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St. Anselm’s God

St. Anselm’s ontological argument for God’s existence often gets a bad rap, not just from atheists but even from many Catholics. For one thing, it can be a difficult argument to understand. Though its premises are rather simple, something about it makes us think we are being tricked. For another thing, we know that eminent authorities like St. Thomas Aquinas have expressed their discontent with the argument.

Nonetheless, I think it is wrong to discard the argument without a second thought. Indeed, I think there is still much of value to be gleaned from it. For simplicity’s sake, here’s a basic sketch of the argument:

  1. God is the greatest conceivable thing.
  2. But if something is only in the mind and not in reality, then a greater thing can be conceived.
  3. So, God cannot only be in the mind.
  4. Therefore, God exists in reality.

In short, the very idea of God necessitates his existence. Thus, the Psalmist is right when he writes, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1). Whether or not this is a perfect representation of Anselm’s argument, it should serve our purposes today.

I would like to set aside for now the objections against it as an argument for God’s existence, not because it’s not an important question. It is indeed a very important question! But before defending the argument, we have to understand better what Anselm was saying. In fact, unbelievers who point out what they believe to be its weaknesses tend to miss Anselm’s meaning, and thus end up “defeating” a straw man. Engaging in an argument without clarifying meanings is never a good idea.

Christian apologists have long been frustrated to deal with popular skeptics railing against God as something other than what he truly is. Comparisons of God to the tooth fairy or Santa Claus are often flippantly made, particularly among the New Atheist types. Pathetic as such caricatures are, they betray a conception among non-believers that God is a finite creature. But for St. Anselm, that is precisely what God is not.

In an age when religious indifference is rampant and serious contemplation of spiritual things is scarce, St. Anselm’s argument is valuable because it takes on the form of a spiritual exercise.

In reality, God is not a thing at allthings in the sense of “beings in the world” have limitations. They can always be imagined to be greater in some way. But as Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe writes, “God cannot be a thing, an existent among others. It is not possible that God and the universe should add up to make two.”

What he means is that God’s mode of existence is completely different than everything else. Indeed, God is the creator of everything, and keeps it in being every moment it exists. This is the kind of God St. Anselm has in mind when he imagines “that than which nothing greater can be conceived.”

The Anselmian proof invites us to do away with the caricatures—a challenger cannot even begin to refute the proof until he seriously entertains the notion of God presented by Anselm. From that starting point, then, all lesser kinds of “divinities”—from Zeus to the Flying Spaghetti Monster—are necessarily ruled out. We must ask the question soberly: what is the greatest conceivable thing? It is certainly not a beast composed of pasta.

There is more than one way to approach the question. We can think about God as unrestricted existence—that is, existence itself. Or in Aristotelian terms, we can think about God as being pure act and no potency—which just means that God is utterly perfect and lacks all possibility of further perfection. Technically (and as St. Thomas affirmed), to think of God as existence itself is probably the best way to think about “what” God is.

But there is another way to think about what it means for God to be, as Anselm put it, “that than which nothing greater can be conceived.” Let’s think about this in concrete terms. What is greater—a God who loves everyone who loves him back, or a God who loves everyone unconditionally? Clearly the latter, for his love is perfect. Now, such “negative theology” can help us understand what God isn’t, but it proves nothing about whether such a thing exists. Still, it can help to clarify the nature of the thing considered—the first step of serious argumentation.

In his influential book, The God of Faith and Reason, philosopher Robert Sokolowski considers another contrast, one that sheds light on St. Anselm’s meaning of God. The first “god” Sokolowski asks us to consider is one who becomes greater as the result of his creation. In this first case, “god + the world” is greater than the god alone. He contrasts this version with another in which God is so great that his creation adds nothing to his perfection. In the latter case, “God + the world” is not greater than God alone. And clearly, argues Sokolowski, this latter God is a greater conception of God than the former. Indeed, no greater God could be conceived. And there are important implications that follow from this.

One implication is that if God creates but gains nothing for himself by doing so, then it follows that God’s act of creation is completely gratuitous and unsolicited. We—the created—have everything to gain by virtue of the gift of our existence.

So, aside from what it contributes to the debate about God’s existence, St. Anselm’s ontological proof helps us to re-establish who God is and what it means for us to exist. It gets us thinking about the big questions again, for we have been created for our own good by a God who is unlimited in perfection. Our lives, then, should be lived in a way that reflects uncompromising gratitude, humility, and trust in God.

If St. Anselm’s argument fails as a proof for God’s existence, it nonetheless does great service in establishing a firm starting point for determining what it is we are trying to prove in the first place. Moreover, it compels us to think seriously about whether such a grand contention could be true.

Matt Nelson

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Matt holds a B.Ed from the University of Regina and a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto, Canada. After several years of skepticism, he returned to the Catholic Church in 2010. Now alongside his chiropractic practice, Matt is a speaker and writer for FaceToFace Ministries and Religious Education Coordinator at Christ the King Parish. He currently resides in Shaunavon, SK, with his wife, Amanda, and their daughter, Anna. Follow Matt through his blog at ReasonableCatholic.com.

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  • Scott Lynch

    Yes I have always thought Anselm’s argument failed, but also framed the question very well for Cosmological Arguments. The Ontological Argument soundly proves that if God (properly conceived) exists, then He must exist. And if God (properly conceived) does not exist, then he cannot exist. There is no room for a possibly existing God.

    • Philip Rand

      Scott Lynch

      Anselm’s ontological argument is valid and can be seen to be sound; unlike any argument put forth by Aquinas.

      • WCB-2

        All Anselm's argument does is to strap God's existence and God's being greater than anything else imaginable together. That is, if God does not exist, God then is also not the greatest thing imaginable. It is a bottom, a rank case of reification is all.

        • Philip Rand

          WCB-2

          The argument is extremely powerful and proves two things:

          1/ Reason can transcend anything rationality can formulate.
          2/ The nexus between gauge and reification.

    • Jim the Scott

      Thomist in general reject the Ontological Argument. It is based on the Platonic-Augustinian philosophical tradition and we are Aristotelians threw and threw.

      Ed Feser explains it all for us. Cheers friend.

      http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/11/anselms-ontological-argument.html

      • Ficino

        Just ruminating here: would a neo-Platonist perhaps reject the second premise? For them, the One is beyond being (cf. Republic 509c). "Das seiende Eine," the One that exists, is subordinated to the One that is beyond being. Reality presumably = being. So as pure unity, the One to which Being is not, is more perfect than the One to which being is added. In fact it is the highest metaphysical principle. It is absolutely transcendent; not having being, it is „überseiend“, above being. "Das seiende Eine" is NOT the highest principle in neo-Platonism. With the falsity of the second premise falls the Ontological Argument, on this version of neo-Platonism. ??

        • Jim the Scott

          I don't know? But a follower of Aquinas would. It could be part of the reason why a scholastic would reject premise 2 and that would be rooted in the divine incomprehensiblity.

          • Ficino

            OK. That's a different reason for rejecting premise 2 from what I think the neo-platonist would say. I don't know whether Feser's article, which you linked above, goes deep enough into Platonism. What we learn from Aristotle and Theophrastus is that in Plato's so-called unwritten doctrines, the ruling principles, ontologically superior to the Forms, were the One and the Indefinite Dyad. The One is not a form. So what one can say about essences doesn't apply to the One. It is a principle, not an essence.

            I know two neo-Platonists. They put forth some interesting and challenging arguments. But of course, I'm just an old materialist...

          • Dennis Bonnette

            If you are "just an old materialist...," try explaining this one:

            https://www.hprweb.com/2020/06/materialisms-unnoticed-achilles-heel/

          • Ficino

            Probably the most operative word in what I wrote is "old"! I've said elsewhere on here that so far, I accept that abstract objects exist, so I have a messy ontology. I don't accord them causal powers, but as I said to Johannes, I think some abstract objects serve as limiting conditions, like the relation of identity. But i haven't worked out all this, and I don't think I can expand my forays into modern ontology widely.

            I don't see reason to posit "spiritual" entities in the Thomist sense, which do have causal powers. I've never been compelled by the argument that "a concept is not material, so there must be an immaterial faculty, distinct somehow from the brain of the human, that operates on concepts."

          • Dennis Bonnette

            With all due respect, the only thing your reply clearly shows is that you did NOT even take a good look at the article to which I gave you a link above.

            That article does NOT focus on the mind's ability to form universal concepts. It does NOT focus on proving the spirituality of the human soul.

            It merely shows you that old fashioned materialism simply cannot fully explain even animal sense cognition. I give you a very detailed proof of that claim in the article.

            You really should take the time to take a good look at it, since it shows that even a literal dumb bunny does things that no materialist can explain.

          • Ficino

            No, I haven't looked at the article yet. I was replying to arguments I've seen elsewhere. I shall get to the article in due course.

          • Ficino

            Follow-up: I have now read your June article.

            That is, an immaterial effect requires an immaterial cause. Something must exist which is immaterial in order to account for the immaterial aspect of sense experience, namely, its ability to unify the sense object so as to apprehend it as a whole. Once again, it is critical to recall that “immaterial” need not mean “spiritual” in this context.

            The above is closer than I expected to what I said earlier that I don't accept about the faculty that operates upon concepts. You are arguing that there is also an immaterial sensory faculty, which must be immaterial because the apprehension of the sensed object as a whole is not material, though the senses object is material. Correct? Seems to me there is a similar line of thought.

            If a non-human animal's sensory faculties are not "spiritual," why do they not need to be spiritual? is it because you restrict "spiritual" to intellects, which can be separated from body, unlike the cognitive capacities of animals? What description is left for an immaterial faculty that isn't spiritual? If it doesn't have a body or operate by means of a body but also isn't spiritual, what is it?

            Do you understand Aquinas to teach that phantasia is the effect of the operation of an organ inside the brain, which organ is different from the several immediate organs of each of the five senses? Cf. In IV Sent 40.1.1 ad 3, In IV Meta l. 14 C693, In III DA l. 13 C793. If you agree that Aquinas so teaches, does that affect what you write about the unified perception's being the operation of an immaterial faculty? [I take it we will agree that Aquinas holds that neither possible nor active intellect operates through a bodily organ.]

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I think that a careful reading of my article will put the reader into a domain that neither strict materialism nor Cartesian dualism will explain. The following distinction is key:

            "Sense experience is immaterial because it is not extended and located in space. That is to distinguish its immateriality from the claims of physicalism or materialism, which maintains that every real thing must be extended and located in space. This immateriality is not to be confused with ascribing a spiritual nature to something, which means, not only that something is not itself extended and located in space, but also that that something is not even dependent on anything physical (that is, extended and located in space)."

            What my argument demonstrates is that the act of perceiving the whole of a sense object cannot itself be extended in space. Yet, it also cannot exist except as dependent upon physical organs which are themselves extended in space.

            But the paragraphs following the subsection entitled, "Some Physical Dependence, but Not Itself Physical," are critical to grasping the exact ontological status of such acts of perception.

            Even though they cannot exist unless the organs exist, they nonetheless possess the quality of not themselves being extended in space, and thus, the material organs by themselves cannot possibly fully explain their existence and function.

            Since neither materialism nor Cartesian dualism can explain the status of such "intermediary" entities, I explain in the article that the only remaining possibility is some form of hylemorphic explanation.

            This entire topic falls under the Thomistic doctrine of the "simplicity" of sense perception, which is standard philosophical psychology, but which gets generally ignored in the debate between gross materialism and Thomistic intellectualism.

            But it is a key failure on the part of materialism in that it simply cannot be explained by any standard physical model.

            As I said, the mystery is that it is something that any literal dumb bunny (yes, I mean a rabbit) can do, but which materialists simply cannot explain.

            The proofs for the spirituality of the intellect based on things like formation of the universal concept are totally irrelevant to the unavoidable conclusion of this sensory analysis.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            "Do you understand Aquinas to teach that phantasia is the effect of the operation of an organ inside the brain, which organ is different from the several immediate organs of each of the five senses?"

            I am sorry that in giving my reply below this one, I failed to address directly your question here.

            Strictly speaking, the point is that no organic sense faculties are the product of solely a material organ, since St. Thomas always is presupposing the hylemorphic doctrine in which all operations are the product of the entire organic entity -- form as well as matter. Speaking as if a sense's complete operation were explained entirely by the material organ qua material is simply not the full hylemorphic explanation.

            In fact, the simplicity of operation of the various sense faculties applies not only to the imagination, but also to each of the five senses in its own way. It is just that I use the sense of sight as the primary example in my article, since we can most easily imagine how it works in terms of seeing an external object as a whole. Fact is that we also "see" the whole of an image when we imagine something as being visible. It gets more complex when we explain simplicity in the acts of perception of each of the other four senses, but the general argument still works.

            We simply cannot apprehend a visible object as a whole without unifying it in such fashion that no materially extended "receiver" can do. See the article.

          • Dr. Bonnette ~~ A possible Syllogism logically compelled from Anselm's God:

            Premise: Further down in this thread Andrew comments:

            He calls God the "something the greater than which cannot be conceived" but the whole discussion about what is 'greater' than what is intrinsically a subjective notion. Deciding what is and is not a flaw is a value judgment and one cannot simply presuppose that one's value judgments are universal.

            Premise: That sort of Deflationary Truth Value is an option. However, the very notion embedded in the semantic intent when we say things like Greater / Better / More-Precise and so on will either fall into this or that reductio-ad-absurdum or else carry us into Objectivism ((either Realism or Antirealism will due for Objectivism)).

            Premise: In an odd way Anselm forced that divergence all those centuries ago. We find (there) that we are compelled into Being Itself as Goodness Itself as Reason Itself as Logic Itself as Absolute Consciousness Itself ((...and so on...)). Else reductio.

            Premise: And so the choice between the Eliminativist's terminus wrt Mind and the Theist's terminus wrt Mind seems to be an inevitable point of divergence forced by Anselm's God.

            Conclusion: IF truth value exists in our own semantic intent of GREAT / BETTER / MORE-PRECISE ((Etc.)) well THEN we must run as fast as we can from that and throw away ((eventually)) all such semantic intent and deny any "degree" of any such Truth Value ((...because there is no "degree" of Being nor "degree" of Non-Being as both are metaphysical absurdities...)) OR ELSE we must End in an Explanatory Terminus that Looks & Sounds very much like the Christian God.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I am perfectly willing to accept the conclusion of your last line! :)

          • Philip Rand

            scblhrm

            You should look at Johannes Hui's Unconditional Entity Argument. It is most interesting.

            His argument when analysed is not valid nor sound.

            However, this result is quite interesting because the trajectory of the result is that both Naturalism & Thomism arguments are not valid nor sound.

            For example both the Naturalist & the Thomist argument hinges on this proposition:

            The form of the world through the senses dictates that of the world.

            In Hui's argument form -> Unconditional Entity

            This explains the immense exposition and jargon used in any type of Thomistic analysis, for example.

          • Links please :-}

            (((Nature is unconditional as in Eternalism/4D Block etc. or in another sense?)))

          • Philip Rand

            scblhrm

            Eternalisim/4D Block, etc. are delimited conditions.... think non-delimited unconditional entity as in an entity that has no boundary conditions (which clearly is a paradox all ready).

            SEE: http://disq.us/p/2aqdxx7

          • What is your approach to J.H.'s syllogisms when it comes to Being Itself and non/de/limited and con/un/conditioned and so on?

          • Philip Rand

            He has given himself an inference free-ride ticket...this is the illusion of Naturalism & Thomism; they are bewitched by words.

          • Well. Ok but I’m not familiar with his argument. I guess my question is if there seems to be a valid argument there that you want to use ((for or against something))?

          • Philip Rand

            scblhrm

            No. His argument is a contradiction and clearly not valid, but it does highlight the anomaly in Thomism overtly. It is the error inherent within Thomism that makes Thomists become fixated on Thomism rather than the truth, i.e. the error is a fixation. The Epistle of Galatians higlights this error fixation lifestyle and The Epistle of Jude gives the destination of such a fixation, i.e. Cain, Balaam, Korah.

            I am interested in the data not the argument.

          • Okay thank you. What is the error with respect to Being Itself that you refer to? Again I'm not familiar with J.H.'s whole syllogism.

          • Philip Rand

            scblhrm

            Interesting dialectic behaviour/conversation: Posture

            Submissive credulity. Sceptical. Argumentative.

            You have been trained...

          • Sorry but J.H.'s posts are long and I don't want to spend time figuring out all of the nuance. However, if there's something with respect to Being Itself as per generic Thomism that you find to be incoherent ((or self-negating? or what?)) then you can specify that. Perhaps you hoped to have this Mapped out according to J.H.'s syllogisms and they do look interesting but to actually figure them out and wield THEM handily in any semblance of real time is, well, you can ask and I can refuse.

            Agree?

          • Philip Rand

            scblhrm

            I just gave you a syllogism defining a "form" of Being Itself. Interesting, that you missed it... very interesting....

          • What syllogism? J.H.'s is all you've given me. And? I just told you that J.H.'s posts are long and I don't want to spend time figuring out all of the nuance. Perhaps you hoped to have this Mapped out according to J.H.'s syllogisms and they do look interesting but to actually figure them out and wield THEM handily in any semblance of real time is, well, you can ask and I can refuse. Shall I treat you the same and give you new material and then call you dishonest or stupid if you decline a request of mine to have nuanced discussions about all of it?

          • Philip Rand

            scblhrm

            Interesting...

            Off-course, one can discuss what one sees on a map; this is error fixation, a negative feedback loop leading to slander.

            One cannot discuss what one cannot observe; the syllogism as you have confessed.

            Being-itself is cancelled out...

          • Please clarify what I confessed. Do you mean the fact that I did not read J.H.'s content and even told you as much? Well then you have your confession. BTW when you Google J.H. he has multiple posts over at Ed Feser's comment sections too. There is even more there than here and it all looks intriguing. Perhaps you should Google "TLDR" as I have now for the third time made the observation that while J.H.'s content looks interesting it is nonetheless a simple case of TLDR, which stands for "Too Long Didn't Read". Hence you are Air-Boxing at the moment.

          • Additionally, I meant to ask you, does J.H. have any content formalized somewhere? Time permitting it would be interesting to look at some day. So far all we've arrived at is my reply at https://strangenotions.com/st-anselms-god/#comment-5008677636

          • Philip Rand

            scblhrm

            Johannes Hui's content is long in exposition. Long exposition is ALWAYS a "sign" of a incoherency that can be measured accurately using Zipf's Law.

            Just take one of his posts concerning his theory and analyse it using Zipf's Law (it won't take long); the degree the post diverges from the constant in Zipf's Law the degree of incoherency in the comment.

            I have done this analysis to Feser & Bonnette's post topics.... According to Zipf's Law the conclusion is that Thomism is incoherent (scientifically).

          • And also the other:

          • Philip Rand

            scblhrm

            The Johannes Hui Unconditioned Entity Argument is trivial to observe it is not valid nor sound.

            I did the analysis here (you just have to look at my posts to him)... the analysis is short because the argument is a contradiction. If you had been that interested you would have seen the rejoinder.

            However,I wanted you to use your own "model" to "value" his argument. Your system appears to mirror his own.

            The Zipf Law result explains why you can't find the time to read his argument; you don't read it, i.e. to quote you:

            Sorry but J.H.'s posts are long and I don't want to spend time figuring out all of the nuance

            is because the argument is incoherent... and that is your intuition; Zipf Law simply generalises the "measurement" that creates the phenomenal output of his argument, i.e. a "value" to the degree of incoherence.

            But, it is interesting, very interesting that... that the negative feedback that you give does indeed end up in slander.... very interesting.... the result is deterministic.... again, error fixation is the cause...

            Yes, we are done, error fixation always leads to a zero-sum result!

            This is the reason your concept of mutual understanding is unreasonable.

            Thanks for the data.

          • What is my intuition? That J.H. is mistaken? How can I have any intuition about something I've not unpacked yet?

            Why haven't I read it yet? Because I intuit that it's incoherent? How can I have any intuition about something I've not unpacked yet?

            Didn't I say it looks intriguing? Why do you claim I'm a liar about that?

            Read your analysis? Why? How can I understand your analysis of something I didn't read yet? Can you explain THAT to me? Think about what you just said: "Don't read X. Just read my analysis of X and you'll see". That's asinine.

            And you didn't answer my question: why ask me to read it in the first place when "Long" is enough to discount it?

            Lastly, please address why you are calling me a liar.

          • You say my intuition is what? That J.H. is mistaken? How can I have any intuition about something I've not unpacked yet?

            You also commented that I have not read J.H.'s content yet because I feel that it is incoherent. Why do you say that? How can I have any intuition about something I've not read yet?

            I said it looks intriguing. Do you claim that I was not telling the truth when I said that?

            You ask me to read your analysis of J.H. even though I've not read J.H. But how can I understand your analysis of something I didn't read yet? Can you explain that to me?

            Think about what you just said: "Don't read X. Just read my analysis of X and you'll see". How is that a rational way for me to come to understand J.H. when reading his content would add to my understanding too?

            And you didn't answer my question: why ask me to read it in the first place when "Long" is enough to discount it?

            Lastly: I said J.H.'s content looks intriguing. Please address if your claim is that I was not telling the truth when I said that.

          • Ficino

            I can't speak for Daniel Dennett or someone. I don't accept that "to be is to be material." As I've said before, so far I accept that if we can quantify truly over variables when their values are abstract objects, then I accept that the abstract objects exist, even if only as semantic entities with no causal powers. I think it's false that we can say something true of a sentence form if the sentence form doesn't exist. As I've said, I haven't worked through all of this, since I'm not prepared to be a full-blown Platonist.

            I am not prepared to endorse your argument in your June 5 article:
            1. we aren't authorized to say that the perceiving animal simply "grasps the object as a whole." As far as I know, this is false. The perceiver filters what is perceived. Refresh your memory of Kant and Schopenhauer. I don't accept that "the whole" is perceived, and you want to have your cake and eat it too when you say

            Nor do I even necessarily mean even the whole of the side of an object facing me. It suffices that merely some extended patch of color be seen, since that which is not extended at all could not be seen at all. When we see any extended surface, we see all its parts at once — and that is to experience a “whole.”

            If we only perceive aspects of the thing, you can't say we perceive "the whole."
            2. You seem to be reformulating the argument from the qualia. I haven't worked on that in depth. I've supposed it's sufficient to be a property dualist.
            3.

            Sense experience is immaterial because it is not extended and located in space.

            There are a lot of operations performed by bodies. I don't consider the operations, or internal effects of the operations, themselves to be bodies. Even in the case of locomotion, the body is extended in this defined space, then in that one, but the motion is not the body. The motion is an actuality of the body. So I don't think it's a big deal to point out that the qualia aren't brain or nerve cells. They're a different category of property.

            So I don't know the "Giants" of Plato's criticism, who maintain that nothing can exist if it is not a body.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I am certainly not a Platonist and the problem I propose in my article is not a problem of logical expression, but rather the actual immediately-known sense experience. Nor do we escape the argument I pose by retreating to assumed "subjective forms" that condition consciousness ala Kant.

            The only way to "get" the force of the argument is to go through it step by step, since I explain a lot of possible misunderstandings as I proceed.

            "If we only perceive aspects of the thing, you can't say we perceive "the whole." "

            This is where I think you are having a problem understanding what I mean by a "whole." It does not mean grasping somethings essence, or doing an MRI of every least physical aspect of it. Nor does it matter what "aspect" you consider as long as it is something physical.

            That is because basically I am saying anything you experience through your senses (especially sight) is somehow extended in space, meaning it has parts outside of parts. But the subjective experience has to unify that experience, or else you really do not experience anything at all. That is why TV screens do not "see" the image that is on them!

            That is why I use an example like a TV image which is composed of thousands of discrete pixels, which in themselves know nothing at all. But a living dog looking at an image on a screen sees the top and bottom all at once.

            It does not matter whether or not he recognizes it as an image of another dog. The key insight is that nothing is experienced at all unless somehow the subjective experience unifies the top and bottom, left and right sides, of the object sensed. That is why a very detailed and slow reading of my argument is essential.

            I am not reformulating anything, since the modern notion of qualia is merely a rehash of the subjective sense experience that the ancients knew well and better understood long ago.

            "So I don't think it's a big deal to point out that the qualia aren't brain or nerve cells. They're a different category of property."

            Here is where my distinction between physical things, merely immaterial things, and spiritual things becomes crucial.

            Genuine materialism maintains that whatever is real is either material as extended in space (time) or else must depend on what is so extended. But that is why my article explains how "emergent" properties are not fully explained by the material universe qua material.

            In a nutshell, what is extended in space simply cannot explain what is not extended in space, and so, the latter cannot be fully explained as coming from (emerging from) the former. I treat that explicitly in my essay.

            As for the property called "motion," that is a metaphysical can of worms in its own right. Notwithstanding, whatever is in motion in a purely material ontology is itself extended in space, and so, cannot really explain what is itself not extended in space. The problem with motion is that it is the coming to be of new qualities of being that did not exist before the change. That entails the "fight" over the prima via, which is a very different alley to chase down! I refer to my other SN article here: https://strangenotions.com/how-new-existence-implies-god/

            The devil in this analysis is in the details, and hand waving with general terms simply does not account for the phenomena to be explained, namely, how can what is sensed as an object physically extended in space, be subjectively experienced in a really unified manner -- if one assumes that the "receiving end" of the subjective experience it itself physically extended in space -- so that one part must represent one part and nothing grasps the whole as such?

            Dragging in a different philosophical map simply does not answer the essential problem I describe in my essay. That is why it takes so many words to try to make sure the reader does not miss the point. Yet, it seems you have missed a central element of the argument, since you do not appear to grasp what I mean by "sensing the whole."

          • Ficino

            Have you considered sending your article to a journal like Mind?

            In your article, you defined your target, materialism, this way:

            Materialism goes under many names, for example, physicalism, scientific materialism, metaphysical materialism, and atomism. What they all have in common is the insistence that all that is real is solely physical or material things. For the purposes of this paper, what is physical or material shall be understood to mean that which is extended and located in space, and has parts outside of parts.

            But in your last comment, you expanded your definition to this:

            Genuine materialism maintains that whatever is real is either material as extended in space (time) or else must depend on what is so extended.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            "But in your last comment, you expanded your definition to this:" F

            "Genuine materialism maintains that whatever is real is either material as extended in space (time) or else must depend on what is so extended." DB

            Good catch! Materialism does come is a nuanced form in the hands of "emergentists," such as the Marxists. That is why the latter part of my article addresses that claim and points out that getting non-extended "physical" reality out of extended physical reality is like getting a rabbit out of a hat, or getting being from non-being. The essay handles this method of attempting to evade its argument.

            As to sending this piece to a peer reviewed journal, such as Mind, I really gave it no thought. I am well past the time I need to publish or perish and too old to have the patience for the peer review process. My Espiritu article took something like two years to get into print as they went through three sequential reviewers.

            I grant that you are a professional classicist and are more familiar with semantical usage than am I. But this is not a matter of mere usage of terms. I am sure you wish I would be more precise and consistent in such usage. Still, that in no way defeats the reality of the argument.

            The problem for materialists in any form is that we experience sense objects as a whole, that is, as something extended in space, but in a unified manner. Physical objects are extended, meaning they have parts outside of parts, but they are not in themselves unified. Yet, we experience them as something apprehended as a whole, that is, as one. I am sorry if I cannot express this with the clarity and precision you seem to demand, but that does NOT mean what I say is either meaningless or false!

            Think of that example of the image on a TV screen, where the pixels that make it up are discrete and physically separate. But a sensing organism, even a rabbit, sees the whole image in a single act of experience -- something which simply does not and cannot exist on the TV screen itself.

            All the semantics in the world cannot avoid the problem. And yes, you might have to think about it a bit before its force becomes unavoidable. For my imprecision in presenting the argument, I apologize. But I do not apologize for the argument itself, since it is clearly valid ontologically.

            And it is grounded in our immediate experience, since we perceive extended objects in a single, unified act whereby we simultaneously and in one act grasp the multiplicity and extension of the parts of the physical object. So, all the secondary logical theories, which deal with the order of second intentions or concepts, cannot touch it.

            Finally, you have another good catch in my last reply (which was not in the article itself), when I made reference to ":the subjective sense experience that the ancients knew well and better understood long ago."

            As I conceded, you are a good classicist. My mistake. By "ancients," I was not thinking of your Greek or Roman sources, but merely should have used the term "scholastic" instead, since the medieval scholastics were well aware of the reality and importance of the contents of subjective consciousness.

          • WCB-2

            In the time of Descartes, mid 1600, Descartes erected his philosophical system. He was aiming to put philosophy on a sound footing and to work his way from there to putting theology on a sound system. Princess Elizabeth of Bavaria wrote him, asking how soul could influence material. This started a long debate among some of the smartest people in Europe, including Leibniz. In the end, they had no answer. The whole debate petered out in a discussion about occasionalism, which didn't solve the issue and didn't strike many as reasonable.

            Science continued on, but on a basis of methodological naturalism. The most orthodox Christian astronomy and the rank atheist astronomer did astronomy in the same manner. Same with anatomy, physics and a;ll other sciences. William of Okham and others had stated god does not work by a series of miracles, miracles were rare. God set up nature, secondary causes, to run without interference from God, or need of his constant attention. This idea undelaid Descartes mechanical philosophy.

            There is no evidence a soul actually exists, and that a soul has anything to do with the real material world. Among scientists, that idea has been dead and gone since to 1700's when the whole debate became a dead issue.

            There are non-material things in science, but are dependent of material, physical things. In the term of art in modern analytical philosophy, abstract objects.

            Theologians have been trying to shoehorn, God, souls, supernaturalism into science without success. None of that explains anything, is the basis of any science, is useful as any sort of explanation, it is a dead parrot.

            This linked article misses the point totally.

            The problem with God is that God has other issues, problem of evil, free will vs omniscience and more. Supernaturalism is an empty set of assertions. So it is not a big step from methodological naturalism to metaphysical naturalism. Prove a soul actually exists. Solve for real the issues God as a concept has. Demonstrate that supernatural realms exist. Until then, methodological naturalism will exist and is quite respectable.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            You clearly are familiar with the history of modern philosophy. But your hang up about the soul-body split caused by Descartes shows you are not familiar with the earlier classical Aristotelian doctrine of hylemorphism that avoids all the mind/body problem nonsense that confused the entire history of modern philosophy you seem so enamoured with.

            Given your very evident commitment to some form of scientific materialism, I won't waste my time trying to rebut every confusion you have about the nature of God, proofs for his existence, and his relation to the world. But, if you are honestly interested in my perspective on these questions, I have some twenty-five or so articles on these very subjects already published on this web site. Just look them up under my name on the list of main contributors.

            But to directly challenge your assumed intellectual supremacy on these questions, I refer you to the following article published in an online journal -- an article that shows a real defect in your blatant materialism: https://www.hprweb.com/2020/06/materialisms-unnoticed-achilles-heel/

            Rather than simply dismiss it as a product of some kind of Christian bias, I invite you to wrestle with its secular logic, since it shows something that materialism cannot explain -- not even with the assumption of non-material emergence, as I explain in the article.

            And it is NOT a proof for God or the human spiritual soul, but merely something that even a "dumb bunny" can do, but which even the smartest materialist cannot explain.

          • WCB-2

            I am quite familiar with hylemorphism. There is no evidence for any such thing, so it is of little interest to me. It gets brought up only as a Russell's Teapot sort of thing, a challenge to disprove it. I have been very interested in the problems of how the soul interacts with matter, and how the bizarre theory of occasionalism so many bright people wasted time with. What interests me is how the whole debate created modern science, free of such futile speculations of theology and metaphysics. Science cut that Gordian knot for good.

            The whole science vs theology debate is still a hot item amongst many, but, but methodological naturalism rules the world of science. Whether on is an orthodox Christian or atheist scientist, they all if they are competent scientists do science the same. Aristotle's hylomorphism has about the same status in science as occasionalism I am afraid.

            I am far more familiar than you think with all the supposed proofs of God.

            The problem with God is that there are too many problems with the entire concept for that to be true. Perhaps you might have been following my 'debate' with Jim the Scott and God and time. And more. what about logic? Did God create logic and math as Descartes thought? Or is that something from outside and beyond God? Problems either way we answer that.

            I love these damned if you say this, damned if you say that dilemmas. Working things out to their logical conclusions. That is the way my mind works.

            Hylomorphism is not something we will find any real, working scientists would think likely, useful, or worth debating. Aristotle was a very ignorant man. He knew no physics worth bothering with, no biology, nothing about cosmology, quantum physics. He had no telescopes, no microscopes.

            So Aristotle was reduced to speculations and abstract thinking about things he had no real knowledge about. It was a start but science has moved on, and since the days of Descartes and debates on occasionalism, the old metaphysics of pre-Descartes is of little use to science. Aristotle was wrong about a lot of things, Galileo loved debunking him. And in the Condemnations of 1277, his theological speculations were declared heresies so, it is not like even theology accepted him as an expert on such things.

            Pierre Bayles Stratonician atheism, nature need nothing outside of nature to explain nature, rules science today.
            The part played by the lack of an answer to Princess Elizabeth's letter to Descartes created modern science as we know it, freed from theology and theological metaphysics. One of the most important changes in human history.

          • Jim the Scott

            So many errors. You really don't understand the topic. IMHO. That is not meant as an insult. That is merely an opinion based on observation.

            >I am quite familiar with hylemorphism. There is no evidence for any such thing, so it is of little interest to me.

            Clearly that is not true. Hylemorphism is a philosophical theory and as such involves qualitative analysis of knowledge not quantitative. Evidence has nothing to do with it as that is quantitative a philosopher of the mind from a contra Hylemorphist school (like a substance dualist or property dualist or reductionist materialist etc)would formulate a philosophical defeater to answer Hylemorphism. Here you are again. The mad archeologist who is trying to dig up a higgs boson.

            So color us skeptical.

            >I have been very interested in the problems of how the soul interacts with matter, and how the bizarre theory of occasionalism so many bright people wasted time with. What interests me is how the whole debate created modern science, free of such futile speculations of theology and metaphysics. Science cut that Gordian knot for good.

            So basically yer a positivist who believe science is the only meaningful knowledge. Except that view itself is not a scientific view ergo by its own standard is not meaningful.

            Positivism is irrational & hopelessly incoherent even if materialism and or metaphysical naturalism is true.

            >Hylomorphism is not something we will find any real, working scientists would think likely, useful, or worth debating.

            Well it is not a topic of science it is a topic of the philosophy of the mind. I don't expect scientists to care anymore than I expect a archeologist to give a fig about a Higgs boson.

            We are classic Theists here. Rob, Mark, Myself and Dr. B.

            All of us believe God is a philosophical question alone and not a scientific one. Any "scientific god" to us is a false god.

            Yer positivism won't server you here.

            It is irrational. Here is the problem one can believe in reductionist materialism and or metaphysical naturalism and still reject yer incoherent belief that those are scientific question. One could be a reductionist materialist in terms of the mind and still know that is part of the discipline of the philosophy of the mind and not science.

            I am afraid till you either justify or abandon yer Positivism you having nothing meaningful to say to us.

            Dr. B believes in Evolution and so do I & we all believe in science and no Catholic here believes God is a scientific question.

            So why are you here?

          • WCB-2

            Hylomorphism is a set of ideas spread through a number of Aristotle's works. Physics, Metaphysics, De Anima. Some of it is based on ideas not really well defined, and so people have been arguing for centuries and still are arguing about what it all means. Plus people over centuries who went on to create their own versions of it. Aristotle made a lot of claims that have not panned out. He adopted Empedocles ideas that their are four elements, water, air, fire and earth. Qualitative indeedy. And then we have his speculations on the nature of the soul, which might be of interest to religious metaphysicians, but to nobody else. His ideas about the nature of God are no longer believed by atheists or Christians or anybody but a few. Only Thomists like Ed Feser think Aristotle is important in these matters today.

            It is a dead parrot. I know enough about it to not be interested in wasting much time on it. Most certainly, it has nothing to offer science or materialists and naturalists.

            The most notice Aristotle gets in modern science is the fact that Galileo, a physics professor threw out all the physics of his day, including Aristotle's idea of physics and started physics from scratch. Science is about testing ideas, and not mere speculations in a metaphysical vein. Empiricism enterd the world of physics and science with a bang. Galileo was far more interesting and effective than Aristotle with his metaphysics and hylomorphism. Since then, hylemorphism has been a moribund idea only religious philosophers think is important. It is a deepity that really means nothing, so can be made to mean anything you want. Hence the arguments as to what it all means that go on today about it all.

            There are more interesting an important issues to think about."

            Why am I here? "
            "StrangeNotions.com is the central place of dialogue between Catholics and atheists.".

            Positivism? There you go again. I am an atheist, a hard atheist. I have read far, far too much theology to look at the best theology has to offer and find it wanting. I am looking for hard evidence. And won't accept propositions based solely on speculation, empty assertions and I demand good hard evidence. If I see holes in arguments, I don't accept them.
            I am not a posivitist, a victim of scientism, or an illiterate, ignorant village atheist etc.

            Science has it's place, but then using good philosophy and metaphysics to critique theology has it's place to. It was you who stated that God was off limits to science, And was for metaphysicians only. I can wear my philosopher's cap as well as any. But yes, sometimes science has something to say about this all too. Again, that is common sense.

            Hylomorphism is a topic about the mind? Aristotle was ignorant, he did not know about cells, the anatomy of the human brain, axons, synapses and much, much more. We know a lot more now. Not to twit Aristotle for ignorance, but he had not the instruments to even see a cell, much understand anything about brains, and how they worked to create mind. So any sensible person knowing this will take his speculations with a grain of salt.

            There is much more good ideas to be found in the Cognitive Sciences. The books of Oliver Sacks are pretty rewarding.

            Then there are Aristotle's four causes, which gives us a telelogical metaphysics, while modern science is not teleolgical. You speak of evolution? I did not mention evolution. But evolution has abandoned teleology long ago.
            Primitive animals did not evolve to an end, say becoming, fish, dinosaurs, birds, mammoths, naked rat moles or hominids.

            Again, I am not a Posivitist. and science, this is not about science, it is about the weakness of theology's claims about God, the Universe and bad metaphysics.

            This was a post about ontological proofs. It starts with the claim God is that that is so great, nothing greater can be conceived. I brought up the issue of time and God to demonstrate that initial proposition for Anselm's ontological proof was unsound. Is God inside or outside time? Either way, it is a problem for God who is defined as good and creates all moral evil, or who is subject to time and physics and more. Close connected is the issue of does God create the metaphysical necessities, logic, mathematics et al?

            This is all about testing ideas by taking them to their logical ends. That is all. I find the God proposition wanting. That is all.

            If you cannot understand this, you will never understand what hard atheism is. Or what atheology is about.

            I have successfully undermined Anselm's initial proposition and thus his ontological proof. I can do that, making you accept that is another issue. But that is not my job here. The issue of God and time awaits resolution. Hylomorphism doesn't do the trick I am afraid.

          • Philip Rand

            WCB-2

            1/ The issue of God and time awaits resolution.
            RESOLUTION: Heisenberg world-picture.
            2/ Hylomorphism doesn't do the trick I am afraid.
            RESOLUTION: Jernes anti-body theory.

            Resolutions 1/ & 2/ are evidence of Anselm Ontological Argument.

          • WCB-2

            Jerme's theory has not al all to do with Anselm. Non sequitur.
            Heisenberg's picture has nothing to do with Anselm's ontological proof. Non seqitur.

          • Philip Rand

            WCB-2

            Provably incorrect...

            The Anselm's ontological argument is extremely powerful and proves two things:

            1/ Reason can transcend anything rationality can formulate.
            2/ The nexus between gauge and reification.

            The argument models:

            system environment

          • WCB-2

            Gaunilo's reply. Attaching the word greatest to something, does not make it all of a sudden poof into existence. Not God, not the perfect island. If I state there is a magic rainbow farting unicorn that is perfect and there for, being defined as perfect, must exist, nobody is going to buy that. Anselm's ontological proof is simply playing on our emotions, it is not logically sound.

            It is possible a God exists but in fact is not a perfect being.

            A god outside of time that creates all at once, timelessly, including all acts of moral evil, is not a perfect being.

          • Philip Rand

            WCB-2

            You have tabled:
            "Attaching the word greatest to something, does not make it all of a sudden poof into existence.".
            Implicit in this statement is the Principle of Continuity which is the Anselm Ontological Argument.

            Despite your will , you are constrained to accept this principle otherwise you would be unable to continue to make "statements".

            Remember, the Anselm Argument is not about "what you say" it is about participatory reality. You are participating; therefore you prove the argument.

          • Philip Rand

            WCB-2

            Again, provably incorrect...

            Two interesting consequences of the Anselm Ontological Argument:

            1/ Logical analysis of the square-of-opposition of Stephen Law's Evil God Challenge mirror-system confirms the plausibility of a perfect being.

            2/ Dynamical stability analysis of John Zande's TOOAIN concept confirms the impossibility of a less than perfect being.

          • Jim the Scott

            Yer long stream of consciousness is tedious and has the character and competence of the musings of a Young Earth Creationist with a fifth grader's level of knowledge of biology arguing with a bunch of grad students in genetics about evolution.

            Yer knowledge of philosophy and the place of philosophy and science is equal to that. That is obvious. It is not meant to insult you it is just an unavoidable observable fact and in this case we obviously cannot deny empiricism.

            Anyway I will try to employ some brevity.

            >I am not a posivitist, a victim of scientism, or an illiterate, ignorant village atheist etc.

            "What? I'm not doing anything." Where the words I said decades ago to my then college girl friend (the one that got away) while I had my arm around her trying to get some side boob. The former statement above was my response to her when she smiled and first said to me "Don't think I don't know where yer hand is buster".

            Yeh she didn't buy it and I don't by yer statement above either. One cannot ignore a hand on a side boob or an obvious positivist and philosophical illiterate.

            >Why am I here? "
            "StrangeNotions.com is the central place of dialogue between Catholics and atheists.".

            Then why are you wasting everybody's time talking about a god other than the Catholic God? Well? The ID crowd is over at UNCOMMON DESCENT. Have at them.

            Yer even trying to tell us what the Council of Trent means. Yeh it doesn't endorse or mandate fundamentalism.

            > I am an atheist, a hard atheist.

            So am I toward the theistic personalist strawman "god" you have been wasting everybody's time banging on about.

            >I have read far, far too much theology to look at the best theology has to offer and find it wanting.

            So far I don't see any evidence of this.

            >I am looking for hard evidence. And won't accept propositions based solely on speculation, empty assertions and I demand good hard evidence.

            The only hard evidence we have is you are gaslighting us & you don't understand the difference between quantitative knowledge vs qualitative knowledge or category mistakes or non-starter arguments. Also you clearly don't understand philosophy.

            There is an Atheist Poster here named Skeptical Thinking Power. He tries to offer philosophical arguments to answer Classic Theism. He knows you can't argue against Classic Theism using science. He rejects positivism.

            You are not on his level my friend. You need to go do some reading then get back to us.

            >This was a post about ontological proofs.

            Which must be addressed via philosophy not science. You have been trying to bring in science and my analogy of you being like the mad archeologist who wastes his time trying to dig up a higgs boson is spot on I am afraid.

            Also Aquinas delivered the kill shot to this argument long before you came along.

            >It starts with the claim God is that that is so great, nothing greater can be conceived.

            Which is wrong as Aquinas noted God is in His essence inconceivable so you cannot in principle conceive of it.

            See that wasn't hard and I didn't need to waste anybody's time with useless appeals to the nature of space time.

            > I brought up the issue of time and God to demonstrate that initial proposition for Anselm's ontological proof was unsound.

            Which was a category mistake since God's timelessness means God is without time. Not that God is outside of Space Time at some point between Multiverses or whatever. "Time" here is understood and the measure of change not space time.

            So you mucked up the works with irrelevancies. Aquinas OTOH delivered a kill shot. Thus the ontological argument is invalid.

            > Close connected is the issue of does God create the metaphysical necessities, logic, mathematics et al?

            Maybe Descartes' false god (he was put on the Index and his work was marked suspect for a reason)?

            But we are Classic Theists here. Descartes "god" is like Plantinga' "god" neither exist and we are all hard core Atheists here toward that God.

            Anselm was a Classic Theist and his understanding of the ontological argument was a wee bit different. Of course anybody who reads Feser or has a PhD like Dr. B knows this.

            You clearly do not. Come back when you have done some reading. You can stay and continue to spout yer streams of consciousness but nobody will take you seriously.

            That is not meant as a cruelty. Those are just the facts. Get good scrub or go try yer arguments on the ID crowd. Yer understanding of "god" is closer to them than to us.

            Cheers and peace be with you.

            >I have successfully undermined Anselm's initial proposition and thus his ontological proof.

            Not even close. Aquinas already did that centuries ago.

          • WCB-2

            Your stream of consciousness, ad hominems, straw men, side tracking attempts and inability to deal with the issue of God and time I have posed is VERY tedious.

            "Then why are you wasting everybody's time talking about a god other than the Catholic God?"

            4th Lateran council tells us that the Simplicity of God is a dogma. There is then nothing outside the Catholic God. See also Vatican II. Nothing outside of God, God created everything. This seems to imply God created time. Time is not outside of God. God is good, it is a perfect infinite good underlying all goodness of the Universe. Standard catholic dogma. God created logic, and is perfectly wise. Standard Catholic dogma. Now we are back to god, outside of time, creating everything at once. As I quoted from Augustine's claim. So all evil moral acts are God's creation, God as defined, perfectly good, and wise is not as defined as good.
            Free will for sentient beings God creates is impossible.

            Now what?

            Can we get something out of you besides name calling and cries of "Posivism!". Is a God that creates all moral evil really the greatest conceivable being? Can you overthrow the dogma of simplicty of God to save God from being the author of all moral evil?

            If you have no answer for us, admit it and stop with the ad hominems and diversions and non sequiturs. Drop this discussion, sit on it, think on it, and come back later if you can find a real answer.

            This is not personal, it is about doing good atheology, running theological claims ot to their logical conclusions.

          • Jim the Scott

            You don't even have yer own original response. But I am flattered at yer imitation. At least your are copying from somebody who knows what he is talking about...most of the time if I am humble (which is very rare).

            >4th Lateran council tells us that the Simplicity of God is a dogma

            Yes it is but I am skeptical you can actually tell me what it means to claim God is simple. I know it means God contains no real physical or metaphysical distinctions. Do you know that? Do you even understand what that means? I won't hold my breath.

            >There is then nothing outside the Catholic God.
            Nothing outside of God, God created everything.

            None of that makes any sense. You are just stringing words together without meaning.

            >This seems to imply God created time.

            What kind of time and in what sense? God created things that change and said change can be measure over a duration which is metaphysically what time is and or God if He created some type of Block Universe (mind you that is a mere mathematical model & philosophical concept not something we can know via science) he caused the fourth dimension to exist. So what?

            >Time is not outside of God.

            Which kind of time? Space time or metaphysical time?
            You do not understand the difference it seems. Time is distinct from what God is wither we are talking about Space Time or Metaphysical Time. But God indirectly causes Metaphysical time to exist by making things that change and directly if He causes Space Time to exist.

            >God created logic, and is perfectly wise.

            No Logic and intelligibility are perfections and are part of the divine essence in the notional sense. God didn't create them. That is just plain silly. God is by nature Metaphysically Necessary He can't create Metaphysical Necessity. How do you create the uncreated?

            Wow you don't understand anything. Why should I bother continuing this conversation with you?

            >God created logic, and is perfectly wise. Standard Catholic dogma.

            I've read Ott and Denzinger and the councils no such dogma is listed.

            Since you imitated my response to you I will return the favor.

            If you have no answer for us, admit it and stop with the ad hominems and diversions and non sequiturs. Drop this discussion, sit on it, think on it, and come back later if you can find a real answer.

            Let's face it WCB-2 you haven't written anything here that is even remotely informed or intelligent.

            You should kick back and go read some Graham Oppy or Jack Smart. Some actual Atheists Philosopher and get back too us.

          • WCB-2

            Simplicty of God is one of Christianity's oldest theological concepts. It can be found in Iraeneus,Clement of Alexandria, Augustine and others.

            Augustine, City of God
            There is, accordingly, a good which is alone simple, and therefore alone unchangeable, and this is God. By
            this Good have all others been created, but not simple, and therefore not unchangeable.

            Iraeneus
            He is a simple, uncompounded Being, without diverse
            members, and altogether like, and equal to himself, since He is wholly understanding, and wholly
            spirit, and wholly thought, and wholly intelligence, and wholly reason, and wholly hearing, and wholly seeing, and wholly light, and the whole source of all that is good—even as the religious and pious are wont to speak concerning God.

            Clement of Alexandria
            For bow can that be expressed which is neither genus, nor
            difference, nor species, nor individual, nor number; nay more, is neither an event, nor that to which an event
            happens? No one can rightly express Him wholly. For on account of His greatness He is ranked as the All, and
            is the Father of the universe. Nor are any parts to be predicated of Him.

            4th Lateran council
            1. Confession of Faith
            We firmly believe and simply confess that there is only one true God, eternal and immeasurable, almighty, unchangeable, incomprehensible and ineffable, Father, Son and holy Spirit, three persons but one absolutely
            simple essence, substance or nature {1} .

            Lots of books on the subject.
            James E. Dolezal, God Without Parts: Divine Simplicity and the Metaphysics of God’s Absoluteness

            Thus Simplicity Of God posits there is nothing outside and beyond god, so time is not outside of God, nor limit's God sovereignty.

            Your theology lesson for today. No need to thank me.

          • Jim the Scott

            In other words God contains no real physical or metaphysical distinctions in the divine essence. That is what all those Church Fathers mean and I can read my theology mannuels(who cite all those Fathers & councils BTW).

            >Thus Simplicity Of God posits there is nothing outside and beyond god, so time is not outside of God, nor limit's God sovereignty.

            None of which actually follows from the Fathers you proof texted nor from the doctrine itself. Special pleading with quote bombing is not an argument.

            >Your theology lesson for today. No need to thank me.

            It that what you call that? I do have two questions for ya? What are you smoking and where can I score some?

          • WCB-2

            And black is white. No. I can read these quotes quite well, thank you. Who should I believe you or my lying eyes?

            "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool."
            Richard P. Feynman.

          • Jim the Scott

            I can read the same quotes. I just interpret them according to the Scholastic Philosophical school. You know....correctly and you don't. I understand them and all of them without exception mean God contains no real physical distinctions (i.e He has no physical parts) and no real metaphysical distinction (i.e. no passive potencies that can be put into Act by something already in Act).
            In Dr. B's classes I would get an A. You would flunk the course.
            I've done the reading. I have read Garrigou-Lagrange. Have you? I have read Feser and Davies. You clearly haven't read anything but Plantinga and Descartes neither of whom are Classic Theist. They are at best Theistic Personalists or Neo Theists. Wrong god.

            Feynman's words are wisdom. But they apply to you as much as you think they apply to me. You have fooled yerself into thinking there is a one size fits all view of Time and or God and or knowledge(SCIENCE ALONE!!) and it isn't convincing even if there are no god.

            If I become an Atheist tomorrow two things will happen. I will tempted to become more of a bastard than I currently am without the fear of Hell keeping in line. The Second is I will tell you too yer face everything you wrote here is wrong. You don't understand Classic Theism or scholasticism or philosophy or Catholicism. Add you should sit at the back of the class and hit the books.

            Now let me repeat before you loose it. Yer incompetence in offering any valid criticism of divine timelessness doesn't make me right to believe in a Timeless God or any God and you wrong to be an Atheist. But until you put in the work you will never make a good argument for yer "valid truth".

            Also ditch the Positivism and learn philosophy or limit yer anti-theist polemics to the ID crowd and the Theistic Personalist.

            Yer choice become a better atheist or remain a scrub.

          • WCB-2

            A timeless God is attached at the hip to the official dogma of Simplicity of God.

            He is the God who, from beyond space and time, can do
            this and wills to do it, the God who will put his almighty power to
            work for this plan.
            Catechism of the Catholic Church - Vatican website.

            All you have left is invective? Dr. Bonnett is invited to show us how God and Time work, and which horn of the dilemma to choose.

            Valid truth is that God and time are serious problems for theology. Theologians theorize about it endlessly with a real solution. How many angels can dance on the top of a clock?

          • Jim the Scott

            >A timeless God is attached at the hip to the official dogma of Simplicity of God.

            Well God is timeless because the doesn't change so it is more accurate to claim the doctrine of the divine immutability is linked to the doctrine of the divine timelessness.

            But I don't expect you to know that due too yer lack of competence. The simplicity means God is not a physical being divided into parts and God contains no passive potencies that can be actualized since God is already Pure Act. But I don't expect you to know that.

            >He is the God who, from beyond space and time, can do
            this and wills to do it, the God who will put his almighty power to work for this plan.
            Catechism of the Catholic Church - Vatican website.

            That is a lovely poetic statement from the CCC but it has nothing to do with the doctrine of the divine timelessness per say. When the CCC intends to give a definition it usually fleshes it out & explains in a popular fashion such as when the CCC explains the Trinity or deity of Christ. But CCC 205 doesn't explain the meaning of the phrase "beyond space and time" so it is not legitimate for you read yer own ideas into it. It is only legitimate for us to real our theology and tradition scholastic philosophy into it.

            Catechisms give a popular summery of the concepts of the faith but they are not deep philosophical or theological texts. Even the CCC which you will note give no definition or explanation as to the meaning of the phase "beyond space and time".

            Additionally if you had bothered to check the footnotes:
            230 Even when he reveals himself, God remains a mystery beyond words: "If you understood him, it would not be God" (St. Augustine, Sermo 52, 6, 16: PL 38, 360 and Sermo 117, 3, 5: PL 38, 663).

            So given the mystery of God we cannot take these statements literally but analogously.
            .

            >All you have left is invective? Dr. Bonnett is invited to show us how God and Time work, and which horn of the dilemma to choose.

            Repeating yer arguments I already destroyed doesn't make them true.

            >Valid truth is that God and time are serious problems for theology. Theologians theorize about it endlessly with a real solution. How many angels can dance on the top of a clock?

            Actually divine timelessness is only a problem for Theistic Personalism and or overly anthropomorphic views of God. The same with the Trinity and the Incarnation.

            https://strangenotions.com/a-bad-case-against-classical-theism/

            Classic theism has no such problem except in the fever swamps of yer imagination.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I hesitate to intervene between your comment and Jim the Scott's excellent point by point refutation of your comment that he gives below. But I want to add three observations of my own.

            First, I am glad to see that you are a theist after all. You have a god. Your god is natural science. And your faith in it is purely fideistic, that is, without rational support which would require even a modicum of philosophical reflection. The fact is that natural science itself rests on philosophical presuppositions, such as acceptance of epistemological realism and certain basic first principles without which methodological naturalism would be incoherent.

            Second, you continue your positivistic diatribe without even showing the intellectual curiosity of having checked out the link to my article, "Materialism's Achilles Heel," which offers detailed proof, even in scientific terms, as to why materialism cannot explain the real phenomenon of the unification of sensory experience into wholes. If you really want to know what I am talking about you will have to read my article. Here again is the link: https://www.hprweb.com/2020/06/materialisms-unnoticed-achilles-heel/

            Third, and most appalling, you actually wrote these words: "Aristotle was a very ignorant man."

            If you mean by that merely that he did not know some of the things discovered in the subsequent two thousand years of human history, the statement is trivial at best, since it can be applied to any human being, including yourself -- since none of us know the positive discoveries of the future.

            But in absolute terms, such a statement manifests an amazing intellectual myopia. I have never seen anyone say this of Aristotle before, since he is universally regarded as one of the greatest minds ever to live.

            If you have attended any present day university, you have been exposed to a curriculum whose subject content was largely invented by Aristotle himself. He gave us the initial definitions of the disciplines of logic, rhetoric, physics, chemistry, metaphysics, biology, psychology, astronomy, literature, and of the wider studies of which most college courses are subdivisions.

            You mock his science, and, indeed, it has been rightly said that Aristotle set science back fifteen hundred years. But that was mostly because his works were so accepted that no one bothered to try to replace them for that long!

            Doubtless, you would accuse him of lacking an empirical method, but that is totally false. Scientists in 1900 mocked him for claiming some fifty species of fish in the Mediterranean, which did not even exist. But in the subsequent half century, much to their embarrassment, those fifty species were actually found in that sea! He would go down to the fishermen and ask to see their catches. That is how "non-empirical" was his method!

            Without belaboring the point, just pick up a copy of Richard McKeon's Basic Works of Aristotle, and page through it. You may not recognize or understand the contents of each section, but the titles alone should begin to educate you as to the breadth of the intellectual contributions of Aristotle to Western Civilization.

            Now you can read Jim the Scott's excellent rebuttal below.

          • WCB-2

            Ohhhhh. Come on. "You are a theist after all"? I am down here in Texas and we are up to our ears in creationists who even run our state Board of Education. This sort on nonsense is standard creationist evangelical nonsense. I expected better from you.

            Yes, I went to the site listed. It was meh. Nothing I hadn't seen and rejected years ago. I have even read de anima. I have seen how that work has been used by some theists to support the idea of a soul as per Christianity.

            I gave Jim a long set of reasons why i don't find hylomorphism anny thing more than ancient metaphysical reasoning that is in many places, just plain wrong. Four cause for example is rather teological. But Science has long ago abandoned that sort of teleology.

            No, my naturalism is based on the fact that methodological naturalism works. It explains the natural world. Metaphysics does not. Nor theology, occultism, or mysticism. We abandoned all of that when Decartes and friends could not answer Elizabeth of Bavaria's questions as to how soul interacted with matter. This debate ran for a few years and soon devolved into a ridiculous argument about occasionalism. Theology had nothing useful to say about science, the study of nature, God's secondary causes. Modern science was born, cutting it;s ties with theology.

            How much have you read about any of this? The big problem then was the rise of open atheism that questioned the existence of God. The problems of free will vs omniscience, problem of evil and more made god a doubtful proposition. Metaphysical naturalism has excellent foundations as a metaphysics.

            I started this 'debate' with Jim by bringing up the issue of God and Time, to undermine the ontological proof's initial proposition. God is the greatest being conceivable.

            Jim has offered nothing reasonable to solve his problem. And so i will challenge you. Is god inside time, or outside time? And what happens if we take the two situations to their logical conclusions?

            Aristotle invented the sciences? Not really. That started with Thales and Democritas and many others. It is simply they did not have thick books that survived like Aristotle. and some suffered for their science, being labelled as atheist and scoffers. Aristotle did not actually start much. Galileo started modern physics when he threw of the physics of his day, including Aristotle, and started rebuilding physics from scratch.

            I have taken college courses in science and none of it started with Aristotle. Chemistry started with Leucippus and Democritus, Historical geology with debunking Genesis and Noah's flood. Both Aristotle and Plato disliked the atomists and did not mention them.

            Yes, Aristotle was ignorant, I do not mean this as a slam, but he did not have telescopes, microscopes, and the rich collection of science literature we have. He thought the elements were air, water, earth, and fire, an error that took centuries to drop. He had no knowledge of chemistry, astronomy more than the eye could see, biology, and much more. Metaphysical speculation, no matter how astute and clever is not a substitute for real knowledge about the natural world. He was a man of the times with all it's limitations.

            Aristotle did some good work, but yes, he did sometimes set science back 1500 years. so his speculative ideas should likewise be taken with a grain of salt also.

            And now back to the problem of God and time. Outside of time and creator of all moral evil? Inside time and subject to time and physics?

            Jim has no answer to this. No polemics, cries of "Positivism" or side issues, please. Does God create the metaphysical necessities or not? 4th Lateran council makes Simplicity of God a dogma.

            1. Confession of Faith
            We firmly believe and simply confess that there is only one true God, eternal and immeasurable, almighty, unchangeable, incomprehensible and ineffable, Father, Son and holy Spirit, three persons but one absolutely simple essence, substance or nature {1} .

          • Jim the Scott

            You will notice WCB-2 you need not give yer own self serving myopic & erroneous recap of our discussion. Dr. B has been following it along and I know this by all the Upvotes he has given me.

            >I am down here in Texas and we are up to our ears in creationists who even run our state Board of Education. This sort on nonsense is standard creationist evangelical nonsense. I expected better from you.

            A thousand piece jigsaw puzzle just fell into place. You have no knowledge of any Christianity beyond the Baptist Fundamentalism of Young Earth Creationist types. Maybe at best some of their more sophisticated Intelligent Design or Theistic Personalist brothers like Plantinga? But clearly no understanding of classic theism or philosophy in general.

            Wow! It is obvious you don't even begin to understand Catholicism.

            >No, my naturalism is based on the fact that methodological naturalism works. It explains the natural world. Metaphysics does not.

            It only explains mechanisms within the world of things and grants quantitative knowledge nothing more. Nothing beyond that. No qualitative knowledge can be known by this. This is all standard Scientism and Positivism.
            That you don't know this is beyond weird. That it "works" is not an argument. A metal detector "works" in finding coins and watches but not gem stones. If I tell you that you can't used yer metal detector to find a gem you are looking for
            & you response with "I works well in finding metal coins" well that is just knackered.

            Science cannot answer purely philosophical questions. One need not believe in any gods to know this one only has to be educated and rational. So far we have not seen that from you. Again this is not meant as an insult. Just a plain as day observation.

            > Does God create the metaphysical necessities or not?

            That is like asking Does God eat fish? God is not a material being with a digestive system so it is a silly question. How would He given His nature eat a fish?

            Or it is like asking "How much does the number 4 weight in newtons?" Or what is the chemical composition of a proposition?

            Yer questions are category mistakes and incoherencies. They are worst than a child's questions.

          • WCB-2

            Yes, I do have knowledge of differing religious outlooks than just extremist fundies. Your attack here is unwarranted. Now back to the issue at hand. Is God inside or outside of time?

            How do we resolve the issues that arise when we run either claim down to it's logical end? A God who creates all moral evil, or a God who is subject to time, physics and more?

            Leave the emotionally charged ranting aside and deal with this issue. The ontological argument is not viable. God obviously is NOT the greatest thing imaginable.

            Actually, I am waiting for a certain shoe to drop.

          • Jim the Scott

            But you clearly don't understand Catholicism or Scholastic theology or philosophy in general from a hole in the head.
            You prove my "attacks" with each weak ignorant response.

            >Is God inside or outside of time?

            Metaphysical Time or Space Time? What do you mean by "outside" do you mean God is a physical object in a spatial to the fourth dimension or that God is really distinct from it?

            If you can't specify what you mean then yer questions are ambigious nonsense.

            >The ontological argument is not viable. God obviously is NOT the greatest thing imaginable.

            Well Aquinas already showed that & you are betraying the errors of David Hume here by conflating imagination with conception.

            God in the divine essence is inconceivable so it is incoherent to concieve of him directly.

          • WCB-2

            Outside of time in the sense God experiences time as now, the past, present and future are all part of God's time, that Big Now i keep telling you about. I quoted you Augustine who was quite clear.

            Now Boethius "Consolations of Philosophy, Book V"
            'Since, then, every mode of judgment comprehends its objects conformably to its own nature, and since God abides for ever in an eternal present, His knowledge, also transcending all movement of time, dwells in the
            simplicity of its own changeless present, and, embracing the whole infinite sweep of the past and of the future, contemplates all that falls within its simple cognition as if it were now taking place.

            Quibbling is not an answer to this problem.

            And to be sure, in scholastic theology, there in fact a lot of qubbling.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Outside of time in the sense God experiences time as now, the past, present and future are all part of God's time, that Big Now i keep telling you about. I quoted you Augustine who was quite clear.

            You did not quote him correctly my scholastic translation correctly calls it the Present Eternity. Yer like some weird guy arguing the Bible and quoting the heavily paraphrased LIVING BIBLE vs the New American Standard Version or RSV. Also speaking of God's experiences is a metaphor since the divine essence is incomprehensible and we cannot speak of what God experiences literally. I am sorry but we are Catholics here. Many of whom are old New Yorkers not some fundamentalist Baptists from the backwoods. Yer citation of Augustine is not clear since you correctly point out he left some of his questions hanging. Also we don't look to Augustine alone sans Aquinas and Boneventure and a host of theologians.

            Yer analysis here is clearly without merit.

            >Now Boethius "Consolations of Philosophy, Book V"
            'Since, then, every mode of judgment comprehends its objects conformably to its own nature, and since God abides for ever in an eternal present, His knowledge, also transcending all movement of time, dwells in the simplicity of its own changeless present, and, embracing the whole infinite sweep of the past and of the future, contemplates all that falls within its simple cognition as if it were now taking place.

            Which simply means God knows everything that He knows and He knows everything there is to know. Also there is little difference here between Present Eternity vs Eternal Present neither of which is a succession of time so it is not compared literally to a temporal present except by analogy.

            >Quibbling is not an answer to this problem.

            Sorry but it is perfectly rational to point your are not making a case against Classic Theism as understood by Classic Theists. You are merely constructing yer own straw man to mask yer lack of knowledge and competent ability here and knocking that straw man down.

            >And to be sure, in scholastic theology, there in fact a lot of qubbling.

            Yes and I can identify those qubbles like between the traditionalist thomista vs the analytical Thomists vs the Existential Thomista vs Neo Scholastics etc.. I can also identify what they have in common. But you just learned all this today so yer opinion doesn't matter and you resist correction and yer knowledge about the subject is clearly lacking.
            That is obvious. That is why the PhD in Thomism upvotes me and no you.

            Now does this make me right in what I believe and you wrong? Absolutely freakin not! But it does mean you need to do some reading and learning & if you have some problem with being told you don't understand something and you take such criticism as a personal insult then you are not IMHO mature enough to participate.

            So get good scrub. Give it a few years and you can put me on the spot like Nickol or STP or Ficino and make me work for it. That is not you right now. Yer trying to fake it and falling flat.

            Let me repeat God in Classic Theism is a Philosophical question only. Like Materialism or Metaphysical Naturalism. None of these are scientific questions. Just as finding a Higgs Boson is not an archeology question.

            So get to work.

          • WCB-2

            Consolations of Philosphy
            Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius
            translated by Geoffrey Chaucer

            "Since every judgement knows and understands , according to its nature things that it is called upon to evaluate, then truly for God there is always an eternal and present state; and the
            knowledge of He who supersedes all temporal movement exists in the simplicity of His presence, and encompasses and considers all the infinite space of past and future and sees with His simple knowledge all past things just as if they were occurring at this moment. "

            God is question? Classic theism is a series of claims. assertions. propositions. Based on supposed revelations and for Catholics, the dogmas of the RCC. Pull the other one.

          • Jim the Scott

            So you are openly citing a questionable translation by a mere poet and not a scholastic philosopher? Like I said Yer like some weird guy arguing the Bible and quoting the heavily paraphrased LIVING BIBLE vs the New American Standard Version or RSV or some other literal translation.

            You should have looked up the Wiki article.
            The Latin source he used was probably a corrupt version of Boethius' original, which explains some of Chaucer's own misinterpretations of the work.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boece_(Chaucer)

            Opps!

            Have you figured out yet the First Way does NOT argue for a temporal beginning of the Universe or are you still confusing it with the Kalam Argument? What am I saying? You still haven't figured out Classic Theists are talking about metaphysical time when we talk about timelessness.

            >God is question?

            A philosophical question not a question of science. Yer inability to reason astounds me. It is willful at this point so I will cease giving you the benefit of the doubt.

            >Classic theism is a series of claims. assertions. propositions. Based on supposed revelations and for Catholics, the dogmas of the RCC. Pull the other one.

            So basically you are ironically the one reduced to mere name calling. Not that you have given a single informed or intelligent argument. You really haven't.

            If you are right and no gods exist we can only conclude you arrived at this correct knowledge via a lucky guess. Not by any sound reasonings.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            You make piles of largely unsupported claims that I don't have the time to address.

            But one thing is clear: You are a positivist. I have taught philosophy at the university level for over half a century and you are as much a philosophical positivist as I have ever encountered. Yes, I said "philosophical" positivist, because positivism is an philosophical epistemological position, whether you admit it or not.

            Here is one definition you can find online: "a philosophical system that holds that every rationally justifiable assertion can be scientifically verified or is capable of logical or mathematical proof, and that therefore rejects metaphysics and theism."

            So, if you think you are just doing "good science," this only betrays the philosophical naivete of your position.

            "Yes, I went to the site listed. It was meh. Nothing I hadn't seen and rejected years ago. I have even read de anima. I have seen how that work has been used by some theists to support the idea of a soul as per Christianity."

            You either did not really read my paper or you failed to understand it. If you did understand it, you would have given at least some kind of rebuttal statement. You did not.
            And again, you claim your already know what it says. I am sure you do not, since it was not a proof for a spiritual soul, but explanation of sensory experience that cannot be explained in purely materialist terms. It is easy for you to make sweeping claims, but philosophy requires the hard work of proving what you claim.

            Even claiming all valid knowledge comes through science is itself a philosophical claim, something you don't seem to realize.

            You also claim to know hylemorphism, brush it off, and then get engrossed in Descartes' mind-body problem. If you really understood hylemorphism, you would spend more time on it and thus see that it totally avoids Cartesian dualism's problem. Moreover, part of that paper of mine that you did not understand was evidence for hylemorphism. But you didn't get that far.

            As for the rest of your problems with the internal coherence of natural theology, I have already referred you to my some 25 papers on this site that deal with such problems. Enjoy.

    • Dennis Bonnette

      Well put. Another way of saying it is that, if God is possible, then he must be actual. But to prove he is possible, you must prove he is actual.

  • God Hates Faith

    As usual, "proofs" for gods are simply an exercise in semantics trying to define something into existence.

    In the latter case, “God + the world” is not greater than God alone.

    One implication is that if God creates but gains nothing for himself by doing so, then it follows that God’s act of creation is completely gratuitous and unsolicited.

    If this deity created everything and gained nothing from it, then there is no way to know why this god created everything. Maybe it was an accident. Maybe he killed himself to create the universe. Saying "it was gratuitous" doesn't add anything of value to "why".

    If I create a character in a book, I could claim I was doing it out of gratuity, but that doesn't explain the "why". Perhaps I enjoy writing. If I enjoy something, then I have gained something. So me + creating a character = greater me.

    Of course a counter argument could be that simply because god enjoys creating doesn't mean he is greater because of it. But then we have to define greatest as not including joy. Semantics.

    • Dennis Bonnette

      "As usual, "proofs" for gods are simply an exercise in semantics trying to define something into existence."

      This is precisely why St. Thomas's Five Ways are not a priori arguments, but a posteriori ones. That is, they always start with something real, given in sensation -- precisely not from a mere definition of God. In fact, they conclude merely to a nominal definition of God: "... that which all men call God." That, for example, the uncaused first cause is actually the God of revelation is not demonstrated until later in his text.

      Since God already contains all possible perfections of existence, his creatures add nothing to the perfection of reality. He is free to create because there is no necessity in his will beyond his own happiness, perfection, and existence. Lesser things are purely optional. In creating, he manifests his glory, but he need not do so, since his glory is already infinite. But creation is a gift to his creatures, which does them good in the process. And he freely chooses to give that gift to creatures, which, since they do not a priori exist, have no prior claim on his choice to create them.

      Is this mysterious? Of course. We are mere creatures. According to his own revelation, God's ways are inscrutable. That means they are beyond our full comprehension. Are they incoherent or self-contradictory? Of course not, since God does exist and whatever he actually does must be possible, which means it cannot be self-contradictory. It is the work of reason (philosophy) to show why no contradictions are entailed. Still, unless an actual contradiction can be demonstrated, the presumption must be that none exist -- since being cannot contradict itself, and God is Absolute Being.

      • God Hates Faith

        That, for example, the uncaused first cause is actually the God of revelation...

        God of the gaps fallacy.

        Also, you seem to be shifting the conversation from the OP to Aquinas.

        Since God already contains all possible perfections of existence...

        A priori argument.

        Is this mysterious? Of course. We are mere creatures. According to his own revelation, God's ways are inscrutable.

        So, since we don't know "why" we can't claim it is coherent. All we can claim is "I don't know". Since we don't know, its equally possible that this deity killed himself to create the universe.

        Are they incoherent or self-contradictory? Of course not, since God does exist and whatever he actually does must be possible, which means it cannot be self-contradictory.

        A prioroi argument.

        • Dennis Bonnette

          There is no "god of the gaps fallacies" or "a priori" reasoning employed in what I am saying, since I am simply laying out the way that the Thomistic arguments proceed. All your objections rest on a failure to understand how the proofs work and how St. Thomas first shows that some ultimate cause stands behind the existence of all creatures, and then, the logical inferences which flow from that discovery.

          Unless you know how the arguments work, you really do not even know how to begin to attack them. It appears you do not.

          Just to spell out my point about God's coherence, since God is Being itself, there is no way possible for him or any of his attributes to contradict his own being. Again, none of this is a priori reasoning. First you start with the things of this world, and then you reason to God's existence and nature therefrom.

          Those who think they find contradictions in God do so invariably because of defective knowledge of natural theology. I don't say that from a priori reasoning, but from having worked through the a posteriori reasoning that leads to a God whose essential attributes are entirely compatible if you understand them properly.

          • God Hates Faith

            There is no "god of the gaps fallacies" or "a priori" reasoning employed in what I am saying...

            Well, since you say so, I guess that is a rebuttal...

            All your objections rest on a failure to understand how the proofs work and how St. Thomas first shows that some ultimate cause...

            I understand Aquinas' arguments. I understand how proofs work. I also understand that his premises are a priori reasoning.

            since God is Being itself...

            A priori assumption.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            If you understood the Five Ways, you would know that the premises are not based on a priori reasoning but a posteriori reasoning. Each way starts from some datum given in sensation, such as things in motion.

            Yes, the proofs also use some immediately-evident first principles, but even those are taken from judgments of immediate experience.

            In fact, in the articles just before the Five Ways, St. Thomas takes care to show that the existence of God is not self-evident, "... but needs to be demonstrated by things that are more known to us, though less known in their nature -- namely, by his effects. See Summa Theologiae, I, q. 2, a. 1, c.

          • God Hates Faith

            Clearly you want to hijack this thread from St. Anselm’s ontological argument, and focus on another topic. So, feel free to explicitly state Aquinas' argument...

            Each way starts from some datum given in sensation, such as things in motion.

            Based on motion we can infer nothing. Aquinas didn't know about quantum physics.

            Yes, the proofs also use some immediately-evident first principles, but even those are taken from judgments of immediate experience.

            Aquinas makes huge assumptions based on limited evidence. Eric the God Eating Penguin makes the same fallacies.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Glad you acknowledge that Eric entails fallacies.

            Since I already wrote one book explaining the Five Ways of St. Thomas, I don't intend to do it all again on this thread.

          • God Hates Faith

            Eric contains the same fallacies as your deity.

          • God Hates Faith

            Want another proof? Eric the God Eating Penguin...

            https://ericthegodeatingpenguin.com/

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Eric cannot exist because reason tells us that God DOES exist.

          • God Hates Faith

            Nope. Reason tells us Eric the God Eating Penguin exists. Therefore a god cannot exist by definition.

          • When a Non-Theist or Theist states that the "process" which they've already gone through is something akin to "I don't say that from a priori reasoning, but from having worked through the a posteriori reasoning that leads to...conclusion..." then there's no reason to talk to them "as if" they are speaking prior to having gone through that process.

            To assign Question Begging or the a priori one must point to an assumption of a conclusion from the get-go (Etc.). Why? Because of the process of reasoning from A to B to C to Etc. is what was already undertaken.

            We awake in the midst of "reality" as Neonates and Mind||Perception||Reason||Experience all begin their long journey outward ((so to speak)).Natural Theology and Neonates both start at perception and experience and then build outward. There are no assumed conclusions. There's ONLY the perceived world of motion/change/self/other and so on. It is that and the first person experience of Mind||Perception||Reason ((and so on)) and that is the Gateway or the Start.

            That holds for ANY well mapped metaphysic regardless if Non-Theist or Theist.

            It's better to unpack the long line of premises/observations leading up to the conclusion of, say, "The Necessary Being" than to blurt out "Oh you're just assuming God from the start!"

            Why? Well because that claim reveals ignorance for one thing and for another thing it isn't helpful with respect to furthering mutual understanding.

          • God Hates Faith

            I asked Dr. Bonnette how he arrived at his conclusion. He was free to explain why it wasn't a priori reasoning. He declined to do so. He simply declared it wasn't a priori, but didn't elaborate on his epistemology other than appealing to another text, which he didn't explain.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            You do not seem to grasp that you are asking me to do the whole project of presenting St. Thomas's Five Ways from scratch. You might as well ask me to explain the whole of philosophy to you.

            The very fact that in that context you say of St. Thomas, " I also understand that his premises are a priori reasoning," tells me I would have to literally explain everything to you from the ground up.

            I tried to explain why I did not pursue the dialogue further, since I have already published an entire book on Aquinas's proofs for God's existence -- and that I really don't have the time to explain it all over again on this thread.

            The book's title is (Guess what?) Aquinas' Proofs for God's Existence (Martinus-Nijhoff: The Hague, 1972). Since it sells for over one-hundred dollars on the web in PoD form today, you might do better to check out a library.

            But I really do not think you understand the proofs -- or you would not be saying curious things, like "... his premises are a priori reasoning."

          • God Hates Faith

            I find it amusing that whenever I get into a discussion with you, you refer to something you have perviously written, as if that is a rebuttal to my argument.

            Aquinas' epistemology is built on a priori reasoning, and from there, he tries to use a posteriori reasoning (rationalization) to justify the conclusions he started with.

            Feel free to disgree. But there is no point wasting my time saying "you are wrong, because of something I previously wrote".

          • Dennis Bonnette

            "Aquinas' epistemology is built on a priori reasoning"

            How do I tell you that this is dead wrong without referring you to something either I have written or someone else has written that explains what Aquinas actually does in his epistemological methodology?

            It is a standard dictum of all Aristotelian and Thomistic scholars that all knowledge begins in sensation. From that starting point all argumentation proceeds. What else do you mean by the term, "a posteriori?"

          • God Hates Faith

            You can refer to it if you explicitly state the actual argument, not just reference it.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            As I just pointed out above, ALL Thomistic arguments begin ultimately with sense experience and are, therefore, a posteriori ultimately. What may confuse you is that once you use an a posteriori argument to prove something concerning God's existence and nature, THEN, you can use the definitions of what has been demonstrated a posteriori in order to make deductive arguments which appear a priori from a limited point of view.

            Thus, once you prove that God is the only being in which essence and existence are identical, then you can deduce the real distinction between those principles in any other being. But the proof that they are identical in God must first be done a posteriori.

          • God Hates Faith

            As I just pointed out above, ALL Thomistic arguments begin ultimately with sense experience and are, therefore, a posteriori ultimately.

            So, what is this ultimate or first a posteriori reason? Every time I ask for it, what you provide looks to me like an a priori justification. All you have provided is an uncaused/ultimate cause. That is a priori because we have no sense experience of such a thing even today! We can't even verify if the Big Bang is a causal event, given quantum mechanics.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Do you not understand that if one starts with a datum from sense experience and then argues back, looking for explanations of that datum, until one reaches what is inferred to be a First Cause Uncaused -- do you not understand that that is by definition what is called an a posteriori argument?

            I don't care whether you think the logic of the argument is valid or not. I am talking about the nature of the argument, not its validity. Did you ever study any logic?

          • God Hates Faith

            I see my error now. Mea culpa. You are referring to inductive reasoning. He uses sense experience and works backward to a priori "knowledge". That was much more helpful than simply referring to your previous work.

            Obviously I still have problems with his inductive reasoning as an epistemology and his ultimate a priori conclusion.

            The same fallacious reasoning can justify the existence of Eric the God Eating Penguin.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            How on earth do you think he reaches an "ultimate a priori conclusion" through a posteriori argumentation?

            Where did you say you studied logic?

          • Dr. Bonnette it seems GHF may be making the case that there are no such things as a posteriori arguments:

            Me: Isn't it the case that we awake in the midst of "reality" as Neonates and Mind // Perception // Reason // Experience all begin their long journey outward ((so to speak)).Natural Theology and Neonates both start at perception and experience and then build outward. There are no assumed conclusions.

            GHF: "I don't see how we can have an epistemology that isn't built on at least some axioms (for example the axiom that our perception and/or experience is giving us reliable data on reality)."

            Me: So you really mean to say — and should have said from the get-go — that there are no such things as a posteriori arguments. Correct?

            Perhaps GHF can clarify but so far it seems the Neonate/Natural-Theology starting point is rejected. If so then GHF is in fact arguing that ALL arguments are ipso facto a priori.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I fear you are dead right!

          • God Hates Faith

            For example, the conclusion that "god is the pinnacle of perfection" is an a priori conclusion, because we have no experience of that conclusion.

            To use my prior example, "God can't exist because of Eric The God-Eating Magic Penguin" would be an example of an a priori conclusion.

          • Wrong.
            You DO experience Logic.
            You DO experience Being.
            You DO experience Reason.

            You DO NOT experience Reductio Ad Absurdum because Metaphysical Absurdities sum to Non-Being ((...non-real since they cannot exist, not even in principle...)).

            THEREFORE you are left with the following:
            https://randalrauser.com/2018/09/does-christianity-need-the-homoousion/#comment-4117374727

            Refresh if needed to land on the comment shown in attachment ~ https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7bb96a20f40450c82e8390c6c6f3b41d9c3a5b6458021314c64bc2f54f1960fb.jpg

          • God Hates Faith

            You DO experience Reason.

            Wait, are you denying a priori as an epistemology? A priori justification is not based on experience. If you are claiming reason is an experience, then by definition a priori justification wouldn't exist.

            "A priori: knowledge, justifications, or arguments that exist independently from experience. Examples include mathematics (e.g. 3 + 2 = 5); tautologies (e.g. "all bachelors are unmarried"); and deduction from pure reason (e.g., ontological proofs)." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_priori_and_a_posteriori

            You DO NOT experience Reductio Ad Absurdum because Metaphysical Absurdities sum to Non-Being ((...non-real since they cannot exist, not even in principle...)).

            To say one "experiences" thinking, but does not experience absurdities, is an odd definition of "experience".

            If I can't experience absurdities, then I can't experience your deity. Your deity can't exist in principle because if he did exist, Eric would eat him.

          • Three basic items:

            1. You left out the implications of the linked quote. "IF" there is ONLY "Logical Lucidity" or else "Reductio" and that quotes "Retorsion" forces it, "THEN" you arrive at Being Itself as Reason Itself as Logic Itself as Mind Itself as "GOD" and so on as per that quote's content. That observation is raised to show that Experience is not "wholly foreign" to the interface of ((and therefore Knowledge in/of)) Man||God.

            2. Logical Impossibilities cannot "exist" and so cannot be "tasted/experienced". That refers to "Non-Being". Don't conflate Non-Being for Privation/Lack ((...Being Minus Something...a Deficiency of Being...)) which can be and is tasted/experienced.

            3. BOTH A/Priori/Posteriori exist but what isn't clear is whether or not YOU believe that or agree with that. So far you have Thomism as ALL A PRIORI and so you need to stop avoiding that as per https://strangenotions.com/st-anselms-god/#comment-5007552007

          • God Hates Faith

            1. I have no idea what you are saying. Are you trying to justifypantheism?

            2. So, ideas don't exist (since they cannot be tasted/experienced)?

            3. That isn't what i said. Please stop trying to put words in my mouth.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Okay. So now it is evident that you think that any conclusion of which we have no experience is automatically what you call a priori.

            Check out the meaning of a priori on the internet.

            One definition given is this: "relating to or denoting reasoning or knowledge which proceeds from theoretical deduction rather than from observation or experience."

            It is clear that what you are doing is following the part that says "knowledge which proceeds from theoretical deduction," but are missing the hugely important last words, "rather than from observation or experience."

            What you are totally missing is that all Aristotelian and Thomistic philosophy starts with data taken from sense experience. All arguments begin from sense "observation or experience,' and hence are, by definition, NOT a priori!

            If you would properly apply the definitions for a priori and a posteriori, you would realize that the conclusion that "God is the pinnacle of perfection" is not known a priori, since it is the conclusion of a process of reasoning in natural theology that proceeds from, starts from, sense experience. For example, the First Way of St. Thomas begins with the sense experience of things in motion and from that reasons to God as the First Mover Unmoved.

            You may disagree with the reasoning and the conclusion, but that does not change the essential character of the argument, which is clearly a posteriori, NOT a priori, as you erroneously assume.

          • WCB-2

            https://web.csulb.edu/~cwallis/100/st2.html

            Thus Aquinas' five ways defined God as the Unmoved Mover, the First Cause, the Necessary Being, the Absolute Being and the Grand Designer.

            It should be noted that Aquinas' arguments are based on some aspects of the sensible world. Aquinas' arguments are therefore a posteriori in nature.

            They are in fact a posterieriori. But none really hold water. which is the problem. For example, who designed all those horrible parasites, predation, viruses, germs, disease causing protozoans and such? Anselm stated there are things that are good, things that are better than good and things to are better than anything else. That is, God. Aquinas made this claim his fourth way, argument of graduations. Now about those parasites and other nasties, is that what Good is, creating that?

            If you have some time to waste, check out the parasite of the day blog something.

            First way, prime mover.
            "The first and most manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses that in the world some things are in motion." Aquinas.

            Photons do not need something to set them in motion, being zero rest mass particles. They must move at the speed of light. They can cause movement to any matter they strike.That set the Universe in motion soon after the Universe cooled down enough for photons to form. Zoooooom! No God needed.

          • Jim the Scott

            I am sorry but you are not competent.

            Motion or Motus in Aquinas and Aristotle refers to a potency that is put into act by something already in act. It is more like Change. That is a metaphysical discription of change. You are confusing it with the newtonian concept of momentum which naturally can be modeled on the act potency distinction.

            We are dealing with a metaphysical description here of real change and Aristotle and Aquinas are not trying to go against Newton and the anachronistic greek physics has nothing to do with the act/potency distinction since we can use that to model Newton, Einstein, Heisenberg etc..

            No Aristotle was trying to answer Parmenides denial change is real and Heraclides arguments only change is real and stasis is an illusion.

            I am sorry but you clearly lack the competence to comment on this subject with any authority.

            Geez this is bad. Makes me long for Graham Oppy's argument against Existential Inertia by appealing to an example of Cambridge change in his debate with Feser. Which was obviously flawed in that Cambridge change is not an example of real change and the Act/Potency distinction applies to real change.
            But at least the man is competent enough to know it is not an argument from physics. But he is a top notch Atheist philosopher and I am sorry but you are still a scrub.

            Hit the books and get good scrub.

          • WCB-2

            Photons have to move at the speed of light. They have no potential to not do so. potency - act has nothing to add to this physical phenomena. Energy pumped into a substance, say a laser, will dump that energy as photons. The photons have their velocity, C. Light can move things, or even melt them This is how the entire Universe was set in motion when the intense cloud of energy that was the Big Bang cooled off enough for the first photons to form. The Universes Photon epoch started 10 seconds after the big bang;s expansion. No God needed. No first mover needed. Aristotle made a guess and guessed wrong.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Photons have to move at the speed of light. They have no potential to not do so.

            Only if you actualize their potency to not be in the nucleus of an Atom will they do so. While in the nucleus of an atom what speed do they go? I am not moving at lightspeed the last I checked and my atoms all got photons in their nucleus'. Atoms can absorb or admit light. They can be actualize their potential to admit light and they can be actualized their potential to absorb it.

            Opps!

            >The photons have their velocity, C. Light can move things, or even melt them This is how the entire Universe was set in motion when the intense cloud of energy that was the Big Bang cooled off enough for the first photons to form.

            So what you are saying is Big Bang actualized these particles to have their velocity? Well yeh that makes sense as the Act/potency distinction postulates secondary causes. We don't hold to divine occationalism. I hope that is what you are saying since no physicist claims photons started the Big Bang or require God to directly give them velocity.

            Geez you are bad at this.

            >No God needed. No first mover needed. Aristotle made a guess and guessed wrong.

            Yeh the first cause is not the first in an accidental series. But an essential series. The First cause does not postulate the universe had a formal beginning. Aquinas didn't believe you could scientifically or philosophically prove creation had a beginning so his first cause argument presupposes for the sake of argument a past eternal universe.

            Aquinas believed you could only know the universe had a beginning because divine revelation told us so in Genesis.

            You are confusing the first way with the Kalam Argument I am afraid which many Thomists are at best Agnostic toward except for Oderberg. He is the only Thomist I know who thinks the Kalam has some merit but obviously he doesn't confuse it with the first way.

            Unlike some of us eh WCB-2? I would say nice try but that would be a lie.

          • WCB-2

            The potency for photons to not move at the speed of light does not exist. Metaphysical word salad is what gives metaphysics a bad name.

            Read Aristotle De Caelo. So full of nonsense and scientific howlers it is almost painful to read.

          • David Nickol

            The potency for photons to not move at the speed of light does not exist.

            The speed of light through a vacuum has one value. Through water it has another (slower) value, and through glass it has yet another value. Here is an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry for Slow Light:

            Slow light is the propagation of an optical pulse or other modulation of an optical carrier at a very low group velocity. Slow light occurs when a propagating pulse is substantially slowed by the interaction with the medium in which the propagation takes place.

            In 1998, Danish physicist Lene Vestergaard Hau led a combined team from Harvard University and the Rowland Institute for Science which succeeded in slowing a beam of light to about 17 meters per second, and researchers at UC Berkeley slowed the speed of light traveling through a semiconductor to 9.7 kilometers per second in 2004. Hau and her colleagues later succeeded in stopping light completely, and developed methods by which it can be stopped and later restarted. This was in an effort to develop computers that will use only a fraction of the energy of today's machines.

          • Jim the Scott

            This force is strong with this one.

          • Jim the Scott

            >The potency for photons to not move at the speed of light does not exist.

            Neither does the potency for me to sprout wings in 3 seconds flat and fly around the room exist either? So what? Atoms can be actualized to emit light. There is no reason why momentum can't be a potency made act. Once something's momentum is actualize it doesn't need anything to keep it moving as the Greek erroneously believed. So once actualized a rock can hurl threw space forever till it's fundamental particles break down in the Dark Era at the End of the Universe and the only light left is the spiritual light of God.

            >Metaphysical word salad is what gives metaphysics a bad name.

            Rather incompetent, philosophically illiterate and pathetically ignorant dull fundamentalist minded village Atheist types give rational and well educated Atheist Philosophers and teachers of Materialist Metaphysics a bad name.

            I wish such dull individuals would pick up a book and ditch the positivism.

            >Read Aristotle De Caelo. So full of nonsense and scientific howlers it is almost painful to read.

            Not as painful as Democritus the Atheist Greek philosopher who declared "the gods do not exist and all is merely atoms in the void" & yer endorsed the same anachronistic erroneous physics as Aristotle while contrary to him adding his erroneous belief the world was flat.

            Of course none of that had anything to do with his metaphysics. Specifically Materialism. That is why a rational educated Classic Theist like myself wouldn't confuse Democritus scientific errors with his philosophy. I try to avoid making category mistakes and fallacies of equivocation. Unlike some scrubs who refuse to learn......

          • Okay. If "Giving Definitions" equated to "Giving Arguments" then I'd agree.

          • If "Giving Definitions" equated to "Giving Arguments" then I'd agree. Hence Dr. Bonnette's distinction between those two:

            You do not seem to grasp that you are asking me to do the whole project of presenting St. Thomas's Five Ways from scratch. You might as well ask me to explain the whole of philosophy to you.

            There really is a difference between answering a question with a few definitions ((on the one hand)) vs. laying out an argument ((on the other hand)).

          • God Hates Faith

            Claiming someone is wrong without explaining why is not helpful, and not a good way to have a discussion. Its also hiding behind a definition.

            That would be like me saying to you, "you are wrong, because of science." If you asked what part of science shows I am wrong, and I simply say "its too much to explain", then I am not really having a discussion, I am hiding behind a definition.

          • Arguments exist. The problem is that you insisted that there were none. You insisted it's all a priori.

            That's the problem. You're dishonest because with 33K Comments you know better. Or do you DENY the following:

            We awake in the midst of "reality" as Neonates and Mind||Perception||Reason||Experience all begin their long journey outward ((so to speak)).Natural Theology and Neonates both start at perception and experience and then build outward. There are no assumed conclusions.

            ??

          • God Hates Faith

            I am not asserting there are no arguments, I was asserting he was referring to an argument without explicitly stating what the argument was. He referred to the Five Ways arguments, but didn't say what those were. That would be like me refering to "science" as the answer, and not explicitly stating the argument from science.

          • You didn’t say it’s all a priori? Again do you DENY the following or not? You’re persistent now in your dishonesty. Is the following accurate?

            ***We awake in the midst of "reality" as Neonates and Mind // Perception // Reason // Experience all begin their long journey outward ((so to speak)).Natural Theology and Neonates both start at perception and experience and then build outward. There are no assumed conclusions.***

            ??

          • God Hates Faith

            Allow me to clarify. The reasoning ultimately rests on assumption/axioms, prior to experience (i.e. a prime mover).

            Is the following accurate?

            That comment is not mine. But I don't see how we can have an epistemology that isn't built on at least some axioms (for example the axiom that our perception and/or experience is giving us reliable data on reality).

          • A. Shall I post a picture of two ((there were more)) times you just blurted out “A PRIORI!!” as described earlier?

            B. Also — is the following accurate?

            ***We awake in the midst of "reality" as Neonates and Mind // Perception // Reason // Experience all begin their long journey outward ((so to speak)).Natural Theology and Neonates both start at perception and experience and then build outward. There are no assumed conclusions.***

            ??

          • God Hates Faith

            (A) If you are not going to allow me to clarify what I mean, then there is no point in having a conversation. If you have a question about my claification, feel free to ask.

            (B) I already responded to this. If my response is unclear, please state why it is unclear, rather than simply repeating the question.

          • And? So you really mean to say — and should have said from the get-go — that there are no such things as a posteriori arguments.

            Correct?

          • God Hates Faith

            No. Inductive arguments are a thing.

            But if someone says "Eric the God Eating Penguin" is a necessary being, that sounds like an assumption. If I said I derived that conclusion using inductive reasoning, then you might want to know that line of reasoning (which is what I was asking from Dr. Bonnette, but he simply referred me to a book he wrote).

          • Poor'ol Dr. Bonnette didn't type the 1.8 million words in the Summa Theologiae but NONETHELESS we can agree that A Posteriori arguments are possible then?

            I'm assuming your reply is "Yes".

            If that is the case then what is the problem with the fact that Natural Theology and Neonates both start at perception and experience and then build outward? Does THAT starting point "Qualify"? Does it "Disqualify"?

            Or is it ONLY that poor'ol Dr. B. didn't hand-type the Summa Theologiae here in this thread as per the attached picture ~~ https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/04ab205bd7e4b07ee259f95bb410f657fc49debfdc8d5df5d68fbfb632c32da1.jpg

          • God Hates Faith

            Poor'ol Dr. Bonnette didn't type the 1.8 million words in the Summa Theologiae...

            That is extremely disegenious. There are many short summaries of Aquinas argument one can find in a quick googlel search. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Ways_(Aquinas)
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=TgisehuGOyY

            Surely Dr. Bonnette is intelligent enough to be able to summarize or do a google search.

            Natural Theology and Neonates both start at perception and experience and then build outward? Does THAT starting point "Qualify"? Does it "Disqualify"?

            First, inductive reasoning as an epistemology has many drawback. Second, the specific reasoning Aquinas used in the Five Ways is not sound. This is where I was expecting the conversation to go, but Dr. Bonnette decided not to explicitly state the arguments (and I don't like to rebut an argument until it is explicitly made).

            Our conversation would be like Dr. Bonnettte claiming I am wrong because of "science"; and when I ask for more details of what he means, you jump into the conversation and ask whether I believe science is a real method. Of course science and inductive reasoning are a thing.

          • Sure there are but I'm only using that to clarify that we have "that" 1.8 million word whatchamacallit and that it "begins" at the key part of Neonate/Natural Theology.... which-ish you are still-ish avoiding-ish. So here's that part again:

            If it is true that a posteriori arguments CAN/DO exist then what is the problem with the fact that Natural Theology and Neonates both start at perception and experience and then build outward?

            Does THAT starting point "Qualify"?
            Does it "Disqualify"?

            ??

          • God Hates Faith

            Does THAT starting point "Qualify"?
            Does it "Disqualify"?

            Did you read my entire reply (below the link)?

            If not, then please do so. If you did, then I am not sure I understand your question, since I have attempted to respond several times, and you keep repeating yourself.

          • You did NOT address starting at perception and experience as we find in the Neonate and in Natural Theology.

            Does starting THERE qualify or not?

          • God Hates Faith

            What do you mean by "qualify"?

            As I already stated (which you ignored, like most of my comments), inductive reasoning as an epistemology has many drawbacks. One can use inductive reasoning based on experience to justify belief in ANYTHING. Also, using "perception and experience" as a starting point requires the prior axiom that our perception and experiences are reliable.

            I have consistenly tried to respond to your comments, but you ingore my comments. It almost seems like you are trying to talk past me.

          • Do a posteriori arguments exist or not? The question is not which is better or if there are drawbacks. The question so far is if you even believe that A-Post exist at all.

            Do they?
            IF SO then is starting at the Neonate's perception/experience and working outward a valid starting point for an a posteriori path or not?

            If you don't believe a posteriori arguments can exist in the first place then just say so. Otherwise I plan to camp out on Neonate||Acceptable-Starting-Point until you address it.

  • Ficino

    So a chiropractor understands philosophy and Being better than, say, Immanuel Kant. I'm convinced! /s

    • Rob Abney

      So a chiropractor understands philosophy and Being better than, say, Immanuel Kant. I'm convinced! /s

      “The genetic fallacy (also known as the fallacy of origins or fallacy of virtue)[1] is a fallacy of irrelevance that is based solely on someone's or something's history, origin, or source rather than its current meaning or context. This overlooks any difference to be found in the present situation, typically transferring the positive or negative esteem from the earlier context. In other words, a claim is ignored in favor of attacking or championing its source“ wikip

      • Ficino

        Wow, just like with Simon the Cobbler! Got it!!

        • Rob Abney

          Simon the Shoemaker (Greek: Σίμων Ἀθηναῖος, σκυτοτόμος; fl. c. late 5th century BC) was an associate of Socrates, and a 'working-philosopher'.

          • Ficino

            Good job cutting and pasting from somewhere on the internet.

            I appended /s to my original.

            If one of you guys thinks you can demonstrate that the Ontological Argument, either Anselm's version or a later one, is sound, then have at it.

          • Rob Abney

            Does the /s indicate that you actually believe that one’s profession determines whether he can engage in philosophy or not or vice versa?

          • Ficino

            Rob, we've interacted on here for, what, at least two years now? So I think you can answer your own question. What I wrote at the top, btw, was not an instance of the genetic fallacy. If you think it was, then unfortunately, you are confused about fallacies.

          • Rob Abney

            Actually I prefer your comments when they are direct rather than innuendo, it’s easier then to see your small errors, but it’s easy for you to defend misdirected comments.
            What fallacy did you commit if not the genetic fallacy?

          • Ficino

            I did not commit any fallacy.

            Had I committed the genetic fallacy, I would have stated that because Nelson was trained as a chiropractor, therefore he errs about the Ontological Arg. I did not say that Nelson errs BECAUSE he is a trained chiropractor. Through sarcasm I sought to cast doubt on Nelson's reliability about the Ont Arg. That is a different move; it is rhetorical not logical.

            If you have spotted small errors of mine, I will be grateful to know what they are.

          • Rob Abney

            I’m sure that you didn’t intend to commit a fallacy but an objective reading of your initial comment clearly shows that you did despite your explanation of your intent.
            This could be considered one of the small errors, assuming nominalism based on subjective definitions.

          • Ficino

            It's on you to show where I said in my initial comment that Nelson 1) affirmed a falsehood and/or 2) affirmed it BECAUSE he was trained as a chiropractor. Please copy and paste my exact words in which I claimed 1) and/or 2).

            I don't know what you are talking about re nominalism.

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi Ficino,

            How about this unique ontological proof which I designed around half hour ago:

            Step 1: An entity whose existence is not conditional on any condition would be something whose existence could not be affected by the presence or absence of any condition. The concept of such an entity is coherent (no intrinsic contradiction involved). Let’s call such an entity an Unconditioned Entity.

            Step 2: Among all hypothetical rationally possible worlds is an one-entity world. In such an one-entity world, no conditioned entity can exist because every conditioned entity would be conditional on at least another entity in order to exist but there is no other entity for it to be conditioned on in an one-entity world. So the one entity in an one-entity world must logically be an Unconditioned Entity. So an Unconditioned Entity exists in an one-entity world.

            Step 3: The difference between the one-entity world and the actual world lies in the absence or presence of different kinds of conditions. If an Unconditioned Entity does not exist in the actual world even though it exists in an one-entity world, then it means the presence or absence of some condition in the actual world has prevented the existence of an Unconditioned Entity. This contradicts what has been established in Step 1: an Unconditioned Entity’s existence cannot be affected by the presence or absence of any condition. Hence by the logical necessity of Modus Tollens, an Unconditioned Entity exists in our actual world.

            Modus Tollens:
            If no-UE, then UE affected by conditions.
            UE affected by conditions is false.
            Therefore no-UE is false. (ie UE exists.)

            If the above is sound, then by analysing the nature of an Unconditioned Entity, we would arrive at the further conclusion that there is one and only one such entity, and everything else is conditional upon this Unconditioned Entity.

          • God Hates Faith

            Hi Johannes!

            Here are my thoughts about your proof.

            Step 1: A priori assumption about this fictional entity being unconditional.

            An entity whose existence is not conditional on any condition would be something whose existence could not be affected by the presence or absence of any condition.

            Why couldn't an entity existence not be conditional, but that entity still be affected by some conditions? For example, someone stranded on an island, without an ability to leave and no communication, cannot threaten my existence. But, perhaps me knowing that person is on that island affects me emotionally. So, my existence is not conditional by this stranded person, but I can still be affected by this condition.

            Also, the term "condition" is undefined.

            Step 2:

            Among all hypothetical rationally possible worlds is an one-entity world.

            Why are we assuming a OEW is rational? I am happy to engage in an intellectual exercise of such a OEW, but if we want to declare such a world is also "rational" that requires further assumptions, definitions, and/or demonstration.

            In such an one-entity world, no conditioned entity can exist...

            That doesn't logically follow. Couldn't the entity be conditioned on the one-entity world (OEW)? For example, what if this entity ceases to exist if were affected by anything outside this one entity world. Therefore, this OEW is protecting it. Therefore, the entity is conditional (on its OEW).

            Step 3:

            The difference between the one-entity world and the actual world lies in the absence or presence of different kinds of conditions.

            A OEW is defined as having one entity, not as having no condititions (other than having only one entity). If you want to have this new fictional world, then it need to be a one entity world AND a no condition world.

            then it means the presence or absence of some condition in the actual world has prevented the existence of an Unconditioned Entity.

            See my resonse to step 1. A UE does not mean it cannot be affected conditions.

            Hence by the logical necessity of Modus Tollens, an Unconditioned Entity exists in our actual world.

            How was Step 2 necessary for your proof? Why not just claim in Step 1 that there exists an UE that cannot be affected by any condition (outside itself), and this UE lives in our world.

            then by analysing the nature of an Unconditioned Entity, we would arrive at the further conclusion that there is one and only one such entity,

            Not sure how you made that giant leap. Even if we assume an UE exists, why can't there be more than one?

            and everything else is conditional upon this Unconditioned Entity.

            Again, even if we assume an UE exists, you need additional premesis to conclude that everything (or anything) is conditional upon this UE. Maybe this UE lives in its OEW, and can't interact with any other world.

          • Ficino

            Just briefly adding to GHF:
            1. you start out with a premise "If the UE exists, then" certain consequences hold. It is fallacious to conclude by affirming those consequences that the UE exists. You are not entitled to affirm the consequent. That's a fallacy.
            2. Your world populated by nothing other than the UE is not a possible world because certain abstract objects that exist in all possible worlds are absent from your postulated world: e.g. the relation of identity. If there is nothing but the UE in this world, then there are no relations. But everything is in an identity relation to itself. Therefore there is at least one relation in every possible world. Therefore yours is not a possible world.
            3. In any case, you also seem to need the laws of logic to govern your postulated world. So your postulated world as it does work in your argument contains objects other than the UE. So it is not populated only by the UE, contrary to what you claim of it.
            You might want to deny that abstract objects are entities. In that case you will affirm nominalism. I don't think you want to be a nominalist.

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi Ficino, you said I committed the fallacy of “affirming the consequent”. This is false because:

            The fallacy of “Affirming the Consequent“ is of this form:
            P1: If X, then Y
            P2: Y is true
            Conclusion: Therefore X is true.

            My logic structure is not the above, but instead is the logically valid structure called “Denying the Consequence” (Modus Tollens):
            P1: If X, then Y
            P2: Y is false
            Conclusion: Therefore X is false.

            Let X = No-UE, Y = “UE affected by conditions”
            P1: If No-UE, then UE affected by conditions
            P2: But “UE affected by conditions” is false
            Conclusion: Therefore “No-UE” is false.

            As for your points 2 & 3: My “entity” refers to non-abstract entities. I do not include abstractions because abstractions are casually inert.

          • Ficino

            Your argument as I understand it boils down to "If the UE doesn't exist, that's because the presence or absence of a condition prevents it; but by definition the presence or absence of a condition doesn't prevent the UE; therefore the UE exists."

            You haven't given reasons that logically compel us to adopt your antecedent hypotheticals as true. We don't know that there can't be other reasons for the UE's not existing. As GHF said, you might just as well lay it down in the beginning that the UE exists necessarily.

            I'm not an expert on relations, but I have read that arguments have been made that relations set conditions. They force whatever lies within a domain to conform to the parameters of the relation; 3 can't be equal to 1 + 2 if 3 will not be 3 or if 1 and 2 are not 1 and 2. Dr. B and I have talked about the principle of identity as a or the fundamental metaphysical principle. Is your UE identical with itself? Can it be not identical with itself? If the latter, it is violating the principle of identity. The identity relation sets a condition, and the condition is not identical to the entity. That's why I reject your claim that there is a possible world in which is located the UE and nothing else. I don't see reason to suppose that there exists anything that is subject to no conditions, And I doubt that the notion of some entity that can be absent from all conditions is coherent.

            As I've said before, I think "conditions" may be too vague for you to get sufficient traction.

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi Ficino,

            Would you agree that if the premise “UE exists in an one-entity world” is true, then the conclusion that UE exists in our actual world would be correct?

            If so, then the key dispute is only whether or not “UE exists in an one-entity world” is true (or at least likely true).

            By the way, the accurate way to summarize my 3-step reasoning should instead be: “In an one-entity world, the one entity can only be an UE because the existence of any conditioned entity is conditional on at least a 2nd entity but there is no 2nd entity over there. If UE does not exist in our actual world then it means the conditions in our actual world have prevented UE to exist, which would contradict the nature of UE. Therefore, UE exists in our actual world, in the same way UE exists in an one-entity world.”

            Note:

            (a) In my 3-step reasoning, I am using “entity” to refer to non-abstract entity, and not to any abstractions (ideas such as logic, relations etc).

            (b) Abstractions (referring to both the action of abstracting and the abstract ideas such as “triangularity”, and “never-ending series”) can exist only when there exists a non-abstract entity in the first place to do the thinking, and abstract ideas (eg “triangularity”, “principles of logic”, “laws & relations”, “why?”, “how?”, “infinite quantity”) exists only in a non-abstract mind (as a representation of existing entities and their attributes/behaviour). So the EXISTENCE of abstractions is conditional on the EXISTENCE of a non-abstract entity instead of the other way round. The other way round would be putting the cart before the horse. This does not mean nominalism is true; when we further consider the nuances carefully (not mentioned so far), we can see that this position can fall into a type of realism.

            Below is why by logical necessity, an UE exists in a one-entity world

            As long as there is no logical contradiction in the idea of “a world with only one non-abstract entity”, then such a world is inside the set of all logically possible world. (possible world semantics)

            Since such an one-entity world (OEW) is logically possible, then one non-abstract entity exists in that world.

            That non-abstract entity’s ability to exist is either conditioned or not conditioned by some non-abstract conditions. (Abstractions are causally-inert and are merely representations of the nature of an entity or entities and hence do not affect an entity’s ability to exist. Hence only non-abstract entities are relevant). If that non-abstract entity is conditioned, it cannot exist in that OEW because no other entity exists for it to be conditioned on. Hence by logical necessity it is unconditioned. Therefore by logical necessity, an Unconditioned Entity exists in that OEW.

            (I focus on the above issues first. When the above issues are settled then we can look at why from Step 3’s conclusion we can then further discover that there is only one UE, and it is the one responsible for enabling us to exist right now, at every moment, similar to how our image perceived “in” the mirror is continuously enabled by us to exist.)

            What is “Condition”: A non-abstract entity WITHOUT WHICH something else cannot exist. Conditions do not need to be efficient causes. For example: The presence of a functioning mirror is a condition for your mirror image to exist.

          • Ficino

            Johannes, I'm sorry, but i can't devote more time to your argument. I suggest you propose it on a philosophy board such as The Philosophy Forum. Or even over on Feser's blog, where someone might give you some pointed feedback. I don't accept one of the presuppositions behind your first premise, sc. that the notion of a one-entity world is coherent. A "world," or κόμσος or 'mundus,' is a system of things so by definition a world cannot be populated by only one entity, let alone an entity on which no conditions apply. in classical theism, before God created the "world," there was not a world.

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi Ficino, There is only one criterion to evaluate whether an idea/scenario is LOGICALLY possible (ie coherent): it is to see whether it violates the principle of non-contradiction.

            Your objection against my hypothetical scenario of an one-entity world being one member among the set of all LOGICALLY possible worlds is invalid because your objection did not show any intrinsic contradiction in a hypothetical reality where only one non-abstract entity exists.

            In philosophy, a logically possible world is simply the way reality could logically have been. As long as any conceived hypothetical reality/scenario does not violate the principle of non-contradiction, it automatically qualifies as being LOGICALLY possible (ie coherent).

            So the only valid objection against an one-entity world being logically possible is an objection that shows the intrinsic contradiction of the idea of an one-entity world. The word “world” in the context of the philosophical use of “logically possible world” refers to any logically possible conceived reality, whether hypothetical or not. Unless you or anyone can show there is a violation of the principle of non-contradiction in the hypothetical reality of an one non-abstract entity reality (ie one-entity world), such a hypothetical scenario qualifies as a logically possible scenario (ie coherent).

            There is only one criterion to evaluate whether an idea/scenario is logically possible (ie coherent): it is to see whether it violates the principle of non-contradiction.

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            The structure of your argument:

            1/ If X, then Y
            2/ Y is false
            C/ Therefore X is false

            The argument structure is: (p -> (p -> q)) & ¬q

            Effectively, it is Non-Cause as Cause.

            This is an obvious contradiction. You use this contradiction to create an inference free-ticket ride to prove your Unconditioned Entity:

            1/ From Y you can infer (Y -> X)
            2/ From (Y -> X) you can infer X
            C/ Therefore, from Y you can infer X

            The contradiction reveals that the Unconditioned Entity is unproveable. Should the Unconditioned Entity be proved, it is a contradiction to the logic of the Unconditioned Entity Argument itself.

            So, simply by trying to "prove" the existence of the Unconditioned Entity, you are contradicting your own thesis.

            So, you are lost-in-the-woods.

          • WCB-2

            Logical explosion. If one allows any contradiction, anything can follow from that, including nonsense and errors.

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            You and Ficino really can't see it! It is so trivial...

            By definition an unconditional entity must be unproveable, i.e. no conditions, non-delimited.

            Therefore, if an unconditional entity can be proved it has conditions and is a delimited entity.

            The Anselm argument does not suffer from your paradox.

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi Ficino, u made a major error in logic-form when u described (wrongly) my overall logic-form of Modus Ponens as: “... ‘If there is a EU [sic], then certain things would follow (doesn't matter if negative propositions are among these); but these things would follow; therefore UE’ aligns with the structure of an affirmation of the consequent.”

            My overall logic form is actually affirmation of the antecedent (Modus Ponens), not affirmation of the consequent!!!

            The overall logic-form in my 3-step a-priori reasoning has in fact been:
            “If UE is a logical concept, then UE exists.
            UE is indeed a logical concept, therefore UE exists.”

            My step 1 was used to establish the antecedent.
            (UE has no logical contradiction, so it is not logically impossible, and thus it is a logical concept.)

            My step 2 was used to show that UE being a logical concept would then entail that UE exists in the scenario of an one-entity reality (while others like to use more general concept of “some possible worlds” - in modal philosophy, when a non-abstract entity is a logically possible concept, that means “it exists in some possible worlds”).

            My step 3 was used to show how UE existing in an one-entity reality would entail it also exists now in the actual world.

            My logic-form is the valid Modus Ponens. Hence to defeat my 3-step reasoning, one would need to show that UE is logically impossible concept (similar to a circular square being a logically impossible concept).

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            Your argument is not at all similar to:

            1/ "a circular square being a logically impossible concept"

            Can't you see this?

            Your argument is:

            2/ "UE always occurs after OER"

            In the first proposition there is no difference between the necessary connection and the constant conjunction, it is not casual, it is rather an impossible concept.

            Your argument sets up a casual law, i.e.

            B always occurs after A.

            So, it is NOT SIMILAR AT ALL!!!!!!

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi Ficino, yr error in describing my Modus Ponens as “affirming the consequent” shows that it was necessary for me to go into details with you on how my argument is in fact Modus Ponens. See my elaboration above demonstrating the implicit Modus Ponens in my 3 steps.
            (this is part of my response to your complain alluding to me going into details on Modus Ponens with you, even though you would know such an elementary logic form - your error shows that you are still fallible even in things that you know well)

            Cheers!

          • Ficino

            You did not establish the antecedent. We went over that at length.

            Dr. Bonnette does not need logic lessons from you.

            I have nothing more to say on this.

          • Johannes Hui

            Thanks Ficino for dropping by with a comment.

            Whether or not I managed to succeed at establishing the antecedent, the important point is that my argument’s form was the valid form called “Affirming the Antecedent” (or Modus Ponens), and not the fallacious form called “Affirming the Consequent) as claimed by you.

            So even if I failed to succeed in establishing the antecedent, then it affects only the technical soundness of my argument, and not the technical validity of it.

            Unless your assertion that I did not establish the antecedent is demonstrated or argued for, your assertion would be simply an unwarranted assertion. While I on the other hand have given my argument to defend the antecedent.

            Let me provide the warrant for my antecedent again:

            Something is a logical possibility means it is not a logical impossibility. Something is a logical impossibility means it is not a logical possibility.

            As long as something cannot be argued to be a logical impossibility, then it is justified to say it is a logical possibility.

            Only something which is or which entails a contradiction is a logical impossibility. Since unlike a circular square, there is nothing contradictory about an Unconditioned Entity (an entity whose existence is unconditional on any other non-abstract entity or condition), then it is a logical possibility for an Unconditioned Entity to exist. This would be how the antecedent “UE is a logical concept” is established.

            Cheers!

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            Your conclusion thesis hinges on two propositions:

            1/ "UE is a logical concept."
            2/ An Unconditioned Entity is not a contradiction.

            JOHANNES HUI
            YOUR ENTIRE THESIS IS A TOTAL EQUIVOCATION!!!!!
            WHY?
            BECAUSE YOU ARE USING YOUR PROPOSITIONS 1/ & 2/ AS EMPISTEMOLOGICAL & SYNTACTICAL PROPOSITIONS AT THE SAME TIME AND IN THE SAME MANNER

            YOU ARE EVEN VIOLATING THE PNC!!!!!!

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi Ficino, this is the location of the comments showing your error relating to the valid Modus Ponens form and the fallacy of Affirming the Consequent.

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi Ficino,

            I think u missed my responses given around a month or more ago to your following objections or perhaps my comments disappeared so I am going to show why your objections failed to establish that I “haven't given reasons that logically compel us to adopt” my “antecedent hypotheticals as true”.

            We don't know that there can't be other reasons for the UE's not existing.

            First, your above objection is an argument from ignorance. It is a bit similar to saying “We dunno that there can’t be reasons to think that the law of identity may be false for some entities. Perhaps one day we will come to know of the reasons why law of identity can be false. So we should not treat the law of identity as a universal law now.”

            Second, at least for now, we see that there is nothing contradictory about the concept of an Unconditioned Entity (UE): a non-abstract entity whose existence is not conditional upon any non-abstract conditions. This lack of contradiction means the concept of UE is not a logical impossibility (compare: the concept of a circular square is a logical impossibility). Since the concept of UE is not a logical impossibility, the only option left is that it is a logical possibility. This is what we must rationally conclude at least for now, until someone can show UE is a LOGICAL impossibility base on the law of non-contradiction or the law of identity (similar to showing a circular square is a logical impossibility).

            So the antecedent that UE is a logical concept is established.

            As GHF said, you might just as well lay it down in the beginning that the UE exists necessarily.

            This is where you and GHF failed to think through the beginning premise carefully:

            (a) The idea/proposition that “it is logically possible (or “not logically impossible) for UE to exist” is different from, and not identical to, the idea that “UE exists necessarily”.

            (b) The former does not presume an UE exists, but merely means “it is possible for an UE to exist but at this stage of the argument, we do not know whether or not an UE actually exists”. So my beginning premises do not beg the question.

            (c) The latter, which you and GHF proposed, presumes an UE exists right at the beginning premises and would be begging the question.

            To be continued...

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            Your "beginning premise" IS NOT abduction; it is induction.

            Your UE "model" is simply an ad hoc pragmatic approach to the problem of induction; as such your method cannot demonstrate:

            1/ That an inductively based UE conclusion will be true.
            2/ That an inductively based UE conclusion will probably be true.

            Therefore, since it is impossible that the UE conclusion can probably be true; then it follows that it is also impossible that UE conclusion will probably be false... WHICH MEANS THAT YOUR MODEL IS COMPLETE NON-SENSE!!!!!!!!

            Your method is a deception; for all you are saying is that the "best" strategy for "predicting" the existence of a UE is by "induction" that is concealed using the word, "abduction."

            Using your own "mirror" analogy... your method is a "smoking mirror"... no wonder you like mirrors...funny... just like Stephen Law.... really funny....

          • Ficino

            You are trying to define God into existence. If you think your revised Ontological Proof is sound, then write it up as an article and submit it to an international, refereed philosophy journal, and NOT one controlled by Catholics, such as American Journal of Philosophy or Philosophy, or others. Play with the professionals if you think you have something to contribute to the profession. I'm a guy who publishes in international, refereed venues in my field, but not in metaphysics, so I can't comment further. If you have already submitted this work of yours to a non-Catholic philosophy venue, then good luck. If not, then man up.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I would agree fully with you in your rejection of any form of the Ontological Argument, except I see no need to insist on a submission to a non-Catholic refereed journal. As far as I know, no Catholic journal would accept such a paper either, since I don't know any Catholic philosophers who think this proof actually works. Certainly, St. Thomas Aquinas firmly rejected any claim that the existence of God is self-evident. (Summa Theologiae, i, q. 2, a. 1.)

          • Ficino

            Dennis, I appreciate your view here. I advised Johannes Hui to submit to a journal not refereed necessarily by Catholics on the lines of Socrates' submitting his theses to Callicles. A philosophical argument, if it will withstand criticism, deserves to receive criticism and stand up to such from HOSTILE critics. No holds barred.

          • Johannes Hui

            Which of the three premises is unsound? Or is there invalidity in the logic-form in my 3-step a-priori proof (if so, what formal fallacy is it?)

            The proof would be unsound only if there is unsound premise(s) or invalid logic-structure.

            Cheers!

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            It is not the premises Bonnette is frightened of... it is the method used in your proof, i.e. it is induction and Thomist Metaphysics is an inductive enterprise.

            Bonnette will not interact with your concept. He won't because unlike Anselm's Argument your argument relies on induction; induction is the bread and butter of Thomist Metaphysics and what your argument reveals clearly is the contradiction inherent in Thomism.

            Ficino, likewise will not interact with your concept because of the same reason; however, in his case it is because your argument reveals clearly the contradiction inherent in Naturalism.

            The stakes are way too high for both Bonnette & Ficino to comment on your model...

          • Johannes Hui

            Just a side-remark to add to my earlier question asking exactly which premise is unsound or else what invalidity in logic-form is there:

            Below is the change of mind regarding Ontological Proofs by the professional philosopher William Lane Craig (regardless of the fact that he is an apologist for Christianity and also not a Roman Catholic - what is impt is he is a professional philosopher and his PhD in philosophy was done under the supervision of a Thomist):

            “I was for years sceptical of the ontological argument. At most it served for me as a model for God, the concept of a greatest conceivable being, which entailed that being’s metaphysical necessity. It wasn’t until I read Alvin Plantinga’s defense of the argument in his The Nature of Necessity (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974) and the reactions to it that I, quite to my surprise, became convinced that this is actually a good argument for God’s existence.”

            Regardless of what others say about Ontological Proofs, one should not dismiss all past and future versions of Ontological Proofs in an a-prior manner (not that you are doing that) without pointing out exactly which premise is unsound or what formal fallacy is there in the form (ie invalid form) in a SPECIFIC version proposed.

          • Johannes Hui

            Thanks Ficino. Atheists and materialists/physicalists are among the best people who may be able to help me see my blind spots in my 3 steps a-priori proof (other than professional philosophers), because atheists and materialists/physicalists (like those in this forum) would not have my bias which might have blinded me to see the objective errors in my 3 steps a-priori proof.
            [These 3 steps are only Stage 1 of the full argument; Stage 2 would then go on to demonstrate that there can only be one non-abstract Unconditioned Entity and it has the same attributes as Classical Theism’s God, the Ground of Reality].

            I prefer my a-posteriori 3-step proof to the a-priori 3-step proof, because it is more intuitively easier to be understood by readers. Nevertheless, I think my a-priori proof is also sound, but I would like to subject it to informal critiques among various groups of people first, before even giving consideration to whether I should prepare a proper academic version to be shown formally to some more formal platform/publications.

            Regarding your objection that I am trying to define God into existence: this is a recurring objection that the professional defendants of the various Ontological Proofs have also heard. While it may not be your case, it is often a result of a failure to understand such type of argument. My response:

            a) Try defining in a similar way some other entity into existence. There seems to be nothing else that you can define into existence. Historically the first such attempt was to try to define a Perfect Island into existence. That Perfect Island parody revealed a failure to understand the Ontological Argument. Since I use “Unconditioned” in my ontological proof, I invite you to try to define an “unconditioned pizza” or “unconditioned unicorn” or whatever thing other than a non-abstract Unconditioned Entity into existence and I would then point out your error in either soundness or validity. The error I would point out in such a parody would not be about defining your unconditioned unicorn or whatever non-abstract entity into existence, but something else. This would then show that only an Unconditioned Entity can avoid that error. This should not be surprising because the concept of all other non-abstract Unconditioned Things (Unconditioned Unicorn, Unconditioned Pizza. Unconditioned Island, Unconditioned Man, etc) suffer intrinsic contradiction and therefore are LOGICAL impossibilities. Among all non-abstract entities, only the concept of Unconditioned Entity does not suffer any contradiction and hence is not a logical impossibility, and therefore is a logical possibility (ie logically coherent).

            b) Instead of poisoning the well by using such type of expression “you are defining God into existence”, why not try using a neutral language: “Johannes, how can you use the concept of Unconditioned Entity to demonstrate that the concept itself entails the actual existence of an Unconditioned Entity?” Then my reply is: In principle, or logically speaking, to know whether or not a specific concept of a non-abstract entity would by logical necessity entails the actual existence of that non-abstract entity, we need to analyze the logical out-workings of that concept. Every such specific concept may or may not entail, by logical necessity, its actual non-abstract existence. It depends on a case-by-case basis. In the case of an Unconditioned Unicorn or Unconditioned Pizza, the concept itself already suffered an intrinsic contradiction and hence it cannot even take off in the beginning premise. But in the case of an Unconditioned Entity, it suffers no intrinsic contradiction and hence it takes off in any premise that says it is not a LOGICAL impossibility and hence is a LOGICAL possibility, regardless of whether it exists in actual reality. Once it can take off in such a beginning premise, then the rest follows, as demonstrated in my 3 steps.

            c) So the only way to LOGICALLY object to my 3 steps would be to show me either the logic-form is invalid or that at least one premise is unsound.

            Cheers!

          • Ficino

            I can't do this. Seek out professional philosophers, those who do NOT adopt theistic presuppositions, and run their gauntlet. And stop putting words in bold. It is a pain in the ass and makes you look pretentious.

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi Ficino,

            Is it wrong for me to share my proof here so that anyone interested (especially the atheists here) may point out the errors in that proof, regardless if I seek to publish it in peer-reviewed journals?

            On bold-facing some text In comments: Others (such as Dennis) also bold-face some of their text to draw the attention of other readers (not just their direct interlocutors) to the important parts of their comments. Since they have been doing it, I thought (or am I mistaken?) it is an accepted practice. My bold-face is for silent readers - so that they can go straight to my bold-face text if they want to skip the rest of the text and yet want to read the impt parts.

          • Johannes Hui

            The following continues from the previous:

            The best objection to my Ontological Proof, from you, Ficino, is this:

            Dr. B and I have talked about the principle of identity as a or the fundamental metaphysical principle. Is your UE identical with itself? Can it be not identical with itself? If the latter, it is violating the principle of identity. The identity relation sets a condition, and the condition is not identical to the entity. That's why I reject your claim that there is a possible world in which is located the UE and nothing else. I don't see reason to suppose that there exists anything that is subject to no conditions. And I doubt that the notion of some entity that can be absent from all conditions is coherent.

            Your above objection is a failure to notice the fundamental difference between real conditions and abstract conditions. By real conditions I mean non-abstract conditions.

            Abstract conditions such as the LAWS of physics, the LAWS of mathematics, and the LAWS of logic are casually inert. These abstract conditions cannot bring a concrete entity from non-existence into existence; they cannot cause an existing non-abstract entity to cease its existence; and they cannot enable any existing non-abstract entity to continue existing.

            In addition, abstract conditions such as the laws of nature and the laws of logic are descriptions of the attributes and behaviours and other regularities of already-existing non-abstract entities. This is what Dr B has been trying hard to enlighten your mind: “metaphysics is prior to logic”. If you want to see the light, please reflect or meditate deeply and interpret charitably on the meaning of “ontology is the basis of logic” or “logic comes after ontology”.

            ONTOLOGY IS PRIOR TO LOGIC. All laws, from the laws of logic to the laws of physics, are descriptions of the attributes, behaviours and regularities of existing entities; all laws are abstractions or abstract descriptions of different aspects of existing non-abstract entities. Entities must first exist, before any existing mind can abstract those abstractions from these non-abstract entities.

            The upshot of the above few paragraphs is:
            when I said the EXISTENCE of an Unconditioned Entity (an non-abstract entity) is not conditioned on any condition, the “any condition” cannot be referring to abstract conditions, since abstractions cannot cause something begin existing, to continue existing, or to cease existing. Hence the “any conditions” can only be referring to non-abstract entities, for only non-abstract entity can enable the existence or non-existence of another non-abstract entity.

            Given all the paragraphs above, “an Unconditioned Entity’s existence is not dependent on any conditions” is logically coherent. There is nothing logically incoherent about the concept of “the existence of an entity whose existence is not dependent on any other non-abstract entity is logically possible”.

            Cheers!

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            Your conclusion is:
            The existence of an Unconditioned Entity is not dependent on any conditions.

            Your conclusion is a contradiction, because existence of an UE is dependent on NO-CONDITIONS and this is a CONDITION!!!!

            SEE? YOU ARE CONTRACDICTING YOURSELF!!!!

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            Your structure:
            1/ If X, then Y
            2/ Y is false
            C/ Therefore X is false

            Is in effect the classical Non-Cause as Cause.

            If the truth of X leads to an impossibility, the truth of X is false. This is Modus Tollens.

            But along the way in the argument from X to an impossibility, you make a further assumption Y, this means the conclusion that X is false is invalid and must be replaced by:

            Either X is false OR Y is false.

            You can't have both X and Y false because then there is no material implication.

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            Approach the model scientifically not philosophically.

            The question you should first ask is:

            Is the world mind-dependent or mind-independent?

            This scientific question is related to the Anselm argument.

            HEADS UP
            Atheists/Pagans will definitely table that the world is mind-independent; this is the defeater for their position that you can use because it leads to:
            (p -> (p->q)) & ¬q

    • Mark

      Here is the curriculum breakdown of the four years at CMCC which includes philosophy and medical ethics:

      https://www.cmcc.ca/admissions/curriculum-by-year

      When was it required to have a PhD in Philosophy to have a valid argument about philosophy? So I should reject your argument with Dr. B on whether or existence is a first or second order predicate because he has a PhD. Got it.

      • Ficino

        So I should reject your argument with Dr. B on whether or not existence is a first or second order predicate because he has a PhD.

        The above is to no point. Whether or not Dr. B has a Ph.D. is not a fact relevant to the soundness of any of my arguments. What you should have done is to indicate, 1), that you were speaking with snark, as I did, and/or 2), make a case that my academic background supports antecedent doubt about the soundness of my own arguments. But that you failed to do, and too late now.

        • Mark

          I'll ask for forgiveness F(u)icino. I'm still learning and as such did not know the /s was meant to indicate sarcasm. I'm much more fluent in verbal communication than blog. I'll take the pie in my face to everyone's delight.

          As for your academic background, you are a nominalist and as such any academic accolades should be treated as though they are only propositional true but not true in the real sense as an essentialist like Dr. B's are. /s

          • Ficino

            Ok, thanks M(u)ark, understood. As to your last paragraph, I don't think any Thomist would deny that academic accolades are only beings of reason, but perhaps some Thomist somewhere thinks that an academic degree is a being that has a real essence in nature. In any case, carry on.

          • Mark

            Whether or not Dr. B has a Ph.D. is not a fact relevant to the soundness of any of my arguments

            Whether or not Dr. Nelson has a Doctorate of Chiropractic is not a fact relevant to the soundness of any of his arguments either. But you seem to dismiss him as though his professional credentials are a signal of a lack of academic value. I'm not sure if that was your intention, but that is how it came across to me. If so, it was a back handed ad hominem aimed an author and professional for which someone of your acumen should be above. If that wasn't your intention you might choose your /s more carefully as it seems to have missed the mark.

      • Dennis Bonnette

        Truth is truth, no matter who has it. And a Ph.D. in philosophy can be totally in error, while the guy who shines shoes can be right.

  • Aquinas famously expressed his opinion of Anselm's argument in his Summa:

    Perhaps not everyone who hears this word “God” understands it to signify something than which nothing greater can be thought, seeing that some have believed God to be a body. Yet, granted that everyone understands that by this word “God” is signified something than which nothing greater can be thought, nevertheless, it does not therefore follow that he understands that what the word signifies exists actually, but only that it exists mentally. Nor can it be argued that it actually exists, unless it be admitted that there actually exists something than which nothing greater can be thought; and this precisely is not admitted by those who hold that God does not exist.

    Question 2, Article 1, Reply to Objection 2, in the Summa Theologica

    He was not a fan.

    ----

    This idea that the Ontological Argument is still useful because it helps us frame the question is dubious to me. For starters, Anselm's conception of God seems to me to beg the question (even before we get to the part when he attempts to define God as something which necessarily exists.) He calls God the "something the greater than which cannot be conceived" but the whole discussion about what is 'greater' than what is intrinsically a subjective notion. Deciding what is and is not a flaw is a value judgment and one cannot simply presuppose that one's value judgments are universal.

    (Yes, I'm aware of the typical Scholastic argument that perfection is defined in terms of purpose and that God, by creating things, gives things their purpose, the argument is still circular.)

    In other words, who's to say whether nonexistence is really a flaw that make God no longer "something the greater than which cannot be conceived?" Who's to say whether finitude is a flaw either? God's being the greatest thing conceivable doesn't necessitate any of these traits and which traits one decides to attribute to God following this logic would depend and the personal opinions and tastes of the person being queried.

  • Johannes Hui

    Here are my drafts of one a-priori proof and one a-posteriori proof that an Unconditioned Entity exists (ie at least one UE exists).

    My a-priori 3-step reasoning:

    1. The concepts of One-Entity Reality (OER) and a non-abstract Unconditioned Entity (UE) are both not logically impossible and hence they are both logically possible realities (ie logically coherent realities).

    2. The non-abstract entity in an One-Entity Reality would be an non-abstract Unconditioned Entity because any conditioned entity cannot exist in an OER because there is no second entity in OER. So an UE exists in the scenario of OER.

    3. The actual reality differs from OER only in terms of the kinds of conditions and so if UE does not exist in our actual reality then it means the conditions in our actual world prevented UE from existing. This contradicts the logically coherent concept of UE. So the only logical option left is: UE exists in our actual world just as it exists in an one-entity reality. This conclusion is false only if the concept of UE or OER are logically impossible (ie if UE or OER is an intrinsic contradiction).

    My a-posteriori 3-step reasoning

    1. You physical existence is CONTINUOUSLY conditioned on the fulfillment of many conditions in various series of conditions (eg air > oxygen molecules > atoms > .... )

    2. A series of non-abstract conditions is either a never-ending series or a series with an ending. It is impossible to fulfill the conditions of a never-ending series as it would be a never-ending task. Since you physically exists now, the conditions for your existence have been fulfilled and hence such a series has an ending with a last non-abstract condition (ie a last entity exists in such a series).

    3. The last entity’s ability to exist is either conditioned or not conditioned on some other non-abstract condition. If it is conditioned then the last entity does not exist since there is nothing after it for it to depend on for existence. But the last entity exists so the only logical option left is that the last entity is not conditioned (ie unconditioned) on any other non-abstract condition. Therefore an Unconditioned Entity exists in every such a series in order for you to physically exist now.

    • Philip Rand

      Johannes Hui

      A truth table for -> shows that both conjuncts OER & UE are indeterminate, i.e. a value of 1/2.

      Therefore, it is indeterminate whether an UE exists in such a series.

  • Phillip Dent

    Lol. Presented this way the circular nature of this argument. P1:

    >God is the greatest conceivable thing.

    If "god is" then god exists so why do we the rest!?

    If instead you mean god is defined as... Then all we are doing is defining god as the greatest conceivable.

    Not to mention that we don't know what we are supposed to be conceiving. Are we just talking about the greatest thing that actually exists? Which could be the universe itself.

  • abb3w

    The most fundamental philosophical problem with most versions of the Ontological Argument seems that all neglect to define the basis of the partial ordering relationship associated to the word "greater". This is worsened by the implicit assumption that the ordering must be total rather than partial, apparently to allow inferring uniqueness rather than merely existence.

    The sole exception to that is Gödel's Ontological Argument, which defines its ordering explicitly; however, Gödel's version does not rule out that the entity in question is the empty set, and "God may be Nothing" is widely considered theologically problematic.

  • Johannes Hui

    I just designed and crafted this first draft of an alternative a-priori ontological proof for an Unconditioned Entity.

    A concept of a non-abstract entity can logically reveal whether that non-abstract entity
    a) is impossible to exist in the actual world/reality,
    b) is possible to either exist or not exist in the actual world/reality (ie its existence is contingent and depends on whether the right conditions are there first), or,
    c) is impossible not to exist in the actual world/reality

    Eg:
    the concept of a paper-drawing showing a circular square logically reveals that such a paper-drawing is impossible to exist because that concept is or entails an intrinsic contradiction;
    the concept of a two-headed snake is such that there is no logical contradiction in it. So it is not logically impossible. At the same time, there is nothing about it that renders it to exist as a logical necessity. So logically, it can either exist or not exist, depending on whether the right conditions are present (such as evolutionary conditions);

    Would the concept of a non-abstract Unconditioned Entity (nUE), which is a non-abstract entity whose existence is not conditional any other non-abstract entities, reveal logically whether such a non-abstract entity
    a) is impossible to exist in actuality,
    b) possible to exist but does not necessarily exist in actuality, or
    c) impossible not to exist in the actual world/reality?

    [Note that abstractions or abstract entities such as mathematical laws and laws of logic cannot enable any non-abstract things to start existing, continue existing or cease existing and hence are not relevant here; abstractions such as laws of logic are mind-based descriptions of the attributes and behaviours of non-abstract entities, and hence is parasitic on non-abstract entities to exist first; existence of non-abstract entities comes before the existence of abstractions]

    Given that abstract entities or abstract conditions are causally inert in that they cannot enable nUE to exist or not to exist, the only kind of conditions relevant would be non-abstract entities or non-abstract conditions. Unlike abstract entities/conditions, non-abstract entities/conditions are not causally inert, and hence non-abstract entities are relevant to our issue. So can the presence or absence of any non-abstract entity make a difference to whether or not nUE exists?

    Since nUE is not an intrinsic contradiction and hence not a logical impossibility, it is a logically possible concept. Being a logically possible concept means the non-abstract nUE would exist in at least one hypothetically logical world/reality among the set of all logically possible non-empty realities. In at least one hypothetical logical non-empty world, nUE exists intrinsically. In that non-empty world, nUE’s existence is unconditional regardless of any conditions or scenarios. In that non-empty world, nUE’s existence is unaffected no matter how the non-abstract entities are changed (abstract entities are irrelevant as explained earlier).
    [eg: All other non-abstract entities could disappear in that world and still the nUE would exist in that world. So whatever changes are made in that world, nUE would still exist since its existence is unconditional on any other conditions or non-abstract entities. So if changes are made in that world such that the conditions (ie non-abstract entities and their attributes/behaviours) in that world are made to correspond exactly to our actual world, nUE would still exist since it exists intrinsically or unconditionally.]

    From within the perspective of that world where nUE exists, nUE existing intrinsically and unconditionally means there is no logically possible scenario of a non-empty world in which nUE does not to exist. In other words, it is logically impossible for nUE not to exist in any world among the exhaustive set of all logically possible non-empty worlds.

    As the law of logic is the same whether it is in that hypothetical world or in our actual world, the exhaustive set of all logically possible non-empty worlds seen from the perspective from that hypothetical world is the same as the exhaustive set of all logically possible non-empty world viewed from the perspective in our actual world.

    In addition, what is a logical contradiction viewed from that hypothetical world is also a logical contradiction viewed from the actual world in which we are living now. What is logically impossible viewed from that hypothetical world is also logically impossible viewed from our actual world. The law of logic is the same whether it is in that world or in our actual world.

    Since viewed from that world, it is logically impossible for nUE not to exist in any one world among the exhaustive set of all logically possible non-empty worlds, and given that the law of logic is the same for both that world and our world, therefore viewed from our actual world, it is also logically impossible for nUE not to exist in any one world among the exhaustive set of all logically possible non-empty worlds

    Here comes the important part:
    The actual world in which we live is one of those logically possible non-empty worlds among the exhaustive set of logically possible non-empty worlds!

    Since it is logically impossible for nUE not to exist in any one world among the exhaustive set of all logically possible non-empty worlds and our actual world is one of those worlds in that exhaustive set, it is logically impossible for nUE not to exist in our actual world!

    Therefore by logical necessity, nUE exists in our actual world right at this moment when you are reading this.

    Cheers!
    johannes y k hui

    • Philip Rand

      Johannes Hui

      - The concept of a paper-drawing showing a circular square logically
      reveals that such a paper-drawing is impossible to exist because that
      concept is or entails an intrinsic contradiction;

      You think that one can identify an object quite independently of its combinatorial possibilities, through (in your example), ostension.

      However, your example is the defeater of your argument and of Thomism.

      Successful uptake of such ostension depends upon your placing circular square in the correct space of possibilities:

      1/ Is a circular square darker than your hat.
      2/ Is a circular square faster than a Tesla.
      3/ Is a circular square stronger than brass.

      The anomaly that you have highlighted in your example and which Thomism shares is which object a name picks out is indeterminate until the range of facts in which it may figure has been settled.

      And this is the root of Thomism's ontological/epistemological confusion/conflation; Thomistic metaphysics of explaining how objects can be combined to form facts, presupposes its "answer".

    • Dennis Bonnette

      @Ficino

      "Being a logically possible concept means the non-abstract nUE would exist in at least one hypothetically logical world/reality among the exhaustive set of all logically possible non-empty worlds/realities."

      Without having any desire whatever to try to parse each step in your complex argument, I would simply point out one problem at its very foundation which appears to me to be quite in error.

      You are claiming that because something is "logically possible" that that something must "exist[italics mine] in at least one hypothetically logical world/reality...."

      When I was initially enamored with the intellectual elegance of the Ontological Argument myself, I thought one could go from the conceptual order to the real order in such a manner -- an intellectual move that all Thomists firmly reject.

      But I finally came to realize that the key error is to assume that what is "logically possible" is, therefore, also, in some real sense, "actually possible." But it is not.

      What is logically possible is simply what does not entail an internal contradiction. It is coherent. It is something that has nothing in its very nature which would prevent it from existing.

      But, just because something is not self-contradictory does not mean that it actually can exist or come into existence. Dinosaurs are not only logically possible, but in fact have actually existed in some former time. But that does not mean either that they could exist now or even that they actually could exist in the future.

      The catch is that even if there is nothing inherently incoherent about something does not mean that it is actually possible.

      For, to be actually possible means that the state of reality is such that this something could actually come into being somehow. But, although logically possible, an actual dinosaur will never exist in the future unless conditions in reality are such as to produce another actual dinosaur. If whatever produced the real dinosaurs in the past never exists again, it will be impossible in reality for another dinosaur every to exist, in which case, they are not now "actually possible."

      In other words, just because something is logically possible in no way demonstrates that the existential conditions of reality are such that this thing could actually exist or come into existence, since, unless an actual sufficient reason or cause for it existing itself actually exists, that something will never itself exist.

      Put another way, some say, since God is the necessary being whose very existence is identical with his essence, he must exist and cannot not exist. All this is true, but only if it so happens that he actually exists -- which is something you cannot know just be thinking about his nature.

      Or again,God's very possibility is identical with his actuality. It is argued that, since he is possible, he must actually exist. But the catch is that the only way to know that he is actually possible is if you find out that he actually exists. Otherwise, the real possibility is that nothing every exists at all!

      You say, "But that is impossible, since we know that the world does exist."
      Precisely! And that is why every Thomistic proof for God starts with something that already exists and that we know through an experiential judgment of its existence.

      St. Thomas always begins his proofs for God with something existing in the real world of experience. From that he argues back to the need for a God to create or move or be doing something with that real world.

      But starting from mere concepts can prove nothing except logical entailments with other concepts. For the Thomist, you can never argue from mere conceptual relationships to reality itself.

      As an undergraduate major in philosophy, I was once in love with the Ontological Argument myself -- until I came to realize that nothing is really logically possible unless there existed actual causes or reasons for it to exist or come to exist. But even God who is his own reason for existing cannot actually exist unless that reason actually exists -- and we have no way of knowing that the reason for God's existing itself actually exists unless we first know that God himself actually exists.

      The unfortunate truth of the matter is that we can perfectly understand the true nature of God as he must exist, if he actually exists, but it is also possible that nothing -- including God himself -- ever actually exists.

      That is why, for Thomists, if you want to prove the existence of something real, you have to start with something real, and then, use that actual knowledge to lead to further knowledge of the real. Otherwise, all one's thoughts about the nature of thoughts may well be much ado about nothing.

      • Johannes Hui

        @ Ficino too

        Thanks Dennis for yr comments

        You wrote:

        But I finally came to realize that the key error is to assume that what is "logically possible" is, therefore, also, in some real sense, "actually possible." But it is not.

        It seems like you might have misidentified what the key element in my version of Ontological Argument is. The key engine that is doing the work in the argument is not about “logical possibility”!!! My elaboration comes after these comments of yours.

        What is logically possible is simply what does not entail an internal contradiction. It is coherent. It is something that has nothing in its very nature which would prevent it from existing.

        But, just because something is not self-contradictory does not mean that it actually can exist or come into existence. Dinosaurs are not only logically possible, but in fact have actually existed in some former time. But that does not mean either that they could exist now or even that they actually could exist in the future.

        Like you, I also believe that what is logically possible may or may not actually exist. Unicorns are logically possible but they do not actually exist. I would never argue something like “Unicorns are logically possible. Therefore unicorns actually exist.”

        Because unicorns are logically possible, they would exist only in some hypothetically possible worlds, but existing in some hypothetical worlds does not mean that they would exist in our actual world. There is no way to use any a-priori reasoning to argue from “unicorns exist in some hypothetical possible worlds” to “unicorns exist in the actual world”.

        The key engine that is doing the work in my argument is not the concept of “logically possible”. The key engine is the concept of nUE (non-abstract Unconditioned Entity).

        In most cases, when an entity is logically possible, there is no logical necessity that it must necessarily exists in the actual world.

        But modern research in logic has already proven that for certain types of entities, if they are logically possible, then by logical necessity, they must also necessarily exist in our actual world. Only in such cases then “if that entity is possible, then that entity necessarily exists in our actual world”.

        What entities are these? It would be any entity X such that if it is logically possible that entity X exists necessarily, then that entity X actual exists. So the non-abstract Unconditioned Entity in my argument would be fit the criteria.

        However you said that though it is logically possible that my non-abstract Unconditioned Entity (nUE) exists necessarily, it is still possible that nUE does not necessarily exist in the actual world. Here is why it looks like you are mistaken:

        (1) If it is possible that nUE does not necessarily exist in actuality, then “it is impossible that it is impossible” that nUE does not necessarily exist in actuality.
        (“it is possible” = “it is impossible that it is impossible”)

        Applying the logic of contraposition to (1) [for other silent readers: an introductory explanation of contraposition can be found here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contraposition ] we get this next step:

        (2) If it is NOT impossible that it is impossible that nUE does not necessarily exist in actuality, then it is NOT possible that nUE does not necessarily exist in actuality.

        Since “NOT impossible” = “possible” and “NOT possible” = “impossible”, statement (2) becomes:

        3) If it is possible that “it is impossible that nUE does not necessarily exist in actuality”, then “it is impossible that nUE does not necessarily exist in actuality”.

        Since “it is impossible that nUE does not necessarily exist” = “nUE necessarily exists”, the above statement is the same as the statement below:

        4) If it is possible that nUE necessarily exists in actuality, then nUE necessarily exists in actuality.

        In other words:

        5) If it is logically possible that nUE necessarily exists in our actual world, then nUE exists necessarily in our actual world!!!

        Since the antecedent in conditional statement (5) has been established in my two versions of Ontological Arguments, which means that it is in fact logically possible that an Unconditioned Entity, whose existence is unconditional, necessarily exists in the actual world, therefore an Unconditioned Entity necessarily exists in the actual world now.

        Please let me know if you disagree with any of the above 5 steps.

        (Sometimes I address you as Dr Bonnette and sometimes Dennis. This is not out of disrespect. In fact I am impressed by not just your expertise in philosophy but also your great patience in how you interact with your many interlocutors here. I am assuming you are like Alex Pruss who is happy that people call him Alex instead of “Dr Pruss” when the public asked him questions in philosophy in his blog).

        Cheers!

        • Dennis Bonnette

          I did not suggest that you were saying that what is logically possible must actually exist. Clearly, dinosaurs are logically possible, but do not actually exist.

          But you claim: "What entities are these in such SPECIAL cases? It would be any entity X such that if it is logically possible that entity X exists necessarily, then that entity X actual exists. So the non-abstract Unconditioned Entity in my argument would be fit the criteria."

          Thus your argument runs that is a very special case -- the case of a necessary being -- what is logically possible must actually exist.

          Now, the objection I had made was based on this claim of mine: What is logically possible may not be actually possible.

          And, may I try my had at a little simple logic here.

          If you contradict my principle that what is logically possible may not be actually possible, then you are maintaining that what is logically possible must be actually possible.

          But, if that is true, then, since it is logically possible that nothing ever existed, it must be actually possible that nothing ever existed.

          But, if it is true that it is possible that nothing ever existed, then it is also true that your necessary being may never have existed.

          Yet, your logic just claimed to have proven that this necessary being MUST EXIST!

          So, if your necessary being does exist, then my initial premise must be false. That is, it is not true that what is logically possible must also be actually possible.

          And this was the point of my previous comment. Since what is logically possible may not also be actually possible, anything you prove about your logically possible non-abstract Unconditioned Entity merely tells us that such a being is logically possible. Now, if it is logically possible, it must exist necessarily.

          But what is logically possible may not be actually possible.
          And, if nothing ever existed, then your nUE would be logically possible, but not actually possible. Hence, it would not exist!

          I fear all you have actually accomplished is what many others have done with the Ontological argument, namely, proven that if God exists, he is the sort of being which must exist necessarily.

          IF God exists....

          Remember, I was not saying that you were saying that if God is logically possible he must exist. No. I was saying that you are assuming that if God is logically possible, he must therefore also be actually possible.

          And there's the rub......

          • Johannes Hui

            @Ficino:disqus

            Thanks Dr Bonnette for your critique. It is helping me to sharpen my thinking and expressions.

            You said:

            If you contradict my principle that what is logically possible may not be actually possible, then you are maintaining that what is logically possible must be actually possible.

            Your description above is not representing the situation and options correctly because it did not take account of the nuances.

            As you know, in my previous comment, I explained using unicorns to say it is false that “what is logically possible must also be actually possible.”

            But my denial of “what is logically possible must also be actually possible” does not mean that I would end up with having to accept the idea that “whatever is logically possible does not, by logical necessity, entail that it must be actual”. There are nuances involved.

            What I am saying is there are these two principles governing logical possibility and necessity:

            (A) If a conditional or contingent non-abstract entity is logically possible to exist in our actual reality, it does not entail that it actually exists in our actual reality. For all conditional or contingent entities, logical possibility does not entail actuality.

            (B) If an Unconditional or Necessary non-abstract Entity is logically possible to exist necessarily in our actual world, it entails that that Entity actually exists necessarily in our actual world. For all unconditional or necessary entities, logical possibility entails actuality.
            [in my previous reply. I have given a 5-step deductive argument to prove the principle in (B) is true.]

            You said:

            But, if that is true, then, since it is logically possible that nothing ever existed, it must be actually possible that nothing ever existed.

            But, if it is true that it is possible that nothing ever existed, then it is also true that your necessary being may never have existed

            The concept “nothing ever existed” is something that is intrinsically contingent and hence it would fall under the logic principle I described under category (A).

            Since “nothing ever existed” is intrinsically contingent, it being logically possible does not entail that it is actually possible and does not entail that it is true in actuality. In contrast, the concept of “a non-abstract Unconditioned Entity” has unconditionally and necessity build into it, and hence it falls under the logic principle under category (B). So the conclusion of an a-priori argument that starts with “it is logically possible that nothing ever existed” would end up with a conclusion that we do not know whether or not it is even actually possible that “nothing ever existed”, whereas in contrast, the conclusion of my two (actually by now I have designed three) different versions of Ontological Arguments all comes to the conclusion that it is necessarily true that a non-abstract Unvonditioned Entity exists necessarily, both as an actual possibility and an actuality.

            From the above, it means the various Ontological Atguments’ conclusion “it is necessarily true that nUE exists necessarily in actuality [ie (i) nUE is not merely logical possible but also actually possible, and (ii) nUE is not merely actually possible but also actually existing] would override the former conclusion that “we do not know what is the answer to whether or not it is even actually possible that nothing ever existed”. The logically necessary conclusion of my various different Ontological Arguments would supply the answer: since nUE existing necessarily is both an actual possibility and an actual reality, the answer to “is ‘nothing ever existed’ actually possible”” is that: “nothing ever existed” is actually impossible even though it is narrowly logically possible.
            [What is actually possible (regardless of whether it exists in actuality) is broader than what is merely logically possible. That means something can be narrowly logically possible (eg no intrinsic self-contradiction) but not actually possible. (eg it entails a contradiction with some other necessary true conclusions).]

            More could be said about the hypothetical empty world, but I think the above may be enough for the time being.
            .
            .
            Cheers!

          • Philip Rand

            Actuallly Johannes Hui, all your exposition & jargon is amounts to:

            MACH'S PRINCIPLE

            You are now simply exposing the incoherency of Thomism as you continue "explaining" yourself...

          • Philip Rand

            Actuallly Johannes Hui, all your exposition & jargon amounts to stating:

            MACH'S PRINCIPLE

            You are now simply exposing the incoherency of Thomism as you continue "explaining" yourself to Bonnette...now you can "argue" with Bonnette whether "inertia" is "actual" or not, conditioned or unconditioned...

          • Dennis Bonnette

            @Ficino

            While I have great empathy with your dedication to this project, since I once did the same thing myself, nonetheless, it now only further convinces me of the mischief caused by confusing logic with metaphysics. This is why the outstanding French Thomistic philosopher Jacques Maritain warns us that metaphysics is simply not the business of the logician.

            What you call "an Unconditional or Necessary non-abstract Entity" is what fulfills the definition of the God of classical theism, since God is understood as the Necessary Being which must exist and does so while being not "conditioned" or explained by any other thing.

            Your argument claims validly to move from the purely conceptual order to a conclusion in the real order. But all it actually proves is that we cannot conceive of God except as a being that must exist and depends on nothing else for his existence.

            That is, the only way to conceive of God is to conceive him as something that exists necessarily.

            But how we must conceive him does not prove that what we conceive must actually exist. It only means that we must conceive of such a being as necessarily existing.

            The difference between our conception of God and that of finite beings is that we can conceive of finite things as not necessarily existing, whereas we cannot conceive of God that way.

            That is why the "nuance" you raise makes it appear that the problem of the possible being actual pertains to things, like unicorns, but not to God. But, my objection applies equally to God, even though he must be conceived as the one and only being that necessarily exists.

            Again, all your argument proves is that God is the sole being whose nature requires necessary existence, while all others' natures do not require necessary existence. But that does not make God actually real. It only makes us realize that God's nature would include his existence IF AND ONLY IF he happens to actually exist.

            As to the language of your actual argument, you write: "If an Unconditional or Necessary non-abstract Entity is logically possible to exist necessarily in our actual world, it entails that that Entity actually exists necessarily in our actual world. "

            My response once again is that although such a being (God, the Necessary Being) may be logically possible in our actual world, that does not mean such a being is actually possible.

            The mere fact that the actual possibility of such a being would require that it actually exist is not sufficient to show that God actually does exist, since he may still NOT be actually possible in this actual world.

            The reason that he may NOT be actually possible is because all you have shown is that this unique being's very concept entails necessary existence. But the fact that the nature of such a being, conceptually understood, would necessarily entail its existence, does not prove that this being is even possible.

            Since all that is needed to make it not be actually possible is that it not exist, in which case, God would not exist -- necessary existence and all!

            For "logically possible" merely means conceptually coherent in the mind. If it exists outside the mind, then its existence is necessary because the nature of such a being would entail its necessary existence. But if it does not happen to exist outside the mind, it simply does not exist. Still, the concept in the mind would be of a being whose existence is necessary.

            It would just so happen that, while its necessity exists in the mind, no such being exists outside the mind. And, since it does not exist outside the mind, neither does its necessary existence exist outside the mind.

            Since logic deals solely with the conceptual order of things, it cannot tell us anything about really existing things -- unless it first has some really existing things to work with. But real existence is known only in judgments about things we encounter in the real world -- and this is precisely what the Ontological Argument claims not to need.

            Therefore, the Ontological Argument fails.

          • Johannes Hui

            Thanks Dennis again. You said:

            Since logic deals solely with the conceptual order of things, it cannot tell us anything about really existing things -- unless it first has some really existing things to work with.

            The various versions of Ontological Arguments did first have some really existing things to work with: their concept of “unconditional or necessary existence” did not come from nowhere. Such a concept is formed from observing that the common existing non-abstract things are conditioned and contingent. After seeing such conditioned concrete objects, the mind entertains the logical possibility of some non-abstract entity that is opposite of “being conditioned or contingent”. From here the concept of “unconditional or necessary existence” arises in the mind.

            You said:

            For "logically possible" merely means conceptually coherent in the mind...But if it does not happen to exist outside the mind, it simply does not exist...It would just so happen that, while its necessity exists in the mind, no such being exists outside the mind.

            Since what you have been saying in your previous comment (most of which I have not quoted here) amounts to you claiming that, despite what I have argued so far, it is still logically possible that nUE is not necessarily existing right now outside our minds, I guess you would agree with the first statement below:

            (1) If it is logically possible that nUE is not necessarily existing right now outside our minds in our actual world, then “it is logically impossible that it is logically impossible” that nUE is not necessarily existing right now outside our minds in our actual world.
            [“it is logically possible” in the antecedent = “it is logically impossible that it is logically impossible” in the consequent; “possible” = “impossible that it is impossible”]

            Because “If A then B” entails “if not-B then not-A” (Modus Tollens, or alternatively, Contraposition), Step (1) becomes:

            (2) If it is NOT logically impossible that it is logically impossible that nUE is not necessarily existing right now outside our minds in our actual world, then it is NOT logically possible that nUE is not necessarily existing right now outside our minds in our actual world.

            Since in the antecedent of (2), “NOT logically impossible” = “logically possible”,
            and “it is logically impossible that nUE is not necessarily existing right now outside our minds in our actual world”
            = “nUE is necessarily existing right now outside our minds in our actual world”

            and since in the consequent, “NOT logically possible that nUE is not necessarily existing right now outside our minds in our actual world” = “nUE is necessarily existing right now outside our minds in our actual world”,

            the sentence in Step (2) becomes:

            (3) If it is logically possible that nUE is necessarily existing right now outside our minds in our actual world, then nUE is necessarily existing right now outside our minds in our actual world!

            Conclusion: From (3), since it is indeed logically possible that nUE is necessarily existing right now outside our minds in our actual world, therefore nUE is necessarily existing right now outside our minds in our actual world!

            In order to avoid begging the question against the above deductive conclusion (that nUE is necessarily existing right now outside our minds in our actual world), one cannot merely reject the conclusion without pointing out which premise is unsound or what is the error in logic-form. If, hypothetically or otherwise, a person rejects the conclusion by asserting that an a-priori argument from concepts can never tell us whether nUE is existing right now outside our minds in the actual world, then one would be begging the question against the conclusion produced by deductive argument.

            It would then be begging the question because that deductive argument just demonstrated that it is possible to argue from the concept of nUE to conclude that nUE is existing right now outside our minds in the actual world.

            So to avoid begging the question, which premise is unsound or what is the error in logic-form in the above argument presented in this comment?

            You said:

            Your argument claims validly to move from the purely conceptual order to a conclusion in the real order. But all it actually proves is that we cannot conceive of God except as a being that must exist and depends on nothing else for his existence.

            That was what the philosopher William Lane Craig used to think too (before he changed his mind), as he said on his website:

            “Like you, I was for years sceptical of the ontological argument. At most it served for me as a model for God, the concept of a greatest conceivable being, which entailed that being’s metaphysical necessity. It wasn’t until I read Alvin Plantinga’s defense of the argument in his The Nature of Necessity (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974) and the reactions to it that I, quite to my surprise, became convinced that this is actually a good argument for God’s existence.”

            @Facino:disqus

            .
            .
            .
            Cheers!
            johannes y k hui

          • Dennis Bonnette

            @ Ficino

            To address the actual wording of your premises, I see that the following premise is asserted at being true in order for your proof to work:

            "Premise (2) If it is NOT logically impossible that it is logically impossible that nUE is not necessarily existing right now outside our minds in our actual world."

            The illicit move arises because, while you speak purely of logical impossibility, the proposition itself is so worded as to make an assertion about what is "existing right now outside our minds in our actual world."

            In so doing, you are clearly moving from the purely conceptual order to making a judgment about extramental reality. This, you cannot do, despite merely speaking about "logical impossibility." The reason for this is that your statement about "logical" impossibility, in fact, becomes a statement about "actual" impossibility.

            But logical impossibility tells you nothing about actual impossibility, unless what is allegedly logically impossible constitutes a contradiction in terms or being.

            But the existence of the nUE outside our minds in actual reality is clearly not self-contradictory, or else, it could never be proven to be something real! On the other hand, neither is the non-existence of such a thing outside our minds a contradiction in terms or being, since it would merely mean that nothing exists at all, which is also possible -- unless you use the existence of the real world as a premise, which the Ontological Argument claims you do not do.

            Therefore, your argument is actually assuming that "logical possibility" is "actual possibility" in a case in which you cannot demonstrate that it is true. Hence the premise is false.

            And so, therefore, is the entire argument false.

            Moreover, as an aside, I cannot imagine anyone staking his immortal destiny on such a convoluted logical demonstration. At least, the conventional proofs for God are more directly intuitive: The world exists and needs a transcendent Cause. Skeptics will pick it apart piece by piece, perhaps. But at least each step is fairly intuitive.

            This form of the Ontological Argument has no intuitive appeal. So, even if it did work (which it does not), it would be of very limited apologetic value!

            When I was in graduate school, sixty years ago, I recall how amazed and amused people were there that someone actually converted to the Church of England based on his being convinced by the Ontological Argument.

            I applaud the intellectual dexterity and dedication exhibited by your presentation of this argument. And, you know that I staunchly defend the truth that the existence of God can be known by the light of unaided reason. But, the only valid ways I know this can be done is by starting with some really existing datum in the real world and arguing from effect back through prior causes to the transcendent First Cause, which must then still be shown to be the God of classical theism.

          • Johannes Hui

            Gd day Dr Bonnette :)

            I begin with a very important revelation in the first part here, before I go to the second part to respond to your “attack” on my Premise (2).

            First Part: Very Important Revelation
            =============================

            One Key Disagreement between us

            My central concept is: “nUE is necessarily existing non-abstractly (ie outside our minds) now in our actual world”

            I think we both agree that the above central concept is POSSIBLE (ie not impossible). I that we agree that this central concept is a POSSIBILITY (ie not an impossibility).

            What we disagree is whether the mere possibility of this specific central concept must, without fail, entail its actuality.

            I said yes, its mere possibility entails its actuality because this possibility is about an unconditional or necessary entity (and not about something conditional/contingent).

            You said no, its possibility does not entail its actuality.

            Allow me to reveal over here what is hidden inside the statement which we both agree on.

            We both agree that it is POSSIBLE that “nUE is necessarily existing non-abstractly (ie outside our minds) now in our actual world”. (ie it is a possibility and not an impossibility)

            What is not obvious to most people, including philosophers, is the hidden meaning in the following statement which we agree on:

            It is possible that nUE is necessarily existing non-abstractly (ie outside our minds) now in our actual world

            = It is impossible that it is impossible that nUE is necessarily existing non-abstractly (ie outside our minds) now in our actual world

            = It is impossible that it is impossible that nUE is necessarily existing non-abstractly (ie outside our minds) now in our actual world

            = It is impossible that nUE is NOT necessarily existing non-abstractly (ie outside our minds) now in our actual world

            = It is impossible that nUE is NOT necessarily existing non-abstractly (ie outside our minds) now in our actual world

            = It is necessary that nUE is necessarily existing non-abstractly (ie outside our minds) now in our actual world

            = It is necessary that nUE is necessarily existing non-abstractly (ie outside our minds) now in our actual world

            = nUE is necessarily existing non-abstractly (ie outside our minds) now in our actual world

            From the above, we should be able to realize now that:

            It is possible that nUE is necessarily existing non-abstractly (ie outside our minds) now in our actual world
            = nUE is necessarily existing non-abstractly (ie outside our minds) now in our actual world

            For a concept that is about an entity that is unconditional/necessary, its mere possibility would, without fail, entail its actuality.

            For a concept that is about an entity that is conditional/contingent, its mere possibility does NOT entail its actuality.

            .

            Second Part: Yr Attack on my Premise (2)

            You “launched an attack” at Premise (2), but did not “attack” Premise (1), and hence I am presuming you have no problem with Premise (1).

            My Premise (2) is a conditional statement. What you have quoted Is only the antecedent of the conditional statement in Premise (2). Your quote left out the consequent.

            Premise (2) should not be a problem if it is indeed the case that your agree with my Premise (1). Premise (2)’s conditional statement is the necessary entailment of Premise (1)’s conditional statement.

            Premise (1)’s form is “If A, then B”
            Applying either the logic of Contraposition or Modus Tollens to Premise (1), we get “If not-B, then not-A”

            The negation of the consequent of Premise (1) becomes the antecedent of Premise (2). The negation of the antecedent of Premise (1) becomes the consequent of premise (2).

            Hence from Premise (1):
            If , then .

            When we apply the logic of Contraposition (similar to Modus Tollens) to Premise (1), we necessarily get Premise (2):

            Premise (2):
            If it is NOT the case that , then it is NOT the case that

            which is then rewritten in a more natural expression as:

            Premise (2):
            If it is NOT logically impossible that it is logically impossible that nUE is not necessarily existing right now outside our minds in our actual world, then it is NOT logically possible that nUE is not necessarily existing right now outside our minds in our actual world.

            For other readers not familiar with Contraposition, look at this first:
            Premise (1): If the teacher is sick, then she would be absent from class
            Premise (2): If she is NOT absent from class, then the teacher is NOT sick. [Premise (2) is the necessary entailment of Premise (1) via the logic of Contraposition (similar to the effect of Modus Tollens)]

            Hence if what I suspected is true that you did not “attack” Premise (1)’s conditional statement because you find it sound, then Premise (2)’s conditional statement is also necessarily sound.
            .

            Cheers!
            johannes y k hui

            @Ficino:disqus

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I think the most important practical issue I am concerned with about your proof is that it simply is not the sort of thing that one would base his human destiny upon.

            Simply put, it is way too complicated. St. Anselm's original version was very simple to understand. Because of that, it was widely popular and, indeed, moved many people to take its conclusion to heart -- whether it was valid or not!

            But that is not the case with the argument you present -- one so complex that you acknowledge even some philosophers will not grasp its force.

            It is like knowing how to solve the quadratic equation. One might know how to do it, but, given its inherent complexity, very few people would be willing to bet their very lives on its being correct! All the more so, I am sure virtually no one would be willing to bet his very soul that your highly complex argument's premises are true and its logic valid.

            Let me at this time address, not your second premise, but the first one -- and starting with respect to something you claim we both agree about.

            "We both agree that it is POSSIBLE that “nUE is necessarily existing non-abstractly (ie outside our minds) now in our actual world”. (ie it is a possibility and not an impossibility)."

            First, this statement does not say whether "possible" here means merely "logically" possible or "actually" possible.
            While I agree that this hypothesized being is logically possible in that its conception does not appear to be self-contradictory, I do not agree that this logically possible being can be affirmed to be actually possible.

            I say this because there are two situations in which such a being would not be actually possible:

            First, should it happen to be the case that nothing ever existed, there is no way any such being could even possibly exist -- since nothing ever existed and from nothing you get nothing.

            Second, even if something does exist, unless it so happens that such a hypothetical being as you define actually already does exist (which is what you do not yet know, but seek to prove), there would be nothing in reality that could account either for its existing or for its coming to exist. That is, its existence would be impossible.

            Thus, unless you already know that this being exists, there is no way of knowing whether it is actually possible, and thus, one cannot assert that it is actually possible. But, that is what you are claiming to be true.

            Since, in both cases I consider above, what is logically possible would in fact be actually impossible, your proof would never get off the ground.

            "What we disagree is whether the mere possibility of this specific central concept must, without fail, entail its actuality."

            Unfortunately, since I disagree with you about even the "mere possibility" of the actual existence of this specific kind of being, I have no reason presently to deal with the rest of this very complex argument.

            Moreover, I think we should make comments on this thread much shorter than we have been doing! :)

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi Dr Bonnette,

            Seeking Clarification

            I suspect your use of “actually impossible” is different from mine and as a result I may have misunderstood you in some things you said. Hence I better seek your clarification first:

            1) What is the difference between these 3 expressions:

            actual possibility
            actual impossibility
            actual necessity

            2) What is the difference between:

            actual possibility
            metaphysical possibility
            logical possibility

            Fundamental Cause of Our Disagreement?

            As I was reading your comments, I start to think I have identified exactly what it is that you might have made an error in logic that leads to the rest of your disagreement with me.

            From what I understand, you are saying that when a proposition P is logically possible to be true, it means P is not necessarily true and P might be false.

            This is what seems to be the fundamental factor behind the various things you have been saying regarding my Ontological Arguments.

            It seems that it is an error in logic is to think that “P is logically possible to be true“ means that P is not necessarily true.

            Hence why it is an error:
            If P is something that is always true, then “P is logically possible to be true” is true and “P might be false” is false!

            In such cases where P is something that is always true, “P is logically possible to be true“ does not entail that P might be false. In such cases, P is possible to be true does not entail that P is not necessary true.

            Therefore when we are not told the nature of P, then “P is logically possible to be true” does not entail that “P might be false”.

            The logical way should be:
            “P is logically possible to be true” entails that P is something that is either conditionally/contingently true or something that is unconditionally/necessarily true. We should not infer that “P is possible to be false“ when we are not told whether P is something conditional or unconditional.

            In other words, without other information, all that we should infer from “P is logically possible to be true” is that P is something that is either always true or only sometimes true.

            When we are not told about the nature of P, we should not infer that “P is possible to be false”. If we say “P is possible to be false” then we are already making an unwarranted assumption that P is something that is only sometimes true.

            What the above means is that, if we are only told “P is logically possible to be true” without any other info, and then from there we conclude that “P is possible to be false”, we are actually making a logic-leap to beg the question that P is something that can only be sometimes true. That means we have excluded, without warrant, the option that “P is possible to be true because P is something that is necessarily or unconditionally true”.

            Given the above, it is a logic-error to think that “P is logically possible to be true” means “P is not necessarily true” or “P might be false”.

            What I said explains why, in the argument I have just presented to Ficino (a short while ago) using symbolic logic, that “It is is logically POSSIBLE for P to be necessarily true” entails “P is necessarily true”.

            (shorter comment now hehehe)

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            Unless Bonnette adopts actual meaning actual necessity Ackrill's Problem will defeat Thomist Naive Realism.... "actual-ly" in order to address Ackrill's Problem Thomist's are forced to discard a Naive Realist world-view... which means Thomism is demonstrated to be wrong... Akrill's problem should force Bonnette to accept the nUE as actual because it is the ONLY avenue open to him to solve Akrill's Problem...

            Interestingly, the responses from Bonnette & Ficino to this problem reveal that both have a Naive Realist approach to reality... However, what is really interesting from what they write (Feser is guilty of this as well)... is that they adopt in-direct realism and direct realism whenever it suits...

          • Dennis Bonnette

            @ Ficino

            I really think that these sorts of comments need to be much shorter. That is possibly be part of why Ficino prefers not to take part -- and I agree with him!

            Moreover, as I said before, even if you get this kind of proof to work, how many people are going to actually use it to believe in God? Stephan Hawking, maybe? Oh, no. I guess it did not work for him. :(

            But, more seriously, my suspicion with every complex next step in this argument is that there is going to be a hidden shift from the conceptual order to the real order that may sound logically great, but is metaphysically unsound.

            For example:

            "3) Does logical necessity entail actual necessity?"

            I could well imagine a logical demonstration coming to this necessary conclusion: "An Unconditioned Entity necessarily exists in the actual world now."

            The problem is that there is an inherent ambiguity in this statement. Does it mean that the UE actually exists in the actual world now? Or, does it merely mean that an Unconditional Entity is such a type of being that it must necessarily exist in the actual world now?

            You may see those two statements as saying the same thing. I do not. The first may be read as what it seems to say. There really is such a being.

            But the second one could well be read as meaning that it is inherent in the nature of such a being to exist in the real world, but only if such a being happens to actually exist.

            In other words, the second statement is really not a statement about extramental reality at all, but merely a statement about how we must conceive such a being.

            And this is nothing new. We already know that a Necessary Being is one that has to exist by its very nature, but that does not tell us whether that nature actually exists -- only that, if it exists, that it would then necessarily exist.

            This is the danger of illicitly slipping from pure logic into metaphysical assertions.

            So, in my view, the answer to your question, "Does logical necessity entail metaphysical necessity?", is a resounding NO!

            Not unless you actually start with something that is extramentally real! If you start with something extramentally real, and from that show that it logically necessarily implies something else, then YES, it would necessarily imply the actual reality of that other thing. But not otherwise.

            THAT is where we differ on the validity of your proof.

          • Ficino

            But the second one could well be read as meaning that it is inherent in the nature of such a being to exist in the real world, but only if such a being happens to actually exist.

            Good point. We're back to the empty classes problem. And if the nUE is a member of a class, then it cannot be the God of classical theism, who is held to be a member of no genus.

          • Johannes Hui

            Good morning Dr Bonnette. To help me better understand your various comments (I will read them again, including your latest), can you explain what you meant by the expression “actual possibility”?

            Do you use “actual possibility” to mean “metaphysical possibility”?

            Am I right that your use of “actual possibility” implicitly means there would also be the categories of “actual necessities” and “actual impossibilities”?

            Thank you :)

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Good afternoon, Johannes,

            And thank you for a briefer comment! I tend to get lost in really long and complicated ones!

            You are right to ask me to define my terms. But sometimes we need to go a bit more slowly here. It is all too easy to force an insight into some universal classification that does not quite cover all possibilities.

            My use of "actual possibility" was, at least as I used it there, aimed at a single notion. Whether it can be safely universalized, I am not sure. Sometimes it is best to slow down a bit and think carefully.

            My meaning of "actual possibility" as used regarding your argument simply meant that I could conceive of a possible reality situation in which there simply is not now and never was anything whatever in existence. In that case, nothing would exist and nothing ever could exist, since there would be absolutely nothing from which to get it. Nothing existing and no God to make anything.

            The other thought I had was that, even though the concept of God is such that if he were a possible reality, it would be the same as him being an actual reality, that is only a concept -- not itself real. And if God is not real, then the fact that his possibility is identical to his reality still does not make him real, since that only means that IF he exists, then he exists necessarily. But if he does not exist, then he is not even "actually possible," since there is no reality to either be him or cause him or be a sufficient reason for him to be.

            I used to argue for the ontological argument with everyone, including my professors, for some time about when I graduated from my undergrad degree. But it finally dawned on me that, even though God is the one being in which his very possibility is identical to his actuality, unless there were an actual cause or reason for him actually existing, then he would neither be actually real nor even actually possible -- since there would be nothing make him even possible.

            If the Necessary Being exists, then his possibility is one with his actuality. But if he does not exist, he is not even really possible. Since he isn't, he never was, nor is, nor will be.

          • Johannes Hui

            Thanks for the clarification of the term.

            My meaning of "actual possibility" as used regarding your argument simply meant that I could conceive of a possible reality situation in which there simply is not now and never was anything whatever in existence. In that case, nothing would exist and nothing ever could exist, since there would be absolutely nothing from which to get it. Nothing existing and no God to make anything.

            In that case your “actual possibility” (eg of absolute nothingness) in our specific context is in effect “narrow logical possibility”

            Let me explain my terms:

            “narrow logical possibility” = no intrinsic contradiction (no self-contradiction). It follows that “Philip drew on paper a circular square” is a logical impossibility in the sense of narrow logical possibility. However the idea that “the prime minister is a prime number” is not a logical impossibility in the sense of narrow logical possibility because there is no intrinsic contradiction or self-contradiction. The idea that “the universe began from absolute nothingness” is also a logical possibility in the narrow sense of logical possibility.

            “broad logical possibility” = no intrinsic contradiction (no self-contradiction) and no extrinsic contradiction (no contradiction with other established necessities from any kind of necessities in the whole of existence). So the ideas that “the prime minister is a prime number” and “the universe began from absolute nothingness” are logical impossibilities under broad logical because they contradicted other logical and/or metaphysical necessities. “Broad logical possibility” might be some sort like “metaphysical possibility”. [of course, “Philip drew on paper a circular square” would also be a logical impossibility under broad logical impossibility]

            The above two types of logical possibilities are also how some philosophers have explained them.

            In the sense of narrow logical possibility, “absolutely nothing ever existed” is logically possible.

            But modal ontological arguments are using logical possibility in the sense of broad logical possibility. So “absolutely nothing ever existed” would be a logical impossibility in the sense of broad logical possibility. In contrast, a non-abstract entity existing unconditionally (nUE) is a not a logical impossibility in the relevant sense. Hence the premise that nUE is logically possible can at least fly off (whether it can reach its destination is what we are still discussing). In contrast, the idea “absolutely nothing ever existed” is a logical impossibility in the relevant sense and hence it follows that absolute nothingness is not a logically possible world in the relevant sense of broad logical possibility. The premise that “it is logically possible that absolutely nothing ever existed” cannot even start to fly off.

            Even if we want to insist that we must be restricted to logical possibility in the narrow logical possibility, and run a parallel argument starting with “it is logically possible that nothing ever existed” in parallel with “it is logically possible that an nUE with intrinsic necessary existence actually exists now”, modal logic will then prove that the argument using nUE will defeat the argument using “nothing ever existed”.

            This is because “nothing ever existed” is an intrinsically contingent concept, very much like contingent concepts like “unicorns exist now” or “no unicorn ever existed” or “horses exist now” or “horses never existed”. So premises like “Possibly, unicorns once existed” or “Possibly, nothing ever existed” would all arrive at a conclusion that “we do not now if it is true base on a-priori analysis”

            In contrast, “Possibly, an entity with intrinsic necessary existence exists” involve the possibility of an intrinsically necessary concept. Philosophers have successfully proved that possibly necessary entails necessary without fail, using the logic of possibilities and necessities.

            Modal logic has proven that if it is possible that X is necessary, then indeed X is necessary. Possibly necessary entails necessary. @Ficino:disqus

            So “possibly, nothing ever existed” leads to “we don’t know if it is actual from a-priori analysis” because it is a case of “possibly, a contingent phenomenon exists”, whereas “possibly, a necessary being exists” leads to a necessary being exists” because it is a case of “possibly, necessary”.

            To prevent this comment from growing too long, I will respond another time to your other two very important points contained in our series of conversations:

            (a) you said something to the effect that my ontological arguments’ conclusion only proves that the concept of nUE must necessary be something that exists necessarily and not that nUE actually exist,

            and

            (b) you said that things in conceptual order remains in the conceptual order and so whatever their necessity is within the conceptual order cannot slip into the the actual reality.

            Blessed weekend!

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Let me say again that there is a practical downside to this entire line of reasoning, namely, that it is inherently not disposed to induce belief in God -- simply because it is far too complex. The traditional a posteriori arguments at least appeal intuitively. That the entire world needs some sort of transcendent cause appeals to our sense that things are caused in general. The skeptic will lodge arguments against this intuitive insight, but at least it is based on something like a practical intuition -- not something that only a computer can really understand!

            Also, giving different definitions of logical possibility really gets you no closer to what is actual possibility.

            " The idea that “the universe began from absolute nothingness” is also a logical possibility in the narrow sense of logical possibility."

            The mere fact that you manage to redefine "possibility" here in such a fashion as to call getting something from nothing a "narrow logical possibility" does not get you any closer to making it a real possibility. The very first principles of real being makes this move simply impossible -- not just "logically impossible," but not possible in any meaning of the term. "possible," at all. Adding the term, "logical," does not make it merely "narrow logically possible," since there is simply no licit use of the term "possible" here at all.

            It really sounds like an illicit attempt to bridge the gap from the logical order to the ontological order.

            "Modal logic has proven that if it is possible that X is necessary, then indeed X is necessary. Possibly necessary entails necessary."

            I am sorry, but no matter how you define possibility, I don't buy this inference -- except in the conceptual order. If x is the sort of thing that would be necessary, if it exists, then, of course, it will always be necessary -- but only in the conceptual order, not necessarily so in the real order.

            I can see the contingency of raising the possibility that nothing ever existed. But the fact that a necessary being must necessarily exist does not remove the contingency from the question as to whether such a thing ever existed at all. I admit to having a hard time following the logic of your argument, but it is clear to me that somewhere in your reasoning you have an error whereby you are confusing the necessity of a necessary being existing as to its very nature with the necessity of one existing as a matter of fact.

            Of course the non-existence of anything is purely contingent, and also evidently false, since something does exist!

            But the existence of a necessary being is just as contingent in reality. It is just that, if it does exist, it does so necessarily, since its very nature would require it to exist. But, if such a thing never existed, that conceptual necessity would do it no good at all in terms of making it exist.

            To put it another way, we have conceded the contingency of the claim that nothing ever existed. What if we put it this way: If nothing ever existed, then it would be necessarily true that nothing ever existed, since it belongs to the very nature of non-being not to exist.

            Thus, nothing necessarily does not exist. And its necessity becomes just as necessary as the does the necessity of the necessary being to exist.

          • Ficino

            "Modal logic has proven that if it is possible that X is necessary, then indeed X is necessary. Possibly necessary entails necessary."

            I am sorry, but no matter how you define possibility, I don't buy this inference -- except in the conceptual order. If x is the sort of thing that would be necessary, if it exists, then, of course, it will always be necessary -- but only in the conceptual order, not necessarily so in the real order.

            @Johannes_Hui:disqus

            I have to agree with Dennis. Here is another way to put the issue.

            ◊□P → □P tells us that if a proposition, P, in some possible world w1 holds over all possible worlds, then P holds over all possible worlds.

            The above conditional does not establish that P is true. It is only a conditional. IF P is true in some possible world, etc.

            So is your P true in at least one possible world?

            The answer is not an effect of any logical work done by the necessity operator, □. Instead, the truth of the proposition P must be "made" by a fact. And we don't have access to any truth-making facts except from what follows within a tautological system or from empirical evidence.

            The truth of the proposition, the nUE exists in the actual world, is therefore not established by the necessity operator, □, since modal operators are not truth-functional. Neither is the truth of the proposition, that the nUE exists in the actual world, established by the evidence of the senses. Is it established by what is implied within a tautological system, the way the truth of the proposition, "a figure all of whose points are equidistant from a central point is a circle" is established by implications of a tautological system?

            No. From the definition of a circle, we are not authorized to infer that circles "exist" as NON-abstract objects. An analytic proposition does not establish the actual existence of any singularity.

            Johannes, you have argued that the nUE must exist because its ratio does not entail a contradiction and nothing prevents it from existing. We have no reason to accept this premise. The conditional, "If an animal has the head of a lion, of a goat, and of a serpent, it is a chimaera," entails no contradiction, but we are not authorized therefore to say that a chimaera exists in the actual world because nothing prevents it from existing. Your "nothing prevents" clause we reject. If some X exists, it is caused to exist; there is no default state of existence of any singularity that needs to be "prevented" in order to stop X from existing. You've got it bass ackwards.

          • Johannes Hui

            You wrote:

            Johannes, you have argued that the nUE must exist because its ratio does not entail a contradiction and nothing prevents it from existing. We have no reason to accept this premise. The conditional, "If an animal has the head of a lion, of a goat, and of a serpent, it is a chimaera," entails no contradiction, but we are not authorized therefore to say that a chimaera exists in the actual world just because nothing prevents it from existing. Your "nothing prevents" clause we reject. If some X exists, it is caused to exist; there is no default state of existence of any singularity that must be "prevented" in order to stop X from existing.

            Ficino, your example of chimaera is a contingent entity whose existence is conditional upon the right conditions (eg evolutionary conditions).

            As I said before, “possibly, a contingent/conditional entity exists” leads us a-priori only to the conclusion “we do not know whether it is actually existing now”.

            By modal logic, “possibly, possibly” entails only “possibly”. So “possibly, a chimaera that is possible to exist” entails only “a chimaera is possible to exist”. By a-priori reasoning we cannot know if it is actually existing non-abstractly now.

            By modal logic, “possibly, necessary” entails “necessary”. So “possibly, necessarily-existing nUE with unconditional intrinsic necessary existence is existing non-abstractly” entails “ necessarily-existing nUE with unconditional intrinsic necessary existence is existing non-abstractly”.

            Modal operators help us to ensure the logic-form is valid. The soundness of the semantics of the beginning premise’s sentence expressed through a combination of both modal operators and proposition in that beginning premise, when unpacked with the help of a valid logic-structure to draw out the entailment of the beginning premise, is what determined the soundness of the conclusion.

            So in the end, it boils down to whether or not one can show that the beginning premise is unsound. To show the beginning premise is unsound, one needs to argue that it is IMPOSSIBLE that there can be any non-abstract entity existing necessarily with unconditional intrinsic necessary existence. @bonette:disqus

            Cheers!
            johannes

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            Ficino has tabled:

            From the definition of a circle, we are not authorized to infer that circles "exist" as NON-abstract objects.

            Ficino is WRONG (again)....

            Electrons have been experimentally confirmed to be perfectly spherical.

            Yet, another actual confirmation of the nUE argument...

          • Johannes Hui

            I missed this part of his comment. I have just responded to it. Thanks for alerting me about it.

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            Bonnette has tabled that knowledge contingency invalidates your first Premiss. Actually, knowledge contingency proves that your first premise is correct. The truth-table result confirms it.

            Bonnette is trying to bootstrap Thomism onto your model.... it doesn't work... BUT, what it does reveal about Thomism from what Bonnette states, is that Thomism is Behaviourism.

          • Ficino

            Johannes, why don't you email Richard Zach, tell him you are an admirer of his textbook, and ask him whether he can evaluate your argument? It still seems to me that what you do with the modal operators really doesn't do any work, since you are grounding the truth of your P in what you say must be true of your nUE. But as I said, you need to get an expert in modal logic if you want an expert's response.

          • Johannes Hui

            Gotta wait till I become an admirer of his book first LOL

          • Johannes Hui

            You wrote:

            What if we put it this way: If nothing ever existed, then it would be necessarily true that nothing ever existed, since it belongs to the very nature of non-being not to exist.

            We already know that a Necessary Being is one that has to exist by its very nature, but that does not tell us whether that nature actually exists -- only that, if it exists, that it would then necessarily exist.

            The kind of necessity you referred to in the above is not the kind of necessity in Ontological Arguments.

            The necessity associated with your statement “if nothing ever existed, then it would be NECESSARY true that nothing ever existed” is not an unconditional necessity. It is a conditional or contingent necessity. Only if it happened contingently that nothing existed then it is actually necessarily the case that nothing existed. It is similar to saying “It is necessarily the case that the President of the US in 2013 is Obama and not Bernie Sanders, because that was how it turned out to be.” Such type of necessity is conditional on the presence of other extrinsic factors. So your kind of necessity is only an conditional necessity extrinsic to the nature of the entity.

            In contrast, the “necessary existence” of Ontological Arguments are unconditional necessity and is intrinsic to the nature of the non-abstract entity nUE. The key lies in whether or not one accepts the initial premise “it is POSSIBLE for there to be an entity with unconditional existence or intrinsic necessary existence”. If a person accepts this initial premise, then by a valid logic form, we necessarily get the conclusion that such an entity is actually existing extra-mentally in our actual world by virtue of its unconditional intrinsic necessary existence.

            If the Necessary Being you refer to is a being that has necessary existence in the conceptual order but is possible to happen to not exist in the actual world, then what you conceived as Necessary Being is not the Unconditionally Necessarily-Existing Being of Ontological Arguments. Your Necessary Being only has a conditional necessity that is conditional upon the extrinsic factor of whether it HAPPENED to exist. Your Necessary Being is only necessary in name only; when in fact it is a contingent entity (ie it is possible that it happened not to exist).

            I could well imagine a logical demonstration coming to this necessary conclusion: "An Unconditioned Entity necessarily exists in the actual world now."

            The problem is that there is an inherent ambiguity in this statement. Does it mean that the UE actually exists in the actual world now? Or, does it merely mean that an Unconditional Entity is such a type of being that it must necessarily exist in the actual world now?

            It is intended, and can be reworded, to mean that the nUE is actually existing non-abstractly in the actual world now. So one has to reject the conclusion if one disagrees with what it claims. But to do that without begging the question against the conclusion, one would need to reject the starting premise that “it is possible that nUE, on the basis of its unconditional and intrinsic necessary existence, is actually existing non-abstractly now in our actual world”. To reject the starting premise, one would need to show it is logically or metaphysically impossible for there to be such an entity.

            Even if the second statement was intended (it was not, but let’s temporarily grant that it is, for argument’s sake), if one already accepted the beginning premise that it is POSSIBLE for there to be an nUE necessarily existing non-abstractly now on the basis of its unconditional intrinsic necessary existence, then one would be committing a logical contradiction to say that nUE does not necessarily exists in our actual world. That would mean one is saying nUE is an entity that is necessarily existing now due to its intrinsic necessary existence and yet not necessarily existing now! In other words, one is implicitly saying nUE is an intrinsically necessarily existing being and yet not an intrinsically necessarily-existing being at the same time!

            So to avoid the contradiction, one has to follow the example of @Ficino:disqus by rejecting the beginning premise. In that case, one has to provide reasons to argue that it is logically or metaphysically impossible for there to be such a being.

            Cheers!

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Alright, let me focus on exactly the same premise of yours which Ficino @Ficino rejects:

            " The key lies in whether or not one accepts the initial premise “it is POSSIBLE for there to be an entity with unconditional existence or intrinsic necessary existence”.

            Your affirmation that it IS possible for the nUE to exist.

            I challenge your claim that you can affirm that the nUE is possible.

            My position is that we have no way of KNOWING whether such a being is even POSSIBLE, and hence, cannot say that it actually is possible.

            The reason we have no way of knowing whether it is possible is that -- without offering any a posteriori proofs for this being's existence, it is ontologically possible that it simply does not exist.

            Now you will say that such knowledge is merely contingent upon reality, and hence, this is not the necessary being to which you are referring.

            But it is not the being itself that is contingent in this case, but rather our KNOWLEDGE of its possibility which is contingent. Our knowledge of whether this being is actually ontologically possible depends on whether it happens to exist in fact -- since if the nUE does not exist in fact, there is no way it can possibly ever exist!

            And, if there is no way it can every possibly exist in that contingent event, then there is no way that anyone can actually affirm that such a being is even POSSIBLE!

            So, no, I cannot agree with your first premise. Just like Ficino, I deny your first premise.

            The nUE MIGHT be possible, but we have no way of knowing whether it is actually possible, since, if it does not in fact exist, then it is NOT LOGICALLY, BUT ONTOLOGICALLY IMPOSSIBLE!

            The contingency here is in our knowledge, not in the nUE.
            So, I am not surreptitiously inserting contingency into the concept of the nUE. The contingency is in my knowledge of its actual possibility. And lacking any way to know for sure that such a being actually exists, I have no way of knowing if it is really possible.

            Hence, I cannot affirm your starting premise, namely, that such a being as nUE is even POSSIBLE.

          • Johannes Hui

            @bonnette:disqus
            @ficino:disqus

            Dr Bonnette & Dr Ficino,

            Our recent conversations on ontological arguments are the appetizers leading to the main dish here. Here is where our real work lies: looking at the first actual premise itself.

            I like and appreciate that Dr Bonnette has given his critique of my first premise.

            I am confident that my first premise is sound. At the same time, I am happy if Dennis or Ficino or anyone can prove me wrong by showing why my first premise is unsound.

            I will respond to Dr Bonette’s critique of my first premise after three of us have made sufficient clarifications in our other sub-threads (eg on the concept of “concepts”, unicorns and modality etc).

            Looking forward to a series of comments here. Cheers!

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Alright, let's cut to the chase here, Johannes:

            @Ficino
            "My first premise claims that it is LOGICALLY POSSIBLE (equivalent to “not logically impossible”) that nUE necessarily exists non-abstractly now in our actual world given that the concept of nUE is a non-abstract entity with unconditional intrinsic necessary existence."

            Do you assert, via this first premise, that a premise can be logically possible, even if it is actually impossible?

            (Perhaps, something in your understanding of logically possible allows this. But it needs explaining.)

            From my perspective, if something is not actually possible, it ought also, thereby, not to be logically possible. By logically possible, do you mean that it simply does not entail a contradiction in terms? That is what most people mean by logically possible.

            My objection is that unless we already know that the nUE actually exists, we have no way of knowing whether it is actually possible. Why? Because, if it does not actually exist, there is no set of conditions on which it can have a sufficient reason either to exist or come to exist.

            Since we do not know a priori whether the nUE actually exists, there is no way to know whether it is actually possible. This also entails they we have no way of knowing or affirming that it is even logically possible

            Why? Because it is a contradiction in terms or being that the nUE both not actually exist and for it also to be actually possible for it to exist -- as explained above.

            Since we have no way of knowing whether the nUE constitutes such a contradiction in terms, we then have know way of knowing that your first premise is actually true. That is, we do not know that the nUE is logically possible, since its both not existing and its being able to exist cannot both be true at once. That is, its actually existing could entail a contradiction in terms., since if it actually does not exist, it cannot simultaneously actually exist -- and we do not know a priori whether it actually exists.

            Since we cannot affirm your first premise, you cannot use it in a valid demonstration of the nUE's existence.

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi Dr Bonnette,

            I am planning to read several times and reflect over your critique of my first premise before I form my thought properly and share over here. Meanwhile can you help to clarify the followings because one very major objection you raised is base on your concept of “actually possible”. I am trying to better understand its meaning through what it implies:

            (1) Does your use of “actually possible” implies that

            (a) some things are actually possible to exist and are actually existing in our world?

            (b) it is possible that some other things are actually possible to exist but so far they have not actually existed in our world or may not ever exist in the future?

            (2) Since “actually possible” implies the category of “actually impossible” (the flip side of “actually impossible” would be “actually necessary”),

            (a) do you agree that anything that does not fall under the category “impossible to exist” would be actually possible to exist, regardless whether or not they actually exist?

            (b) what are a few of the principles that would determine what things are actually impossible to exist?

            CC @ficino:disqus

            Thank you. Cheers!

          • Dennis Bonnette

            While I reserve the right to revise my judgment later on ! ,
            I think the answer to 1 a and 1 b would be both "yes."

            2 a also appears to be a "yes."

            It seems to me that the nUE has an unique problem not shared by all other beings, namely, that, if it does not presently actually exist, it becomes, by that very fact, "actually impossible to exist."

            The reason is that if the nUE is actually possible to exist, then it must exist. But if it does not exist, then it becomes actually impossible to exist.

            That is why I said in my previous comment that "it is a contradiction in terms or being that the nUE both not actually exist and for it also to be actually possible for it to exist."

            No other being has that problem, since in the case of no finite being is its potential for existence identical with its actually existing.

            Oddly, the ontological argument brings out this unique situation for the nUE, namely, that it is contradictory for it to be not existing and yet also possible to exist.

            For the rest of the reasoning, I refer you back to my previous comment.

          • Johannes Hui

            Thanks Dennis for your thought on my premise 1.

            I suspect the concepts of “actually possible” and “actually impossible”/“actually necessary” are either very ill-defined or else superfluous. I suspect that better concepts would be either
            i) metaphysically possible” and “metaphysically impossible/necessary”
            or else,
            ii) “actually existing” and “not actually existing”.

            But in the first place my first premise does not even involve all these concepts because my first premise is not claiming that nUE is actually possible nor is it claiming nUE is actual.

            The claim in my first premise is very modest: it is claiming that “it is not logically impossible (equivalent to ‘it is logically possible’) that nUE necessarily exists non-abstractly now in our actual world given that the concept of nUE is a non-abstract entity with unconditional intrinsic necessary existence.”

            What I meant by “it is not logically impossible” or “it is logically possible” is that there exists no intrinsic contradiction in the idea itself.

            As a contrast: if someone put up the premise that “it is not logically impossible that a spherical body/unicorn/horse necessarily exists non-abstractly with unconditional necessary existence in our actual world”, then such a premise would be false because the idea is intrinsically a contradiction. The concept of a spherical body/unicorn/horse is intrinsically a contingent/conditional entity having no intrinsic necessary existence. So it is a contradiction for a intrinsically contingent entity to be having intrinsic necessary existence, and therefore it is a logically impossible idea. Such a premise is thus false. @ficino:disqus

            One would need to show that my first premise contains an intrinsic contradiction if one wants to prove that my first premise is unsound.

            So the relevant question we should ask is: what logical contradiction is there in my first premise?

            ———————

            By the way, when X is logically possible to be P (P can represent any description such as “spherical” or “true” or “exist” etc), it only entails that something is “not necessarily not possible”. Without additional info about what makes X to be logically possible to be P, we do not know whether X is possible to be not-P.

            X is logically possible to be P either because
            1) X is possible to be P due to necessity
            or
            2) X is possible to be P due to contingent factors

            If it is because of (1), then X is logically possible to be P does not warrant us to say X might fail to be P afterall. It is impossible for X to fail to be P.

            Only if it is because of (2), then X is logically possible to be P warrants us to say X might fail to be P afterall. Only in (2) then it is impossible for X to fail to be P.

            Hence without further info, the statement “X is logically possible to be P” does not entail that “X does not necessarily be P”.

            “X is logically possible to be P” entails only “X is not necessarily not P”.
            (ie It is not necessary for X to be not P).

            ———————

            .
            Cheers!

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I shall be brief, since I suspect long statement often merely create weeds in which to get lost. @Ficino

            I think you may be consistently missing my point.

            You are asking your reader to affirm that the nUE is logically possible. That would mean that the premise itself as well as the nUE entails no contradiction.

            My simple point is that IF the nUE actually does not exist, then it would be contradictory to affirm that it possibly could exist.

            Hence, it is not that the nUE itself contains an intrinsic contradiction that is the problem.

            The problem lies in your asking the reader to affirm that the nUE's existence is logically possible.

            "One would need to show that my first premise contains an intrinsic contradiction if one wants to prove that my first premise is unsound."

            But if the nUE actually does not exist, then it is not simultaneously logically possible for it to actually exist.

            Hence, while I cannot be certain that it is logically impossible for the nUE to exist (since it actually might exist), what I still cannot do is to affirm that it must be logically possible that it does exist, since if it actually does not exist, its actual existence would then contradict its actual non-existence.

            The contradiction in the first premise may not be in the nUE itself, but is implicit in the affirmation that the nUE is possible, when, in fact, it is not possible, since it does not actually exist.

            So, while your first premise MIGHT be true, it also MIGHT not be true, which is why I cannot affirm your first premise.

            Hence, sinks the Titanic.

          • Johannes Hui

            Thanks Dr Bonnette. Here are my responses:

            You wrote:

            My simple point is that IF the nUE actually does not exist, then it would be contradictory to affirm that it possibly could exist.

            Though the unicorn actually does not exist, it is not contradictory to affirm that “it is logically possible that the unicorn exists” because logical possibility has nothing to do with actual existence. The only relevant criteria for a proposition “X exists” to be called “logically possible” is there absence of INTRINSIC violation of the law of logic on non-contradiction. “X exists” is logically possible as long as it contains no INTRINSIC self-contradiction. So whether the unicorn actually exists has nothing to do with the logical possibility of the unicorn’s existence.

            You wrote:

            Hence, it is not that the nUE itself contains an intrinsic contradiction that is the problem.

            I am glad that it seems that you are not saying that the idea of nUE itself contains an intrinsic contradiction. Any idea that does not contain any intrinsic contradiction is not logically impossible.

            Anything that is not logically impossible is logically possible. So at this stage, you seem to affirm that the idea of nUE itself is logically possible. You are only concern with whether “nUE exists” should be classified as logically possible (ie not logically impossible).

            Analysing “X exists”

            Let’s temporary put nUE aside and look at the general proposition “X exists” where X refers to the concept of any non-abstract entity.

            “X exists” would contain an INTRINSIC contradiction only if X itself contains an intrinsic contradiction. In other words, “X exists” would be logically impossible only if X itself is logically impossible.
            (I have explained that when an idea is “logically impossible”, that means there is an intrinsic contradiction within that idea itself. Only intrinsic factors are relevant.)

            If X itself has no intrinsic contradiction (and is thus not logically impossible), then the idea “X exists” would also not have any INTRINSIC contradiction and would thus be not logically impossible.

            If “X exists” failed to be actual because “X exists” contradicts some extrinsic factor, such as “X exists” failed to become actual because of the existence of some other entity Y, then Y is an extrinsic factor and not an intrinsic factor. When X failed to exist because of the contradiction between “X exists” and “Y exists”, then such a contradiction is extrinsic contradiction. Such an extrinsic contradiction is not an intrinsic contradiction.

            The presence of any extrinsic factor or extrinsic contradiction that renders “X exists” to fail to become actual is not relevant to the issue of whether “X exists” is logically impossible, because logical impossibility is tied only to intrinsic self-contradiction.

            For example, the idea “unicorns exist” is not logically impossible because there is no intrinsic contradiction in “unicorns exist”. The fact that there exists extrinsic contradiction between “unicorns exist” and some extrinsic factors that resulted in unicorns to fail to be actual does not mean that “unicorns exist” is logically impossible.

            Hence “X exists” can be logically possible even if “X exists” is not actual.

            The only relevant factor to determine whether “X exists” is logically impossible lies only in the concept of X itself. If X itself has no intrinsic contradiction, then “X exists” would not have any intrinsic contradiction, which then means “X exists” is not logically impossible but logically possible.

            If X is a circular square, then “X exists” would contain an intrinsic contradiction and hence would be logically impossible.

            You wrote:

            But if the nUE actually does not exist, then it is not simultaneously logically possible for it to actually exist.

            Whether X actually exists is irrelevant to whether “X exists” itself is logically possible, because the actuality or non-actuality of “X exists” is an extrinsic factor. Logical impossibility (or logical possibility” is determined only by intrinsic contradiction. The only relevant question is whether X or “X exists” INTRINSICALLY violates the law of non-contradiction. In my premise, X happened to be nUE.

            You wrote:

            Hence, while I cannot be certain that it is logically impossible for the nUE to exist (since it actually might exist)...

            You can be certain about it because the criteria to determine logical impossibility is clearly laid out: the presence of INTRINSIC contradiction or self-contradiction means it is a logical impossibility. The absence of intrinsic self-contradiction means it is not a logical impossibility.

            So, while your first premise MIGHT be true, it also MIGHT not be true, which is why I cannot affirm your first premise.

            The only way for any premise “it is logically possible that X exists” to be false is when the phrase “X exists” itself contains an INTRINSIC contradiction. It just happened that X = nUE in my first premise.

            Hence, sinks the Titanic.

            Whether “the Titanic is a ship” itself is sound is determined only by INTRINSIC factors. The sinking of the Titanic due to extrinsic factors such as knocking into an iceberg is not relevant to whether the premise “the Titanic is a ship” is sound.

            .

            Cheers!

          • Johannes Hui

            Thanks Dr Bonnette. Here are my responses:

            You wrote:

            My simple point is that IF the nUE actually does not exist, then it would be contradictory to affirm that it possibly could exist.

            Though the unicorn actually does not exist, it is not contradictory to affirm that “it is logically possible that the unicorn exists” because logical possibility has nothing to do with actual existence. The only relevant criteria for a proposition “X exists” to be called “logically possible” is the absence of any INTRINSIC violation of the law of logic on non-contradiction. “X exists” is logically possible as long as it contains no INTRINSIC self-contradiction. So whether the unicorn actually exists has nothing to do with the logical possibility of the unicorn’s existence.

            You wrote:

            Hence, it is not that the nUE itself contains an intrinsic contradiction that is the problem.

            I am glad that you seem to affirm that the idea of nUE itself is logically possible (ie no intrinsic contradiction). You are only concern with whether “nUE exists” should be classified as logically possible (ie not logically impossible).

            Analysing “X exists”

            Let’s temporary put nUE aside and look at the general proposition “X exists” where X refers to the concept of any non-abstract entity.

            “X exists” would contain an INTRINSIC contradiction only if X itself contains an intrinsic contradiction. In other words, “X exists” would be logically impossible only if X itself is logically impossible.
            (I have explained that when an idea is “logically impossible”, that means there is an intrinsic contradiction within that idea itself. Only intrinsic factors are relevant.)

            If X itself has no intrinsic contradiction (and is thus not logically impossible), then the idea “X exists” would also not have any INTRINSIC contradiction and would thus be not logically impossible.
            If “X exists” failed to be actual because “X exists” contradicts some extrinsic factor, such as “X exists” failed to become actual because of the existence of some other entity Y, then Y is an extrinsic factor and not an intrinsic factor. When X failed to exist because of the contradiction between “X exists” and “Y exists”, then such a contradiction is extrinsic contradiction. Such an extrinsic contradiction is not an intrinsic contradiction.

            The presence of any extrinsic factor or extrinsic contradiction that renders “X exists” to fail to become actual is not relevant to the issue of whether “X exists” is logically impossible, because logical impossibility is tied only to intrinsic self-contradiction.

            For example, the idea “unicorns exist” is not logically impossible because there is no intrinsic contradiction in “unicorns exist”. The fact that there exists extrinsic contradiction between “unicorns exist” and some extrinsic factors that resulted in unicorns to fail to be actual does not mean that “unicorns exist” is logically impossible.
            Hence “X exists” can be logically possible even if “X exists” is not actual.

            The only relevant factor to determine whether “X exists” is logically impossible lies only in the concept of X itself. If X itself has no intrinsic contradiction, then “X exists” would not have any intrinsic contradiction, which then means “X exists” is not logically impossible but logically possible.

            If X is a circular square, then “X exists” would contain an intrinsic contradiction and hence would be logically impossible.

            You wrote:

            But if the nUE actually does not exist, then it is not simultaneously logically possible for it to actually exist.

            Whether X actually exists is irrelevant to whether “X exists” itself is logically possible, because the actuality or non-actuality of “X exists” is an extrinsic factor. Logical impossibility (or logical possibility” is determined only by intrinsic contradiction. The only relevant question is whether X or “X exists” INTRINSICALLY violates the law of non-contradiction. In my premise, X happened to be nUE.

            You wrote:

            Hence, while I cannot be certain that it is logically impossible for the nUE to exist (since it actually might exist)...

            You can be certain about it because the criteria to determine logical impossibility is clearly laid out: the presence of INTRINSIC contradiction or self-contradiction means it is a logical impossibility. The absence of intrinsic self-contradiction means it is not a logical impossibility.

            So, while your first premise MIGHT be true, it also MIGHT not be true, which is why I cannot affirm your first premise.

            The only way for any premise “it is logically possible that X exists” to be false is when the phrase “X exists” itself contains an INTRINSIC contradiction. It just happened that X = nUE in my first premise.

            Hence, sinks the Titanic.

            Whether “the Titanic is a ship” itself is sound is determined only by INTRINSIC factors. The sinking of the Titanic due to extrinsic factors such as knocking into an iceberg is not relevant to whether the premise “the Titanic is a ship” is sound.

            .

            Cheers!
            P

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I knew this would be your reply even before I read it.

            If I were you, I would also insist that all that was at stake was whether there is an intrinsic contradiction in the nUE.

            The problem for me is that the premise not only requires no internal contradiction in the nUE, but also that I affirm that to be the case.

            Now that is where I have a problem, since, you see, I am not certain whether there is an internal contradiction or not!

            If I knew that the nUE did exist, then I would also know it is possible for it to exist. But, unless you assume what you aim to prove, I do not know whether the nUE exists or not.

            Lacking that knowledge, I must assume it is also possible that the nUE does not exist!

            But, if it does not exist, and yet, your proof is going to show that it necessarily must exist, then it would both not exist and still also exist -- which is a contradiction in terms!

            And, if that were the case, then, it is not the nUE that is a contradiction in terms. but the possibility that my affirmation of your premise about the nUE which would entail the possibility of a contradiction in terms.

            And I cannot affirm a premise that might entail a contradiction in terms!

            Since I do not know a priori that the nUE does exist, and since affirming the logical possibility that the nUE does exist would thereby entail a contradiction in terms, I cannot be sure that I can affirm your first premise.

            If I cannot be sure I can affirm your first premise, then I simply cannot affirm it at all.

            And thereby sinks the Titanic again.

            Please note that this difficulty arises solely for an argument about the nUE!

            For any conditional or contingent entity, the possibility that it does not exist as well as the possibility that it does happen to exist entails no necessary contradiction -- since it is perfectly possible that it not exist and nothing in its nature requires that it must exist (as is the case with the nUE).

            So I could affirm the logical possibility that a contingent thing exists, while equally admitting the possibility that it does not exist -- and still not be affirming something that entails a contradiction in terms.

            Such an affirmation is perfectly licit. But to affirm something that could entail a contradiction in terms is not licit.

          • Ficino

            Johannes, like Dennis I think you are assuming what you aim to prove.

            When I asked you to regiment your argument, I was expecting you to express your premises using the existential quantifier, since your conclusion is an existence claim. Instead you folded an existence claim into a proposition, and you confined yourself to modal propositional logic.

            But we still need to break down the proposition, the nUE exists in the actual world.

            In what has become classical logic, to exist is to be the value of a bound variable. Your claim that the nUE exists should be able to be expressed using the existential quantifier. How will you do that?

            Your P stands for something like "there exists an x such that x has causal powers and ... " what?

            As I've said before, I find your property, "unconditioned," still vague. It's not clear to me whether by "unconditioned" you mean
            A. "not suffering effects caused by another agent"
            or
            B. whether you mean something broader, like "not ontologically limited."

            Let me try to pull out A and B.

            A boils down to "there exists an x such that x acts on other things and is acted on by no thing." But on this construal, as I've said before, your nUE collapses into an unmoved mover or first cause, and your ontological argument is left aspiring to become a cosmological argument without letting on that it is so, and without any empirical premises.

            B boils down to "there exists an x such that x has causal powers (can act and be acted on) and x is not ontologically limited." But that which is not ontologically limited cannot be defined; the unlimited is just the apeiron, without any distinct quality. So we get an nUE that has distinct qualities - it can be acted on and can act, or even it can act but cannot be acted upon - and that has no distinct qualities. Therefore the existence of the nUE on this construal cannot be a necessary truth.

            Is your existential claim, when regimented using the existential quantifier, A or B or something else? Neither A nor B will work.

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi Ficino,

            The starting premise claims only that it is a logical POSSIBILITY that nUE exists. It is not claiming that it is a logical necessity that nUE exists. It is also not claiming that nUE actually exists.

            Given that claiming something to be a logical possibility is radically different from claiming something to be an actuality, it is false that the starting premise assumes what it wants to prove.

            I will address the issue of the quantification of existence when I reach the next premise. Modern professional philosophers who knows modern logic involving existential quantification of existence have used pure modal logic to demonstrate “possibly necessarily existing” entails “necessarily existing”. This should mean that using pure modal logic for the issue of necessarily existence is a valid approach. That said, my impression is that others have expressed necessarily existence using existential quantifier. (minor point: my impression is that you suggested me to use either existential quantification or else modal logic to express my argument, not restricting me to the former). @Dennis:disqus

            Again, I have a number of things to say about quantification of existence when I come to the next premise. Right now I want to argue on the soundless of premise 1 against that kind of objection by Dennis. See my upcoming reply to Dennis. :)

            Cheers!

          • Ficino

            The starting premise claims only that it is a logical POSSIBILITY that nUE exists. It is not claiming that it is a logical necessity that nUE exists.

            You posited this:

            ◊□P → □P

            Your premise claims that if it is a logical possibility that it is a necessary truth that P, then it is a necessary truth that P. Not so?

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi Ficino,

            My first premise is not the conditional statement “if... then...”.

            My first premise is an affirmative claim:

            “It is logically possible that nUE necessarily exists [by virtue of its unconditional intrinsic necessary existence].”

            which can be represented as

            ◊□P

            The claim above is not claiming □P. □P is the conclusion which needs to be proven. So what we are going to see is something like this:

            Premise 1: ◊□P
            Premise 2: xxxxx
            Premise 3: yyyyyyy
            ———————————
            Conclusion: □P

            Hence Premise 1 is not assuming the conclusion. Premise 1 does not beg the question. @bonnette:disqus

            Around five days ago when you raised a similar issue by saying “But as I think we agree, the necessity operator is not truth functional” I have already responded to you with the needed nuances. I quote what I said to you around 5 days ago:

            “Modal logic (expressed by operators either in symbolic form or in natural language such as “it is necessary that it is possible” entails “it is possible”) reveals that “possibly, necessarily exists” entails “necessarily exists”. So modal logic contributes part of it; the concept “nUE” contributes part of it. TOGETHER they reveal to us the entailed result.”

            I have now underlined the last sentence and capitalized “together” for emphasis.

            What makes the first premise true is the combined meaning of the these three key ideas: “logically possible”, “nUE” and “necessarily exists”. In the first premise, modal operators themselves are not logic symbols ◊ and □ but are simply the meanings of the words “logically possible” and “necessarily”. The logic symbols simply in Premise 1 are used to represent the meanings of “logically possible” and “necessarily”. I can carry out my proof without using such symbols but instead just using the words “logically possible” and “necessarily”. Logic symbols help to make it easier for us to see the modal operation.

            So we should not think that ◊ and □ do not work in contributing to the truth of Premise 1, Premise 2, Premise 3, and the Conclusion. The logic of the relationship between “possibility” and “necessity” (ie modal logic) plays a part, while the meanings of “nUE” and “exists” play another part, in every premises of my proof, before they produce the conclusion that nUE necessarily exists in our actual world.

            So it is not either-or, but both-and, when it comes to determining what makes every premise true.

            I guess @@disqus_dm73h6TcfW:disqus would say: “do not be bewitched by modal logic symbols”.

            We should look at the meaning of the whole premise produced by the combination of modal and non-modal phrases.

            Cheers!

          • Ficino

            My first premise is not the conditional statement “if... then...”.

            I did not write that "◊□P → □P" is your first premise. I guess my "posited" was misleading. I am aware that it is not your first premise.

            I am still waiting to hear what makes P true. You say that toward making P true, "both ...the logic of the relationship between 'possibility' and 'necessity'" and "the meanings of 'nUE' and 'exists'" play parts. That's it? You have exhaustively laid out your truth makers of P?

          • Johannes Hui

            As I mentioned in my latest reply to Dennis, the strict sense of logical possibility is the lack of intrinsic violation of the classical laws of logic. In short, as long as a concept or idea does not intrinsically involve being A and not-A in the same sense at the same time, it is strictly speaking logically possible. Since the idea of nUE is not an idea involving being A and not-A in the same sense at the same time, nUE itself has no intrinsic self-contradiction and would meet the criteria of being logically possible. This entails that “nUE exists” is also logically possible since “X exists” is logically possibly if X itself contains no intrinsic self-contradiction. Once “X exists” is logically possible, then “it is logically possible that X exists.” Replace X by nUE, and we get “it is LOGICALLY POSSIBLE that nUE exists”. Given that the concept of nUE is a non-abstract entity that exists with an unconditional intrinsic necessary existence, the previous statement “it is LOGICALLY POSSIBLE that nUE exists” would entail “it is LOGICALLY POSSIBLE that nUE exists on the basis of its unconditional intrinsic necessary existence” which in turn entails “it is LOGICALLY POSSIBLE that nUE necessarily exists”. This statement is still not claiming that nUE actually exists. It is only making a very modest claim using logical possibility in the strict sense: “It is LOGICALLY POSSIBLE...” @bonnette:disqus

            So if you trace the above backwards, what makes Premise 1 true lies in “nUE” having met the criteria of being LOGICALLY POSSIBLE in the strict sense of having no intrinsic self-contradiction.

            Cheers!

          • Ficino

            So how are you not defining God into existence? Since you want your nUE to = God.

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi Ficino,

            Sorry for the late reply.

            At this stage, nUE is not yet God. It is not about God yet. After nUE has been proven to exist, I would go on to stage 2 where I will demonstrate that in all of reality there is only one entity with unconditional existence, which means all other entities, abstract and non-abstract, are conditioned entities depending continuously on nUE for their existence, and then to go on to proving nUE is simple, etc etc. At the end I can proclaim like Aquinas: “this everyone understands to be God”. So nUE is not yet God in the whole of Stage 1.

            I am only using the concept of an entity that exists unconditionally, which effectively means that it exists with unconditional necessity, which effectively means intrinsic necessary existence, which effectively means existence per se. The nature of nUE is essentially “to exist”. All these are different ways of saying it exists in the deepest and fullest sense.

            I have prepared a better proof where “P = exists”
            in the first premise “◊□P”.
            After a series of steps, I will arrive at □P.

            Those steps would thus prove that ◊□P without fail will, by logical necessity, lead us to the conclusion □P.

            Hence “possibly necessarily exists” would by logical necessity lead to “necessarily exists”.

            .
            Cheers!

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            ◊□P

            where:
            means Principle of Non-Cyclical Behaviour (gauge)
            means Principle of Continuity (maximal state)

            measures comparative state probability
            measures necessary state.

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi Dennis,

            I also knew that you probably knew. But given what you said, I still had to say what I said in my previous comment.

            You wrote:

            If I were you, I would also insist that all that was at stake was whether there is an intrinsic contradiction in the nUE.

            Actually, I have already said it in my previous comment. I quote part of my previous comment for easy reference:

            “ ‘X exists’ would contain an INTRINSIC contradiction only if X itself contains an intrinsic contradiction. In other words, “X exists” would be logically impossible only if X itself is logically impossible.

            If X itself has no intrinsic contradiction (and is thus not logically impossible), then the idea “X exists” would also not have any INTRINSIC contradiction and would thus be not logically impossible.

            The presence of any extrinsic factor or extrinsic contradiction that renders “X exists” to fail to become actual is not relevant to the issue of whether “X exists” is logically impossible, because logical impossibility is tied only to intrinsic self-contradiction.

            [snip]

            The only relevant factor to determine whether “X exists” is logically impossible lies only in the concept of X itself. If X itself has no intrinsic contradiction, then “X exists” would not have any intrinsic contradiction, which then means “X exists” is not logically impossible but logically possible.”

            [end quote]

            You wrote:

            Now that is where I have a problem, since, you see, I am not certain whether there is an internal contradiction or not!

            Strictly speaking, any idea/concept is automatically logically possible (in the narrow or strict sense of logically possible) if the idea/concept does not intrinsically involve being A and not-A in the same sense at the same time. This means, strictly speaking, only ideas/concepts that intrinsically involves being A and not-A are logically impossible. They intrinsically violate the laws of classical logic. This has been said to be widely understood meaning of logical possibility and logical impossibility in the strict or narrow sense. For example:

            speaking this is what is meant by logic

            “Consider also, 'If I am blogging, then it is not the case that I am not blogging.' This too is necessarily true, except that the negation expresses a narrowly logical impossibility: 'I am blogging and I am not blogging.'”
            - William Vallicella

            “1. There are objects and states of affairs and propositions that can be known a priori to be impossible because they violate the Law of Non-Contradiction (LNC). Thus a plane figure that is both round and not round at the same time, in the same respect, and in the same sense of 'round,' is impossible, absolutely impossible, simply in virtue of its violation of LNC. I will say that such an object is narrowly logically (NL) impossible....
            2. But what about a plane figure that is both round and square? Is it NL-impossible? No. For by logic alone one cannot know it to be impossible.
            - William Vallicella

            “When the atheist professor says that “it may be possible that something began to exist out of nothing because that statement did not involve a contradiction,” he is talking about strict logical possibility. He’s quite right that “The universe began to exist out of nothing” involves no logical contradiction and is therefore strictly logically possible.
            - William Lane Craig

            Hence if we are using logical possibility in the strict or narrow sense, then a circular square is logically possible even though metaphysically it is impossible.

            Hence an entity X is logically impossible if and only if the concept of X intrinsically involves being A and not A in the same sense/manner at the same time.

            In my first premise, X = nUE. The entity nUE does not involve being A and not A in any sense.

            Hence the concept of nUE itself is strictly logically possible. Strictly speaking, nUE is not logically impossible.

            This entails that “nUE exists” is also a logical possibility, strictly speaking. It does not violate the classical laws of logic.

            In our context, the only relevant factor to determine whether it is not logically impossible that “nUE exists”, STRICTLY SPEAKING, whether the classical laws of logic have been violated.

            Since in the strict sense those laws of logic have not been violated, that “nUE exists” is not logically impossible.

            Therefore strictly speaking it is logically possible that “nUE exists”.

            Whether in the end nUE turned out to be actually existing or non-existing are not relevant criteria to determine whether or not nUE is logically possible or logically impossible. The classical laws of logic are the only relevant criteria.

            In addition, we should not reject the initial premise on the basis of our worry on how the conclusion might turn out to be. Whether the initial premise which makes a claim about “LOGICAL possibility” has to be judge using only the relevant criteria: the classical laws of logic.

            But, unless you assume what you aim to prove, I do not know whether the nUE exists or not.

            The starting premise did not assume the conclusion. @Ficino:disqus

            The starting premise claims only that it is a logical POSSIBILITY that nUE exists. It is not claiming that it is a logical necessity that nUE exists. It is also not claiming that nUE actually exists.

            Given that claiming something to be a logical possibility is radically different from claiming something to be an actuality, it is false that the starting premise assumes what it wants to prove.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            We agree that a logical possibility entails a contradiction in terms.

            Now, you allege that there is nothing intrinsically contradictory about an nUE actually existing.

            My problem is that I do not know that an nUE entails no intrinsic contradiction, and therefore, I cannot affirm your much needed starting premise which claims that there is no intrinsic contradiction about a nUE.

            The difficulty is that, if it happens to be the case that the nUE does not in fact exist, then for it necessarily to exist would be a contradiction intrinsic to the nUE itself, since it would then be a being that both exists and does not exist.

            "Given that claiming something to be a logical possibility is radically different from claiming something to be an actuality, it is false that the starting premise assumes what it wants to prove."

            I am not saying that what you assume is that the nUE exists. What I am saying is that your proof assume that it is logically possible for the nUE to exist.

            But it might NOT be logically possible. The reason is that it is logically possible that the nUE does not exist (UNLESS YOU WANT TO ASSUME THAT IT IS LOGICALLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE nUE not to exist).

            But your proof cannot make that assumption without assuming what you seek to prove, namely, that it that is precisely what you seek to prove, namely, that it is logically impossible for the nUE not to exist.

            Since you, then, cannot assume that it is logically impossible for the nUE not to exist, it must be logically possible for the nUE not to exist.

            But you want me to affirm in your first premise that it is logically possible for the nUE to exist. The problem is that, if in truth the nUE does not exist, and if your proof proves that it must exist, then it is logically possible that the nUE both exists and does not exist, which would make it a contradiction in terms.

            But no contradiction in terms can exist. So, if the nUE might be a contradiction in terms, it might be logically impossible for it to exist.

            Hence, I am not saying that it cannot exist, but I am saying that I cannot affirm that the nUE is logically possible, since it might constitute a self-contradictory entity -- on the assumption that it is logically possible that it does not exist, which is exactly what I just proved above.

            In short, unless you assume that it is logically impossible for the nUE not to exist (which is what you are trying to prove), it is logically possible that the nUE is the one unique being that can both not exist and yet must exist at the same time, which makes it a contradiction in terms.

            And I cannot affirm the possibility of something that might be a contradiction in terms.

            Thus, down goes the poor Titanic for the third, and possibly, last time!

          • Ficino

            We agree that a logical possibility entails a contradiction in terms.

            ?? Dennis, do you mean "entails no contradiction in terms" or do you mean "admits a contradiction in terms"?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Good catch. My brain was not working.

            Yes. It should read "entails no contradiction in terms."

            As you can see, I fixed it with an edit.

            Thanks.

          • Johannes Hui

            Only concepts with at least two essential features can have any potential of intrinsic self-contradiction. Any concept that has only one essential feature is impossible to have any intrinsic self-contradiction. Since the idea of “nUE” has only one essential feature, we know with certainty that it is impossible for the idea “nUE” to contain any intrinsic self-contradiction.

            Any concept Y comprising two essential features A and B (ie Y = AB) has the potential of intrinsic self-contradiction because it may turn out that B = not-A. If B turns out to be not-A, then Y is essentially both A and not-A at the same time in the same sense and hence Y would intrinsically a self-contradiction and is thus a logically impossible concept.

            For example, the concept of a 2D figure circular square comprises two essential features: being circular and being squarish. In this example, the potential of intrinsic self-contradiction exists. If it turned out that “being squarish” necessarily means being “not-circular”, then the concept of circular square would then essentially be a figure that is circular and not-circular in the same sense at the same time. This would then mean a circular square’s essential nature is intrinsically a self-contradiction.

            Unlike the concept of a circular square which intrinsically has two essential features, the concept of nUE has only one essential feature: unconditional existence, or intrinsic existence, or existence per se. Any concept that has only one essential feature is impossible to have any intrinsic self-contradiction.

            Therefore we know with certainty that it is impossible for nUE to have any intrinsic self-contradiction because nUE has only one essential feature.

            @disqus_dm73h6TcfW:disqus @ficino:disqus

            Therefore nUE is not a logically impossible concept.

            Therefore nUE is a logically possible concept.

            Therefore “nUE exists”, as a concept, is also a logically possible concept.

            It is thus LOGICALLY POSSIBLE that nUE exists on the basis of its own feature of unconditional/intrinsic necessary existence, regardless of whether or not it actually exists in our world.
            [This is similar to “it is LOGICALLY POSSIBLE that an unicorn actually exists non-abstractly in our world, regardless of whether or not an unicorn actually exists in our world.”]

            .
            Cheers!
            johannes y k hui

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            The number pi must actually exist since the electron is perfectly spherical....

            ....and yet, trying to locate the number pi on a number line would be impossible...

            Does that mean that the number pi does not actually exist?

            Follow the trajectory of Bonnette's "thinking"....

            Bonnette would affirm that the number pi actually exists while also affirming that logically the number pi does not exist...

          • Ficino

            I've said many times that your nUE has more than one essential feature. It is "unconditioned"; it is non-abstract; it has causal powers (since it's non-abstract). Since identity is a metaphysical principle, the nUE must be identical with itself. I may have stated other features in earlier comboxes.

            You may say that the above aren't features, or that they aren't essential or intrinsic features, or that they are only logical features and not metaphysical features. I don't see a future for that line of argument, for to have causal powers and to be unconditioned are surely two features of the essence as you are defining it.

            Will you go on later to list attributes of the nUE that line up with attributes attributed to the God of classical theism, and then argue that in the nUE, existence is identical with essence? I will be out of the discussion by then if it goes that way.

          • Johannes Hui

            On your first paragraph, my response is:

            An entity that exists unconditionally effectively means it exists with “unconditional necessity”, which effectively means “intrinsic necessary existence“, which effectively means existence per se. The nature of nUE is essentially “to exist”. All these are different ways of saying it exists in the deepest and fullest sense. In this sense its essence is just existence. Therefore it is effectively one essential feature.

            Other concepts such as “non-abstract” etc are further entailment from its essential feature of existence.

            I won’t go on to prove the nUE is God in our current series of discussion. I only want to discuss Stage 1 of the argument. Once I have proven that at least one nUE actually exist, I will NOT, in the current series, go to Stage 2.
            (For info only: during Stage 2, I will demonstrate that there is only one such entity with unconditional existence, and therefore all other entities are conditioned entities depending continuously on nUE for the moment-to-moment existence, and then move to prove nUE is simple etc etc.)

            I will comment on the claim “existence is not a predicate of non-abstract entities” at another time.

            .

            Cheers!

          • Ficino

            Johannes, I appreciate the further answers and explanations. We are very far apart on a number of points, including basic ontology. Since I have deadlines once more that I must meet, I cannot promise that I shall continue to discuss your argument. So don't spend time on further exposition on my account. Others may want to continue, of course.

            Cheers, F

          • Dennis Bonnette

            "Since the idea of “nUE” has only one essential feature, we know with certainty that it is impossible for the idea “nUE” to contain any intrinsic self-contradiction."

            Whether you call it an intrinsic contradiction or not, it is contradictory to state "that the nUE is the one unique being that can both not exist and yet must exist at the same time."

            How can you then -- since it entails the above contradiction -- insist that you can affirm your first premise which states that the nUE's existence is logically possible?

            I agree with Ficino that the nUE is really just a way of defining the God of classical theism, so why not make it simpler for everybody and just use "God" instead? @Ficino

            I think it would also be helpful just to replace the complexities of modal logic here with a bit of common sense. While I recognize the technical exactness of modern logic, I am not excited about using it all the time, since I think its very complexity can sometimes bewitch the mind to the point that we lose sight of the obvious.

            What is obvious is that your first premise wants to affirm that God is really possible.

            But, unless you want to assume what you intend to prove, you cannot start out by knowing that God exists. So, at the start, as far as we know, it must also be really possible that God does not exist.

            But, if God really does not exist, nothing can then possibly make him exist.

            So, let us assume your line of reasoning is right and this leads us to the conclusion that God must necessarily exist.

            Since your conclusion contradicts the starting knowledge that God might not exist, there is no way both to affirm our point of departure (that God might really not exist) and also your conclusion.

            Since your conclusion rests on your first premise, namely, that God is possible, it is absurd to both affirm that God really might not exist and also your starting premise, namely, that God is really possible. For, if it happens that God really does not exist, then he isn't even really possible at all!

            Since one cannot hold both statements at the same time, namely, that God might not exist and that God must exist, it is clear that your assumed first premise that God is truly possible cannot be affirmed with certitude -- since God actually might not exist.

            In short, I have just proven that you must necessarily hold at your starting point, namely, that God need not necessarily exist, something that contradicts your conclusion, namely, that God must necessarily exist.

            Isn't it time to swim for the lifeboats?

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi Dr Bonnette,

            You asked:

            I agree with Ficino that the nUE is really just a way of defining the God of classical theism, so why not make it simpler for everybody and just use "God" instead?

            To use “God” in the proof would invite lots of unnecessary entanglement in objections such as “God is an incoherent concept because his omnipotence contradicts his omnibenevolence”. “God” comes with many baggages. By focusing only on the specific essential feature of “existence per se” or “aseity”, I avoided the potential entanglements, and using nUE is a more neutral term between theists and non-theists. At a later stage after proving the nUE exists, I can then show that “existence per se” entails the other attributes traditionally understood to be God’s attributes. Only then I conclude that “this everyone understoods to be God”. It is much cleaner this way.

            You wrote:

            What is obvious is that your first premise wants to affirm that God is really possible... So, at the start, as far as we know, it must also be really possible that God does not exist.

            This is a misunderstanding of what “possible” entails.

            Without any additional information, “X is possible to be P” entails only that “X is not necessarily not-P”. Nothing beyond this.

            Logically, “X is possible to be P” does not entail “X is possible to be not-P”.

            This is because, without any additional information, we do not know whether the possibility for X to be P is grounded in necessity or contingency.

            Only when we received additional info that the possibility is grounded in contingency, then can we logically say “X is possible to be P” entails that “X is possible to be not-P”.

            If instead, the additional info we received is that the possibility is grounded in necessity, then “X is possible to be P” does not entail “X is possible to be not-P”. In such a situation, “X is possible to be P” is because “X is necessarily P”.

            Hence when all the info we have is only “X is possible to be P”, then we do not know whether “X is possible to be P” is because of
            (1) X is possible to be P only when certain contingent factors come together,
            or
            (2) X is necessarily P.

            That is why in the logic of possibility and necessity,
            “possibly P” entails only “not necessarily not P” and nothing beyond it.

            An example:

            Let X = “1+2=3”
            Let P = true

            In this case,
            “X is possible to be true” is correct.
            “X is necessarily true” is correct.
            “X is possible to be true” does not entail “X is possible to be false”

            Hence without additional info, it is logically wrong to say “X is possible to be P” entails “X is possible to be not P”.

            Regardless of whether or not we have any additional info, it is logically correct to say “X is possible to be P” entails “X is not necessarily not P”.
            eg X is possible to be true entails X is not necessarily false.

            Isolation of Premise 1

            The soundness of the starting premise “it is logically possible that X exists” should NOT be evaluated base on other later outcomes, or other later premises, or the conclusion further down in the later part of the arguement.

            If the starting premise led to some other later premise to contain a contradiction, then the argument would be defeated only at that later premise. If Premise 1 leads to a final conclusion such that the conclusion contains a contradiction, then the objection should come in only at that point.

            Right now we are at the stage of Premise 1 itself. We should not jump ahead to later premises or the final conclusion and use those later outcomes (real or imagined) to determine the soundness of Premise 1.

            This is especially so when the criteria to determine whether “nUE exists” is logically possible is only this: the presence or absence of any intrinsic contradiction in the concept of “nUE”.

            All other later outcomes after Premise 1 are extrinsic to Premise 1 and are not relevant to determining the soundness of Premise 1. All extrinsic factors are not relevant to Premise 1.

            Here is an example to illustrate what I said above:

            Premise 1: It is logically possible that a 2D circular square figure exists. (I am borrowing this idea from the philosopher William Vallicella)
            Premise 2: A circular figure entails all the points in its perimeter are equal distance from the centre.
            Premise 3: A square figure entails all the points in its perimeter are not at equal distance from the centre.
            Premise 4: Given the additional info in Premises 2 and 3, a circular square figure is a figure with all the points on its perimeter being and not being at equal distance from the centre at the same time.
            ———————————————-
            Conclusion: Given the additional information in Premise 4 on the presence of intrinsic contradiction in a circular square, it is logically impossible that a 2D circular square figure exists.

            @ficino:disqus

            Premise 1 by itself is sound despite the presence of later contradiction in Premise 4. The contradiction did not arise within Premise 1 itself. The contradiction came only in Premise 4.

            ————————

            Back to my Premise 1 about “nUE”. Premise 1 should be evaluated in isolation from all factors extrinsic to Premise 1; it should be isolated from all later outcomes/premises/conclusions. Premise 1 stands or falls only on the basis of whether “nUE” is a self-contradiction.

            I have also provided argument to argue that “nUE” is impossible to have any intrinsic self-contradiction and hence “nUE exists” is not logically impossible. So I was not merely assuming “nUE exists” to be a logical possibility. I argued for it.

            Given the above, it is for objectors to provide argument to show that the concept “nUE exists” contains intrinsic self-contradiction in order to show that Premise 1 is false.

            If one were to object by saying “we still do not know whether it is logically possible that nUE exists because for all we know, there may still be somehow an intrinsic contradiction in Premise 1” would be appealing to ignorance.

            If one were to say there is no intrinsic contradiction in “nUE exists” but that Premise 1 may entail a contradiction at a later stage, then as I mentioned above, the argument would fail only at that later stage.

            We should not jump ahead to the later outcomes when we are still at Premise 1. All outcomes in the later stages are not relevant to determining the soundness of Premise 1; there is only one relevant criteria: the presence/absence of intrinsic contradiction in “nUE exists”.

            As other philosophers understood it: any concept that cannot be shown to contain an intrinsic self-contradiction is automatically logically possible in the strict sense. If a concept does not involve being A and not-A in the same sense at the same time, it is automatically logically possible in the strict sense.

            The Set of Logical Possibilities

            Logical possibilities are the largest set of possibilities. Among logical possibilities are such propositions: “nothing ever existed is the reality”; “nothing ever existed is not the reality”; “the universe arose from nothing”; “the universe arose from something”; “nUE exists”; “nUE does not exist”, “a circular square exists”, “a circular square does not exist”, etc.

            At the level of logical possibilities in the strict sense, every concept is isolated from other concepts. Hence “nUE exists” is isolated from “nUE does not exist”. So “nUE does not exist” is a logical possibility just as “nUE exists” is also a logical possibility”.

            Those concepts that are not in the set of logical possibilities are concepts with intrinsic self-contradiction such as “X is a figure that is both circular and not circular in every sense”, “Our universe arose and did not arise from absolute nothingness”, “A 2D figure that is circular and not circular at the same time”, etc.

            The ship is floating very well at the port.

            :)

            .
            Cheers!

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I shall grant that you may have dodged one iceberg.

            But there is another one dead ahead.

            For readers who may not know it, my own position is the same as yours regarding God's existence. Our only dispute here is regarding the means used to prove that he exists. Ficino and I agree that your proof does not appear to work, but he is an atheist, while I am, like yourself, a theist.

            I understand your concerns over using the word "God." Still, while taking your qualifications into account, I still prefer ifs use, since I think most readers will then better grasp the point of the argument.

            Now that you delineate precisely the meaning you intend when you say that God is logically possible, I grasp the meaning of your first premise. You mean, not that he possibly necessarily exists, but that his existence is at least contingently possible.

            JH: "Logically, “X is possible to be P” does not entail “X is possible to be not-P”."
            This is because, without any additional information, we do not know whether the possibility for X to be P is grounded in necessity or contingency."

            Following your own wording, then, with respect to whether X is existing, and using P to stand for "existing," your statement would then read:

            "Logically, "X is possible to be existing" does not entail "X is possible to be not-existing." "

            Thus, your first premise -- given your clarification of the proper use of "logically possible" here -- could then affirm that God is possible to be existing, while not necessarily entailing that God is possible to be not-existing.

            Here you appear to have avoided the first iceberg, since then affirming your first premise would not have to entail that it is possible the God never exists.

            But this is precisely also where I part company from your argument. My reason is that, although your first premise need not mean that it is possible that God never exists, this still does not allow you to assume that it is impossible to say truthfully that God never exists.

            I say that, because, if in fact God never did exist, then it would in fact be impossible for him ever to exist. But, to get your argument off the ground, you must still assume that God's existence is actually possible.

            The crucial insight here is that, if he never exists, God's existence would then never even be possible -- either contingently or necessarily.

            Thus, although the logical structure of your first premise need not allow that God never exists, the reality of the situation is such that, unless you do assume that he does exist, you can never prove that he exists.

            Which is precisely to assume what you aim to prove.

            Unless you wish to assume what you seek to prove, you must begin your argument in a totally agnostic position regarding the actual existence of God. That is, whether he is conceived to exist necessarily or merely contingently, you must begin your argument in a totally agnostic position regarding the actual existence of God .

            That is to say, you must begin with the possibility that God actually does not exist in reality at all. Whether such a being would exist of necessity or merely contingently is irrelevant to your necessarily agnostic starting point.

            The only way you can assume nothing at all about this being is by allowing that it is perfectly possible that whatever this being is may not ever exist at all. Period.

            But, if God never exists at all, there is no logical way to prove that he must necessarily exist -- and yet your argument leads you to precisely that contradictory conclusion.

            Since it is impossible to have two contradictory truths, your argument must be invalid.

            I suggest your telegraph the RMS Carpathia.

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi Dennis,

            Let E = a non-abstract entity whose essential feature is unconditional Existence.

            Hence E’s essential feature is Existence per se. The nature of E is to exist unconditionally. E’s existence is intrinsic to itself. E exists by an unconditional necessary existence.

            My proof is to demonstrate that the above concept of E entails that E is necessarily existing in our actual world.

            I shall use E from now on instead of my original nUE or your suggested “God”, because my proof at this stage is not yet about proving God’s existence. My Stage 1 proof is only about proving E’s existence. Only in Stage 2 then I prove that E is the God of classical theism.

            It is thus misleading to use “God” because that would mislead other readers to think that my Stage 1 proof is to prove the existence of God. It is not!

            I use E because I think “nUE” is more troublesome for everyone to type. I choose E because the Existence is the one and only essential feature of the non-abstract entity I am referring to. The essence of that entity is Existence.

            You wrote:

            Now that you delineate precisely the meaning you intend when you say that God is logically possible, I grasp the meaning of your first premise. You mean, not that he possibly necessarily exists, but that his existence is at least contingently possible.

            No, you totally misunderstood my premise 1! My premise 1 means what it explicitly said. My premise 1 is:

            “It is logically possible that E is necessarily existing in our actual world.”
            (by “existing” I mean existing non-abstractly, ie outside our minds)

            I mean E possibly necessarily exists!

            You wrote:

            JH: "Logically, “X is possible to be P” does not entail “X is possible to be not-P”."
            This is because, without any additional information, we do not know whether the possibility for X to be P is grounded in necessity or contingency."

            Following your own wording, then, with respect to whether X is existing, and using P to stand for "existing," your statement would then read:
            "Logically, "X is possible to be existing" does not entail "X is possible to be not-existing." "

            Your above paragraph is accurate. But your next paragraph shows your misunderstanding of my premise 1.

            I quote your next paragraph:

            Thus, your first premise -- given your clarification of the proper use of "logically possible" here -- could then affirm that God is possible to be existing, while not necessarily entailing that God is possible to be not-existing.

            When applying my explanation of what “logically possible” entails back to my actual premise,

            it is logically wrong to we say “it logically possible that E is necessarily existing” entails “it is logically possible that E might not be necessarily existing”, because at Premise 1, we are not given any additional info on whether the “logical possibility” is grounded in contingency or necessity.

            When applying my explanation that “possible to P” does not entail “possible to not P” into my actual Premise 1, P would be the phrase “E is necessarily existing...”

            So “it is possible that E is necessarily existing in our actual world” does not entail “it is also possible that E might not be necessarily existing in our actual world” because we are not given information on whether the possibility for “E to exist necessarily in our actual world” is grounded in contingency or necessity.

            With the limited info in Premise 1, we can say nothing about whether or not it is also possible that E might not be necessarily existing in our actual world.

            ——————

            I am not saying that others cannot logically run a parallel argument by starting with their Premise 1 to claim “it is logically possible that it is NOT THE CADE that E is necessarily existing in our actual world.” That kind of starting premise would be sound. But unlike my Premise 1, that kind of parallel argument would run into a logical contradiction in some later premise further down in their parallel argument. My Premise 1, as you would be able to see if you let me run it into Premise 2 and 3 and 4, would not encounter any contradiction.

            Hence having a sound Premise 1 does not guarantee that there won’t be contradiction at later premises.

            Important Example

            Again, I really think this example is very important to illustrate the point that the one and only relevant criteria to evaluate the soundness of my Premise 1 is whether “E” or “E necessarily exists” violates the laws of classical logic:

            Premise 1: It is logically possible that a 2D circular square figure exists. (I am copying William Vallicella in how he use a square circle to explain logical possibility)
            Premise 2: A circular figure entails all the points in its perimeter are equal distance from the centre.
            Premise 3: A square figure entails all the points in its perimeter are not at equal distance from the centre.
            Premise 4: Given the additional info in Premises 2 and 3, a circular square figure is a figure with all the points on its perimeter being and not being at equal distance from the centre at the same time.
            Conclusion: Given the additional information in Premise 4 that reveals the presence of intrinsic contradiction in a circular square, it is logically impossible that a 2D circular square figure exists.

            I agree with Vallicella that the phrase “a 2D figure circular square exists” in Premise 1 is not in the form that “X is A and not A in the same sense at the same time”, and hence strictly speaking “a circular square exists” is logically possible. Alvin Plantinga and William Lane Craig also explained logical possibility in the strict sense this way when they said “The Prime Minister is a prime number” is LOGICALLY possible.

            Hence Premise 1’s claim about circular square is sound, despite the presence of later contradiction in Premise 4. The contradiction did not arise within Premise 1 itself. The contradiction came only in Premise 4.

            Premise 1’s evaluation should be isolated from all other factors that are not intrinsic to Premise 1.

            —————

            Similarly, my Premise 1 about the LOGICAL possibility of E existing necessarily in our actual world should be evaluated in ISOLATION from all extrinsic factors. The only relevant factor is: Is there any intrinsic logical contradiction in the idea of “E necessarily existing in our actual world”? If no, then automatically that idea is a logical possibility.

            Only when there is intrinsic contradiction then the idea “E necessarily existing in our actual world” becomes not logically possible.

            In other words, the relevant questions are:

            1. Does the concept of E itself violate the laws of logic?
            2. Does “E necessarily existing” violate the laws of logic?

            You wrote:

            Thus, although the logical structure of your first premise need not allow that God never exists, the reality of the situation is such that, unless you do assume that he does exist, you can never prove that he exists.

            My Premise 1 does not assume E exists. My Premise 1 does not begging the question.

            You are imposing a foreign assumption onto my Premise 1 when my Premise 1 is not making such an assumption at all.

            At the most, my Premise 1 only assumes that it is only LOGICALLY POSSIBLE that E exists necessarily. My Premise 1 does NOT assume it is logically necessarily that E exists.
            (But in fact I did not merely assume it is a logical possibility, but argued for it but showing that it is impossible for there to be any potential for self-contradiction in E because E has only one essential feature. It takes a minimum of two essential features for there to be any chance of self-contradiction.)

            Others can put up a competing starting premise “it is possible that E does not exist”. Such an alternative starting premise is also sound. But its later premises would run into a contradiction in such parallel arguments, just as “it is logically possible a circular square exists” is a sound starting premise but the later premises ran into a contradiction in my above illustration.

            .
            My ship is safely afloat!

            Cheers!

            .

          • Dennis Bonnette

            "The only relevant factor is: Is there any intrinsic logical contradiction in the idea of “E necessarily existing in our actual world”? If no, then automatically that idea is a logical possibility."

            No. I think I do get the meaning of your first premise.

            What you are saying is that there is no logical contradiction in the concept of E necessarily existing in the real world.

            Obviously, the concept of E as pure existence is coherent in itself, or else, the God of classical theism could not exist in reality -- which is something I wrote an entire book about in 1972 containing proofs aimed to demonstrate the very existence of this self-same E about which you are writing. In other words, the NATURE of such a being as E is logically possible in that it contains not inherent contradiction.

            Moreover, I know you are not asserting that E actually exists in premise 1. If all your first premise is affirming is that E entails no intrinsic contradiction, that does mean such a being is logically possible -- and that, therefore, your first premise is true as expressed.

            But, while such a being would be logically possible, if it actually exists, the horrible problem is that if it happens that such a being never existed, then it would be ontologically impossible for it ever to exist.

            And it is also logically possible that such a thing as E never exists. At least, at the outset of your proof you cannot assume the contradictory, since you are not assuming that E actually exists.

            Oddly enough, if E actually exists, it is logically possible as to its nature and as to it factual existence. But if E does not actually exist, it remains logically possible as to its nature, but NOT AS TO IT ACTUAL EXISTENCE.

            Let me put it this way. If it happens to exist, then it is logically possible that it exist.

            But, if it happens not to exist, then it never could exist and then the factual existence of such a being becomes logically impossible.

            Your argument then entails showing that the conceptual content of E is such that such a being must exist in the real world as well as in our understanding. If you can do that, then, by proving that E actually exists in the real world, you have demonstrated that the logical possibility that it does never exists is simply a logical possibility that is untrue, since not all logical possibilities are actually fulfilled.

            The question then becomes whether purely conceptual reasoning can lead to a conclusion that applies to the real world. From a Thomistic perspective, the problem then is that, while logic can establish relations between second intentions (concepts), they can never tell us anything about the real world unless one or more of those concepts are abstracted from some nature that is found in a really existing being known only in a judgment.

            Failing to bridge that gap from the purely conceptual order to the real order of being, no conclusion can make a purely logically possible entity into something real. That is why St. Thomas rejects the ontological argument.

            While I will grant that you have managed to avoid direct hits on both my icebergs, I fear you are still taking underwater damage that will eventually sink your boat. My greatest suspicion is that including the property "in the actual world" inside your definition of E surreptitiously makes that transition from the conceptual order to the real order without logical justification and in a manner that violates basic metaphysical rules.

            But for now, at least, I do not have the intellectual energy to pursue the matter further. As Ficino suggests, perhaps, you should submit your reasoning to a peer reviewed journal.

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi Dr Bonnette,

            Thanks for affirming that my first premise is true (see below) and thanks for being present with my ship for all this while. :)

            You wrote:

            If all your first premise is affirming is that E entails no intrinsic contradiction , that does mean such a being is logically possible -- and that, therefore, your first premise is true as expressed.

            [emphasis mine]

            Yes, that is exactly what my first premise is about. Nothing more than that. :)

            Let me put it this way. If it happens to exist, then it is logically possible that it exist.

            Even if E happens not to exist, it remains true that it is logical possible that E necessarily exists in our actual world, just as even though an unicorn does not actually exist, it remains true that it is logically possible that an unicorn necessarily exists in our actual world.

            Logical possibility has nothing to do with actuality or ontological possibility. Logical possibility is only about whether a claim contains any intrinsic contradiction.

            Any claim not expressed as being A and not A automatically meets the criteria of being logically possible. Hence even the claim that “The Prime Minster who is a prime number necessarily exists in our actual world” also qualifies as a logical possibility despite it being ontologically impossible.

            And it is also logically possible that such a thing as E never exists.

            My Premise 1 only claims that it is logically possible that E necessarily exists. Hence Premise 1 does not reject the logical possibility of E not existing.

            My greatest suspicion is that including the property "in the actual world" inside your definition of E surreptitiously makes that transition from the conceptual order to the real order without logical justification and in a manner that violates basic metaphysical rules.

            The “in the actual world” does not make a difference to my argument. For example, see this sound premise:

            Premise: It is logically possible that an unicorn necessarily exists in our actual world.

            The phrase “in our actual world” in the above premise cannot transform the logical possibility of “an unicorn necessarily existing in our actual world” into an actuality, no matter how we develop the above premise into later premises down the argument.

            Hence “in our actual world” does not affect the argument. I can delete “in our actual world” from my argument. That phrase only serves to make explicit what “necessarily exists” entails. When we reach the conclusion that a specific non-abstract entity necessarily exists in the relevant sense, it can only mean that such an entity necesarily exists in our actual world.

            Failing to bridge that gap from the purely conceptual order to the real order of being, no conclusion can make a purely logically possible entity into something real.

            Every concept is drawn from the real world and hence there is no “pure concept” that lacks any connection to the real world. Certain good versions of ontological arguments are precisely proofs that such non-pure concepts are able to reveal something about the real world.

            A concept involving contingent entities (eg unicorns) could not reveal any decisive information about reality. In contrast, a concept involving unconditionally necessary entities (eg E) would be able to reveal something decisive about reality when we put correct premises through a valid logic form using deductive reasoning.

            It would be begging the question to claim that no concepts about intrinsically necessary entities can inform us anything about their existence in the actual world. The real test lies in testing the soundness of the actual premises used in good versions of ontological arguments.

            If all your first premise is affirming is that E entails no intrinsic contradiction , that does mean such a being is logically possible -- and that, therefore, your first premise is true as expressed.

            [empasis mine]

            As you said in the above, my Premise 1 is true. @ficino:disqus

            My argument is designed that once a person agrees with the very modest claim in Premise 1, the rest of my Premises would also be true because I use a very tight logic chain to unwrap step by step what Premise 1 entails.

            So my ship leaves the port now to head for the first destination. :)

            .

            Cheers!
            johannes y k hui

          • Philip Rand

            Johanne Hui

            Extremely interesting that the quantified measurement of your "victory" is zero-sum.

            Thanks to Bonnette, Ficino & you for the data...

          • Dennis Bonnette

            "Every concept is formed by using, mixing, negating, or modifying actual ingredients from the real world and hence there is no “pure concept” that lacks any connection to the real world. Certain good versions of ontological arguments are precisely proofs that such non-pure concepts are able to reveal something about the real world."

            Since I am a theist, I am actually on your side in defending God's existence. But when you admit that some of the content of your concepts come from actual experience of the world, we can affirm the true content of such concepts solely by making existential judgments that affirm the reality of such contents.

            It then becomes an interesting question as to whether such arguments are actually "purely conceptual" after all.

            For my part, I prefer starting explicitly with something real known through an affirmative judgment of the content of sense experience. That, of course, is what we do with such a posteriori proofs as those starting with the given of real motion in sense experience.

            But, I wish you well. You could send this to a traditional philosophy journal. Still, I am well aware that the diminishing number of them in print is making it hard for academics to get anything published these days -- much less another ontological argument proof, given the massive discussion that topic has already had through history. Fortunately, some reputable online journals now exist to take the place of the lost print ones.

            Good luck!

          • Ficino

            @ Johannes Hui

            I suggested a while back that another alternative is to join the APA. They hold three major regional conferences per year. Now in the age of COVID, if the conference is held via Zoom you wouldn't need to travel. So you submit a paper proposal, and if it's accepted, you'll have an audience of potential critics. There are some regional philosophy organizations, too.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Good idea. But beware of Zoom if you love your computer and your privacy. It has technical problems that have led to its being banned in many places.

          • Ficino

            They've beefed up security of Zoom quite a lot. I am in many scholarly Zoom discussions, and they seem to go well, w/ e.g. over 100 participants yesterday in one on Parmenides.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            You may have been lucky. I know of one similar discussion on Zoom in which they very recently got "Zoombombed." They suddenly found themselves looking at pornography instead of each other! Perhaps it was more interesting. :)
            I also understand it may be near impossible to uninstall it completely from a computer. Good luck.

          • Johannes Hui

            Thanks Ficino.

            You also mentioned certain online informal discussion forums/platforms. Sport what is/are the name(s) again?

            I would go to the informal platforms first.

          • Ficino

            The two I've been on are the classical theism forum, though it's not as active as it used to be:

            https://classicaltheism.createaforum.com/index.php

            The Philosophy Forum:

            https://thephilosophyforum.com/

          • Johannes Hui

            Excellent!

            10Q very much Ficino.

          • Johannes Hui

            I prefer starting explicitly with something real known through an affirmative judgment of the content of sense experience. That, of course, is what we do with such a posteriori proofs as those starting with the given of real motion in sense experience

            @ficino:disqus

            Same here! My number one choice is also to use a posteriori reasoning to prove the existence of God. I like to start from the interlocutor’s agreement that he physically exists now and that his physical existence is continuously conditioned on the fulfillment of various series of conditions. Once he agrees on that, I would then focus on one specific series of conditions, such as him > warm atmosphere > earth > sun, etc and then reason from there to an unconditional entity that ends the series (series must have an ending because an unending series of conditions cannot be fulfilled, in which case he won’t be existing now).

            One value of ontological arguments is that usually non-theists would agree that it is not logically impossible that God exists. And then they would be surprised that by accepting that God’s existence is not impossible would be equivalent to accepting God is actually existing now because:

            1. It is logically possible that E necessarily exists now.

            (Since “logically possible” = “not that it is logically impossible”, P1 entails P2)

            2. It is not that it is logically impossible that E necesarily exists now.

            (Since “logically impossible” = “logically necessarily not”, P2 entails P3)

            3. It is not that it is logically necessarily not that E necessarily exists now.

            (Since “it is logically necessarily not” entails “it is not”, P3 entails P4)

            4. It is not that it is not that E necesarily exists now.

            (Since “It is not that it is not” = “It is” due to double negation, P4 entails P5)

            5. It is the case that E necessarily exists now.

            Conclusion:
            Therefore E necessarily exists now.

            Two atheists I chat with over tea found that my ontological argument (another version) is sound. Surprisingly they took a longer time to understand my a-posteriori argument but could understand the ontological argument much faster.

            Cheers!
            johannes y k hui

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            You table:

            P1. It is logically possible that E necessarily exists now.
            P2. It is not that it is logically impossible that E necesarily exists now.

            (Since “logically possible” = “not that it is logically impossible”, P1 entails P2)

            P1 is stating that logic is accidental.

            Therefore, P1 -> P2 means:

            p1/ Logic is accidental.
            Then:
            p1a/ It is logically possible that E necessarily exists now.
            Since p1 -> p1a
            Then:
            p2/ It is not that it is logically impossible that E accidently exists now.
            Since, p1a -> p2

          • Johannes Hui

            Allow me to emphasize again:

            I really think this example is very important to illustrate the point that the one and only relevant criteria to evaluate the soundness of my Premise 1 is whether “E” or “E necessarily exists” violates the laws of classical logic:

            Premise 1: It is logically possible that a 2D circular square figure exists. (I am copying William Vallicella in how he used a square circle to explain logical possibility)
            Premise 2: A circular figure entails all the points in its perimeter are equal distance from the centre.
            Premise 3: A square figure entails all the points in its perimeter are not at equal distance from the centre.
            Premise 4: Given the additional info in Premises 2 and 3, a circular square figure is a figure with all the points on its perimeter being and not being at equal distance from the centre at the same time.
            Conclusion: Given the additional information in Premise 4 that reveals the presence of intrinsic contradiction in a circular square, it is logically impossible that a 2D circular square figure exists.

            I agree with Vallicella that the phrase “a 2D figure circular square exists” in Premise 1 is not in the form that “X is A and not A in the same sense at the same time”, and hence strictly speaking “a circular square exists” is logically possible. Alvin Plantinga and William Lane Craig also explained logical possibility in the strict sense this way when they said “The Prime Minister is a prime number” is LOGICALLY possible.

            Hence Premise 1’s claim about circular square is sound, despite the presence of later contradiction in Premise 4. The contradiction did not arise within Premise 1 itself. The contradiction came only in Premise 4.

            Premise 1’s evaluation should be isolated from all other factors that are not intrinsic to Premise 1.

            .

            Cheers again!

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            Bonnette has handed you the win...

            He tables:

            Whether you call it an intrinsic contradiction or not, it is contradictory to state "that the nUE is the one unique being that can both not exist and yet must exist at the same time."

            How can you then -- since it entails the above contradiction -- insist that you can affirm your first premise which states that the nUE's existence is logically possible?

            Bonnette has pinpointed the essence of the nUE....

            QUESTION: Why is the nUE the one unique being that can both not exist and yet must exist at the same time?

            ANSWER: Because the nUE is infinite states.

            One of the actual consequences of the nUE is that time is real (i.e. Note that Bonnette assumes time is real in his rejoinder?)

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            P(X): X exists
            min[◊□P(X), □P(X)] = □P(X) - ◊□P(X)

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            Premise: X exists.
            Bonnette: I am not certain whether there is an internal contradiction or not in the premise!

            Aristotle's theory of knowledge also touches logic. We come to know some things immediately, others mediately by inference. Propositions have a peck-order, and what can be known immediately cannot be known mediately, or vica versa.

            Using Aristotle's theory of knowledge then the one and only proper function of inference is to derive mediate truths from immediate.

            The premise: X exists.

            is an immediate truth and satisfies Aristotle's theory of knowledge.

            It would appear that Bonnette is diverging from Aristotle's theory of knowledge regarding inference by appealing to immediate inference, which is an invention of later logicians, and is not true inference at all.

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            Bonnette, concerning your first premise has tabled:

            The contradiction in the first premise may not be in the nUE itself, but is implicit in the affirmation that the nUE is possible, when, in fact, it is not possible, since it does not actually exist.

            In order to reveal Bonnette's tabled position is just plain WRONG, you need ask of Bonnette two questions:

            Hui: Is the nUE not known in the sense of an actual thing?
            Bonnette: No
            Hui: Is the nUE unknown in the way an actual thing is known?
            Bonnette: No

            This reveals that Bonnette's final rejoinder to the first premise is defeated, for if the nUE is not known in the sense of an actual thing, then Bonnette must say that the nUE is unknown in the way an actual thing is known; but, he can't do that because it validates your first premise.... so, he won't.

            Therefore, what Bonnette is saying is wrong because:
            1/ Bonnette states that the nUE is not known in the sense of an actual thing.
            BUT NOT,
            2/ That the nUE is unknown in the way an actual thing is known.

            Bonnette denies (2), therefore, he cannot admit (1) either.

            Therefore, Bonnette in admitting (1) but denying (2) is wrong.

            His rejoinder to your first premise is defeated utterly, interesting that one consequence of the actuality of the nUE is that he will be aspect-blind to it.

          • Ficino

            Johannes, before I put more time into responding to your comments, I would like to know for what goal at this point you are asking for further comments from me, at least. Since I profess no expertise in modal logic, what do you hope to gain if you can rebut what I may write? If you're hoping that your argument will convince lurkers on this board that God exists, well, OK, but I doubt many if any lurkers will invest the time to work through it and gain the necessary background to evaluate it. If you are hoping to get feedback with a view to revising it for prospective publication, again, OK, but I question whether the feedback you are getting here will be what you (should?) want. I saw you post a version of your argument on Feser's blog a while ago - don't recall that you got much response. Why not try a more general philosophy board?

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi Ficino,

            At this point, I have the impression that you and Dr B saw something fundamentally wrong with my ontological argument so I am trying to discover what it is that you and him saw. It may be due to my blind spots that I failed to see it at this point. So I am still trying to see what you and Dr B are trying to help me see.

            I am doing this not because I want to convert the lurking atheists here (though if this happened to happen as a side effect I would be happy too) nor is it because I am preparing it for prospective publication (though contingent events may later evolve into something along that line but that is not my current intention).

            I do all this because truth-claims and truth, especially truth involving ultimate reality, to be intrinsically worthwhile to explore and investigate, regardless of other practical values they may or may not have.

            @bonnette:disqus - see the above paragraph because it also partly addresses your question to me about the practical value of Ontological Arguments.

            Ficino, your feedback (and also Dr B’s) has already helped me to tighten my ontological argument. And all these conversations have also deepened my understanding of ontological arguments.

            So far two key types of objections I gathered from you and Dr B are:

            (1) Using the a-priori objection which claims that it is in principle impossible to argue from the conceptual order to know what exists in the actual world. I find this to be similar to some atheists’ objection to the miraculous bodily resurrection of Jesus on the ground that “miracles are in principle impossible”. Such type of objection is begging the question against the actual specific argument (whether it is ontological arguments or argument for the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection) because the actual argument itself is a challenge against the a-priori in-principle claim (ontological arguemrnt is impossible or miracles are impossible). Hence to avoid begging the question, one should instead show what is wrong with the premises or the logic form in my ontological argument.

            (2) Using the objection base on parallel arguments such as chimaeras and perfect spherical body. However this type of objection fail because all the examples used are contingent entities which is of a radically different category from necessarily-existing entities. Obviously it is possible that a certain contingent entity exists would not entail that it actually exist because every contingent entity’s existence is contingent upon the coming together of the right conditions. Instead of such objection base on parallel arguments using conditional entities which are irrelevant because all such conditional entities do not exist unconditionally, the relevant approach is to show what is wrong with the premises or the logic form in my ontological argument.

            I am glad that finally the objection has now moved from the above indirect approaches towards a direct critique on the first premise of my ontological argument. This should be able to reveal any key error which my blind spots might have prevented me to see.

            Again, I do all this because truth-claims and truth, especially truth involving ultimate reality, to be intrinsically worthwhile to explore and investigate, regardless of other practical values they may or may not have.

            Cheers!
            johannes y k hui

          • Ficino

            OK tx for the explanation of your goal.

            as to your 1):
            a. there is not sufficient symmetry between a principle about the structure of arguments needed to prove the existence of an actual singularity and an assertion that "miracles are in principle impossible." So I don't admit that your comparison of the two cases as examples of petitiones is apposite.
            b. we don't even need to make the assertive claim that it is in principle impossible to construct a sound ontological argument; we only need to assume a burden of doubt.
            c. We've given reasons why we doubt the soundness of ontological arguments, so it's on you to demonstrate that they work. When you bring in modal logic, then you are asking us to evaluate your argument without our having the expertise to evaluate the work to which you put the modal operators.

            as to your 2):
            a. again, it remains unclear what is the "truth maker" that makes your conclusion, the nUE exists in the actual world, true. You define the nUE as a "necessarily existing entity." If we accept that definition, then we get something like "if it is a necessary truth that an entity exists, then it exists in the actual world." But why should we grant that it is a necessary truth that your nUE exists? On the other hand, if the truthmaker is contained in the definition of your nUE, that it exists necessarily, then we're back to Anselm and Gaunilo and the response that you're defining God into existence. If the truthmaker arises from the necessity modal operator, then AFAIK that's a mistake, but see 1)c above.
            b. Dennis and I will probably not agree here, but I don't grant that "necessity" is a property of things, only of propositions. So I don't accept that any entity "exists necessarily."
            c. I've said before that I find your UE either
            I. materially false (i.e. there is no entity that is free from metaphysical conditions). E.g. you specify that it's "non-abstract." That entails that it has causal powers. So the nature of the UE must satisfy that and other metaphysical conditions, not merely logical conditions.
            or else
            II. too vague to work with. E.g. does it collapse into a first unmoved mover? is it identical with the God of classical theism, of Whom more is said than that He/It is subject to no metaphysical conditions?

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            Bonnette is aspect-blind his own agreement with your argument (interesting that this also is a necessary possibility that is an actual possibility).

            Bonnette tables:

            If nothing ever existed, then it would be necessarily true that nothing ever existed, since it belongs to the very nature of non-being not to exist.

            Thus, nothing necessarily does not exist. And its necessity becomes just as necessary as the does the necessity of the necessary being to exist.

            Bonnette's first paragraph is a predictive possibility relation.
            Bonnette's second paragraph is an epistemological possibility relation.

            Formally, Bonnette's final words on the argument: ◊□P ≦ □P

          • Johannes Hui

            Conceptual World Can Reveal Info About the Actual World

            You wrote:

            ...even though the concept of God is such that if he were a possible reality, it would be the same as him being an actual reality, that is only a concept -- not itself real.

            Logically-possible contingent/conditional entities within the conceptual order cannot tell us whether they actually exist or do not exist in the actual world.

            But logical necessities and logical impossibilities (entailed by true premises such as “possibly, nUE exists”) within the conceptual order is able to tell us whether they exist or do not exist in the actual world.

            For example, within the conceptual order, it is logically necessary that there cannot be a circular square. Or that it is logically impossible for any circular square to exist. So without having to search the whole of actual existence to prove that no painting of circular square can be found, we can know that there exist no painting of circular square in the whole actual world.

            Therefore at least in principle, it is not sound on an a-priori basis to conclude that logical necessities in the conceptual world cannot reveal to us what necessary exists in the actual world.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            'From this result in the conceptual order, we know that circular squares do not exist in the actual world, because the actual world conforms to logical necessities and logical impossibilities. What ought to actually exist or actual not exist base on logical necessity in the conceptual world also be so in the actual world. "

            I fear Ficino @Ficino has it dead right when he says the problem with your reasoning is that it is bass ackward!

            Yes, there is a relationship between the real world and the realm of logic. But the realm of logic is the realm of second intentions, wherein we examine the relations of concepts to each other -- concepts ultimately formed from things we experience in the real world.

            (We form the concept of a unicorn, not because unicorns exist, but because we see horses and we see horns and we combine them in our imagination and then form a concept of this non-existent thing from that combination.)

            But the reason we know that square-circles cannot exist in the actual world is not because they violate some logical rule in the mental world.

            Rather, we formed the logical rule that the same predicate cannot be affirmed and denied of the same subject because, in the real world, we found that properties cannot both be and not be.

            Now, Ficino and I seem to have some disagreement as to how we come to be so sure that things cannot both be and not be in the real world, but I suspect that we agree that the reason that a circle cannot be a square is not because it violates some logical rule, but rather because there is something about reality itself that makes square circles to be impossible.

            In other words, the rules of logic arise because that is how we see the world itself. Otherwise, we could never be sure that reality actually does conform to the rules of logic -- since those internal rules might just be our human form of psychosis!

            However one puts it, the fundamental problem here is that it is not logic that determines how reality must be, but rather reality that determines what is true in logical analysis.

            " So without having to rely on an a posteriori approach to search the whole of actual existence to prove that there exists no painting of circular squares, we can know via an a-priori approach that there exists no painting of circular squares in the whole actual world."

            But we do not rely on searching the whole world to make sure there are no square circles. And we don't know they are impossible merely because they violate some logical rule, which itself is derived from "I-know-not-where!"

            Rather, we know there can be no square circles because such entities would be both square and not square in the same respect, which we know is impossible because it violates our most basic judgment of being, namely, that being is and is not non-being.

            It is from the universality of this initial understanding of the actual nature of existence that we form a universal certitude that there can be no instances in reality of things both having certain properties and yet also them not having those properties in the same respect.

            And it is from this certitude that we form the logical expression of the PNC which precludes the possibility of such things as square circles.

            In a word, we form our logical certitude from experience of the real world, and not vice versa. This is why the rules of logic do not govern reality, but reality controls how we form the rules of logic.

            This is ultimately why merely forming a "proof" in pure logic cannot assure us of anything about the real world.

            This is why saying that something is "logically possible" can never assure that something is really possible, since, if it does not happen ever to exist, it has no real possibility of existing.

            And, unless I am mistaken, saying something is "logically impossible" can never assure that something is really impossible, unless it entails some kind of contradiction in terms or being. If there is no cause or reason for something to exist, then it is not merely "logically" impossible, but it is really or ontologically impossible because there is nothing to make it real.

            So, working from logic alone cannot prove anything about the real world, unless you employ a premise about something in the real world -- in which case you are not working from logic alone.

          • Johannes Hui

            Good morning.

            You wrote:

            It is from the universality of this initial understanding of the actual nature of existence that we form a universal certitude that there can be no instances in reality of things both having certain properties and yet also them not having those properties in the same respect.

            And it is from this certitude that we form the logical expression of the PNC which precludes the possibility of such things as square circles.

            The above is also my view. That was why I disagreed with @Ficino:disqus when he said that nUE is conditional on the laws of logic. As I said to him, it is the other way round. The laws of logic are abstractions or abstract descriptions about the nature of non-abstract entities (nUE being the ultimate and ground of entities). So the existence of nUE is unconditional on not only on any non-abstract entities but also abstract entities. This is how I put the horse before the cart.

            From our experience that being cannot be non-being, we formulate the laws of logic as a description of the nature of reality. Logic is parasitic on ontology. Ontology/metaphysics is prior to logic.

            After we have formed the laws of logic and are confident that the laws of logic truly reflect the nature of reality. So we are confident that reality is such that it does not have logical contradictions. This means what is logically impossible truly expresses what is ontologically/metaphysically impossible; what is logically necessary truly expresses what is metaphysically/ontologically necessary. Though I use the two different phrase “logical necessities” and “logical impossibilities”, logical necessities are equivalent to (though not synonymous with) logical impossibilities. For example, “it is logically necessary that circular squares do not exist” is equivalent to “it is logically impossible that circular squares exist”.

            It is on the basis of the background understanding described in above paragraphs that I said that what is logical necessities/impossibilities would also be metaphysical necessities/impossibilities (though the reverse is not true in the sense that there are metaphysical necessities/impossibilities that are not logical necessities/impossibilities).

            Hence when a valid and sound argument that starts from sound premises and concludes with what is logically necessary/impossible to exist in our actual world, that would also be what is metaphysically necessary/impossible to exist.

            This does not mean metaphysics is “obeying” the laws of logic but rather that the laws of logic express or reveal some information about what is metaphysically the case.

            It is with the background of the above that I paint this picture of relationship between the various possibilities and necessities:

            a) The set of logical possibilities (narrow logical possibilities) is the largest set of what is possible.

            b) The set of metaphysical possibilities (broad logical possibilities) is a subset inside the set of logical possibilities.

            c) The set of Our Actual World (ie all actualities) is a subset inside the set of metaphysical possibilities.

            d) The set of metaphysical necessities is inside the set of Our Actual World.

            e) The set of logical necessities is inside the set of Our Actual World (therefore the set of logical necessities is also inside the set of metaphysical necessities).

            My understanding seems to be the common understanding among philosophers too since Alex Pruss said that the following is “widely accepted”:

            “For it is widely accepted that if there is a distinction between metaphysical and narrowly logical necessity, the narrowly logical necessity is stronger of the two.“ [emphasis mine]
            - Alexander Pruss

            .

            Cheers!

            .
            .
            .

            ETA: Ignore the rest below. It is included here in case other silent readers may be interested to read on:

            “It is widely accepted that there are metaphysical necessities which are not logical necessities... It follows that in a standard sense of stronger, logical necessity is stronger than metaphysical...”
            - Bob Hale, “What is Absolute Necessity?”, Philosophia Scientia, 16-2 | 2012.

            “In philosophy, metaphysical necessity, sometimes called broad logical necessity,[1] is one of many different kinds of necessity, which sits between logical necessity and nomological (or physical) necessity, in the sense that logical necessity entails metaphysical necessity, but not vice versa, and metaphysical necessity entails physical necessity, but not vice versa.”
            - Wikipedia article on Metaphysical Necessity

            “For the argument is not framed in terms of what Plantinga calls strict or narrow logical necessity but in terms of broad logical necessity. Broad logical necessity is often called metaphysical necessity. It has to do with what is actualizable or realizable. Some state of affairs may be metaphysically impossible, even though it does not involve a logical contradiction and so is not strictly logically impossible. My favorite example from Plantinga is the Prime Minister’s being a prime number. Anyone can see that this is metaphysically impossible, even though it involves no logical self-contradiction. Thus, the assertion that the Prime Minister is a prime number, while (broadly) logically absurd is not self-refuting.
            - William Lane Craig

            “The following nine paragraphs unpack the notion of broadly logical or metaphysical modality and contrast it with narrowly logical modality.
            1. There are objects and states of affairs and propositions that can be known a priori to be impossible because they violate the Law of Non-Contradiction (LNC). Thus a plane figure that is both round and not round at the same time, in the same respect, and in the same sense of 'round,' is impossible, absolutely impossible, simply in virtue of its violation of LNC. I will say that such an object is narrowly logically (NL) impossible. Hereafter, to save keystrokes, I will not mention the 'same time, same respect, same sense' qualification which will be understood to be in force.
            2. But what about a plane figure that is both round and square? Is it NL-impossible? No. For by logic alone one cannot know it to be impossible. One needs a supplementary premise, the necessary truth grounded in the meanings of 'round' and 'square' that nothing that is round is square. We say, therefore, that the round square is broadly logically (BL) impossible...
            3. If there are BL-impossible states of affairs such as There being a round square, then there are BL-necessary states of affairs such as There being no round square. Impossibility and necessity are interdefinable: a state of affairs is necessary iff its negation is impossible.“ [I have cut off the rest - a further six paragraphs]
            - William Vallicella

          • Dennis Bonnette

            @Ficino
            I am glad to see we are on the same page in insisting that it is ontology that governs the rules of logic. I really cannot grasp the usefulness of a PNC which holds good for all logic, but which is not first grounded in reality, and therefore, might not be viewed as applicable to all reality.

            That said, there is still a problem with how you are relating ontology to logic here.

            I think it useful to review concretely precisely how ontology precedes logic and how the intellectual function of abstraction is critically relevantly to this discussion.

            "Abstraction," from the Latin "abs" and "traho," literally means "to drag or pull" something "away" from something. In Aristotelian terms, we start with some really existing extramental thing that is known directly in a judgment. From this immediate encounter with reality, the intellect then "abstracts" or "pulls" out of that entity its intelligible content, thereby forming a concept of the thing or of some aspect of the thing. But note, the concept is rooted in and derived from the reality of the real thing itself.

            Since logic is the science of second intentions or concepts, logic then can examine the nature of the relationships between that concept and various other concepts, which are also abstracted from extramental things. We can even form concepts of non-existing things, such as unicorns, by combining the concepts formed from other actually existing things, like horses and horns, even though the referent does not seem to exist outside the mind.

            The bottom line of this realist epistemology of concepts is that every concept is by its very nature "abstract."

            And this precisely is why I suspect there is a most fundamental problem with your claimed proof. For, you maintain that: "The laws of logic are abstractions or descriptions about the nature of non-abstract entities (nUE being the ultimate and ground of entities). "

            Yes, logic deals with concepts that are abstracted from non-abstract things. But "non-abstract" simply means "real things" or things outside the mind.

            Yet, the moment you say you are talking about a concept of a "non-abstract" UE, you have defined a concept in terms it can never have, namely, being something "non-abstract," since every concept is, by definition, something "abstract."

            Saying that something is "non-abstract" is simply another way of saying it is real. But what is real? The UE? or the concept of the UE? What does it add to the UE to say that it is "non-abstract," except that you are defining reality right into its concept, which implicitly is simply a surreptitious way of assuming what you are trying to prove? Am I wrong? If so, how?

            Conversely, the only way you can form a concept of a "non-abstract UE" would be by getting it from something real, which would defeat the essential claim of proving its actual reality merely by consideration of its concept.

            Otherwise, like the unicorn, you must be putting together in a novel manner concepts taken from real things. But one of your concepts, then, is that it be "non-abstract," which again defines extramental reality right into your nUE.

            As a mere concept, the nUE has no right to be "non-abstract" or extramentally real, which all non-abstract things must be.

            In any case, it looks to me as if the only way your ontological argument is "working" is by essentially assuming what you aim to prove -- and is doing so the very moment that you define your nUE as being "non-abstract."
            For, you are assuming the property of being "non-abstract," that is, extramentally real, as an essential part of your nUE, when it is precisely "abstract," and not "non-abstract."

            "what is logically necessary truly expresses what is metaphysically/ontologically necessary."

            This is true, but only if you begin with a concept that is rooted already in reality. That is the problem with your non-abstract UE. Just by defining it as non-abstract, you grant it a reality that it simply does not have in the conceptual order.

            Now, if you could start with something that is genuinely "non-abstract," from that you can logically make inferences that bind reality. But just defining something as "non-abstract" does not make it real, because whatever is in the conceptual order is, by definition, abstract -- and never "non-abstract."

            The nUE may well be a possible being, but its actuality cannot be demonstrated by simply defining reality (non-abstractness) into its abstract conception.

          • Ficino

            except that you are defining reality right into its concept, which implicitly is simply a surreptitious way of assuming what you are trying to prove? Am I wrong? If so, how?

            Conversely, the only way you can form a concept of a "non-abstract UE" would be by getting it from something real, which would defeat the essential claim of proving its actual reality merely by consideration of its concept.

            I agree with this and have been saying the same in slightly different words.

            It's the way we don't know that anything in reality is perfectly spherical merely by analyzing the concept of the sphere, which holds over all possible worlds. We have to know from evidence that contains some empirical information that a given body in the actual world is perfectly spherical - can't infer a spherical body in reality from the concept of a sphere.

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi Ficino,

            You wrote:

            It's the way we don't know that anything in reality is perfectly spherical merely by analyzing the concept of the sphere, which holds over all possible worlds. We have to know from evidence that contains some empirical information that a given body in the actual world is perfectly spherical - can't infer a spherical body in reality from the concept of a sphere.

            You have raised the same concern very recently using two examples: a chimaera and a circle. I have explained to you why your two examples of a chimaera and a circle failed. Since now you use the example of a perfectly spherical body, let me explain base on your latest example.

            The concept of a perfect spherical body is inherently a contingent/conditional entity. Its existence is conditional upon the right conditions coming together (eg the right material, the right technology, etc), just as your previous example of chimaera is a contingent entity whose existence is conditional upon the right evolutionary conditions. So your perfect spherical body falls into category of “possibly possible”, and “possibly possible” entails only “possible”. @bonnette:disqus

            “Possibly, a perfect spherical body is possible to actually exist non-abstractly” entails only “a perfect spherical body is POSSIBLE to actually exist non-abstractly.” Logically, in your example of a perfect spherical body, “possibly possible” does not entail any necessity to exist, whereas “possibly necessarily exist” entails “necessarily exist” in the case of nUE.

            Since “possibly a perfect spherical body is possible to exist” entails only that a perfect spherical body is possible to exist, the only way to find out whether it actually exist is to rely on empirical investigation.

            But for nUE, it falls into the category of “possibly necessary”. Since “possibly necessary” entails “necessary”, then by modal logic nUE necessarily exists non-abstractly in our actual world (on the basis of its unconditional intrinsic necessary existence), we do not need to rely on empirical investigation in order to know if it actually exists extramentally.

            Only contingent or conditional objects require empirical investigation to know if they actually exist.

            When we know from the concept of an entity that the entity belongs to the type that is intrinsically necessary NOT exist (ie impossible to exist) we do not need empirical investigation to know that it does not actually exist (eg a circular square).

            When we know from the concept of an entity that it belongs to the type that is impossible to NOT exist (ie intrinsically necessary to exist)>/u>, we also do not need empirical investigation to know that it actually exists.

            In addition, unconditional intrinsic necessary existence is not even part of the concept of a perfect spherical body. In contrast, the concept of unconditional intrinsic necessary existence is essentially what nUE is. Hence nUE, with its unconditional intrinsic necessary existence, satisfies the condition of “possibly necessarily existing” entails “necessarily existing”.

            (Note: Sphericality is intrinsically necessary to the concept of a perfectly spherical body, but “actually existing” is not part of the concept of a perfectly spherical body.)

            You wrote:

            But as I think we agree, the necessity operator is not truth functional. Therefore, as Dennis and I contend, your nUE must exist in the actual world because of a fact other than the fact that your proposition has the necessity operator on it. And the truth-making fact cannot be the definition of the thing whose existence you are trying to establish.

            It is the soundness of the combination of BOTH modal operators and sub-proposition in that beginning premise, when unpacked with the help of a valid logic-structure to draw out the entailment of the beginning premise, is what determined the soundness of the conclusion.

            Hence I invite you to focus on the first premise first perhaps by following what Dennis has written in his “attack” on my first premise around two days ago. I have not responded to that yet as my little spare time is spend on clearing things up with him on the relationship between conceptual order and the extramental world. After sufficient conversation on that point I would then respond to his other sub-thread’s critique on my first premise.

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi Dennis,

            You wrote:

            Saying that something is "non-abstract" is simply another way of saying it is real... What does it add to the UE to say that it is "non-abstract," except that you are defining reality right into its concept, which implicitly is simply a surreptitious way of assuming what you are trying to prove? Am I wrong? If so, how?

            I assume by “real” you meant “actual”. When a concept is about a non-abstract entity, it does not mean that non-abstract entity is actual!

            And then, when a concept is about an abstract entity, it does not mean that abstract entity is not real!

            There are concepts about non-actual non-abstract entities and there are concepts about actual non-abstract entities. For example:

            (1) The concept of an unicorn is an example of a concept of a non-abstract entity that does not actually exist non-abstractly in the actual world.

            (2) The concept of a horse is an example of a concept of a non-abstract entity that actually exists non-abstractly in the actual world.

            To complete the picture, there are concepts about actual abstract entities and there are concepts about non-actual abstract entities. For example:

            (3) The concept of “triangularity” is a concept about an abstract entity that is actually exemplified in specific triangular objects (in addition to it existing as a concept inside minds).

            (4) The concept of “square root of negative 1” (or what mathematicians called the imaginary unit “i”) is a concept about an abstract entity that is not actual in the sense it is not exemplified in non-abstract objects.

            To point out that the concept of Unconditioned Entity is about a non-abstract Unconditioned Entity (nUE) is to differentiate it from concepts about abstract entities. Some people may think of abstract entities such as mathematical entities as unconditioned entities too (some see mathematical entities and principles as necessary entities). After hearing some things said by @Ficino:disqus, I realized I need to make it clear and explicit that nUE is not an abstract entity like the the number “7”, but is instead a non-abstract entity like a horse or an unicorn.

            So by making it explicit that by saying nUE is a non-abstract entity is not equivalent to claiming that nUE actually exists non-abstractly in our actual world. It is not “defining reality right into its concept”. It is not “a surreptitious way of assuming what you are trying to prove”. I have not begged the question in my premises.

            Hence the answer to your question “Am I wrong?” is a resounding “Yes”. How do? As per what I just explained in the few paragraphs above.

            All concepts, such as concepts of unicorns, triangularity, circular squares, laws of logic, Unconditioned Entity, horses and the concept of “concept” did not arise from a vacuum but are formed from entities in the actual world. So a-priori arguments from concepts do have links to the actual reality because all concepts are directly or indirectly formed by using inputs or ingredients from our actual world.

            We should not presume that it is impossible for there to be valid and sound a-priori deductive arguments that reveal what must necessary exist or not-exist in our actual world. The proper way is to look SPECIFICALLY at my actual argument.

            If what you said is true in that it is impossible to argue from concepts to prove that nUE is necessarily existing extramentally now in our actual world, then surely you would be able to point out why my first premise of my Ontological Argument is unsound, or else to point out why the logic form is invalid.

            Therefore I suggest that, instead of devoting more and more time to discuss whether or not it is possible to argue from the concept of nUE to a deductively sound conclusion that nUE actually exists, we focus on scrutinizing the first premise of my argument.

            The real test is to show why my first premise is unsound. I know you have given your comment on my first premise at another sub-thread, and hence when the issues over here are sufficiently clarified, I should then focus on the comment which you have given over there on my first premise, and prepare my response to it. Here is the appetizer; the main-dish is over there. :)

            Cheers!

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Having reexamined your other comments as well as reading this one, I will now concede that what you meant by a non-abstract entity was not referring to a concept that was not abstracted from anything, but merely intended to express that this would be a really existing individual entity -- assuming it actually exists.

            To put it bluntly, my criticism of your argument based on the inclusion of the term, "non-abstract," was dead wrong!

            That does not mean you are home free on the rest of your argument. We will have to take another look at your first premise. :)

          • Ficino

            Hello Johannes, and shouting out to Dennis

            @dennisbonnette:disqus

            Like Dennis, I commend you for your efforts, and as I have said before, at this point I am thinking you may have exhausted the value that you're going to get from commentators on this board. Again I urge you to formulate your argument with rigor, REGIMENT it in classical notation, and submit it to a journal not controlled by people who like the Ontological Argument! You need tough and up-to-date criticism.

            As a guy who works on the history of ancient philosophy and rhetoric, I am not up to date on modal logic or contemporary metaphysics. I don't know the latest thing Plantinga has come up with.

            i will throw out some thoughts, some of which I've expressed before.

            1. You have not formalized your argument in a standard language of logical notation. So I am guessing at the formulation of some of your premises. Why not regiment your argument using the universal and existential quantifier? Or if you are using some other system, maybe derived from a version of modal logic, then state it.

            2. If you are beginning from all universal premises, as far as I know it will be logically illicit to conclude the existence of some singular. And it seems to me you are beginning from universal premises, something like this:
            For all X, if X is a non-abstract being and if X is unconditioned, then X is an actual being.
            But this only demonstrates that if a given class has some properties, then its members have other properties. It doesn't demonstrate that any member of the class exists, because you have no existential premise. The form of your argument is like this:
            For all X, if X is a leprechaun and if X lives in the forest, then X is a leprechaun forest creature. But you have no evidential premise that there exists a leprechaun.

            3. Earlier you argued that since nothing prevents the nUE from existing, the nUE exists. I see no reason to accept the premise that this rests on. Existence is not the default state of possible beings, such that they only fail to exist if something prevents them. Nothing is preventing a chimaera from existing - it just doesn't. The direction of implication is the other way round: it doesn't exist unless something brings it into existence or unless it exists just by brute fact. But I think you want neither of those.

            4. Two things that should give you pause:
            a. you spoke of "revealing." Philosophy is not about revelation. Maybe you were using the word in a non-standard sense, but my red lights are flashing. Do you think that to you have been revealed insights not vouchsafed to ordinary men? If you do, then write up your paper and send it to a journal that will have HOSTILE external referees. See if they are convinced. But perhaps I just mistake your usage of words.
            b. Thomists and materialistically inclined skeptics like me often don't agree on things, so when we do agree against your formulation, proceed with caution!

            OK, all best, F

          • Johannes Hui

            @Bonnette:disqus

            Hi Ficino, as u suggested to present my idea in logic symbols, here it is:

            Symbols explained

            P = a specific proposition is true

            ◊P means “it is logically possible that P is true”

            □P means “it is logically necessary that P is true”

            ~ P means “P is not true”

            -> means “entails that”

            Argument in Symbolic Logic

            Let P be the specific proposition “nUE necessarily exists non-abstractly (outside our minds) now in our actual world”

            ◊□P
            -> ◊~◊~P (because □ = ~◊~)
            -> ~□~~◊~P (because ◊ = ~□~)
            -> ~□◊~P (because ~ negates ~)
            -> ~◊~P (because □◊ = ◊)
            -> □P (because ~◊~ = □)

            Therefore ◊□P -> □P

            Therefore “it is logically POSSIBLE that P is necessarily true” entails that “it is logically necessarily that P is true”

            So if Dr Bonnette agrees that “it is logically POSSIBLE that P is necessarily true”, then going by logic, he is actually agreeing that “it is logically necessarily that P is necessarily true” even if he does not realize that the former necessarily entails the latter.

            The only way to logically reject the conclusion is by claiming that “it is logically IMPOSSIBLE that P is necessarily true”.

            If P is the proposition “a circular square is necessarily existing non-abstractly now outside our minds in our actual world” then it is easy to argue successfully that “it is logically impossible that P is true”.

            But when P is the proposition “nUE is necessarily existing non-abstractly now outside our minds in our actual world”, then it seems impossible to argue successfully that “it is logically impossible that P is true”.

            Any disagreement with the above argument presented in logic symbols?

            Cheers!
            johannes y k hui

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            You state this:
            P: a circular square is necessarily existing non-abstractly now outside our minds in our actual world
            Conclusion: “it is logically impossible that P is true”.

            Be very careful.... your example is an example of an ill-posed question....you are on shaky grounds here... you are getting "bewitched" by "surface grammar" of the word actual and therefore your conclusion is becoming zero-sum.... here, the conclusion of the example is becoming an "artefact" of the measurement and NOT the explanation!

          • Ficino

            I appreciate your effort to regiment your argument. As I said, I am not expert in modal logic, so I am not competent to evaluate your use of symbols. You need to run it by someone who does have that expertise.

            I do point out some things that appear off-base in your exposition.
            You provide P as a symbol expressing this: "a specific proposition is true." This is not how a variable like P is used in classical propositional logic. P, Q etc only represent propositions. Those symbols do not contain the further information that the proposition is true. This is a valid syllogism by Modus Ponens:
            P = "an ass is rational"
            Q = "an ass has a sense of humor"

            P → Q
            P
            ∴ Q

            Q follows, but the proposition symbolized by Q is false because P is false. The argument is valid but not sound. I know you understand Modus Ponens. What is not obvious is whether you take P to stand for any proposition. You made P stand for a true proposition. That's not how the symbol is used.

            Similarly, the negation operator, ~ or ¬, does not contain an assertion about truth. It only negates the proposition symbolized by the variable.

            Once you validly infer your conclusion, you have not thereby established its truth. I know you know the difference between validity and truth, but you seem to forget it when you write

            P = a specific proposition is true [snip]

            ~ P means “P is not true”

            Do you mean, not "a specific proposition is true," but something like, "a specific proposition is represented as true"? I think nevertheless it injects confusion to fold truth into the content expressed by the symbol of a proposition.

            The only thing I can say about your regimentation of your argument using modal operators is that I don't know whether this is kosher: ◊□P. You are treating □ no longer as an operator but as part of the semantic content of the proposition on which ◊ is the operator. I don't know whether that's permissible in normal modal logic.

          • Johannes Hui

            Thanks Ficino. Yes I need to slightly adjust my explanation on the symbols. The argument remains the same even after the adjustment in explaining what the symbols represent:

            Symbols Explained

            P = a proposition

            ◊P means “it is logically possible that P is true” or in short, “P is logically possible”

            □P means “it is logically necessary that P is true” or in short, “P is logically necessary”

            ~P means “P is not true” or “not-P”

            -> means “entails that”

            Argument in Symbolic Logic

            Let P be the specific proposition “nUE necessarily exists non-abstractly (outside our minds) now in our actual world”

            ◊□P
            -> ~□~□P ..... (because ◊ = ~□~)
            -> ~~□P ....... (because □~ = ~)
            -> □P ........... (because ~ negates ~, so ~~ disappears)

            Therefore ◊□P -> □P

            Therefore “it is logically POSSIBLE that P is necessarily true” entails that “P is necessary true”. Bonnette:disqus

            Any further adjustment I should make to render it to conform to the standard way the symbols are used?

            Thanks Ficino.

          • Ficino

            I don't know that ◊□P is a properly formed propositional function. I haven't seen that concatenation anywhere. Does it mean "P is contingently necessary"? Or maybe ◊(□P) is properly formed, I don't know. In any case, by putting the possibility operator before the necessity operator, you make your possibility operator operate on the proposition
            □P. It's not the case that both the possibility and the necessity operator operate each severally on P.

            The possibility operator tells us that P is true in at least one possible world. Does it also tell us that P is false in at least one possible world? After all, if P were true in every possible world, then we would have the necessity operator, not the possibility operator.

          • Ficino

            I wrote a reply but then deleted because modal logic is too far out of my area. Does ◊□P mean "P is possibly necessary"? Off the top of my head I'd say this is false, because the negation of a necessary proposition is not possible. I think you've pointed out something like that in your reply to Dennis. But then, as I say, your ◊□P seems to be false. If you subtract the possibility operator, then you just have the claim that it's necessarily true that the nEU exists. But again, we say you're not entitled to stipulate that an existence claim about a singular entity is necessarily true.

          • Johannes Hui

            (1) ◊□P means it is possible that P is necessarily the case. This is not a negation of a necessary P. A negation is of a necessary P is written as ~□P which means “it is not the case that P is necessary” which is valid, correct and nothing invalid about it. So even a true negation, ie ~□P, is correct and there is nothing not possible about such negation. ◊□P is also correct. It has been used in academic literature by philosophers.

            (2) ◊□P does not symbolize “P is contingently necessary”. ◊□P symbolises “it is POSSIBLE that P is necessary”. If we see ~◊□P, then it means “it is not possible that P is necessary”. So such symbols are referring to where P is possible or not possible to be necessary. Earlier on you have an example using a “humourous ass” so I shall borrow your humourous ass to use in this example: If P is “Philip has drawn a circular square on the body of the ass” (borrowing your earlier example of humorous ass), then it would a case of ~◊□P. It is not possible that it is necessary the case that Philip has drawn a circular square on the body of the ass. No such possibility of him drawing such a 2D figure at all. ;)

            (3) It is coherent to say “That fire exists contingently/conditionally because where that fire’s ability to exist depends on whether the conditions of fuel, oxygen and heat are fulfilled or present. In contrast, God exists unconditionally/necessarily.”

            (4) Unconditioned Entity is just a short way of saying “That entity’s ability to exist is not conditional on any other entities”.

            Cheers!

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            Your conclusion is: ◊□P -> □P

            The conclusion should read: ◊□P ≦ □P

            Then your argument is bullet-proof...

          • Ficino

            I see that John Burgess in his Modal Logic (Princeton 2009) includes these among his axioms (p. 50):

            (38) A → ‘◊A (38*) ◊…A → A

            I note however, that Theodore Sider in Logic for Philosophy (Oxford 2010) 138 explains that "the modal operators ‘ and ◊ are not truth-functional... "it is not the case that is [a] truth-functional [sentential connective] because the truth value of 'it is not the case that φ' is determined by the truth value of φ."

            For your argument, the truth value of your P, i.e. that there exists a nUE in the actual world, is determined by a fact, not by one of the modal operators. It's not clear to me whether you think that the necessity operator makes P true, but according to Sider, it does not.

          • Johannes Hui

            My necessity operator per se does not make P true. If P is “Philip drew a circular square on paper” then □P is not true.

          • Ficino

            You are conceding that the necessity operator does not make P true. Your attempts to get from P is possible to P is necessary, then, don't establish that P is true. I noted something like this some time ago - that you might just as well begin with your P, i.e. the claim that the concept of the nNE includes the nNE's existing necessarily, and leave it at that. And many of us will simply decline to accept your claim.

          • Johannes Hui

            The word “conceding” misrepresented the situation. While “it is possible that nUE unconditionally or necessarily exists non-abstractly in all logically possible situations including our actual world” ultimately gives us the equivalent outcome “nUE” actually exists non-abstractly in our actual world”, the former phrase is not synonymous with the latter. The meaning in the former, as symbolized by logic symbols ◊□P, is not identical to the meaning in the latter, symbolized as □P.

            Being equivalent in meaning is different from being identical/synonymous in meaning.

            Claiming that “it is POSSIBLE that X exists unconditionally or necessarily” is different from claiming “X exists unconditionally/necessarily”, even though the former entails the latter. The equivalence in outcome, or that the former meaning entails the latter meaning, is proven only after a process of operations.

            [This reminds me of a different topic: Klima also pointed out the confusion between ‘equivalence and identity’ committed by others who used Fregean logic to criticise Thomism’s “God’s Essence = God’s Existence”.]

            In addition, I can introduce the first premise not in terms of ◊□P, but instead ◊X where specifically X = nUE necessarily exists non-abstractly and I would get the conclusion that X is actual. Using logic symbols, ◊X would ultimately led us to X is actual after some operations.

            X is logically possible (ie ◊X) entails X is actual is true only if X is used to symbolized something like “nUE necessarily exists non-abstractly in all logically possible scenarios including our actual world”.

          • Ficino

            I did not claim that the necessity operator makes P true.

            I'll allow that I should not have said "concede" but rather, "agree" or the like. From what you wrote two days ago, however, it sounded as though you were folding truth-making into the function of the modal operators, for you said

            ◊P means “it is logically possible that P is the case” or in short, “P is logically possible”
            □P means “it is logically necessary that P is the case” or in short, “P is logically necessary”

            Your longer versions contain content that does not belong, for "is the case" or "is not the case" are truth-functional sentential connectives. They do not form part of the scope of the diamond and box operators.

            ◊P just means "it is possible that P, and □P means "it is necessary that P." When you go on to flesh out a claim that either of these is true at a world w ( assumed: in the universe, or in a world accessible to us), there has to be a world w1 at which P is true:

            ◊P is true at w iff P is true at at least one w1
            □P is true at w iff P is true at all w1

            But neither biconditional above establishes that P is true in some or all worlds. P can be false, but the above biconditionals are still properly formed. They just don't tell us that P is true.

            It still seems to me that the steps in your argument that use modal operators don't do any work, for:
            A) It might have seemed that you establish the truth of P (where P = there exists an nUE in the actual world) if you establish that □P, and that's what at first I thought you were arguing. But given from what I've read in the last week, that the modal operators are not truth-functional, it appears that A) won't work.
            or:
            B) your P contains a claim about a being that exists necessarily, since you have elsewhere reworded "unconditioned" along the lines of "existing necessarily" or "necesssary." How do we know that this being that you say exists necessarily does in fact exist? So far I see its existence either asserted or, back to A), derived mistakenly from modal operators.

            But you have said that you are not arguing along the lines of A), not trying to use the necessity operator to establish the truth of P. So I feel as I said before that we're back to the Anselm-Gaunilo dispute over whether the concept of an nUE implies the existence of an nUE.

            You REALLY oughtta run all this by someone with a demonstrated competence in modal logic!

          • Johannes Hui

            Good morning Ficino.

            It makes no difference to the argument whether or not “is the case” is used. My “is the case” is only to make the reading more natural because “it is necessary/possible that P” does not read as natural as “It is necessary/possible that P is the case.” Similarly, “it is not P” does not read as natural as “it is not the case P”. And there are academic publications that explained the symbols as I do in published works, and even explained the symbols as “it is necessary/possible that P is true”. I will quote one of them at the end of this comment.

            Meanwhile I am removing “is the case” and you can see we still get the same result. It makes no difference to the argument whether or not “is the case” is present. See below:

            Symbols Explained
            P = a proposition
            ◊P means “it is logically possible that P” or in short, “P is logically possible”
            □P means “it is logically necessary that P” or in short, “P is logically necessary”
            ~P means “it is not P” or “not-P”
            -> means “entails that”

            Argument in Symbolic Logic
            Let P be the specific proposition “nUE necessarily exists non-abstractly (outside our minds) now in our actual world”
            ◊□P
            -> ~□~□P ..... (because ◊ = ~□~)
            -> ~~□P ....... (because □~ = ~)
            -> □P ........... (because ~ negates ~, so ~~ disappears)
            Therefore ◊□P -> □P
            Therefore “it is logically POSSIBLE that P is necessarily” entails that “P is necessary”.
            This would entail without fail the following:
            Therefore “it is logically POSSIBLE that P is possible” entails that “P is necessary”. bonnette

            To say a proposition is possible is to say that the content of the proposition is possible to be true. To say a proposition is necessary is to say that the content of the proposition is necessary true.

            ———-

            As I said, I have seen ◊P and □P explained by different academic publications as “it is possible/necessary that P is true”. Here is one example:

            “Modal logics are extensions of classical logic by the operators □ (“box”) and ◇ (“diamond”), which attach to formulas. Intu- itively, □ may be read as “necessarily” and ◇ as “possibly,” so □p is “p is necessarily true” and ◇p is “p is possibly true.” As necessity and possibility are fundamental metaphysical notions, modal logic is obviously of great philosophical interest. It allows the formalization of metaphysical principles such as “□p → p ” (if p is necessary, it is true) or “◇p → □◇p” (if p is possible, it is necessarily possible).”

            The above is quoted from the 2020 revised edition of Boxes and Diamonds: An Open Introduction to Modal Logic published by University of Calgary. It is used as a text book in Modal Logic class in that university.

            But it really makes no difference to arguments whether or not “is the case”, or even “is true”, is used.

            A claim made in a sentence such as “□P” or “it is necessarily true that a circular square actually exist on that paper” does not make the claim true. The premise(s) that are used to support the claim must be true and the logic-structure linking the premise(s) to arrive at that claim must be valid before the claim in the sentence is warranted to be claimed as true. Symbols and the proposition combined in a sentence does not render claim in the sentence true.

            I think @Philip Rand:disqus warned about not being bewitched by words.

          • Ficino

            As I have said to you before, the only way to reject the conclusion is to argue that the starting premise “◊□P” is false.

            You are saying that an opponent can only defeat your argument if the opponent commits the fallacy of denying the antecedent?

          • Johannes Hui

            It is not “denying the antecedent” when an opponent is only saying “your antecedent is false, therefore your conclusion is not warranted by your premise that possibly, necessarily P”.

            See the nuance now? Rejecting my conclusion is not about claiming “nUE does not actually exist”.

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            Ficino tables the "negative-feedback" rejoinder to your argument:

            Ficino:

            But given from what I've read in the last week, that the modal operators are not truth-functional, it appears that A) won't work.

            Since modal operators are NOT truth-functional; ◊□P ≦ □P is valid and sound.

          • Johannes Hui

            Additional note:

            My “possibly necessary entails necessary” is to show Dennis that for people like him who accept “it is possibly necessary...” then it is an error in logic to reject the conclusion that “it is necessary”.

            In the earlier conversations, he seemed to have claimed that “it is possible that it is necessary...” does not entail “it is necessary...”. So I wanted to establish via logical demonstration that “possibly necessary entails necessary”.

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            Ficino is in error (which in fact empirically proves P); simply do the truth table of:

            ◊□P ≦ □P

            And "something" very interesting emerges... it is this "something" that makes the argument bullet-proof.

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi Philip, I dunno how to do it. Can u do it and show here? Thanks.

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            The system ◊□P ≦ □P is a 2X2 matrix; (◊□P, □P)

            (1,1)=1
            (1,2)=0
            (2,1)=1
            (2,2)=0.5

            P=min(◊□P, □P)=0.5

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            You have won....

            Bonnette has tabled this:

            While I agree that this hypothesized being is logically possible in that its conception does not appear to be self-contradictory, I do not agree that this logically possible being can be affirmed to be actually possible.

            Since Bonnette is an Aquinanaut he holds to this intuition: "Sense datum a exists."

            Thus, Bonnette MUST accept that the hypothesized being is an actual being. Bonnette is contradicting himself if he does not.

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            Bonnette has issue with your Premise (2). Premise (2) is correct.

            Presmise (2) is a necessary direct consequence of your Principle (B).

            The square circle measurement is the result; in high dimensions the square circle exists; a further consequence of Premise (2) is that it addresses directly Bonnette's claim that a contradiction is non-being; because in fact a contradiction is virtual-being and is just as real as being, and is a necessary consequence of a single measurement, i.e. one man's virtual-being is another man's being. Again, this relationship can be formalised precisely and is scientifically valid.

            I can see exactly where the Bonnette interpretation comes; it is a consequence of Principle (2) that Bonnette's measurement is a necessay counter-factual of the actual phenomenon being measured.

            What your model reveals is that Thomism has NO explanatory power at all...Bonnette can only claim you are in error by stipulation.

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

      • Ficino

        I said I was out of this discussion, but I renege now to suggest that another way to phrase your comment, Dennis, might be to note that a possible world is only a possible world. There is only one actual world. So to say that some X "exists" in a possible world and to say that some X "exists" in the actual world is to use "exists" under two different values. Things that exist in counterfactual possible worlds, qua constituents of those worlds, are only beings of reason. Thus they don't "exist" in the necessary sense or way needed by a proof of God. So it's an equivocation fallacy to go from X "exists" in a possible world to say that X "exists" in the same sense in the actual world. Substitute nUE for X and we still have an equivocation fallacy.

        • Dennis Bonnette

          I was hoping you might decide to make a comment.

          And I find it intriguing that we agree that you cannot prove the existence of the God of classical theism this way.

          I appreciate your statement of objections to the Ontological Argument from a different perspective.

          • Ficino

            Yes, I think that the nUE must turn out not to be under NO limiting conditions.

            Logical: it must be identical with itself, for starters. if there is only one nUE, unity is true of it, and if there are more than one uNE's unity will be true of each of them. The nUE cannot violate the PNC. And so on.

            Metaphysical: for those who ground the logical principles of identity and non-contradiction in metaphysical principles, then the nUE must be limited by the metaphysical principles of identity and non-contradiction (I don't admit that these are metaphysical principles, but the proponent of the nUE argument may need to admit that these are metaphysical principles). The nUE must have causal powers; it cannot not have causal powers. And so on.

            the proponent of nUE might reply, these are all logical conditions, since they only limit the ratio or nature of the nUE. But if they're limiting the nature of something, they are metaphysical.

            If it turns out that the "unconditionality" of this non-abstract entity boils down to its not being the patient of any effect produced by any other entity, then I think we're just dealing with another form of an argument to an unmoved mover. I said this months ago. And you said the same when you suspected that the nUE argument will tip over into a cosmological argument.

            The way forward for an ontological argument for the god of classical theism seems forever blocked by the fact that what might be true of some X in any number of possible worlds less than "all" need not be true of the counterpart of X in the actual world. All the proponent of the nUE has established is that the notion of the nUE is a notion in minds in the actual world - a point you also made. And if the nUE is going to exist in ALL possible worlds, then it's a necessary being, but we only have an assumption that it exists in all possible worlds.

            A further point to which I think you won't subscribe, but which I think is a salutary proposal: Russell held that "necessary" is a property only of propositions, and in particular, of analytic propositions, not of things.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I fairness to Johannes, I would argue that his notion of being unconditioned is not really limited by such metaphysical principles as the PNC and identity, since they really are not limits at all. Certainly, the classical concept of God does not admit that they are. Remember, for classical theism, God is Being Itself, and hence is the very ground for those principles. It isn't a limit not to be able to be and not be, since contradictions are actually non-being and where God is limited by "nothing," it only affirms his infinity.

            My really substantive difficulty with the OA is that it insists on going from the merely conceptual order to the real order -- although I notice that JH seems to hesitate on that a bit.

            Metaphysicians seem to use "necessary" as meaning that God "must" exist since existence is identical to his nature.

          • Ficino

            his notion of being unconditioned is not really limited by such metaphysical principles as the PNC and identity, since they really are not limits at all. Certainly, the classical concept of God does not admit that they are.

            Tx, I can't go back and trace comments of yours from months ago now, but I think I remember your saying that even God is subject to the PNC. Do you not hold that? Or if you do, how does that thesis combine with what you say here?

            Metaphysicians seem to use "necessary" as meaning that God "must" exist since existence is identical to his nature.

            Right, some metaphysicians, I can't list them, lol. Of course I do not admit that existence is identical to the nature of anything. But I get your point.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Maybe I should have said Thomistic metaphysicians so that the context would be more clear. This is all pretty standard stuff for us. Yes, God is subject to the PNC. But, from our perspective, since God is Pure Being, he is really the basis for the PNC, and not merely obeying it.

            Right now I have not been concerned about defending classical natural theology, but rather to show that no version of the Ontological Argument works. I just noticed that JH does seem to allow some connection with reality in his argument, so he may well come back at me! I am sympathetic to his purpose. I just don't think the means works.

          • Ficino

            Yes, God is subject to the PNC. But, from our perspective, since God is Pure Being, he is really the basis for the PNC, and not merely obeying it.

            Is what you say here a problem for an attempt to argue to God from premises about a "non-abstract Unconditioned Entity"? Doesn't what you say here imply that there are limiting conditions, even if only within His nature, on God? And surely those conditions, as reducible to God's nature, are not merely logical.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            It is not a limitation to say that what is cannot be what is not.

            God is the Infinite Being. Yes, the ontological PNC applies to him, but I would rather say that his being Pure Esse is itself the ontological foundation for the PNC in all domains. It is no more a limitation than all the foolish examples about God not being able to make a rock bigger than he can lift or him not being able to make a square circle.

            All such examples are really contradictions in terms or being and are, as such, non-reality. So, as it were, removing all non-realities from God merely affirms that he is infinite being, which is what was said in the first place.

            As far as I can see, the convoluted phrase, "non-abstract Unconditioned Entity," is just a fancy way of saying the God of classical theism. Or, just, "God."

            And you and I agree that you cannot prove God's existence merely by thinking about the possibility of such a being.

          • Ficino

            Yes, I think I was just using "limitation" in a different sense, for example, as when one identifies something that God is not.

          • Jim the Scott

            If God is not subject to the PNC then 90% of Atheists polemics are out the window. If God can make contradictions true then let us say the "seeming" contradiction between the existence of infinitely good God & evil is not a defeater for His existence.
            One need not solve it then. It is oot th' windie.
            Of course without the PNC all rational categories are out the windie as are rational philosophical arguments for God..
            So it is not a good trade off for either side.

          • Ficino

            Jim, my question was not to deny that the PNC is absolute. My question had to do with what seems to me a problem for at least some versions of the Ontological Argument.

          • Jim the Scott

            I see.

            Cheers.

        • WCB-2

          There are many theologies and many ideas about God. The God of the classic theists and the Bible. The God of Mormonism. The idealist God of a Maya world of illusion of some Indian theologies. The polytheistic systems of Macumba and other African theologies. Deism, and more. Even atheism, it is physics all the way down. Any one of these can be claimed as necessary in all possible worlds. So that concept really is one of these metaphysical ideas that explains nothing. Why should I privilege the God of the New testament as necessary and not the Mormon God? If I claim monist materialism and atheism is necessary in this world and all others, how to prove me wrong? We end right back up where we started. Where is the evidence, where is the guaranteed way to investigate this and get a true and trustworthy answer?

          • Jim the Scott

            @Ficino:disqus

            10000 apologies I was touting Skeptical Thinking Power but I was remiss to point to our own Ficino who is another religious skeptic and Agnostic ex-Catholic to boot who understands you cannot argue against Classic Theism with science.

            WCB-2 please stop taking criticisms of yer lack of knowledge personally. You will be better for it.

          • WCB-2

            When science has something to say to theism, it has something to say. Classical theism tells us that the Bible is authored by God and is true. Council of Trent etc.

            But science has demonstrated that there was no Noah's flood, no Adam and Eve, no magical fruit trees, no Tower of babel and on and on and on. There was no Egyptian captivity, no exodus, no Moses on the Mountain with God, no bloody genocidal invasion of Canaan. So it is obvious, classical theism is based on nonsense. A real revelation from a real god would not contain so many untruths. so many anachronism, silly folk tall tales, contradictions such as we find in the gospels about the resurrection. talking donkeys, talking snakes, pray to cure the sick, James 5, Mark 16. Child die in America from fools who buy into classical theism and pray for a cure instead of taking sick children to the doctor.

            Classical theism takes many of its ideas from nonsense masquerading as a revelation from God. It is your lack of knowledge about these old criticisms from the atheists that demonstrates, you are the one who is ignorant.

            Modern Near east archaeology has debunked exodus and Joshua et al as faux history. It never happened. If there is in fact a God, that God did not order murders, massacres, and genocide.

            If there is a God,the Bible slanders God. and the ancient Israelites who did not perform these imaginary genocises.

            Wrap you mind around that.

            It is obvious here you have never seriously read the better atheist literature on why classical theism is nonsense. Nor have you read the modern day archaeologists who have demonstrated the genocidal of Canaan at the order of God is nothing but an ancient set of horrendous lies.

            Do not call me names until you have dealt with your own massive ignorance. How does classical theism plan to deal with these truths?

          • Jim the Scott

            >When science has something to say to theism, it has something to say.

            At best Science can address Intelligent Design or a similar Scientific Theism worldview. Which all of us reject as Classic Theism tells us God is a philosophical question alone not a scientific one. Like Materialism or metaphysical naturalism both are as well.

            >Classical theism tells us that the Bible is authored by God and is true. Council of Trent etc.

            Not even close. This is not Classic Theism. Muslims and Jews and Calvinists like Paul Helm are Classic Theists. Helm and the Jews and Muslims don't confess Trent. The Jews don't confess the NT. The Muslims don't confess the Bible.

            Epic Fail. You haven't even shown us you understand Trent. It is obvious to all you don't. It is to quote the great Hologram "as plain as a Bulgarian Pin Up" (got my new Red Dwarf DVD in the mail. Bliss!).

            >But science has demonstrated that there was no Noah's flood, no Adam and Eve, no magical fruit trees, no Tower of babel and on and on and on.

            No it hasn't done any of those things and I would say the same as an Atheist. Science cannot in principle prove a negative. At best a rational skeptic who knows what he is talking about would correctly claim science hasn't positively proven that which would be a more respectable view but I would still say it isn't a scientific question. Science has not proven George Washington crossed the Delaware River either but that is a historical question..

            Anyway I specialize in classic theism and trying to change the subject doesn't move me.

            >There was no Egyptian captivity, no exodus, no Moses on the Mountain with God, no bloody genocidal invasion of Canaan.

            Well I have no reason to believe and there doesn't currently exist any archeological evidence 2 million people left a country that at its height in the ancient world had about 3 million people but then again I don't translate the word Eleft in the Torah to literally mean 1000 when it can also mean "tribe" or "officer" so I have no reason to believe it was 2 million people in the Exodus. I am not a fundamentalist. I am Catholic so yer objection is a non-starter.

            >So it is obvious, classical theism is based on nonsense.

            Rather it is obvious you equate the term "classical theism" which the Baptist Fundamentalist you live with down in the Lone Star State. But that is not what it means. You had the nerve to claim with a straight face your where not talking about Fundamentalism but clearly here you are doing that......shamelessly.

            Sorry but you are not addressing Classical Theism. Yer analysis here is worthless. As worthless as the YEC with a 5th grader's knowlege of Biology tuffing with Grad Students. It is nor impressive.

            > A real revelation from a real god would not contain so many untruths. so many anachronism, silly folk tall tales, contradictions such as we find in the gospels about the resurrection.

            All you are giving me here is yer boring "testimony" & yer fee fee's. I crave philosophical argument. I don't care about yer feelings. Ask my wife.

            > talking donkeys, talking snakes, pray to cure the sick, James 5, Mark 16. Child die in America from fools who buy into classical theism and pray for a cure instead of taking sick children to the doctor.

            Well Catholics can pray for their sick children and take them to the doctor. St Luke was a Doctor in his day. What part of we are Catholics not Baptist Fundamentalist do yer nor understand wee laddie?

            >Classical theism takes many of its ideas from nonsense masquerading as a revelation from God. It is your lack of knowledge about these old criticisms from the atheists that demonstrates, you are the one who is ignorant.

            So basically I was wrong. The UNCOMMON DESCENT crowd is clearly too sophisticated for you. ANSWERS IN GENESIS is over there have at them. We are Catholics here yer objection are all non-starters.

            >Modern Near east archaeology has debunked exodus and Joshua et al as faux history. It never happened. If there is in fact a God, that God did not order murders, massacres, and genocide.

            Kenneth Kitchen is laughing at ya and so am I. You seem to know as much about science as you do philosophy. Which is not much.

            >If there is a God,the Bible slanders God. and the ancient Israelites who did not perform these imaginary genocises.

            That makes no sense. God alone has the absolute right to take life. Given His Nature how can He not have that right?

            >Wrap you mind around that.

            I've already had the Haraam Commands debates with Greene and maybe Nickols. They did a way better job then you are doing here.

            >It is obvious here you have never seriously read the better atheist literature on why classical theism is nonsense.

            Rather it is obvious you have read low brow morons. Ex Fundamentalists who moved from a Low brow version of Christianity and Theism to an even more lowbrow version of Atheism & positivism. Hard Pass. I prefer my Atheists to be philosophical ones. They are intelligent and challenging. Maybe a wee bit intimidating. Yers are not. They are fundies knuckle draggers without god belief. Again hard pass.

            > Nor have you read the modern day archaeologists who have demonstrated the genocidal of Canaan at the order of God is nothing but an ancient set of horrendous lies.

            I have read some archaeologists and it is clear you are not reading professionals but amateurs.

            >Do not call me names until you have dealt with your own massive ignorance. How does classical theism plan to deal with these truths?

            It is not name calling to point out to you that you are not competent on the subject of Classic Theism. You equate it with Fundamentalism.

            Yeh that is wrong even if there are no gods. There are no fundies here. ANSWERS IN GENESIS is over there. Have at them. I am rooting for ya.

    • Philip Rand

      Johannes Hui

      You may believe that I am being way too hard on your idea but that is because your method is not up to the task.

      However, if you return to the first comment I ever made concerning your idea, I did confirm to you that your concept though blurred is qualitatively correct.

  • WCB-2

    Augustine wrote that God is outside and beyond time. For God there is no now, past and present, all is One Big Now to God. If so, God created all at once in the Godly Big Now. If God creates John, God creates every action of John;s to the smallest details in time and space. If John is an evil man, then all of John's evil acts are created buy God.

    There is no temporal chains of cause and effect. A does not cause B, causing C and so on. The only connection to A, B, and C is God's creation of them as they are. Therefore God is evil because God causes all acts of moral evil in the Universe. God then, defined as good is not in fact good and does not exist as defined.

    If we drop the idea of God outside of time, and may theologians do just that, then we have the problem of where does time come from, so powerful even God has to obey time's laws? Down goes the ontological arguments. And since we know physics realtes time to dimension, mass and how we are affected by time, relativity, this demonstrates physics is outside and beyond God's control and creation.

    The physics of the real world are thus greater than God. And just how far does "Physics" extend in the real world? Math, logic? Maybe it is all physics all the way down. No God and no God needed.

    • Jim the Scott

      I smell Theistic Personalism & Posivitism and that odor befouls the air. Time for a Classic Theist air freshener. Yer objections are meaningless to a Classic Theist.

      >Augustine wrote that God is outside and beyond time. For God there is no now, past and present, all is One Big Now to God.

      You do realize that is more metaphor or analogy and not unequivocally literal do you? God is incomprehensible so we really can't get a true God's Eye view of the Cosmos(heck forget about God if we believe Atheist Philosopher Thomas Nagel we can't know what it is like to be a mere Bat ). We can make some inferences about God knowing things. but that is it. For example we can infer God doesn't know things by sense but by knowing Himself as the cause of them.

      >If so, God created all at once in the Godly Big Now. If God creates John, God creates every action of John's to the smallest details in time and space. If John is an evil man, then all of John's evil acts are created buy God.

      God is the formal cause of evil no question(i.e. by creating rational free willed beings He knows will choose evil) but God created John's free will which John uses to be an evil man and God is the cause of John's will being free but He does not will John choose evil. John having free will moves himself to that choice. That God knows from all eternity what John will choose doesn't make Him the direct cause of it only the formal cause of it by making a free rational being who chooses it.

      >There is no temporal chains of cause and effect. A does not cause B, causing C and so on. The only connection to A, B, and C is God's creation of them as they are. Therefore God is evil because God causes all acts of moral evil in the Universe. God then, defined as good is not in fact good and does not exist as defined.

      Yer error here is assuming divine timelessness is some point outside of time relative to a time continuum where God "lives". His Comic Divine Summer Home or whatever. No divine timelessness is merely an absence of time. That is of substansive change. The so called 4D Block Universe has nothing to do with God's Timelessness.

      Also God is not a moral agent and cannot be coherently conceived as one thus moral evaluation of God is meaningless like calling a hurricane that destroys a town "immoral".

      God is metaphysically Good and God is Ontologically Good but as Fr. Brian Davies shows us God is not morally good. Or more precisely God is not a moral agent. Or even more precisely God is not a moral agent in the unequivocal sense a virtuous rational creature is a moral agent.

      So yer objection here is meaningless.

      >If we drop the idea of God outside of time, and may theologians do just that, then we have the problem of where does time come from, so powerful even God has to obey time's laws?

      Yer confusing & equivocating the concept of Space Time with the metaphysical concept of Time the later is the measure of change not some fourth dimensional space where things are four dimensional objects and we inhabit the slices.

      So yer objection here is meaningless.

      > Down goes the ontological arguments.

      St Thomas Aquinas offered a better rebuttal to St Anslem's argument.
      Yours is a non-starter and a host of category mistakes as to be worthless.

      Here is how you refute Anslem. Yer welcome.

      https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/11/anselms-ontological-argument.html

      > And since we know physics relates time to dimension, mass and how we are affected by time, relativity, this demonstrates physics is outside and beyond God's control and creation.

      No the "time" we are discussing here is the metaphysical concept of real change not space time. So this is a category mistake on yer part. God is a philosophical concept not a physics question. Also yer statement here is wrong because all physics can do is give us quantitative knowledge of the physical processes we observed. It cannot give us qualitative knowledge of the world. Indeed the physicist has to abstract that out of the equation because it cannot be measured.

      Spacetime can still be explained in terms of metaphysical time if we propose we live in an expanding block universe vs a static one. If we live in a static block universe then that presents an incoherency problem. As Popper pointed out to Einstein if change isn't real then scientific experiments that rely on observation of change aren't really real and thus how can they prove Special Relativity is real?

      So yer fallacies of equivocation, latent positivism and polemics against a Theistic Personalist "deity" that lives literally in a timeless point relative to our block universe is a meaningless non-starter objection.

      Those are the breaks.

      >The physics of the real world are thus greater than God. And just how far does "Physics" extend in the real world? Math, logic? Maybe it is all physics all the way down. No God and no God needed.

      Except God is a philosophical question alone not a question of physics. Positivism the incoherent philosophical belief that the only meaningful knowable truths are scientific truths cannot itself be shown to be true by science ergo it is not meaningful by its own standards. Ah well then.

      This is like saying I reject the existence of a Higgs Boson because I cannot dig it up in a fossil record or I reject natural selection because I cannot verify it using a particle accelerator.

      Category mistakes. If you wish to answer the Ontological Argument or arguments for God in general in classic theism learn philosophy and learn how to formulate philosophical defeaters. Otherwise you are wasting our time and you come off like the Young Earth Creationist wag who thinks claiming "evolution violates the 2nd law of thermo dynamics & therefore must not be true" is a clever argument. Yeh its not and yer arguments here are just a flawed Sorry about that.

      Cheers.

      • Mark

        His Comic Divine Summer Home

        lol

        • Jim the Scott

          I just realized I mean "Cosmic".

          Opps!

          • Mark

            Its both in this case. :)

      • WCB-2

        Having read Augustine carefully, (Confessions - Book XI), the fact is he is not in any way speaking metaphorically, or analogically. Nor was Boethius (Consolations of Philosophy - Book V) when he pick up this theme.

        Free will? If God creates all (Inside or outside time) and is essentially omniscient, God will know that any initial starting state of creation will unfold based on that. Free will is impossible.

        Jeremiah 31:33-34
        33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord,
        I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, And they shall be my people.
        See also.

        Isaiah 36:26-8, Isaiah 59:20-21, Jeremiah 24:6-7,Jeremiah 31:33-34, Ezekiel 11:19, 1 Samuel 10:9, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

        God does not gives us free will, and can change us if he so desires. With the Great Commission, to preach Jesus to all the world, God could have chosen to likewise make all men believers, morally good, and incapable of doing moral evil. Down goes free will as an excuse for anything. Down go all free will defenses ala Plantinga.

        From Einstein's relaivity, we know time is part of a whole and our dimension, time, mass are intimately connected and all change when our velocity changes. This is established physics and has been proven again and again. It is not about metaphysics. It is about real, testable, observable physics. Double talk about block Universes, et al is simply besides the point. Again, many theologians do not like or believe the God outside of time scenario, but then the problem of what is time, and where does time come from so powerful even God must obey time becomes a problem. Since all physics is part of the same physical ensemble as time, God must then be subject to those also.

        Popper was a fool that made a number of foolish claims he later had to walk back on. I will ignore his nonsense and go with established physics.

        Polemics? Not all all. It was a basic argument as to why the subject of time is a problem for theology. Made with simple, easy to understand words. A simple argument.

        No, God is not something only metaphysicists are privileged to jabber about. Physics exist and cannot be set aside and ignored. That is bad metaphysics. Higgs bosons and fossils. You are not going to deal with my essay in a meaningful way, are you?

        The problem is, with theology all we get is hypotheses about things that can not be proven to exist. Physics is a whole other thing based on careful observation and experimentation that verifies it's theories.
        Time really exists, is part of the fabric of all physics, and poses a real problem for the metaphysics of theology as to God, time and physics.

        God out of time, God inside and subject to time, it is a problem for the concept of God as a perfect being as presented to us by Anselm. And thus it is a problem for the empty claims God must be the creator of logic and math, and metaphysical necessities. and the rest of physics. Did God create dimensions, energy?

        One can dodge these issues with polemics and scornful but pointless attacks, but that only lets my argument stand.

        Anselm's perfect being theology has a lot of holes in it.

        And the quotes from the prophets I listed above show us theology has a lot of problems with the claims about free will and moral evil to boot. Again, a big problem for Anselm's claims of all good things, God is the most good.
        And last an not least, you as hominem attack of me in your last paragraph does nothing to answer my essay's main points.

        • Jim the Scott

          So many errors & such a great lack of familiarity with the philosophical and theological tradition you are critiquing. This should be mildly diverting.

          >Having read Augustine carefully, (Confessions - Book XI), the fact is he is not in any way speaking metaphorically, or analogically. Nor was Boethius (Consolations of Philosophy - Book V) when he pick up this theme.

          Like many Atheist critics you have a fundamentalist hyper literalist view of linguistical texts.
          That is a comically ad hoc claim (Augustine uses quite a bit of metaphor and analogy. See his analysis for Genesis for example) considering the whole of the scholastic Tradition presupposes analogy I can't take yer argument from special pleading seriously. Boetheius uses the analogy of "the observing Socrates standing not being cause of Socrates act of standing" which we would equate with God knowing John will choose moral evil not being the cause of John choosing moral evil. God doesn't have literal eyes by which he looks at the world. That is absurd.

          >Free will? If God creates all (Inside or outside time) and is essentially omniscient, God will know that any initial starting state of creation will unfold based on that. Free will is impossible.

          Which view of free will? Volunteerism or the intellectualist view? Because scholasticism presupposes the intellect first moves the will not the post enlightenment view the will first moves the intellect. Also free will would only be impossible if God's causality was due to divine occasionalism where as scholastics presuppose concurrentism . learn the difference otherwise yer just adding more non-starter objections to yer already flawed argument.

          Here some help in that regard.
          https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2013/01/metaphysical-middle-man.html

          >Jeremiah 31:33-34
          Isaiah 36:26-8, Isaiah 59:20-21, Jeremiah 24:6-7,Jeremiah 31:33-34, Ezekiel 11:19, 1 Samuel 10:9, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22
          God does not gives us free will, and can change us if he so desires.

          That does not make any sense? That God gave us a moral foundation in our being as dictated by Jeremiah does not mean we can't choose to act against it and sin. My nature compels me to eat food to live. I can choose to starve myself and you and I can choose to violate the law in our hearts.

          This is just plain silly and specious reasoning. Even if there are no gods.

          > With the Great Commission, to preach Jesus to all the world, God could have chosen to likewise make all men believers, morally good, and incapable of doing moral evil. Down goes free will as an excuse for anything.

          Except yer criticism here is based on a volunteerist view of Free Will Scholastics also reject. So this is a non-starter.

          >Down go all free will defenses ala Plantinga.

          Plantinga is a Theistic Personalist not a Classic Theist (& a Protestant heretic) so all his views on God and free will are wrong. Fr Brian Davies criticizes his Free Will Defense in his book THE REALITY OF GOD AND THE PROBLEM OF EVIL.

          Wrong "god" buddy. We are Catholics and Classic Theists around here.

          >From Einstein's relaivity, we know time is part of a whole and our dimension, time, mass are intimately connected and all change when our velocity changes.

          Which is 100% irrelevant since when we are talking about divine timelessness we are presupposing the metaphysical definition of time no the Einsteinian one. So category mistake. Space Time is not relevant to a discussion of divine timelessness. We are talking about two different expressions of time.

          >This is established physics and has been proven again and again. It is not about metaphysics.

          That the flow of time appears to slow down as you approach the speed of light...etc....relative to another "stationary" observer in another reference frame yada yada yada is an observable "change" and we need to metaphysically presuppose change is real otherwise we cannot take the observed change in the flow of time as evidence for special relativity.

          So unless you presuppose the metaphysical reality of change you cannot do science.

          >It is about real, testable, observable physics.

          Nice to see you adopting Aristotle's metaphysics here. Well done! We Thomists agree 100%.

          > Double talk about block Universes, et al is simply besides the point.

          Rather yer objections are beside the point ad they are non-starters.

          >Again, many theologians do not like or believe the God outside of time scenario,

          As a Catholic I should care what a bunch of heretics think why now? Anyway the burden is on you to critique the God I believe in not somebody else's "god" neither of us believes in otherwise you are wasting everybody's time.

          >but then the problem of what is time, and where does time come from so powerful even God must obey time becomes a problem. Since all physics is part of the same physical ensemble as time, God must then be subject to those also.

          So basically you are going to pretend by "time" we are discussing Space Time and not metaphysical time and continue to commit the fallacy of equivocation? My how tedious.

          >Popper was a fool that made a number of foolish claims he later had to walk back on.

          No he was spot on here as even the Atheist Philosopher David Stove noted. Einstein's neo Parmenidianism was what was foolish but even the greatest physicists make lousy philosophers. God is still a Philosophical question only not a physics question. No "god" provable or disprovable by Physics is God in the Classic Sense and in principle cannot be.

          >I will ignore his nonsense and go with established physics.

          Then you are as tedious as the archeologist who insists on searching for a Higgs Boson with a shove instead of with a LHC. Yeh good luck with that buddy.

          >Polemics? Not all all. It was a basic argument as to why the subject of time is a problem for theology. Made with simple, easy to understand words. A simple argument.

          No it was simplistic polemics that at best could be used against a neo-positivist Theistic personalist Volunteerist version of Theism. At best.

          Wrong "god" buddy. Nobody here believes that "god" exists. Go Classic Theism or go home. Learn philosophy otherwise yer wasting our time. UNCOMMON DESCENT is over there have at them. They believe in the "god" you are trying to offer a "simple argument". We are all "atheists" here toward that "god".

          Here learn something of Classic Theism vs Theistic Personalism while I am young.

          https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/09/classical-theism.html

          https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2012/07/classical-theism-roundup.html

          >No, God is not something only metaphysicists are privileged to jabber about. Physics exist and cannot be set aside and ignored.

          Only if yer conception of "god"is theistic personalism and positivist. I reject both and every Catholic here rejects both and some of the Protestants do as well. Yer naïve belief there is one type of "Theism"
          is just plain silly.

          >That is bad metaphysics. Higgs bosons and fossils. You are not going to deal with my essay in a meaningful way, are you?

          I think you are talking about yerself. Nobody here believes in the "god" you are critiquing. So you are wasting yer time UNCOMMON DESCENT and the ID crowd are over there. They believe in "scientific Theism". We don't. We believe God is a philosophical question only.

          Sorry but God is a philosophical question alone not a question of physics. Physics is of no use to you here. It is like bringing a copy of the Bhagavad Gita to a Koran study group. Wrong holy book and for you the wrong "god".

          >The problem is, with theology all we get is hypotheses about things that can not be proven to exist.

          When it comes to the existence of God we are doing philosophy not strict theology. Philosophy deals with qualitative concepts and science deals with the quantitative. Yer positivism is showing. You need to learn philosophy and formulate philosophical defeaters for our metaphysics. Yer lab is of no use to you than a shovel is to a physicist looking for the Higgs Boson.

          > Physics is a whole other thing based on careful observation and experimentation that verifies it's theories.

          No of which is any use to you here. This is a philosophical question alone.

          Positivism is an epic fail of a philosophy.

          https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/03/scientism-roundup.html

          To know if something is or is not a scientific question requires what? More science? Nope! The Philosophy of Science is what we use to see if something is or is not a scientific question.

          >Time really exists, is part of the fabric of all physics, and poses a real problem for the metaphysics of theology as to God, time and physics.

          So Time is real vs unreal? That is a metaphysical statement. Sorry but you are confusing Philosophy with science and nobody here believes in Scientific Theism. You want the Intelligent Design crowd. We are Thomists, Essentialists and Aristotilians here. We reject that view.

          >God out of time, God inside and subject to time, it is a problem for the concept of God as a perfect being as presented to us by Anselm.

          Anselem was wrong as Aquinas showed.

          > And thus it is a problem for the empty claims God must be the creator of logic and math, and metaphysical necessities. and the rest of physics. Did God create dimensions, energy?

          God created all things other than Himself.

          >One can dodge these issues with polemics and scornful but pointless attacks, but that only lets my argument stand.

          Or you could just admit you don't know what you are talking about? Because you clearly don't know philosophy from a hole in the head? Or different versions of Theism or differing views of the nature of free will.
          The ID crowd is over there buddy. Have at them.

          >And last an not least, you as hominem attack of me in your last paragraph does nothing to answer my essay's main points.

          I did no such thing. I merely said you where wrong. You clearly are wrong even if there are no gods.

          Sorry if you take that personally.

          • WCB-2

            Some theists adopt the old doge of "metaphor' and "allegory" when backed into a corner. Augustine sometimes used allegory and metaphor therefore everything Augustine wrote can be labelled as such, even when plainly Augustine is not speaking allegorically in his book XI on time. Even if Augustine was speaking metaphorically, and he was not, he raised questions about time theologians are still writing big, thick tomes about with no conclusion all accept.

            Physics, no you cannot just brush physics and it's relationship to time aside airily like you do. If God is subject to time, all of physics and more is attached to time, and probably much more.

            Posivitism? No. I am simply pointing out there is no evidence for theological claims about God. Or supernatural realms and more. What can be asserted without evidence can be denied without evidence. The material world is very real.

            Popper was a fool. He pronounced evolution as not science and immediately was set straight by hordes of biologists who set him straight in no uncertain terms. Popper is one reason many scientists do not take philosophers of science. He recanted, but few sicentists take Popper seriously.

            Time is very real. God seems to not work with time whether we declare God inside or outside of time. Empty metaphysical jargon cannot save the day for theism. You cannot declare theology is about metaphysics and we cannot look at how established scientific knowledge affects theories about God. This is a sort of anti-Positivism no real philosopher would accept. God created all things other than himself? A fine hypothesis. Where is the hard evidence this is true?

            Did Goid create logic? And is God good? Why not adopt a logic that gives man a god-like good nature and a god-like free will so that mankind never freely does moral evil?

            And back to the prophets and God giving them his laws written in the hearts. Why does not God act on his promises and use his claimed abilities to do so for all mankind?

            God when he created man had three choices.
            1. Create man with a bad moral nature.
            2. Create man with a indifferent moral nature.
            3. Create man with a good moral nature.

            We have no choice in the matter. No free will, our free will is limited by our given moral nature. This takes the winds right out of the sails of the claimed God that is perfectly morally good, wise and who loves us.

          • Jim the Scott

            So many mistakes.

            >Some theists adopt the old doge of "metaphor' and "allegory" when backed into a corner.

            Rather some lazy Atheist types often dodge by whining "No fair! Yer not a fundamentalist or an ID supporter!". They never fail to leave me unimpressed with this kvetching meme of theirs.

            >Augustine sometimes used allegory and metaphor therefore everything Augustine wrote can be labelled as such, even when plainly Augustine is not speaking allegorically in his book XI on time.

            You have not proven this claim. Ye merely assert it without proof. BTW I said metaphor and analogy. I didn't bring up allegory. I spoke of him speaking analogically and you used the same words. Don't attempt terminology mischief. That never works on me. I am passingly familiar with those schools of philosophical theology and it is self evident you are not.

            >Even if Augustine was speaking metaphorically, and he was not, he raised questions about time theologians are still writing big, thick tomes about with no conclusion all accept.

            But on the basic level you will find he was working with Aristotle's metaphysical definition of time as the measurement of change. Given his Platonic tendencies he was a strong realist so he is closer to later scholastics and you cannot read or presuppose Einstein when reading him here as he was clearly discussing time as it is understood metaphysically and philosophically not scientifically. You cannot read the concept of Space Time into Augustine without anachronism. I don't know why you are doing this? It is a silly move even if there are no gods.

            So yer category mistakes remains I am afraid.

            >Physics, no you cannot just brush physics and it's relationship to time aside airily like you do. If God is subject to time, all of physics and more is attached to time, and probably much more.

            I pretty much can since we are dealing with Time as it is evaluated philosophically and metaphysically as the "measurement of change" not the scientific theory of Space Time. Just as the physicist can tell the mad Archeologist who insists he can find a Higgs Boson with a shovel in a fossil bed he can "brush aside archeology". We are not dealing with Physics or a physics question. You are committing a category mistake and a fallacy of equivocation.

            If I stopped believing in God tomorrow my view here would be unchanged & I would still be right and you dead wrong.

            >Posivitism? No. I am simply pointing out there is no evidence for theological claims about God. Or supernatural realms and more. What can be asserted without evidence can be denied without evidence. The material world is very real.

            No you are presupposing empirical science is the sole legitimate means of learning truth about reality and that view first cannot be established using empirical science ergo it is false by its own standards. The claim the material world is very real is ironically a metaphysical claim. One we actually agree with but I have argued with not too few militant Atheist who insist otherwise in order to overthrow the Act/Potency distinction and other metaphysical considerations so as to "refute" Aquinas' first way. But it is nice you are a realist. But those are philosophical and metaphysical views not scientific ones.
            Science is about quantitative knowledge. Those deal with the qualitative.

            >Popper was a fool. He pronounced evolution as not science and immediately was set straight by hordes of biologists who set him straight in no uncertain terms. Popper is one reason many scientists do not take philosophers of science. He recanted, but few sicentists take Popper seriously.

            No you are confused. Popper(who was an Atheist and Evolutionist) said Einstein's channeling of Parmenides (the philosopher who denied change was real) based on his discovery of Special Relativity rendered Evolution not true because species evolving wasn't really due to natural selection but due to the hard determinism a Parmenidian Block Universe requires. So many levels of wrong.....

            Anyway you think I am referring to Popper on this view he once expressed?
            https://ncse.ngo/what-did-karl-popper-really-say-about-evolution

            No I am not. I am not concerned with his changing views on natural selection only on his opposition to Einstein's neo Parmedian views.

            >Time is very real.

            Einstein didn't think so. He was no Lee Smolin of course. Of course Einstein was talking about Space Time. Augustine and Classic Theists are referring to Metaphysical Time when we say God is Timeless. So category mistake on yer part. Space Time is irrelevant here.

            >God seems to not work with time whether we declare God inside or outside of time.

            I agree whatever magical old man Invisible Gandalf like figure in a white robe which both you and I lack belief in is not likely doing that. Get back to me when you wish to discuss the Ground of All Being or Subsistent Being Itself or Unconditional Reality or The Absolute or some concept of God believed by a sophisticated educated person and not some snotty teenager and Its relation to the lack of metaphysical change.

            Maybe you might say something challenging or interesting? Like our skeptical friend David Nickol did in his last post to me. There is still hope.

            >Empty metaphysical jargon cannot save the day for theism.

            Neither can low brow uneducated philosophically illiterate village Atheism. Go learn some philosophical Atheism then get back to us and ditch the positivism. AG Flew at the height of his Atheism in the 1950 ditch Positivism as hopelessly incoherent. It won't serve you anymore than yer insistance on category mistakes.

            >You cannot declare theology is about metaphysics and we cannot look at how established scientific knowledge affects theories about God.

            Yes I can. Can you declare Physics is not about digging in a fossil bed to the mad archeologist(yer analog in this discussion) who insists that is how you find a Higgs Boson? Yes you can.

            Also on the practical level the God who is proven by Philosophy alone and metaphysics (sans empirical science)is the only God we believe in around here. We are all strong Atheists here when it comes to the "Scientific Theistic" God of so called Intelligent Design and that other mechanistic nonsense.

            Why are you wasting everybody's time refuting a "god" we already disbelieve in? That is just plain mad.

            >This is a sort of anti-Positivism no real philosopher would accept. God created all things other than himself? A fine hypothesis. Where is the hard evidence this is true?

            AG Flew wasn't a real philosopher? Thomas Nagel? Dave Stove? I am afraid they all are/where and BTW they where all Atheists (even thought Flew went Aristotelian Theist in the end & he still denied there was an afterlife).

            The question of God(in Classic Theism) is based on philosophical argument alone and can only be refuted by formulating philosophical defeaters (like Aquinas did with Anselm's ontological argument which he did not fancy). Science has nothing to do with it. Sorry live with it.

            >Did Goid create logic? And is God good? Why not adopt a logic that gives man a god-like good nature and a god-like free will so that mankind never freely does moral evil?

            None of these questions makes a lick of sense to me given my Theistic & philosophical presuppositions which you for some reason don't wish to learn about but for some mad reason wish to formulate argument against in yer self willed ignorance? Yeh good luck with that buddy. What are you gonna do next? Ask who created God? Bring up the Rock-so-heavy-etc..?
            Complain about the pony your prayed for as a child and dina recieve?

            >And back to the prophets and God giving them his laws written in the hearts. Why does not God act on his promises and use his claimed abilities to do so for all mankind?

            Feck that I should know? I only know given His nature He is not obligated to do so.

            >God when he created man had three choices.
            1. Create man with a bad moral nature.
            2. Create man with a indifferent moral nature.
            3. Create man with a good moral nature.

            God is not obligated to create. There is no such thing as the best of all possible worlds. God could have made a better world and if He did He could have still made an even better one. But God is not obligated to make any world and there is no world so good God is obligated to make it and none so bad He should refrain from making it as long as it partakes of being.

            Same with people. God is not obligated to make only persons who He foreknows will choose to be moral vs rebelling against their moral nature.
            We only know by divine revelation and reason He give sufficient grace for all of them to be saved that is somehow truly sufficient.

            >We have no choice in the matter. No free will, our free will is limited by our given moral nature. This takes the winds right out of the sails of the claimed God that is perfectly morally good, wise and who loves us.

            You have Volunteerism on the Brain. We don't believe that view of free will here. We only don't have free will if divine occationalism is true. The view God is the efficient cause of all things vs the view there are real secondary causes in nature is what you need to learn about before you attempt an argument. A being who chooses to be evil has free will as his will is a true secondary cause. God merely is the cause of that being's act of willing being by nature a free act. Nothing more.

            You really should have read the links I gave in my last post instead of repeating yer errors.

            It is too tedious.. I would say "Nice Try" but I find lying offensive(except for comedy purposes).

          • WCB-2

            A fine Gish gallop here.

            Again Augustine on time was in no way talking in metaphors or analogy. Claiming he was is just wrong The questions he raised are not answered even today. Sorry about that.

            No, I am not discussing ID or fundamentalism. Though the Council of Trent declared god was the author of the Bible and every word of that is true. About as Fundamentalist as it gets really.

            Aristotle? Really? aristotle really did know an physics. He was living in a pre-scientific world without telescopes, microscopes and was limited to making general statement about things he had no real knowledge of..Today's science has demonstrated things he had no knowledge of so in discussing time, relativity and other subjects, science has much to say and Aristotle is not applicable. Not that the RCC was impresssed by his theology either. Time is part and parcel of physics as was demonstrated in the time of Einstein.

            Either God is outside of time, or inside of time. Either position is highly problematic for the proposition God exists.
            Your ranting does not make the problem go away.

            Nagel, Flew and Stove can help you deal with the problem of God and Time I posed? I don't think so. Gandalf in a white robe? A nice fat straw man you posted here. Polemics instead of answers to the riddle of God and time.

            "Low brow uneducated, illiterate village atheism"? Ad hominem much? back to the question. is God inside or outside of time? Either answer has deep problems for the God concept. I am so sorry that you cannot find and answer in all the many theological books written on time and God. And you have no answer to the problems I posted.

            Yes, you can ignore the findings of science to discuss God only in terms of bickering theologians who can't agree on much at all.

            The question of God in classical theism is based on the claim that the Bible (or Quran) are revelations from God himself. The Bible is full of nonsense and so is the Quran. The earth is not 6,000 years old. There was no Noah's Flood. No Garden of Eden with magic fruit trees, and a talking snake. No Tower of Babel. Modern New Eastern archaeologists now know the entire exodus tall tales are faux history that did not happen. The primitive God of the Pentateuch differed from the God of the prophets, and the God of the New Testament. The basic foundations of classical theology are rotten.

            How then can we expect to understand God based on claims extracted from the Bible? If all "We around here" believe in metaphysical God based on revelations telling us what God's nature and attributes are, well, you all here live in a bubble. Christianity world wide is slowly dying in case you did not notice. Recent polls tell us only 38% of English are now Christian. Living in your bubble like that is a dead end.

            "God is not obligated to create"? Uhmmmm, what sort of gibberish is that? It has nothing to do with the debate at hand. God is said by theology to HAVE created all. So the issue is why did a perfectly, morally good God create a world with a Satan, original sin, and people who are morally evil?

            Most certainly this is not a good world Yes, God is morally obligated to create a world much better than this. Or God is by definition, not Good. The Bible tells us specifically and explicitly God is just, fair, merciful, and compassionate. God loves us and his ways are righteous. So with these sub-goodness laid out, you cannot change the words good to mean something that may mean anything else than good.

            God is not obligated us, or to be a moral agent is not a new argument. But it is false. It is a fig leaf to explain why the world is not a better world created by this metaphysical God.

            We live in a world without a moral God who guides this Universe and is loving, merciful, just, fair and compassionate. Theology then is an enterprise to make pretend that this God really exists, when it is obvious, that God is not existent. It is just a desperate game at best.

            Good gets redefined, but the sub-goodness defined in the bible remain. We have to whiffle away, just, fair, compassionate and merciful. words of the revelation of God, the Bible no longer have meaning. This is intellectual nihilism running rampant. God shrinks, smaller and smaller at the hands of the theologians who have no real answer as to why evil exists. Or if God is outside time. Or if God can change the laws of logic to achieve his ends. And more.

            Name calling won't save the day. Polemics will not save God and religion. God is incomprehensible is merely a special pleading gambit on stilts. God most certainly not perfect ala Anselm. Ruling out all but metaphysics to discuss God is a laughable proposition. Aristotle and Aquinas cannot save Theology.

            And here is where the problem lies. Theology and the hypothesis of God do not work. Sorry, but name calling which you seem to rely on isd not an argument.

          • Jim the Scott

            >A fine Gish gallop here.

            I'm sure you will do yer best to do that but it won't change the fact yer arguments are non-starters to Classic Theists.

            >Again Augustine on time was in no way talking in metaphors or analogy. Claiming he was is just wrong The questions he raised are not answered even today. Sorry about that.

            I just finished a post to you where I quote him directly and compare what he literally wrote to yer mischaracterization. Yikes you mucked that up badly.

            >No, I am not discussing ID or fundamentalism. Though the Council of Trent declared god was the author of the Bible and every word of that is true. About as Fundamentalist as it gets really.

            Yet here you are assuming ID and Fundamentalism and reading it into Trent? I am nor impressed laddie.

            >Aristotle? Really? aristotle really did know an physics.

            Neither did Democritus the Atheist Greek Philosopher who proposed Materialism. The issue here is metaphysics. God is a metaphysical and philosophical question alone. Yer wasting everybody's time arguing against a "god" none of us Catholics believes in.

            >He was living in a pre-scientific world without telescopes, microscopes and was limited to making general statement about things he had no real knowledge of..

            Then you can't be a materialist either since Democretus was unlike his Greek Theistic philosophical brethren a flat Earther.
            But that doesn't invalidate his materialist views which are based on philosophy. I would formulate philosophical defeaters for Materialism. Science has nothing to do with it. You cannot it seems get past yer dogmatic uncritical Positivism. As Atheist philosopher of the mind Daniel Dennett himself said "There is no such thing as philosophy-free science; there is only science whose philosophical baggage is taken on board without examination".

            You clearly haven't examined yer philosophy(positivism) by which you model yer science. So yer base appeals to science are meaningless. Then there is yer inability to comprehend what a "non-starter" objection is......

            >Today's science has.....

            Don't care. I accept all of today's science. But God is a philosophical & metaphysical question. Like the materialist philosophy which is NOT a scientific view but a philosophical and metaphysical one.

            >Either God is outside of time, or inside of time. Either position is highly problematic for the proposition God exists.
            Your ranting does not make the problem go away.

            Fallacy of the false alternative. Why can't God be the Cause of the existence of our local space time continuum and whatever is outside of it(assuming for shites & giggles we postulate a so called Multiverse in the popular term)?

            I am sorry but the broad concept of Time is not solely and exclusively associated with mere Space Time. Any secular encyclopedia of philosophy can tell you that.

            This reminds me of Krauss defining "nothing" as a quantum vacuum when "nothing" as defined by philosophers is "an absence of anything or an absence of being". Thus a Quantum vacuum isn't really nothing. Theists aren't arguing God created the Cosmos out of the Quantum Vacuum. We would claim God created the Quantum Vacuum too via philosophical argument.

            >Nagel, Flew and Stove can help you deal with the problem of God and Time I posed? I don't think so. Gandalf in a white robe? A nice fat straw man you posted here. Polemics instead of answers to the riddle of God and time.

            Except the Time we are talking about is Metaphysical Time not Space Time. That is the measurement of change in things. You are equivocating between that and Space time. Category mistakes and hilarity ensues. That is what Classic Theist mean by God being Timeless. Space Time has nothing to do with it.

            >"Low brow uneducated, illiterate village atheism"? Ad hominem much?

            Said the man who opens with Gish Gallop. Yer hypocracy and inability to take it when you dish it out is noted.

            >back to the question. is God inside or outside of time? Either answer has deep problems for the God concept. I am so sorry that you cannot find and answer in all the many theological books written on time and God. And you have no answer to the problems I posted.

            Metaphysical Time or space time? Because as a Classic Theist I would Say God causes the existence of Space Time and whatever exists outside it. This has nothing to do with Metaphysical time.

            >Yes, you can ignore the findings of science to discuss God only in terms of bickering theologians who can't agree on much at all.

            I invoked philosophy yer the one stuck in Theology. If you don't know anything about philosophy or Classic Theism simply own it. It doesn't make my view correct but it does suggest you need to expand yer knowledge. Yer one size fits all omni Atheist polemic needs a tune up.

            >The question of God in classical theism is based on the claim that the Bible (or Quran) are revelations from God himself.

            Nope not even close. You didn't even read the links to Feser I gave.

            >The Bible is full of nonsense and so is the Quran. The earth is not 6,000 years old. There was no Noah's Flood. No Garden of Eden with magic fruit trees, and a talking snake. No Tower of Babel.

            I find it funny you denied your where arguing for Fundamentalism yet here you are giving me fundamentalism.

            So basically you have no concept of what Philosophical Theism is and you have no desire to learn so you can try to argue against it properly? Well laddie what bloody good are you then?

            >Modern New Eastern archaeologists now know the entire exodus tall tales are faux history that did not happen. The primitive God of the Pentateuch differed from the God of the prophets, and the God of the New Testament. The basic foundations of classical theology are rotten.

            That is very entertaining and interesting but it has nothing to do with the fact divine timelessness is referring to the metaphysical definition of Time not the concept of Space Time.

            >How then can we expect to understand God based on claims extracted from the Bible? If all "We around here" believe in metaphysical God based on revelations telling us what God's nature and attributes are, well, you all here live in a bubble. Christianity world wide is slowly dying in case you did not notice. Recent polls tell us only 38% of English are now Christian. Living in your bubble like that is a dead end.

            I don't care. You "scientific" argument against a timeless God is still a category mistake.

            >"God is not obligated to create"? Uhmmmm, what sort of gibberish is that?

            That is the summery of an Argument Aquinas made in the Summa. It is a basic concept in Classic Theism.

            >It has nothing to do with the debate at hand.

            It pretty much does as it shows God can create persons he knows will sin and choose moral evil because as long as such persons participate in being there is nothing preventing God from creating them.

            The Theistic Personalists and ID people are over there. They are more yer speed.

            >God is said by theology to HAVE created all. So the issue is why did a perfectly, morally good God create a world with a Satan, original sin, and people who are morally evil?

            God is not "morally good" in Classic Theism. That is a post enlightenment error. I told you this already. Yer not paying attention.....

            >Most certainly this is not a good world Yes, God is morally obligated to create a world much better than this.

            Plantinga and the Theistic Personalists "Moral Agent" God does not exist. What part of "we are Atheists here toward that god as we are Classic Theists" do ye nor understand laddie? Do yer nor speak or read the Queen's English?

            > Or God is by definition, not Good. The Bible tells us specifically and explicitly God is just, fair, merciful, and compassionate. God loves us and his ways are righteous. So with these sub-goodness laid out, you cannot change the words good to mean something that may mean anything else than good.

            Catholics believe only Church can interpret the Bible. So all you are giving me here is yer interpretation of Holy Writ which is like a Communist from another country giving his interpretation of the Contitution sans the lawful opinion of the SCOTUS.

            Yer wasting yer time citing to me what you think the Bible means.

            >God is not obligated us, or to be a moral agent is not a new argument. But it is false. It is a fig leaf to explain why the world is not a better world created by this metaphysical God.

            In other word "Boo hoo! No Fair yer not the Theistic Personalist". Cry me a river buddy.

            >We live in a world without a moral God who guides this Universe and is loving, merciful, just, fair and compassionate. Theology then is an enterprise to make pretend that this God really exists, when it is obvious, that God is not existent. It is just a desperate game at best.

            Don't care. You have to argue against the God I believe in and not the one you wished I believe in. Otherwise you are wasting everybody's time. And you are doing that.

            >Good gets redefined, but the sub-goodness defined in the bible remain.

            I am a Catholic. Why should I give two rats behinds about yer interpretation of the Bible?

            >We have to whiffle away, just, fair, compassionate and merciful. words of the revelation of God, the Bible no longer have meaning. This is intellectual nihilism running rampant. God shrinks, smaller and smaller at the hands of the theologians who have no real answer as to why evil exists. Or if God is outside time. Or if God can change the laws of logic to achieve his ends. And more.

            Or you could just stop crying and admit "I guess I don't understand every version of Theism there is or philosophical Theism. I guess I should learn so I can make coherent arguments against learned Classic Theist so I don't look silly".

            Would that be so hard? You don't have to concede the existence of any gods to admit ye don't know what you are talking about?

            >Name calling won't save the day.

            What name calling? You clearly don't understand any version of theism beyond Theistic Personalism, positivism and based on this recent post Fundamentalism. That is obvious. It is not like we haven't had Atheists who show up here who try to avoid making every mistake you just made. Skeptical Thinking Power he understands you can't use science to refute Classic Theism only philosophy. So why don't you learn that?

            >Polemics will not save God and religion. God is incomprehensible is merely a special pleading gambit on stilts. God most certainly not perfect ala Anselm. Ruling out all but metaphysics to discuss God is a laughable proposition. Aristotle and Aquinas cannot save Theology.

            Yer testimony is boring me actually. I can get a better sermon in Church yes even a Catholic one.

            >And here is where the problem lies. Theology and the hypothesis of God do not work. Sorry, but name calling which you seem to rely on isd not an argument

            Or you could admit you don't know the topics well enough? It is not shameful to admit you don't know something. Socrates said it was the beginning of wisdom. He was right.

          • WCB-2

            Let me quote Augustine to you. Confessions, book XI, chapter 8

            Nor dost Thou by time, precede time: else shouldest Thou not precede all times. But Thou precedest all things past, by the sublimity of an ever-present eternity; and surpassest all future because they are future, and when they come, they shall be past; but Thou art the Same, and Thy years fail not.
            ...
            Thy To-day, is Eternity; therefore didst Thou beget The Coeternal, to whom Thou saidst, This day have I begotten Thee. Thou hast made all things; and before all times Thou art: neither in any time was time not.

            Nothing metaphorical here. Nothing analogical. Past, present and future are one and the same to God. Now was that hard to understand? But if to God, past, present and future "art the same", God creates all at once. There is no real temporal cause and effect. If A > then B > then C, it is solely because God chose to make it so. And so, all moral acts of evil are God's creation. I knoiw you are so opposed to this obvious situation you will try any way you can to dodge the issue, but , sorry, the issue stubbornly remains.

            and again, if you and others bluntly adopt the stance God is not outside of time, then the issue of time is a problem. Where does that come from so powerful God must obey time? And as i noted, time is not separable from physics.

            Newton thought time was the same for everybody, everywhere in the Universe. We now know time changes as seen by an outside observer for somebody depending on their velocity. This is an issue for physics, and not for metaphysics. Or theology. There is nothing in all of theology or metaphysics that gave us any information about time as related to relativistic physics before Michaelson - Morely, Lorenz - Fitzgerald, Einstein et al. The real state of the universe is not something metaphysics or theology handles.

            This has profound implications for metaphysics., and thus theology. The theology tail does not wag the physics dog. God outside of time, God inside of time, both have consequences that are problematic for your precious metaphysics. i simply follow that out to the logical conclusions.

            Sorry that bothers you so. But reality is sometimes a mean little beasty.

            But here, Augustine stops. He did not bother to work out the implications of his idea.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Let me quote Augustine to you. Confessions, book XI, chapter 8

            Yer personal interpretations of Augustine have nothing to do with the fact Augustine believes God dwell in the present Eternity not some "Big Now" as you claim. God does not dwell in a point outside Space TIme. God is timeless. Without time or change. Augustine points out God doesn't change but we do ergo we must assume when he is talking about God's timelessness he is talking about Metaphysical time and how time is understood by the philosophers not by science. It is anachronistic to read Einstein into him and it is a category mistake to claim he is talking about science.

            >Nothing metaphorical here. Nothing analogical.

            Everything you quoted there is nothing but analogy or metaphor. Also yer translation is clearly flawed.

            >Past, present and future are one and the same to God. Now was that hard to understand?

            So yer taking Augustine poetic language hyper literally? Also you are reading Augustine alone sans Aquinas and the rest of the philosophical tradition. I am nor impressed laddie.

            > But if to God, past, present and future "art the same", God creates all at once. There is no real temporal cause and effect. If A > then B > then C, it is solely because God chose to make it so. And so, all moral acts of evil are God's creation.

            Sorry but my translation of Augustine says "But in the excellency of an ever-present eternity." That is the correct Scholastic translation. Yer popular translation is clearly flawed. It helps where you are familiar with the tradition instead of faking it.

            >But here, Augustine stops. He did not bother to work out the implications of his idea. I know you are so opposed to this obvious situation you will try any way you can to dodge the issue, but , sorry, the issue stubbornly remains.

            Which is why we don't use Sola Augustino. We hold him as part of the whole tradition. Reading yer own ideas into him has no meaning to us.
            Our Ideas are what count to us and it is those ideas you must learn about and address directly. You must critique the God we believe in not the straw man god you wished we believed in.

            >And again, if you and others bluntly adopt the stance God is not outside of time, then the issue of time is a problem. Where does that come from so powerful God must obey time? And as i noted, time is not separable from physics.

            God is not "outside of time" rather God is without time. You insist on making up yer own terms and not addressing the philosophy or the metaphysics. You insist on discussing time from the perspective of science we insist the modelling of time philosophically as the measure of change is what is important. Space time has nothing to do with Augustine or divine timelessness. It has nothing to do with science and insisting it does is mindless dogmatic Positivism at its worst. Also thinking such a thing is "name calling" is silly.

            >Newton thought time was the same for everybody, everywhere in the Universe. We now know time changes as seen by an outside observer for somebody depending on their velocity.

            Newton's scientific view of Time was incorrect or at best incomplete if we want to be kind to him(I care not). But Newton was looking at time from the perspective of science not philosophy. Time metaphysically and philosophically is still the measure of change regardless if Time is Newtonian (which it isn't) or Einsteinian or wither we solve the mysteries of quantum gravity.

            Science has nothing to do with any of this. Sorry but that is true even if there are no gods and materialism is true.

            >This is an issue for physics, and not for metaphysics. Or theology

            I don't think it is a presumption on my part to state not a single classic Theist here agrees with you. This is solely an issue of philosophy and metaphysics even if there are no gods.

            There is no point in going any further. Till this point is settled.

            Materialism is a philosophical worldview not a scientific one. You can only try to establish its truth with philosophy not science. Believing you can use science is positivism/scientism.

            Yer view here that divine timelessness is a question of physics in relation to God is what you must prove to us since we don't believe it is a scientific question at all and making yer argument is meaningless at this point.

            It is like a Muslim trying to "prove" to me Jesus isn't God because the Koran says so. If I have no reason to believe in the Koran his argument has no meaning.

            Unless you prove to me God in the Classic Theism is a scientific question nothing you argue has any meaning. Good luck with that it is like arguing finding a Higgs Boson is a matter of archeology.

            There is no point too yer argument. It is a non-starter.

          • WCB-2

            "Name calling won't save the day.What name calling? You
            clearly don't understand any version of theism beyond Theistic Personalism, positivism and based on this recent post Fundamentalism."

            Name calling like this, which you do again and again. I am no positivist. And if we read the Council of Trent, that plainly states the Bible is authored by God himself and every word of it is true. I never call the theology of the RCC fundamentalist, but it is.

            Council of Trent Session 4

            "....all the books both of the Old and of the New Testament--seeing that one God is the author of both --as also the said traditions, as well those appertaining to faith as to morals, as having been dictated, either by Christ's own word of mouth, or by the Holy Ghost, and preserved in the Catholic Church by a continuous succession..."

            This thread is about Anselm's perfect being God and his ontological argument. Time is an issue that calls this into question. Stick to the issue. God outside of time, or God inside of time. This undermines the metaphysics of theology. So no, we will not let only metaphysics eliminate science and it's findings out of debate on such issues.

            Theology and metaphysics makes a lot of assertions that have no evidence to support these assertions. Why shouldn't metaphysical naturalism return the favor and eliminate any theological metaphysical claims that have no evidence to support their reality, much less the fine details?

            No, this is not positivism. Sneer, sneer. It is common sense. Evidence talks, empty assertions walk. Empty assertions that ignore disconfirming evidence is not useful.

            Back to the issue of God and time, and the end of ontological arguments eliminated by these problems What do you have for us?

          • Jim the Scott

            >Name calling like this, which you do again and again. I am no positivist.

            Then why do you keep appealing to Physics instead of Metaphysics and Philosophy as well as the concept of Space Time instead of Metaphysical Time in yer efforts to critique the Anselm's Ontological argument? Why do you keep appealing to science instead of Philosophy. Because like a Positivist you believe Science Alone sans philosophy is the only way we can know things about reality.

            From now on you are a positivist till you bring some philosophy to the table.

            > And if we read the Council of Trent, that plainly states the Bible is authored by God himself and every word of it is true.

            It also says along with Vatican One and Two and the rest of the Tradition that the Catholic Church is the sole and final interpretor of Holy Writ & doctrine. So I don't know why you are appealing too yer interpretation of Holy Writ over and against Her interpretation? In principle whatever interpretation you come up with is wrong since it has no authority or authorization.

            >Council of Trent Session 4 etc

            The Dogmatic Constitution of the Church at V1 and V2 and the teachings of the Pope and Trent all say the Church interprets Holy Writ not the individual. So I am not interested in yer personal mininterpretation of the bible. I don't know why you are bringing it up?

            >I never call the theology of the RCC fundamentalist, but it is.

            You just contradicted yerself. It is not BTW. Nobody here is a Fundamentalist so you waste yer time.

            >This thread is about Anselm's perfect being God and his ontological argument. Time is an issue that calls this into question. Stick to the issue.

            Rather Metaphysical Time is the issue not Space Time. That is yer damage because of yer Positivism which you refuse to own and wish to pretend you don't advocate. But that is like saying "I am not gay. I am just a dude who is romantically and sexual attracted to dude only and not to any women". Yeh that is the definition of gay. All yer appeals to Physics sans Philosophy are the very definition of positivism (PS BTW I am not calling you gay so cool yet jets Positivism boy).

            >God outside of time, or God inside of time. This undermines the metaphysics of theology. So no, we will not let only metaphysics eliminate science and it's findings out of debate on such issues.

            Applying Science to what is solely a philosophical and metaphysical issue is clearly positivism.

            >Theology and metaphysics makes a lot of assertions that have no evidence to support these assertions.

            "Evidence" is quantitative knowledge ergo scientific ergo you are appealing to science to solve philosophy and that is positivism. You cannot do that anymore than you can dig up a Higgs Boson.

            > Why shouldn't metaphysical naturalism return the favor and eliminate any theological metaphysical claims that have no evidence to support their reality, much less the fine details?

            What you are really asking is why should we not treat Quantitative and Qualitative knowledge as if they are equivolent. Well rationally they are not. You are what Dave Stove would call an irrationalist.

            >No, this is not positivism. Sneer, sneer. It is common sense. Evidence talks, empty assertions walk. Empty assertions that ignore disconfirming evidence is not useful.

            It is clearly Positivism. We won't hear yer Scientific Arguments. God is not a scientific question. Just like I won't hear from the mad archeologist who insists on digging up a higgs boson.

            >Back to the issue of God and time, and the end of ontological arguments eliminated by these problems What do you have for us?

            You insist on making category mistakes because you clearly lack any competence or knowledge to argue this issue.

          • Jim the Scott

            Additional: Let us look at Augustine.

            BTW this is what you said & how you characterized him.

            Quote"Augustine wrote that God is outside and beyond time. For God there is no now, past and present, all is One Big Now to God. If so, God created all at once in the Godly Big Now."END QUOTE

            One notices yer characterization contains a contradiction. God has no now but a Godly Big Now.

            But here is what Augustine literally said:
            QUOTE: But if before heaven and earth there was no time, why is it asked, What did You then? For there was no "then" when time was not.

            16. Nor did You precede time by any time; because then You would not precede all times. But in the excellency of an ever-present eternity, You precede all times past, and survive all future times, because they are future, and when they have come they will be past; but "You are the same, and Your years shall have no end." Your years neither go nor come; but ours both go and come, that all may come. . . .

            An ever Present Eternity is not a Big Godly Now. God's timelessness means He is without time not that He is outside of Einstein's Space Time looking in and as we can see Augusitine channels the Aristotelian concept Time is the measurement of change.

  • Ficino

    I just came across this view about the arguments for real universals in Plato's Timaeus, and I thought some here might think the writer's view interesting, whether or not you agree: "And this disputation, although it is not dialectical but is couched as myth, nevertheless, because of the very fact that it does not contain a demonstration, reveals very well Plato's inner thoughts; for often with him, conviction (or, belief) is not so much suspended from arguments as arguments are sought for conviction/belief [already] planted in the mind." ~ Ferdinand Dümmler, Antisthenica (1882) 44, trans. by yrs truly.

  • Johannes Hui

    X is possible to be true does NOT mean/entail X is NOT necessarily true!

    “X is possible to be true” means/entails that X is possible to be true either because X is necessarily/unconditionally true or because X is contingently/conditionally true. The possibility of X is grounded on either (a) the necessity of X or (b) on the presence of the right contingent conditions that enable X. @Ficino:disqus

    For example, if X is the proposition that “1 + 2 = 3” then it is true that “X is possible to be true“ and it is false that “X is not necessarily true”.

    If we are not given any further info on whether X is necessarily or contingently true, it is logically wrong to say “X is possible to be true means/entails that X might be false”.

    Hence in modal logic, ◊P = ~□~P (possibly P = not “necessarily NOT-P”). It says nothing about whether it is even possible at all to be ~P. Implicitly it recognizes that if P’s possibility is grounded in P’s necessity then ~P is impossible. In such type of situation involving necessity, then “X is possible to be true” would render “X might be false” to be impossible. In such cases, “X is possibly true does not mean X is necessarily true” is a logically wrong statement.

    So in general, without having more info, we should not think that “X is possible to be true” means “X is not necessarily true”. We need to first know where Ax’s possibility is grounded in necessity or in contingency before we can say whether or not “X is possible to be true” means “X is not necessarily true”.

    Cheers!
    johannes y k hui

  • Johannes Hui

    Hi Dr Bonnette,

    I am going to take your following advice:

    ...you must begin your argument in a totally agnostic position regarding the actual existence of God... That is to say, you must begin with the possibility that God actually does not exist in reality at all.

    @bonnette:disqus @ficino:disqus

    Let E be a non-abstract entity whose essential nature is to exist unconditionally or necessarily or intrinsically. Conceptually, E’s essence is existence per se. In other words, E is conceptually an unconditionally/necessarily existing non-abstract entity.

    P1: It may or may not be possible for E, which conceptually is an unconditionally/necessarily existing non-abstract entity, to actually exist non-abstractly in our actual world.

    P2: Conceptually, any entity that does not actually exist non-abstractly is not an unconditionally/necessarily existing non-abstract entity.

    P3: If E does not actually exist non-abstractly, then E, which conceptually is an unconditionally/necessarily existing non-abstract entity, is also conceptually not an unconditionally/necessarily existing non-abstract entity.

    P4: Hence the idea “E does not actually exist non-abstractly” entails the logical contradiction that E is being and not being an unconditionally/necessarily existing entity at the same time.

    P5: Hence it is logically impossible that E does not actually exist non-abstractly in our actual world.

    Conclusion:
    Therefore E actually exists non-abstractly in our actual world.

    .
    Cheers!
    johannes y k hui

    ———————

    Additional note:

    “In order for the ontological argument to fail the concept of a maximally great being would have to be logically incoherent. It would need to be like the concept of a married bachelor. The concept of a married bachelor when you think about it is not a strictly or explicitly self-contradictory concept as would be, say, the concept of a married unmarried man. That would be strictly contradictory. But nevertheless once you understand the concept or the meaning of what a bachelor is you can see that it is impossible that there could be something corresponding to that concept – that that concept could be possibly exemplified or that property possibly instantiated. By contrast to that, the concept of a maximally great being doesn’t seem at all incoherent. Quite the contrary, it seems perfectly coherent to talk about a being which is maximally excellent in every possible world. That would go some distance, I think, to warrant the first premise that it is possible that a maximally great being exists.” - William Lane Craig

    What is said above about the concept of maximally great being can be applied even more easily to my concept of Unconditioned Entity (E), because my Unconditioned Entity is simpler than Alvin Plantinga’s maximally great being. My Unconditioned Entity (E) has only one essential feature: the feature of unconditional existence or Existence per se. Given that E’s ability to exist is not conditional on anything else, it is impossible for the concept of E to contradict any other metaphysical necessities, and hence it is impossible for the concept of E to have any extrinsic contradiction. In addition, the concept of E is also impossible to have any intrinsic self-contradiction given that it has only one essential feature (it takes at least two essential feature for a concept to have the potential of self-contradiction). Hence E is not logically possible and ontologically possible, while whether or not it is actual will require either an a priori or an a posteriori argument to determine.

    • Philip Rand

      Alex Pruss & Josh Rasmussen would love it if they were told what the trajectory of:

      ◊□P

      resulted...(especially Rasmussen)

      Feser & Bonnette would be distraught at the result...

      Ficino & Hui wouldn't understand it either way....

  • Philip Rand

    The validity of the ontological argument as debated between Hui & Bonnette forced Bonnette to concede that Thomism when pushed is banal.

    Bonnette conceded that Thomism addresses all philosophical puzzles like this:

    (p & (p -> ◊q)) & (q ⊻ ¬q)

    What Thomism conceals through large exposition & jargon is the contradiction in its metaphysical system:

    Logic is indeterminate and Reason is determinate in the same manner and at the same time.