Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Further Response to Anonymous on Modal Argument


Anonymous comes back on the discussion on the modal argument. This argument really totally unnerves some people they become livid and have to disprove it even if they don't undersatnd it.

It is clear from this conversation who has "studied this stuff" and who has not.

That is most uncool. If you are so uncertain of your self worth that you are desperate to crunch the other guy's ego in an argument then you are not in a position to evaluate the arguments fairly or to particulate in a meeting of the minds. One of the primary requirements for such a meeting is good well, not a desperate need to prove one is superior. I admit I am not an expert on modal logic, I never claimed to be. I think I understand the gist of the argument pretty well and I'm discussing because I enjoy discussing such things. My aim is not run you down or prove I'm better than you. I'm sorry you are not mature enough to understand an adult approach to thought.

Here's a source that documetns a kind of logic called Propostion and it is not modal:

Internet encyclopedia of Philosophy

Propositional logic, also known as sentential logic and statement logic, is the branch of logic that studies ways of joining and/or modifying entire propositions, statements or sentences to form more complicated propositions, statements or sentences, as well as the logical relationships and properties that are derived from these methods of combining or altering statements. In propositional logic, the simplest statements are considered as indivisible units, and hence, propositional logic does not study those logical properties and relations that depend upon parts of statements that are not themselves statements on their own, such as the subject and predicate of a statement. The most thoroughly researched branch of propositional logic is classical truth-functional propositional logic, which studies logical operators and connectives that are used to produce complex statements whose truth-value depends entirely on the truth-values of the simpler statements making them up, and in which it is assumed that every statement is either true or false and not both. However, there are other forms of propositional logic in which other truth-values are considered, or in which there is consideration of connectives that are used to produce statements whose truth-values depend not simply on the truth-values of the parts, but additional things such as their necessity, possibility or relatedness to one another.
A normal person, she/he sees someone communicated wrongly say "O it's a mistake ok that's fine. Let's fix it." It's the little desperate fool who can't live with himself until he feels better than other, hating himself, who has scream about being superior whenever a mistake is made. why can't you relay and explore the world of thought? you are not in it to learn you are in it to prove to yourself that you are worthy. Just take it easy.

Of course in that last paragraph when I said "propositional logic," I was referring to propositional modal logic.
Ok I'll put on my mind reading hat next time.

Your claim that Hartshorne's argument isn't trying to prove that God exists seems clearly false--the conclusion of the argument is 'g', which, interpreted, means "God exists."
You really don't know this stuff at all. Have you read anything by Hartshorne? The man himself said that his argument doesn't prove the existence of God becasue that's not the goal. The modal argument is part of a larger argument called "deep empiricism." It fills the bill on one aspect it's no mean to be an absolute proof in its own right. Plantinga also says that he does not argue that the argument proves the existence of God but that it demonstrates the rationality of belief. I've seen many references to that.

You may not think there is any such thing as metaphysical necessity, but it's not a "made up concept" if by that you mean I made it up. It's a philosophical concept that is used quite often.
I'm not particularly concerned with weather or not you made up the term. You can't probably find someone somewhere who says it. I don't really find the people are knowing for wring about the modal argument referring to it in connection with the argument. I suspect there's another term for it. I often find that I'm out of touch with the modern terms. It is the case that are two types of necessity involved in Hartshorne's thinking.

How Firm a Possible Foundation?
Modality and Hartshorne’s Dipolar Theism
Donald Wayne Viney
Hartshorne’s theory involves two concepts of necessity—necessity as what is
common to every possible worldstate
and necessity as it pertains to the
unalterability of the past. Richards also uncritically accepts the concept of
possible worlds as a basis for his critique, but Hartshorne’s arguments cast doubt
on the coherence of this idea. While questions remain about Hartshorne’s modal
theory, Richards’ arguments against it are unsuccessful.
Meanwhile anonymous goes on:

Hartshorne's proof attempts to show that God exists, using just the tools of modal propositional logic. I have explained why that can't be done, and Plantinga, as quoted by you, agrees with me. (By the way, you should have simply asked me for a copy of his email to me, as I invited you to do--the one he sent you turns out to be almost identical in wording to the one he sent me.) He agrees that you can not derive a contradiction from "God does not exist" using just the tools of propositional logic. This, in turn, means that Hartshorne's proof fails if it is meant to be a proof that God exists--and I don't see how it can be interpreted otherwise.
This shows the true state of your confusion. I told you that netiher guy (Hartshorne or Plantinga) believes that this argument proves the existence of God alone by itself as an absolute proof, but that it does some kind f duty in a larger argument structure and ultimately should be argued as rational warrant for belief. You say "O no, they do too, you don't know anything." O you say that about Hartshorne. Here you try to say that Plantigna doesn't bleieve the believe the argument proves God, as though he really thinks it's stupid and useless and does use it. why doesn't it occur to you that you are just observing what I told you he says; that doesn't believe it as a proof he doesn't use it as a proof? He uses it as a rational warrant. Therefore, it's it more liley that Hartsnorne felt the same since most of what Plentinga does comes from Hatrshorne anyway? That makes perfect sense, but you are trying to spin it into a disproof of the argument than make hay on insulting me and running down my knowledge, when in fact I told you that to begin with!

Using Hartshorne's argument, by the way, one could just as easily prove "-g" in exactly the same way.
No, because he doesn't say it's proof. he says it's a warrant for belief in a larger scheme of deep empiricism.

One could also prove both that the Goldbach conjecture is true and that it is false.
Then make an argument. Muttering about "one could prove" would could pull his head out of his ass too. That's not a proof.

(BTW I'm bothered by this--it looks like we can prove a contradiction from true premises using propositional modal logic. That's odd!)
you are just like so many atheists, you are trying to twist the meaning not content with truth. You can't prove any of that. the modal argument cannot be reversed and I've proved that. It makes no sense to prove the contrary because possiblity minus contingency has to result in necessity. The reserve of that would be the impossibly of God. There is no such argument nor can one be made. No atheist even attempts it. Not based upon the concept of God itself apart from doctrinal qualifications.

The assertion that an argument can prove something considered unprovable as a disproof of that argument is a dicey prostitution at best and usually entails a fallacy. It's not proof of anyting to say that however so let's see it.

The argument form simply doesn't work if we try to interpret "g" as involving concepts like existence and truth. Some other logical system needs to be used, if any will work.

Again, main points:

God's necessity isn't provable using propositional modal logic.

Of cousre your only proof of that is to demonstrate your lack of understanding about the nature of the argument. My answer was that there are two necessities in the argument. I proved that above with the quote and your argument is not even aware of the two concepts. You are totally talking past any direct clash because you don't undersatnd anything I've said and you are jut flat out ignorant of little things like the purpose of the argument in H's thinking (little stuff like that). You can't seriously claim that you have proved anything about God's necessity if you don't even know the two types at work in the argument.

But Hartshorne's proof is an attempt to prove God's necessity using propositional modal logic.

Therefore, Hartshorne's proof doesn't work.
Since you don't understand the way the argument functions in his overall scheme and since you are ignorant of the two types of necessity, then you really don't have a clear idea at all of what you say.

And God's necessity must be cashed out in some sense other than "necessary according to propositional modal logic."
which is neither here nor there. since you don't what the two types of necessity are you can't really say anything.

I suggest no logic will get you God's necessity. You'll have to look at something like "metaphysical" or "absolute" necessity. Plantinga suggests you could prove god's necessity in second-order logic, but I don't know how that's supposed to work.

typical little atheist ignorance, revues to read to theology and don't listen to what religious thinkers say. You need so desperately to prove that you are really superior after all.You don't understand what Plantinga wrote to you either. Your argument doesn't even apply you have the totally wrong idea of what he said. you think his strategy of not arguing absolute proof is a denunciation of the argument.

Here you introduce the term "abolute necessity" with no doucments about it's use by H no thought as to what it might mean or change in meaning in relation to H's over all project. You know H has process theology right? That means he thought God is diploar and one of those polls is in fulx. So that means it's going have a totally different notion of possible in relation to the over all meaning, thus necessity is going to be changed in connotation isn't it? you have not even begun to think about this stuff. While you are dropping terms to prove you took a logic class or that you have a math background why don't you read some Hartshorne?

God has to be necessary. Anyone who doesn't understand that just get the basic Christian concept of God. The fact that you don't seem to understand the relationship of the terms necessity, impossibility, actuality, contingency demonstrates that you really don't really understand any of this. God can be proved necessary in several different ways.


Anonymous said...

Sorry for the triple-post, but if you're curious to know what the last thing I said about the nature and existence of God is, it's the following:

'The following is in answer to someone asking why most theists insist that God is not material but rather something called "spirit".

Attempts to formulate ideas about god function to provide a rationale for things that one fears might have no rationale. (There may be no rationale for the existence of the world. There may be no rationale for moral behavior. There may be no rational for the social order. There may be no rationale for mystical experience. There may be no rationale for my conceptual scheme. There may be no rationale for insane behavior. And so on. Each of these things are the kind of thing people have tried to justify, explain, rationalize, or whatever, by appealing to concepts of the divine.)

And if there is anything that can provide a rationale for these kinds of thing, it can't be yet another material entity with normal causal powers. (Material, causal factors may be the cause in each case, but they don't provide a rationale, i.e., a foundational justification of a practice or of an evaluation.) Materiality and causality are themselves (esp the latter) yet more things one is likely to look--fearing in vein--for a rationale for.

Clearly, it's hopeless to try to actually accomplish what we try to accomplish when we formulate ideas about god in this way. The function of these formulations simply can't be fulfilled. Yet the attempt seems productive. We learn alot about ourselves, and alot about the world, alot about the social order, alot about the conceptual order, as we muddle through this kind of thing, as long as we are intellectually honest about it. (This said, it turns out (IME at least) that being intellectually honest about it is going to cause us never to be satisfied with our present answer, and tends toward a kind of cynicism or skepticism about the whole endeavor--yet for all that a cynicism or skepticism that fails to undermine the motivation for the attempt. The kind of cynicism that smiles and laughs at its own futility, even as it forges on in that futile effort. And there's probably no rationale for this kind of behavior. But one might try to formulate one anyway, and learn something from the attempt.)


Anonymous said...

This is how I understand the drive to understand god as "spirit". Whatever one is looking for when one is formulating ideas about god, a material, causal entity just doesn't seem to fulfill the purpose of one's search. Causal explanation can not provide rational justification. When we try to figure out what to think about god, we're trying to figure out what we think about the rational justification--or lack thereof--of the way things are. So when we try to figure out what to think about god, a god who fits in the causal order doesn't seem sufficient. I take it that by "spirit" people mean something that is real but that doesn't figure into the causal order, covered by causal laws.

Am I reporting my own views about god? If I have to talk in god-terms, this is near and around the kind of thing I would say. But I actually think the best thing is just stop talking about god altogether. Search, honestly and bravely, for those impossible rationales. Find, destroy, and discover and rebuild again, the meaning behind your tradition. But do it in private or in small groups. In your closet, for example. In real life, in the world, apply what you've learned, but shut up with the useless, pointless, completely irrational god talk. Stop trying to tell a good story, except perhaps, ashamedly, in private, to yourself and a small group of intimates. (Be suspicious of metanarratives!) Instead of trying to tell a good story, try to live a life that is both good and infectious. That's how you make things better.


(Where do I get this? I used to read a lot of Christian theology and I'm sure that's where I picked up the muddle I just expressed. But as for names and sources, I have no clue where any of this comes from. In fact, if anyone knows of a way to fit me into the intellectual order re: contemporary theology, I'd love to have some pointers as far as books or authors to take a look at.)'

Metacrock said...

Search, honestly and bravely, for those impossible rationales. Find, destroy, and discover and rebuild again, the meaning behind your tradition. But do it in private or in small groups. In your closet, for example. In real life, in the world, apply what you've learned, but shut up with the useless, pointless, completely irrational god talk. Stop trying to tell a good story, except perhaps, ashamedly, in private, to yourself and a small group of intimates. (Be suspicious of metanarratives!) Instead of trying to tell a good story, try to live a life that is both good and infectious. That's how you make things better.

pretty brave talk for 3%. you are that fearful of ideas that differ from your own that you uave to inaugurate some kind of Orwellian nightmare to shut them up?

I know atheists were Orwellian, thanks for confirming that.

Anonymous said...

I'll ask again: Do you understand the distinction between refuting the premise of an argument and disagreeing with that argument's conclusion?

I've refuted the premise of Hartshorne's argument. But I _agree_ with it's conclusion.

In other words, while I do not believe that what is meant by 'g-->[]g' is true (if we're dealing with s5) nevertheless I _do_ believe that g is true.

I believe in God, I just think the majority of the god-talk out there is bankrupt. So I typically avoid it, except when the opportunity arises to confront people (atheists and theists alike) with the bankruptcy of their god talk. (Which is, in the end, a case of their taking the Lord's name in vein.)

As it appears you chose not to respond to my other two posts on the blog, I invite you to respond to them personally to me at my email address. Once again, it's krhodes@martin.edu

Metacrock said...

then you are really stupid. the thing makes God God is being necessary. A God that is contingent is not God. A contingent god is just a big man in the sky like Zeus or superman. not worthy of worship.

Miles said...

Meta, let off. I completely disagree with this guy but he hasn't done anything offensive.

By the way, Anonymous, do you mean that in the sense of Wittgenstein. That in the case of God and metaphysics we must be respectfully silent?

Anonymous said...

@Miles, it's entirely possible that my thoughts are Wittgenstinian. I have read him, but I haven't paid attention to the specific ways he may have affected the way I think. I can see the possible influence though, now that you mention it.

I don't think there's an absolute rule against using god talk, I just think that enough of it these days is so hopelessly confused and, well, un_sanctified_ for lack of a better word, that I think it's counterproductive for most of us (even Christians!) to engage in it. It's more important to engage the world in the spirit of Christ than it is to argue about what sentences should have the word "god" in them and where.

(And metaphysics I'd better be okay with--it's part of my stock in trade IRL!)

Metacrock said...

It's more important to engage the world in the spirit of Christ than it is to argue about what sentences should have the word "god" in them and where.

It's a blog. it's not on television. you don't have to read it, understand?

Anonymous said...


Thank you for the interesting conversation, old friend.

Metacrock said...

Thank you for the interesting conversation, old friend.

sure not problem go li. if you really know me from the past you know one thing I don't respond to well is being told I don't know anything.

don't give me any dying martyr reunite you called the tune with snotty attitude.

Anonymous said...

Please don't neglect to publish my previous post, and also, please respond to the following. It is my own very very sloppy (because I have only just now sketched it out) argument for God's existence, a certain conception of God's nature, and a certain idea about how we ought to respond to God's existence and nature. You will see a lot of Kant in what follows, which surprised me as I was writing it!

I have been inspired to write the following as a result of our conversation--it has led me to ponder a little bit how I would argue for God's existence, nature and the appropriate response to God if I had to. I've said before I think most God-talk is intellectually and morally bankrupt, and I'm probably running afoul of that myself by offering up such an incomplete sketch of an argument certainly full of holes. And with that I'll just leave it at that.

Lines Concerning The Existence and Nature of God, And Our Response

God is that which rationalizes my existence.

Does that which rationalizes my existence exist?

If not, then nothing rationalizes my existence. If nothing rationalizes my existence, then nothing rationalizes my actions. If nothing rationalizes my actions, I cannot choose my actions. If I cannot choose my actions I do not exist. But I exist. So something exists which rationalizes my existence.

What is it which rationalizes my existence?

God can’t be in the causal order (since nothing in the causal order can rationalize my existence).
God has ends (since nothing without ends can rationalize my existence).

Those of God’s ends relevant to God’s rationalization of my existence can’t be imposed on me from without (since this would not rationalize my existence but rather negate it).

So those of God’s ends relevant to God’s rationalization of my existence are already within me and come from me.

Hence insofar as I am concerned, God’s ends are my ends.

But I am not the only person.
Hence insofar as humanity is concerned, God’s ends are humanity’s ends.

So my ends which are not humanity’s ends are not rationalized.

So we revise the concept to clarify what was said originally about God’s nature:

God is that which rationalizes the ends of humans qua human.

What sort of ends could this God rationalize? Selfless ends—ends which take others’ ends and those of humanity as identical to themselves. (For this is what this God has been shown to be—an entity with such ends only, at least insofar as humanity is concerned—and any ends which can be rationalized by X’s ends must fundamentally be held by agents which share X’s ends).

Hence because God is what God is, we must strive to make others’ ends, insofar as they are those of humans qua humans, our own ends as well.

But the ends of humans qua humans are just to make the ends of humans qua humans our own ends.

Hence because God is what God is, we must strive to make others’ ends our own insofar as others’ ends can be an end for every human.

We do not always know what can be an end for every human, though.

Hence because God is what God is, we must learn mercy and forgiveness as a response to our epistemological imperfections.

Metacrock said...

So why aren't you going into your closet and talking about this quietly as though you are ashamed to think about it, with only your most intimate people?

I also feel that conclusion that the great thinkers like Hartshorne are intellectually bankrupt but you yourself can come up with the proper approach, that's a real hoot.

Anonymous said...

I wrote it to you on your blog because I'm inviting you, once again, to treat me as the friend that I am rather than an enemy you imagine.

Please do not neglect to publish the other post of mine.

Metacrock said...

what other post?

why do you think I would trust you after you were so snotty?

Miles said...

Maybe we should move this to a forum this is getting a little long. Maybe on Meta's theology section on his forum.

Is that alright Meta.

Curious what you (anonymous) think about Negative Theology.

Metacrock said...

that's a great idea. Ok clean Slate Anon. Come to my message boards, Doxa Forums.

Negative or apauphatic theology is very important for anyone seeking mystical union.