essence of God, just as, for example, having internal angles whose sum is equal to that of two right angles belongs to the nature of a Euclidean triangle. From this Descartes inferred that God must indeed exist, just as we may infer, with regard to any (Euclidean) triangle, that its internal angles add up to two right angles. He anticipated the objection that, in the case of a triangle, we can only infer from the nature of the triangle that its internal angles have this sum on the supposition that the triangle does indeed exist, and thus that, likewise, we can only infer from the nature of God that God exists, on the supposition that he exists thereby making the ontological argument implicitly circular. But Descartes rejected this objection as spurious, apparently with good reason. For a triangle is only a contingent being: it is something which, given its nature, could fail to exist, and which consequently only has any properties at all on the supposition that it does exist; for, or so it would clearly seem, a nonexistent thing cannot actually possess any properties. But what is being claimed concerning God is that he is, by nature, a necessary being; one whose essence includes its existence. This is a good point to consider some of the other well-known objections to the ontological argument in its various formulations. One of the oldest is the perfect island objection that is due to the monk Gaunilo, an early critic of Anselm to whom Anselm himself replied. The idea is this. The ontological argument looks suspiciously 394

5 THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT like a formula to define into existence pretty well anything we like. Consider the perfect island. This would not only have, let us say, exactly the right amount of sun and shady palm trees, cool running streams of fresh water, delightful breezes, green pastures, and so forth, but also, of course, it would exist: for it is surely more perfect ( greater ) to exist in reality than merely to exist in the mind. Who would not rate an existent island of the above description more highly than a merely imagined island of that description? But it is plainly absurd, wishful thinking to suppose, on these grounds, that such an island really does exist. The same, it will be said, applies to the ontological argument: it is merely an exercise in wishful thinking. However, the objection is clearly spurious and unfair. When we talk about God as being, by nature, a perfect or maximally great being, we are using these terms in a quite specific technical sense, to imply that God is, by definition, a being whose existence is absolutely independent of anything else. By contrast, in talking of a perfect island, we are talking about a purely contingent being of a certain kind for all islands, being material objects, are by their nature contingent beings which has certain humanly pleasing features in the highest possible degree. Clearly, from the mere fact that such an island could exist, we cannot infer that it does exist. But the whole point about God, according to the ontological argument, is that he is conceived and coherently can be conceived to be a being who, in virtue of being maximally great by nature, has necessary existence and who consequently does exist. But perhaps the best-known objection of all to the ontological argument an objection that is commonly thought to deal it the killer blow is the Kantian objection that existence is not a predicate (Kantian because it first appears in Kant s Critique of Pure Reason of 1781; see Kant 1933: 500 7). This objection is usually cashed out in the following way. It is an error, or so it is claimed, to suppose that the verb exist functions, as many other verbs and verb phrases do for example, the verbs run and eat and the verb phrases is red and is square to attribute some special property to an object or objects. Accordingly, when we list the properties of anything, we should certainly not include existence among them. As one of the original critics Pierre Gassendi of Descartes s version of the ontological argument urged, existence is not so much a property of any thing as it is that without which something cannot have any properties. And as Kant himself put it, the notion of existence adds nothing to the concept of a thing: to conceive of an existent table of a certain color, shape, size, and weight is no different from merely conceiving of a table with just those properties. After all, if the concept of an existent F were different from that simply of an F, then it seems that I could not conceive of an F and bring just such a thing into existence: for what I would bring into existence would have to be an existent F; and this, allegedly, is not precisely the sort of thing that I was conceiving of when I was merely conceiving of an F. But that is surely absurd: I can, surely, conceive of an (as yet nonexistent) table and bring exactly such a thing into existence. In modern times, in the hands of such logicians as Frege and Russell, this sort of point has been made in terms of the proper way to translate talk about existence into the formal language of first-order predicate logic, namely, by means of the so-called existential quantifier, (see, e.g., Frege 1953: par. 53 and Russell 1919: 203). In this 395

6 E. J. LOWE language, Dogs exist, for instance, is translated as ( x)(x is a dog), which can be re-expressed in logician s English as There is something, x, such that x is a dog. According to the Frege Russell view of existence, There is something, x, such that x... is, technically speaking, a second-level predicate, used not to predicate a property of any object or objects, but rather to predicate a rather special second-level property of first-level properties where a first-level property is a property that can be had by objects, such as redness or squareness. Thus, on this view, to say that dogs exist is just to say that the first-level property of doghood, or being a dog, has the second-level property of having at least one instance, that is, of being possessed by at least one object. Of course, Dogs exist is a general proposition, as opposed to the singular proposition God exists. However, there is a standard way of translating a singular proposition of the form a exists, where a is a singular term (such as a proper name), into the formal language of first-order predicate logic; namely, as ( x)(x 5 a), that is, in logician s English, as There is something, x, such that x is identical with a. So, on this view, to say that God exists is just to say that the property of being identical with God has at least one (and, of course, only one) instance. But how is all this, even supposing that it is correct, supposed to bear upon the ontological argument? Well, it does so in the following way. In one version of the ontological argument (one that is very close to Descartes s), it may be expressed thus: 5 God is, by definition, a perfect being and thus a being that possesses all the divine perfections. 6 One of the divine perfections is eternal and necessary existence. 7 Hence, God possesses eternal and necessary existence and so, a fortiori, possesses existence. 8 Therefore, God exists. The error in the argument is then supposed to be that it treats eternal and necessary existence, and thus also existence simpliciter, as being one of the divine attributes or properties, alongside such properties as omniscience, omnipotence, and omnibenevolence. But, according to the Frege Russell account of existence, existence is not a first-level property a property of objects but only a second-level property: it is a property of first-level properties. Thus, on this view, what we affirm, effectively, when we affirm that God exists is that all of the divine attributes are in fact instantiated, indeed, that collectively they are uniquely instantiated, by just one object. But we cannot regard eternal and necessary existence as one of these attributes, because to do so is to make a logical error: the error of treating a second-level property as if it were a first-level property. Hence, there is no sound logical argument from a definition of God as a perfect being, together with a list of the divine perfections, to the conclusion that God does in fact exist. We can no more define God into existence than we can define anything into existence. However, it may be objected that nothing in the foregoing formulation of the ontological argument implies that either existence or eternal and necessary existence 396

7 THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT is a first-level property. For nothing in that formulation of the argument presumes that a divine perfection must be a divine attribute or property, in the way that omniscience or omnipotence are. It is true that line (7) speaks of God possessing eternal and necessary existence, and indeed of possessing existence. But it needn t be presumed that possession in this sense has to be thought of as a relation between an object and a first-level property. In short, it is far from clear that the Frege Russell account of existence does anything to undermine the ontological argument if it is carefully and appropriately formulated. Furthermore, it is in any case very much open to question whether Frege and Russell were in fact correct in their account of existence (see McGinn 2000: ch. 2). On the face of it, their account is really rather counterintuitive and not altogether easy to comprehend. Suppose, with Frege and Russell, we take the statement Dogs exist to be expressing the proposition that the property of doghood has at least one instance. What, exactly, are we to understand by the notion of a (first-level) property s having at least one instance? Isn t this really just to say that at least one object exists that possesses the property in question? In other words, isn t it the case that the logician s notion of a property s having at least one instance, far from serving to explain the notion of existence, needs to be explained by appeal to that very notion? There is much to be said in favor of the view that the notion of existence is a basic or primitive one, which cannot be explained in terms of any more fundamental notion or notions. This is not to say that we should regard existence as being a firstlevel property. Maybe we shouldn t regard it as a property at all. After all, properties themselves are entities that do, or at least can, exist: but do we seriously and literally want to say that existence itself exists? Very arguably, we should not reify existence, that is, treat it as being, itself, an entity of any kind. But, in any case as I have already indicated in formulating the ontological argument, we do not have to presume a particular view regarding what existence is, or is not. Contrary to the followers of Frege and Russell, we do not need to presume that it is a first-level property. Indeed, we do not need to presume that existence itself is anything at all, in the sense of being an entity belonging to some specific ontological category. The Frege Russell objection and the Kantian objection from which it descends is just a red herring with no real bearing on the soundness of the ontological argument. As for the charge that the ontological argument illicitly attempts to define God into existence, perhaps we should reflect on the following fact. No one objects to the claim that the nonexistence of certain things follows from their definition: that, for example, the nonexistence of squircles follows from the definition of a squircle as a plane figure that is both square and circular. If definitions can have implications regarding nonexistence, why should they not have implications regarding existence too? The worry might be that, if we allowed this, a priori existence claims would be just too easy to make. But why should that be supposed? Only if one thought that definitions are just arbitrary concoctions of the human mind. Some definitions might be like that, perhaps and it would certainly be dangerous to suppose that these could have positive existential implications. But, very arguably, the definition of God is far from being an arbitrary concoction of the human mind, any more than the definition of a circle is. 397

8 E. J. LOWE We need to distinguish, in this context, between real definitions and purely verbal definitions (see Fine 1994). A purely verbal definition is typically stipulative or conventional in character, consisting in a rule which allows us to substitute one word or phrase for another, as, for example, bachelor may be defined as unmarried man. A real definition, by contrast, attempts to characterize, as perspicuously as possible, the nature or essence of some actual or possible being. Essence is simply a word standardly used to translate a phrase of Aristotle s whose more literal translation is something like the what it is to be or the what it would be to be. Thus, a characterization of the essence of a geometrical figure, such as a circle, is a perspicuous way of saying what it is, or would be, for something to be a circle. Here is one such way, standardly found in textbooks of geometry: to be a circle is to be a closed line all of the points in which are equidistant from another given point (the centre of the circle). Here is another: to be a circle is to be the locus or path of a point moving continuously at a fixed distance around another point. These real definitions tell us what circles are or, at least, would be. Similarly, a real definition of God tells us what God is or would be. But according to Anselm, Descartes, and other adherents of the ontological argument, the real definition of God is distinctive and remarkable, in that it tells us that what God is or would be is something that could not fail to exist. And that, in their view, is why we are rationally compelled to conclude that, indeed, he does exist. All we need to come to this conclusion rationally is to grasp the real definition of God, that is, understand what God is or would be. Actually, we do not even need to fully grasp what God is or would be which is just as well, since this is probably beyond the capabilities of finite intelligences like ours but just to grasp that, at the very least, he is or would be a maximally great being. This is why Anselm, quoting the biblical text (Ps. 14: 1; 53: 1), remarks that The fool has said in his heart that God does not exist. His point would seem to be this. Either the Fool does grasp, to a sufficient extent, the real definition of God, but nonetheless denies that God exists, in which case he is indeed a fool, for he thereby displays a failure of rationality. Or else the Fool does not grasp, to a sufficient extent, the real definition of God, in which case he is likewise a fool; he thinks that he understands what he is saying in denying that God exists and that he is justified in that denial, but does not really understand it and so is not really justified, so that in this case too he displays a failure of rationality. If, as I am suggesting, the ontological argument is a sound one, how can we formulate it most perspicuously for a modern audience? Here we may usefully draw upon Alvin Plantinga s way of presenting the argument (Plantinga 1974: ch. 10), using the language of possible worlds and modern modal logic: the logic of possibility and necessity. Here is how it may be done along these lines. 9 God is, by definition, a maximally great being and thus a being whose existence is necessary rather than merely contingent. 10 God, so defined, could exist; in other words, he does exist in some possible world. 11 Suppose that w is a possible world in which God, so defined, exists: then it is true in w, at least, that God exists there and, being God, exists there as a necessary being. 398

9 THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT 12 But a necessary being is one which, by definition, exists in every possible world if it exists in any possible world. 13 Hence, the God who exists as a necessary being in w is a being that exists in every possible world, including this, the actual world. 14 Therefore, God exists in the actual world; he actually exists. There are, of course, various queries that one could raise about this version of the argument. Are we, for example, really entitled to suppose that God, so defined, could exist that he exists in at least some possible world? Might it not be the case that the real definition of God harbors some deep-seated contradiction, rendering his existence impossible? Perhaps so: after all, we should not be dogmatic in matters of fundamental metaphysics, but should always be prepared to acknowledge, if need be, the fallibility of our rational intellects. On the other hand, there does not appear to be any such contradiction; so the burden of proof surely lies with the opponent of the ontological argument to try to show that there is. Although we should not be dogmatic, neither should we be unduly skeptical. We should put trust in our rational capacities unless and until we find good reason to doubt them; and even then, of course, we cannot abandon trust in them altogether, for we must at least be confident that we have indeed found a good reason to doubt them. Another worry might be this: are we really entitled to suppose that, even if there could be a maximally great being a being that depended on absolutely nothing else for its existence there could be only one such being? This is a worry about the provable uniqueness of God. To this worry it is less easy to find a simple and compelling answer. Even so, if this were the only weakness in the ontological argument, it would still be a remarkably important argument. Finally, what are we to say in answer to those let us call them the metaphysical nihilists who claim that there might have been nothing rather than something? If they are correct, then, of course, God cannot possibly exist. But then, doesn t this mean that the burden of proof lies with the metaphysical nihilists to show that God a maximally great being cannot possibly exist? For unless they can show this, what entitles them to be so confident that, indeed, nothing at all need have existed that there might have been absolutely nothing? See also Immanuel Kant (Chapter 16), Eternity (Chapter 31), Goodness (Chapter 33), The cosmological argument (Chapter 37), Problems with the concept of God (Chapter 43). References Charlesworth, M. J. (1965) St Anselm s Proslogion, Oxford: Clarendon Press. Descartes, R. (1984) [1641] The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, Vol. II, trans. J. Cottingham, R. Stoothoof and D. Murdoch, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Fine, K. (1994) Essence and modality, in J. E. Tomberlin (ed.) Philosophical Perspectives, 8: Logic and Language, Atascadero, CA: Ridgeview Publishing. 399

10 E. J. LOWE Frege, G. (1953) The Foundations of Arithmetic [Die Grundlagen der Arithmetik, 1884], trans. J. L. Austin, 2nd edn, Oxford: Blackwell. Kant, I. (1933) [1781] Critique of Pure Reason, trans. N. K. Smith, corrected edn, London: Macmillan. Lowe, E. J. (1998) The Possibility of Metaphysics: Substance, Identity, and Time, Oxford: Clarendon Press. McGinn, C. (2000) Logical Properties: Identity, Existence, Predication, Necessity, Truth, Oxford: Clarendon Press. Plantinga, A. (1974) The Nature of Necessity, Oxford: Clarendon Press. Russell, B. (1919) Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy, London: Allen & Unwin. Further reading Millican, P. (2004) The one fatal flaw in Anselm s argument, Mind 113: (An overview of Anselm s version of the ontological argument and the many objections that have been raised against it.) Nolan, L. (2005) The Ontological Argument as an exercise in Cartesian therapy, Canadian Journal of Philosophy 35: (A well-informed and original interpretation of Descartes s conception of the purpose of the ontological argument.) 400

5 A Modal Version of the

5 A Modal Version of the 5 A Modal Version of the Ontological Argument E. J. L O W E Moreland, J. P.; Sweis, Khaldoun A.; Meister, Chad V., Jul 01, 2013, Debating Christian Theism The original version of the ontological argument

More information

The Ontological Argument

The Ontological Argument The Ontological Argument Saint Anselm offers a very unique and interesting argument for the existence of God. It is an a priori argument. That is, it is an argument or proof that one might give independent

More information

Alvin Plantinga addresses the classic ontological argument in two

Alvin Plantinga addresses the classic ontological argument in two Aporia vol. 16 no. 1 2006 Sympathy for the Fool TYREL MEARS Alvin Plantinga addresses the classic ontological argument in two books published in 1974: The Nature of Necessity and God, Freedom, and Evil.

More information

In Search of the Ontological Argument. Richard Oxenberg

In Search of the Ontological Argument. Richard Oxenberg 1 In Search of the Ontological Argument Richard Oxenberg Abstract We can attend to the logic of Anselm's ontological argument, and amuse ourselves for a few hours unraveling its convoluted word-play, or

More information

The Ontological Argument for the existence of God. Pedro M. Guimarães Ferreira S.J. PUC-Rio Boston College, July 13th. 2011

The Ontological Argument for the existence of God. Pedro M. Guimarães Ferreira S.J. PUC-Rio Boston College, July 13th. 2011 The Ontological Argument for the existence of God Pedro M. Guimarães Ferreira S.J. PUC-Rio Boston College, July 13th. 2011 The ontological argument (henceforth, O.A.) for the existence of God has a long

More information

DESCARTES ONTOLOGICAL PROOF: AN INTERPRETATION AND DEFENSE

DESCARTES ONTOLOGICAL PROOF: AN INTERPRETATION AND DEFENSE DESCARTES ONTOLOGICAL PROOF: AN INTERPRETATION AND DEFENSE STANISŁAW JUDYCKI University of Gdańsk Abstract. It is widely assumed among contemporary philosophers that Descartes version of ontological proof,

More information

Is the Existence of the Best Possible World Logically Impossible?

Is the Existence of the Best Possible World Logically Impossible? Is the Existence of the Best Possible World Logically Impossible? Anders Kraal ABSTRACT: Since the 1960s an increasing number of philosophers have endorsed the thesis that there can be no such thing as

More information

From the fact that I cannot think of God except as existing, it follows that existence is inseparable from God, and hence that he really exists.

From the fact that I cannot think of God except as existing, it follows that existence is inseparable from God, and hence that he really exists. FIFTH MEDITATION The essence of material things, and the existence of God considered a second time We have seen that Descartes carefully distinguishes questions about a thing s existence from questions

More information

Avicenna, Proof of the Necessary of Existence

Avicenna, Proof of the Necessary of Existence Why is there something rather than nothing? Leibniz Avicenna, Proof of the Necessary of Existence Avicenna offers a proof for the existence of God based on the nature of possibility and necessity. First,

More information

Broad on Theological Arguments. I. The Ontological Argument

Broad on Theological Arguments. I. The Ontological Argument Broad on God Broad on Theological Arguments I. The Ontological Argument Sample Ontological Argument: Suppose that God is the most perfect or most excellent being. Consider two things: (1)An entity that

More information

Class 2 - The Ontological Argument

Class 2 - The Ontological Argument Philosophy 208: The Language Revolution Fall 2011 Hamilton College Russell Marcus Class 2 - The Ontological Argument I. Why the Ontological Argument Soon we will start on the language revolution proper.

More information

Charles Hartshorne argues that Kant s criticisms of Anselm s ontological

Charles Hartshorne argues that Kant s criticisms of Anselm s ontological Aporia vol. 18 no. 2 2008 The Ontological Parody: A Reply to Joshua Ernst s Charles Hartshorne and the Ontological Argument Charles Hartshorne argues that Kant s criticisms of Anselm s ontological argument

More information

Puzzles for Divine Omnipotence & Divine Freedom

Puzzles for Divine Omnipotence & Divine Freedom Puzzles for Divine Omnipotence & Divine Freedom 1. Defining Omnipotence: A First Pass: God is said to be omnipotent. In other words, God is all-powerful. But, what does this mean? Is the following definition

More information

St. Anselm s versions of the ontological argument

St. Anselm s versions of the ontological argument St. Anselm s versions of the ontological argument Descartes is not the first philosopher to state this argument. The honor of being the first to present this argument fully and clearly belongs to Saint

More information

How Gödelian Ontological Arguments Fail

How Gödelian Ontological Arguments Fail How Gödelian Ontological Arguments Fail Matthew W. Parker Abstract. Ontological arguments like those of Gödel (1995) and Pruss (2009; 2012) rely on premises that initially seem plausible, but on closer

More information

Boghossian & Harman on the analytic theory of the a priori

Boghossian & Harman on the analytic theory of the a priori Boghossian & Harman on the analytic theory of the a priori PHIL 83104 November 2, 2011 Both Boghossian and Harman address themselves to the question of whether our a priori knowledge can be explained in

More information

Varieties of Apriority

Varieties of Apriority S E V E N T H E X C U R S U S Varieties of Apriority T he notions of a priori knowledge and justification play a central role in this work. There are many ways in which one can understand the a priori,

More information

Have you ever sought God? Do you have any idea of God? Do you believe that God exist?

Have you ever sought God? Do you have any idea of God? Do you believe that God exist? St. Anselm s Ontological Argument for the Existence of God Rex Jasper V. Jumawan Fr. Dexter Veloso Introduction Have you ever sought God? Do you have any idea of God? Do you believe that God exist? Throughout

More information

THE JOuRNAL OF PHILOSOPHY

THE JOuRNAL OF PHILOSOPHY VOLUME LXTII, No. 19 OCTOBER 13, 1966 THE JOuRNAL OF PHILOSOPHY KANT'S OBJECTION TO THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT* HE Ontological Argument for the existence of God has 1fascinated and puzzled philosophers ever

More information

The Ontological Argument. An A Priori Route to God s Existence?

The Ontological Argument. An A Priori Route to God s Existence? The Ontological Argument An A Priori Route to God s Existence? The Original Statement Therefore, O Lord, who grants understanding to faith, grant to me that, insofar as you know it to be expedient, I may

More information

Ayer and Quine on the a priori

Ayer and Quine on the a priori Ayer and Quine on the a priori November 23, 2004 1 The problem of a priori knowledge Ayer s book is a defense of a thoroughgoing empiricism, not only about what is required for a belief to be justified

More information

Comments on Truth at A World for Modal Propositions

Comments on Truth at A World for Modal Propositions Comments on Truth at A World for Modal Propositions Christopher Menzel Texas A&M University March 16, 2008 Since Arthur Prior first made us aware of the issue, a lot of philosophical thought has gone into

More information

Ayer s linguistic theory of the a priori

Ayer s linguistic theory of the a priori Ayer s linguistic theory of the a priori phil 43904 Jeff Speaks December 4, 2007 1 The problem of a priori knowledge....................... 1 2 Necessity and the a priori............................ 2

More information

WHAT IS HUME S FORK? Certainty does not exist in science.

WHAT IS HUME S FORK?  Certainty does not exist in science. WHAT IS HUME S FORK? www.prshockley.org Certainty does not exist in science. I. Introduction: A. Hume divides all objects of human reason into two different kinds: Relation of Ideas & Matters of Fact.

More information

Truth At a World for Modal Propositions

Truth At a World for Modal Propositions Truth At a World for Modal Propositions 1 Introduction Existentialism is a thesis that concerns the ontological status of individual essences and singular propositions. Let us define an individual essence

More information

WHAT DOES KRIPKE MEAN BY A PRIORI?

WHAT DOES KRIPKE MEAN BY A PRIORI? Diametros nr 28 (czerwiec 2011): 1-7 WHAT DOES KRIPKE MEAN BY A PRIORI? Pierre Baumann In Naming and Necessity (1980), Kripke stressed the importance of distinguishing three different pairs of notions:

More information

The Ontological Argument

The Ontological Argument The Ontological Argument Arguments for God s Existence One of the classic questions of philosophy and philosophical argument is: s there a God? Of course there are and have been many different definitions

More information

Can A Priori Justified Belief Be Extended Through Deduction? It is often assumed that if one deduces some proposition p from some premises

Can A Priori Justified Belief Be Extended Through Deduction? It is often assumed that if one deduces some proposition p from some premises Can A Priori Justified Belief Be Extended Through Deduction? Introduction It is often assumed that if one deduces some proposition p from some premises which one knows a priori, in a series of individually

More information

In essence, Swinburne's argument is as follows:

In essence, Swinburne's argument is as follows: 9 [nt J Phil Re115:49-56 (1984). Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, The Hague. Printed in the Netherlands. NATURAL EVIL AND THE FREE WILL DEFENSE PAUL K. MOSER Loyola University of Chicago Recently Richard Swinburne

More information

Spinoza, Ethics 1 of 85 THE ETHICS. by Benedict de Spinoza (Ethica Ordine Geometrico Demonstrata) Translated from the Latin by R. H. M.

Spinoza, Ethics 1 of 85 THE ETHICS. by Benedict de Spinoza (Ethica Ordine Geometrico Demonstrata) Translated from the Latin by R. H. M. Spinoza, Ethics 1 of 85 THE ETHICS by Benedict de Spinoza (Ethica Ordine Geometrico Demonstrata) Translated from the Latin by R. H. M. Elwes PART I: CONCERNING GOD DEFINITIONS (1) By that which is self-caused

More information

What God Could Have Made

What God Could Have Made 1 What God Could Have Made By Heimir Geirsson and Michael Losonsky I. Introduction Atheists have argued that if there is a God who is omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent, then God would have made

More information

Introduction. I. Proof of the Minor Premise ( All reality is completely intelligible )

Introduction. I. Proof of the Minor Premise ( All reality is completely intelligible ) Philosophical Proof of God: Derived from Principles in Bernard Lonergan s Insight May 2014 Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D. Magis Center of Reason and Faith Lonergan s proof may be stated as follows: Introduction

More information

! Jumping ahead 2000 years:! Consider the theory of the self.! What am I? What certain knowledge do I have?! Key figure: René Descartes.

! Jumping ahead 2000 years:! Consider the theory of the self.! What am I? What certain knowledge do I have?! Key figure: René Descartes. ! Jumping ahead 2000 years:! Consider the theory of the self.! What am I? What certain knowledge do I have?! What is the relation between that knowledge and that given in the sciences?! Key figure: René

More information

[1968. In Encyclopedia of Christianity. Edwin A. Palmer, ed. Wilmington, Delaware: National Foundation for Christian Education.]

[1968. In Encyclopedia of Christianity. Edwin A. Palmer, ed. Wilmington, Delaware: National Foundation for Christian Education.] [1968. In Encyclopedia of Christianity. Edwin A. Palmer, ed. Wilmington, Delaware: National Foundation for Christian Education.] GOD, THE EXISTENCE OF That God exists is the basic doctrine of the Bible,

More information

The Ontological Argument

The Ontological Argument Running Head: THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT 1 The Ontological Argument By Andy Caldwell Salt Lake Community College Philosophy of Religion 2350 THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT 2 Abstract This paper will reproduce,

More information

A level Religious Studies at Titus Salt

A level Religious Studies at Titus Salt Component 2 Philosophy of Religion Theme 1: Arguments for the existence of God deductive This theme considers how the philosophy of religion has, over time, influenced and been influenced by developments

More information

[3.] Bertrand Russell. 1

[3.] Bertrand Russell. 1 [3.] Bertrand Russell. 1 [3.1.] Biographical Background. 1872: born in the city of Trellech, in the county of Monmouthshire, now part of Wales 2 One of his grandfathers was Lord John Russell, who twice

More information

Anselm s Equivocation. By David Johnson. In an interview for The Atheism Tapes, from the BBC, philosopher Colin McGinn briefly

Anselm s Equivocation. By David Johnson. In an interview for The Atheism Tapes, from the BBC, philosopher Colin McGinn briefly Anselm s Equivocation By David Johnson In an interview for The Atheism Tapes, from the BBC, philosopher Colin McGinn briefly discussed the ontological argument. He said, It is a brilliant argument, right,

More information

Bertrand Russell Proper Names, Adjectives and Verbs 1

Bertrand Russell Proper Names, Adjectives and Verbs 1 Bertrand Russell Proper Names, Adjectives and Verbs 1 Analysis 46 Philosophical grammar can shed light on philosophical questions. Grammatical differences can be used as a source of discovery and a guide

More information

Computational Metaphysics

Computational Metaphysics Computational Metaphysics John Rushby Computer Science Laboratory SRI International Menlo Park CA USA John Rushby, SR I Computational Metaphysics 1 Metaphysics The word comes from Andronicus of Rhodes,

More information

William Ockham on Universals

William Ockham on Universals MP_C07.qxd 11/17/06 5:28 PM Page 71 7 William Ockham on Universals Ockham s First Theory: A Universal is a Fictum One can plausibly say that a universal is not a real thing inherent in a subject [habens

More information

HUME, CAUSATION AND TWO ARGUMENTS CONCERNING GOD

HUME, CAUSATION AND TWO ARGUMENTS CONCERNING GOD HUME, CAUSATION AND TWO ARGUMENTS CONCERNING GOD JASON MEGILL Carroll College Abstract. In Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Hume (1779/1993) appeals to his account of causation (among other things)

More information

PHILOSOPHY 4360/5360 METAPHYSICS. Methods that Metaphysicians Use

PHILOSOPHY 4360/5360 METAPHYSICS. Methods that Metaphysicians Use PHILOSOPHY 4360/5360 METAPHYSICS Methods that Metaphysicians Use Method 1: The appeal to what one can imagine where imagining some state of affairs involves forming a vivid image of that state of affairs.

More information

Mereological Ontological Arguments and Pantheism 1. which draw on the resources of mereology, i.e. the theory of the part-whole relation.

Mereological Ontological Arguments and Pantheism 1. which draw on the resources of mereology, i.e. the theory of the part-whole relation. Mereological Ontological Arguments and Pantheism 1 Mereological ontological arguments are -- as the name suggests -- ontological arguments which draw on the resources of mereology, i.e. the theory of the

More information

1/12. The A Paralogisms

1/12. The A Paralogisms 1/12 The A Paralogisms The character of the Paralogisms is described early in the chapter. Kant describes them as being syllogisms which contain no empirical premises and states that in them we conclude

More information

Aquinas s Third Way Keith Burgess-Jackson 24 September 2017

Aquinas s Third Way Keith Burgess-Jackson 24 September 2017 Aquinas s Third Way Keith Burgess-Jackson 24 September 2017 Cosmology, a branch of astronomy (or astrophysics), is The study of the origin and structure of the universe. 1 Thus, a thing is cosmological

More information

Who or what is God?, asks John Hick (Hick 2009). A theist might answer: God is an infinite person, or at least an

Who or what is God?, asks John Hick (Hick 2009). A theist might answer: God is an infinite person, or at least an John Hick on whether God could be an infinite person Daniel Howard-Snyder Western Washington University Abstract: "Who or what is God?," asks John Hick. A theist might answer: God is an infinite person,

More information

Skepticism and Internalism

Skepticism and Internalism Skepticism and Internalism John Greco Abstract: This paper explores a familiar skeptical problematic and considers some strategies for responding to it. Section 1 reconstructs and disambiguates the skeptical

More information

TWO VERSIONS OF HUME S LAW

TWO VERSIONS OF HUME S LAW DISCUSSION NOTE BY CAMPBELL BROWN JOURNAL OF ETHICS & SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY DISCUSSION NOTE MAY 2015 URL: WWW.JESP.ORG COPYRIGHT CAMPBELL BROWN 2015 Two Versions of Hume s Law MORAL CONCLUSIONS CANNOT VALIDLY

More information

Has Nagel uncovered a form of idealism?

Has Nagel uncovered a form of idealism? Has Nagel uncovered a form of idealism? Author: Terence Rajivan Edward, University of Manchester. Abstract. In the sixth chapter of The View from Nowhere, Thomas Nagel attempts to identify a form of idealism.

More information

Think by Simon Blackburn. Chapter 1b Knowledge

Think by Simon Blackburn. Chapter 1b Knowledge Think by Simon Blackburn Chapter 1b Knowledge According to A.C. Grayling, if cogito ergo sum is an argument, it is missing a premise. This premise is: A. Everything that exists thinks. B. Everything that

More information

Foreknowledge, evil, and compatibility arguments

Foreknowledge, evil, and compatibility arguments Foreknowledge, evil, and compatibility arguments Jeff Speaks January 25, 2011 1 Warfield s argument for compatibilism................................ 1 2 Why the argument fails to show that free will and

More information

Up to this point, Anselm has been known for two quite different kinds of work:

Up to this point, Anselm has been known for two quite different kinds of work: Anselm s Proslogion (An Untimely Review, forthcoming in Topoi) Up to this point, Anselm has been known for two quite different kinds of work: his devotional writings, which aim to move and inspire the

More information

Postscript to Plenitude of Possible Structures (2016)

Postscript to Plenitude of Possible Structures (2016) Postscript to Plenitude of Possible Structures (2016) The principle of plenitude for possible structures (PPS) that I endorsed tells us what structures are instantiated at possible worlds, but not what

More information

Verificationism. PHIL September 27, 2011

Verificationism. PHIL September 27, 2011 Verificationism PHIL 83104 September 27, 2011 1. The critique of metaphysics... 1 2. Observation statements... 2 3. In principle verifiability... 3 4. Strong verifiability... 3 4.1. Conclusive verifiability

More information

Ontological Argument page 2

Ontological Argument page 2 ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT (A harbour-side café somewhere in the Peloponnese; Anna Kalypsas is sitting at a table outside a café with Theo Sevvis, and they re joined by Anna s students, Mel Etitis and Kathy

More information

THE TWO-DIMENSIONAL ARGUMENT AGAINST MATERIALISM AND ITS SEMANTIC PREMISE

THE TWO-DIMENSIONAL ARGUMENT AGAINST MATERIALISM AND ITS SEMANTIC PREMISE Diametros nr 29 (wrzesień 2011): 80-92 THE TWO-DIMENSIONAL ARGUMENT AGAINST MATERIALISM AND ITS SEMANTIC PREMISE Karol Polcyn 1. PRELIMINARIES Chalmers articulates his argument in terms of two-dimensional

More information

Philosophy of Mathematics Kant

Philosophy of Mathematics Kant Philosophy of Mathematics Kant Owen Griffiths oeg21@cam.ac.uk St John s College, Cambridge 20/10/15 Immanuel Kant Born in 1724 in Königsberg, Prussia. Enrolled at the University of Königsberg in 1740 and

More information

An Alternate Possibility for the Compatibility of Divine. Foreknowledge and Free Will. Alex Cavender. Ringstad Paper Junior/Senior Division

An Alternate Possibility for the Compatibility of Divine. Foreknowledge and Free Will. Alex Cavender. Ringstad Paper Junior/Senior Division An Alternate Possibility for the Compatibility of Divine Foreknowledge and Free Will Alex Cavender Ringstad Paper Junior/Senior Division 1 An Alternate Possibility for the Compatibility of Divine Foreknowledge

More information

What does it say about humanity s search for answers? What are the cause and effects mentioned in the Psalm?

What does it say about humanity s search for answers? What are the cause and effects mentioned in the Psalm? Welcome to 5pm Church Together. If you have come before, then you will know that one of the things we do together is to think apologetically that is, we try and think about how we make a defence for our

More information

Critique of Cosmological Argument

Critique of Cosmological Argument David Hume: Critique of Cosmological Argument Critique of Cosmological Argument DAVID HUME (1711-1776) David Hume is one of the most important philosophers in the history of philosophy. Born in Edinburgh,

More information

Ayer on the criterion of verifiability

Ayer on the criterion of verifiability Ayer on the criterion of verifiability November 19, 2004 1 The critique of metaphysics............................. 1 2 Observation statements............................... 2 3 In principle verifiability...............................

More information

MEDITATIONS ON THE FIRST PHILOSOPHY: THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT

MEDITATIONS ON THE FIRST PHILOSOPHY: THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT MEDITATIONS ON THE FIRST PHILOSOPHY: THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT René Descartes Introduction, Donald M. Borchert DESCARTES WAS BORN IN FRANCE in 1596 and died in Sweden in 1650. His formal education from

More information

KANT S EXPLANATION OF THE NECESSITY OF GEOMETRICAL TRUTHS. John Watling

KANT S EXPLANATION OF THE NECESSITY OF GEOMETRICAL TRUTHS. John Watling KANT S EXPLANATION OF THE NECESSITY OF GEOMETRICAL TRUTHS John Watling Kant was an idealist. His idealism was in some ways, it is true, less extreme than that of Berkeley. He distinguished his own by calling

More information

The Coherence of Kant s Synthetic A Priori

The Coherence of Kant s Synthetic A Priori The Coherence of Kant s Synthetic A Priori Simon Marcus October 2009 Is there synthetic a priori knowledge? The question can be rephrased as Sellars puts it: Are there any universal propositions which,

More information

In Part I of the ETHICS, Spinoza presents his central

In Part I of the ETHICS, Spinoza presents his central TWO PROBLEMS WITH SPINOZA S ARGUMENT FOR SUBSTANCE MONISM LAURA ANGELINA DELGADO * In Part I of the ETHICS, Spinoza presents his central metaphysical thesis that there is only one substance in the universe.

More information

Spinoza s Modal-Ontological Argument for Monism

Spinoza s Modal-Ontological Argument for Monism Spinoza s Modal-Ontological Argument for Monism One of Spinoza s clearest expressions of his monism is Ethics I P14, and its corollary 1. 1 The proposition reads: Except God, no substance can be or be

More information

Ethics Demonstrated in Geometrical Order

Ethics Demonstrated in Geometrical Order Ethics Demonstrated in Geometrical Order Benedict Spinoza Copyright Jonathan Bennett 2017. All rights reserved [Brackets] enclose editorial explanations. Small dots enclose material that has been added,

More information

On possibly nonexistent propositions

On possibly nonexistent propositions On possibly nonexistent propositions Jeff Speaks January 25, 2011 abstract. Alvin Plantinga gave a reductio of the conjunction of the following three theses: Existentialism (the view that, e.g., the proposition

More information

The Sea-Fight Tomorrow by Aristotle

The Sea-Fight Tomorrow by Aristotle The Sea-Fight Tomorrow by Aristotle Aristotle, Antiquities Project About the author.... Aristotle (384-322) studied for twenty years at Plato s Academy in Athens. Following Plato s death, Aristotle left

More information

TWO NO, THREE DOGMAS OF PHILOSOPHICAL THEOLOGY

TWO NO, THREE DOGMAS OF PHILOSOPHICAL THEOLOGY 1 TWO NO, THREE DOGMAS OF PHILOSOPHICAL THEOLOGY 1.0 Introduction. John Mackie argued that God's perfect goodness is incompatible with his failing to actualize the best world that he can actualize. And

More information

- We might, now, wonder whether the resulting concept of justification is sufficiently strong. According to BonJour, apparent rational insight is

- We might, now, wonder whether the resulting concept of justification is sufficiently strong. According to BonJour, apparent rational insight is BonJour I PHIL410 BonJour s Moderate Rationalism - BonJour develops and defends a moderate form of Rationalism. - Rationalism, generally (as used here), is the view according to which the primary tool

More information

Aquinas' Third Way Modalized

Aquinas' Third Way Modalized Philosophy of Religion Aquinas' Third Way Modalized Robert E. Maydole Davidson College bomaydole@davidson.edu ABSTRACT: The Third Way is the most interesting and insightful of Aquinas' five arguments for

More information

If we can t assert this, we undermine the truth of the scientific arguments too. So, Kanterian says: A full

If we can t assert this, we undermine the truth of the scientific arguments too. So, Kanterian says: A full Edward Kanterian: Frege: A Guide for the Perplexed. London/New York: Continuum, 2012. ISBN 978-0- 8264-8764-3; $24.95, 14.99 (paperback); 248 pages. Gottlob Frege s Begriffsschrift founded modern logic.

More information

PHILOSOPHY OF LOGIC AND LANGUAGE OVERVIEW FREGE JONNY MCINTOSH 1. FREGE'S CONCEPTION OF LOGIC

PHILOSOPHY OF LOGIC AND LANGUAGE OVERVIEW FREGE JONNY MCINTOSH 1. FREGE'S CONCEPTION OF LOGIC PHILOSOPHY OF LOGIC AND LANGUAGE JONNY MCINTOSH 1. FREGE'S CONCEPTION OF LOGIC OVERVIEW These lectures cover material for paper 108, Philosophy of Logic and Language. They will focus on issues in philosophy

More information

A CRITIQUE OF THE FREE WILL DEFENSE. A Paper. Presented to. Dr. Douglas Blount. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. In Partial Fulfillment

A CRITIQUE OF THE FREE WILL DEFENSE. A Paper. Presented to. Dr. Douglas Blount. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. In Partial Fulfillment A CRITIQUE OF THE FREE WILL DEFENSE A Paper Presented to Dr. Douglas Blount Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for PHREL 4313 by Billy Marsh October 20,

More information

SWINBURNE ON THE EUTHYPHRO DILEMMA. CAN SUPERVENIENCE SAVE HIM?

SWINBURNE ON THE EUTHYPHRO DILEMMA. CAN SUPERVENIENCE SAVE HIM? 17 SWINBURNE ON THE EUTHYPHRO DILEMMA. CAN SUPERVENIENCE SAVE HIM? SIMINI RAHIMI Heythrop College, University of London Abstract. Modern philosophers normally either reject the divine command theory of

More information

Ethics Demonstrated in Geometrical Order

Ethics Demonstrated in Geometrical Order 1 Copyright Jonathan Bennett [Brackets] enclose editorial explanations. Small dots enclose material that has been added, but can be read as though it were part of the original text. Occasional bullets,

More information

PLANTINGA ON THE FREE WILL DEFENSE. Hugh LAFoLLETTE East Tennessee State University

PLANTINGA ON THE FREE WILL DEFENSE. Hugh LAFoLLETTE East Tennessee State University PLANTINGA ON THE FREE WILL DEFENSE Hugh LAFoLLETTE East Tennessee State University I In his recent book God, Freedom, and Evil, Alvin Plantinga formulates an updated version of the Free Will Defense which,

More information

First Treatise <Chapter 1. On the Eternity of Things>

First Treatise <Chapter 1. On the Eternity of Things> First Treatise 5 10 15 {198} We should first inquire about the eternity of things, and first, in part, under this form: Can our intellect say, as a conclusion known

More information

the aim is to specify the structure of the world in the form of certain basic truths from which all truths can be derived. (xviii)

the aim is to specify the structure of the world in the form of certain basic truths from which all truths can be derived. (xviii) PHIL 5983: Naturalness and Fundamentality Seminar Prof. Funkhouser Spring 2017 Week 8: Chalmers, Constructing the World Notes (Introduction, Chapters 1-2) Introduction * We are introduced to the ideas

More information

Concerning God Baruch Spinoza

Concerning God Baruch Spinoza Concerning God Baruch Spinoza Definitions. I. BY that which is self-caused, I mean that of which the essence involves existence, or that of which the nature is only conceivable as existent. II. A thing

More information

Early Russell on Philosophical Grammar

Early Russell on Philosophical Grammar Early Russell on Philosophical Grammar G. J. Mattey Fall, 2005 / Philosophy 156 Philosophical Grammar The study of grammar, in my opinion, is capable of throwing far more light on philosophical questions

More information

Constructing the World

Constructing the World Constructing the World Lecture 1: A Scrutable World David Chalmers Plan *1. Laplace s demon 2. Primitive concepts and the Aufbau 3. Problems for the Aufbau 4. The scrutability base 5. Applications Laplace

More information

Anselm of Canterbury, Proslogion, chapters 2-5 & replies

Anselm of Canterbury, Proslogion, chapters 2-5 & replies Anselm of Canterbury, Proslogion, chapters 2-5 & replies (or, the Ontological Argument for God s Existence) Existing in Understanding vs. Reality: Imagine a magical horse with a horn on its head. Do you

More information

The Modal Ontological Argument

The Modal Ontological Argument Mind (1984) Vol. XCIII, 336-350 The Modal Ontological Argument R. KANE We know more today about the second, or so-called 'modal', version of St. Anselm's ontological argument than we did when Charles Hartshorne

More information

Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza: Concept of Substance Chapter 3 Spinoza and Substance. (Woolhouse)

Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza: Concept of Substance Chapter 3 Spinoza and Substance. (Woolhouse) Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza: Concept of Substance Chapter 3 Spinoza and Substance Detailed Argument Spinoza s Ethics is a systematic treatment of the substantial nature of God, and of the relationship

More information

THREE LOGICIANS: ARISTOTLE, SACCHERI, FREGE

THREE LOGICIANS: ARISTOTLE, SACCHERI, FREGE 1 THREE LOGICIANS: ARISTOTLE, SACCHERI, FREGE Acta philosophica, (Roma) 7, 1998, 115-120 Ignacio Angelelli Philosophy Department The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX, 78712 plac565@utxvms.cc.utexas.edu

More information

First Principles. Principles of Reality. Undeniability.

First Principles. Principles of Reality. Undeniability. First Principles. First principles are the foundation of knowledge. Without them nothing could be known (see FOUNDATIONALISM). Even coherentism uses the first principle of noncontradiction to test the

More information

BENEDIKT PAUL GÖCKE. Ruhr-Universität Bochum

BENEDIKT PAUL GÖCKE. Ruhr-Universität Bochum 264 BOOK REVIEWS AND NOTICES BENEDIKT PAUL GÖCKE Ruhr-Universität Bochum István Aranyosi. God, Mind, and Logical Space: A Revisionary Approach to Divinity. Palgrave Frontiers in Philosophy of Religion.

More information

Fr. Copleston vs. Bertrand Russell: The Famous 1948 BBC Radio Debate on the Existence of God

Fr. Copleston vs. Bertrand Russell: The Famous 1948 BBC Radio Debate on the Existence of God Fr. Copleston vs. Bertrand Russell: The Famous 1948 BBC Radio Debate on the Existence of God Father Frederick C. Copleston (Jesuit Catholic priest) versus Bertrand Russell (agnostic philosopher) Copleston:

More information

Philosophy 203 History of Modern Western Philosophy. Russell Marcus Hamilton College Spring 2016

Philosophy 203 History of Modern Western Philosophy. Russell Marcus Hamilton College Spring 2016 Philosophy 203 History of Modern Western Philosophy Russell Marcus Hamilton College Spring 2016 Class #7 Finishing the Meditations Marcus, Modern Philosophy, Slide 1 Business # Today An exercise with your

More information

Right-Making, Reference, and Reduction

Right-Making, Reference, and Reduction Right-Making, Reference, and Reduction Kent State University BIBLID [0873-626X (2014) 39; pp. 139-145] Abstract The causal theory of reference (CTR) provides a well-articulated and widely-accepted account

More information

Logic and the Absolute: Platonic and Christian Views

Logic and the Absolute: Platonic and Christian Views Logic and the Absolute: Platonic and Christian Views by Philip Sherrard Studies in Comparative Religion, Vol. 7, No. 2. (Spring 1973) World Wisdom, Inc. www.studiesincomparativereligion.com ONE of the

More information

5: Preliminaries to the Argument

5: Preliminaries to the Argument 5: Preliminaries to the Argument In this chapter, we set forth the logical structure of the argument we will use in chapter six in our attempt to show that Nfc is self-refuting. Thus, our main topics in

More information

Conventionalism and the linguistic doctrine of logical truth

Conventionalism and the linguistic doctrine of logical truth 1 Conventionalism and the linguistic doctrine of logical truth 1.1 Introduction Quine s work on analyticity, translation, and reference has sweeping philosophical implications. In his first important philosophical

More information

The Cosmological Argument: A Defense

The Cosmological Argument: A Defense Page 1/7 RICHARD TAYLOR [1] Suppose you were strolling in the woods and, in addition to the sticks, stones, and other accustomed litter of the forest floor, you one day came upon some quite unaccustomed

More information

Some Good and Some Not so Good Arguments for Necessary Laws. William Russell Payne Ph.D.

Some Good and Some Not so Good Arguments for Necessary Laws. William Russell Payne Ph.D. Some Good and Some Not so Good Arguments for Necessary Laws William Russell Payne Ph.D. The view that properties have their causal powers essentially, which I will here call property essentialism, has

More information

Kant on the Notion of Being İlhan İnan

Kant on the Notion of Being İlhan İnan Kant on the Notion of Being İlhan İnan Bogazici University, Department of Philosophy In his Critique of Pure Reason Kant attempts to refute Descartes' Ontological Argument for the existence of God by claiming

More information

Comments on Ontological Anti-Realism

Comments on Ontological Anti-Realism Comments on Ontological Anti-Realism Cian Dorr INPC 2007 In 1950, Quine inaugurated a strange new way of talking about philosophy. The hallmark of this approach is a propensity to take ordinary colloquial

More information