Saturday, April 30, 2011

Answering an Argument that God Need Not Exist Necessarily

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Charles Hartshorne: A Natural Theology
For Our Time



Remember the Modal Argument from a few days ago?


Hartshorne's version goes like this: (actually forest Baird's)
1) God can be analytically conceived without contradiction.
2) Therefore God is not impossible.
3) By definition God cannot be contingent.
4) Therefore God is either necessary or impossible.
5) God is not impossible (from 2) therefore, God is necessary.
6) Whatever is necessary by the force of Becker's modal theorum must necessarily exist.



Argument:my version

1) God can be analytically conceived, as eternal necessary being, without contradiction.

2) Therefore God is not impossible,(because no contradiction).

3) By definition God cannot be contingent (becasue God is eteral).

4) Therefore if God exists, God's existence is necessary, if God does not exist, it is because God is impossible.

5) God is not impossible (from 2) therefore, God is necessary.

6) Whatever is necessary by the force of Becker's modal theorum must necessarily exist.

An anonymous poster (who says he's not an atheist) calms to disprove the premises that God must exist necessarily. I don't see how anyone who is a Chrsitain can fail understand the essential aspect of this doctirne. That's basically denying who God is. The only alternatives to God existing necessarily are that God is impossible and can't exist at all, or that God is contingent, in which case he can't be the Christian God. A contingent God would be no better than superman. Superman could go nuts and deiced to be worshiped and force everyone to prya to him and call himself God he would be just as much God as a contingent God of the Bible would be. Of course the phase "contingent God of the Bible" is a contradiction in Terms becasue the Bible makes it clear God is not contingent, thus he has to be necessarily becuase those are the only choices.

There are four choices only, as streamlined as it can be: Two on the necessary side and two on the contingent side. Each two represent polar opposites:

(1) Necessary vs. (2) impossible

(3) exists contingently v. (4) fictional (contingent non existent)

It should be unthinkable to a Christian that God could be contingent. Yet this guy does some fancy foot work to manipulate the language of s5 modal logic to try and "demonstrate" just that. Before I ansser it want to challenge to find one single theologian other than a Derridian somewhere or a Postmodern, who asserts that the Christian God is contingent. I don't believe anyone ever has. Its' so obviously well known that the Christian God is always thought of as existing necessarily I don't think you can find a theologian form any time prior to the rise of Postmodernism who would say that. Of course I mean a believing theologian.

Here is the opening of this guy's gambit:

I'll try to rephrase my objection for clarity.

Hartshorne's statement of the argument begins with the line:

g --> N(g)

Which, interpreted, (remembering that the arrow stands for the _strict_ conditional,) means "Necessarily, if god exists, then necessarily god exists."
That is just a straightforward statement that if God exist he exists necessarily." No magic there.

This statement is false, and I can prove it.
O pshaw! I dare you! I dare you even.




To show that a statement of the form "Necessarily, X" is false, you must show that there is a possible world in which X is false. So my claim is that there is a possible world in which "g -> N(g)" is false (where this -> is not the strict conditional but the material conditional instead).
Not exactly mystical truth yet. Just a basic statement that to show false hood it must be the case that God exist in a possible world where he exits in a way that is not necessary. That doesn't tell us how he's going to prove there is such a possible world. It sounds like he really knows what he's doing but returned with the Holy Grail yet.


In order for a material conditional to be false, it must be that its antecedent is true and its consequent false. So my claim must be that there is a possible world in which god exist but does not exist necessarily.
What did I tell you? How will he demonstrate that there is such a possible world when it contradicts the concept of God in Christian thought? Reemmber now we are not talking about empircal knowledge, we are not talking about parallel worlds that exist, we are talking mere hypothetical possibilities.



Cashing out what "necessarily" and "possible" mean in standard interpretations of modal logic, (assuming S5 here) we have now a statement of my claim in detail:


There is a maximal set of propositions containing no contradiction which contains the proposition g, and there is a maximal set of propositions containing no contradictions which contains the proposition not-g.
Not so fast there man. This the lack of contradiction has not been demonstrated for -g nor can it be. It is not great trick to prove that the concept of the Christian God is that of necessarily being. Its' in all the theology going back to the beginning it's all over the Bible and it's all over the major doctrines. Aseity, reity, eternalness all of this implies necessary.

Since the concept of God is linked with necessary being then to raise the possibility of a possible world in which this is not the case is in and of itself a contradiction. It's a contradiction on the same grounds that the law of identity is not a contradiction.

Let A be "official definition of X is X."

If you say "i can think of a possible world in which A is not the case, then you are saying X is not X. How can X not be X? By definition X = X.

In terms of the modal argument this is not equivocate as defining God into existence. That's so beaus we are not talking God's actuality we are talking about the defintion of the concept. Sicne the concept to be true would require that there not be a possible world in which it was false you have to prove such a possible world on some other grounds tan the claim that your statment is without contradiction because it is. I suggest it woudl have to be proved on empirical grounds,which of course can't be done without travel to other dimensions.



Presumably you agree about the first part. My task then is to prove that there is a maximal set of propositions containing no contradictions which contains the proposition not-g.
I'm not sure what you are calling the "first part" if you mean the basic understanding of what modal logic is and the relation to possible worlds and contradictions in same, then yes.



But this is trivially proven, simply by reference to commonplaces about how logic (much less modal logic) works. For any proposition not-X whatsoever, we can build a maximally consistent set of propositions around it simply by running through every propositional variable a, b, c and so on, assigning it to either 'true' or 'false', and then constructing every possible propositional statement with connectives and determining its value from those of its constituent propositional variables.
Sorry, doesn't work that way. It's already beaten coming out of the shoot. That is so because it's a contradiction to the basic concept of God in Christianity. No way to maintain a possible world where it's contradiction because to contradict it is a contradiction to the concept we are working with. you are merely contradicting the concept of God. Running through variables isn't going to prove anything when the basic concept is being contradicted.

This is a standard lemma at the basis of every system of modal logic--take any propositional expression whatsoever, and you can build a maximally consistent set of propositions around it.
that sounds real impressive, but no magic. It's just the manipulations of terminologies to cover the fact that you didn't prove your argument. The fatal falw in your argument, if you are a Christian I suspetct in your faith is taht you don't know who or what God is.

here is the Answer Plantinga sent me in email

I think you friend is mistaken. He says:

But this is trivially proven, simply by reference to commonplaces about how logic (much less modal logic) works. For any proposition not-X whatsoever, we can build a maximally consistent set of propositions around it simply by running through every propositional variable a, b, c and so on, assigning it to either 'true' or 'false', and then constructing every possible propositional statement with connectives and determining its value from those of its constituent propositional variables.

This is a standard lemma at the basis of every system of modal logic--take any propositional expression whatsoever, and you can build a maximally consistent set of propositions around it.

He says: for any proposition not-x we can build a max cons set of props around it . . .; but this won't work for -(pv-p) for any p.

Maybe he means: for any proposition -X, where X is noncomplex. Here the answer is that we can build a set or props around it that doesn't formally entail a contradiction in first order logic. For example, we can do that with -(2+1=3). Still, -(2+1=3) is necessarily false, even tho you can't deduce a contradiction from it in first order logic. Those who, like me, think God is a necessary being, think the proposition -G is necessarily false in the same way that -(2+1=3) is. That's true, even if you can't deduce a contradiction from it in first order logic.

3 comments:

Miles said...

Were you talking about Met?

Metacrock said...

what are you talking about? what do you mean "where?"

Miles said...

Where? I said were. I remember you having a similar conversation. . . .Wait that had more to do with God being conciousness. Sorry, my mistake. Forget I said anything.