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Why ontological arguments are illogical
#11
RE: Why ontological arguments are illogical
I think the biggest problem with the argument is the term 'perfect'. Perfection, as with beauty, is a value judgement. A hidden assumption in the argument is that this (non-subjective) notion of perfection exists.

There's also an unaccounted for leap from perfection (assuming it does/can exist outside of being a value judgement) entailing existence to something necessarily existing because the concept representing it has been given the imagined attribute of perfection. For something to truly be perfect (again, assuming objective perfection exists) I would agree it needs to exist, just as for something to truly be made of wood it needs to exist. Concepts in our minds don't actually possess any of the attributes we assign to them, because the attributes themselves, like the concepts, are imagined.

God, when you're imagining it, is a concept - an abstraction. Imagined things do not suddenly become existent by attaching imagined properties to them. The argument, to me, necessarily implies that we can't imagine something that doesn't exist.
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#12
RE: Why ontological arguments are illogical
(August 2, 2012 at 11:47 pm)Tempus Wrote: I think the biggest problem with the argument is the term 'perfect'. Perfection, as with beauty, is a value judgement. A hidden assumption in the argument is that this (non-subjective) notion of perfection exists.

Which arguments use this assumption, specifically? Most of the philosophical ontological arguments I've seen have very precisely defined what they mean by "perfection".

Quote:God, when you're imagining it, is a concept - an abstraction. Imagined things do not suddenly become existent by attaching imagined properties to them. The argument, to me, necessarily implies that we can't imagine something that doesn't exist.

Well, to be specific, the Ontological argument doesn't hold that your idea of God is somehow given essence. Usually it argues that when you're thinking of God, you must be thinking of something that actually exists; as opposed to when you thinking of Superman, or unicorns, where you're not thinking of something that actually exists.
“The truth of our faith becomes a matter of ridicule among the infidels if any Catholic, not gifted with the necessary scientific learning, presents as dogma what scientific scrutiny shows to be false.”
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#13
RE: Why ontological arguments are illogical
Why might that be Clive?



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#14
RE: Why ontological arguments are illogical
(August 3, 2012 at 1:13 am)Rhythm Wrote: Why might that be Clive?

You're gonna have to be more specific. Why might what be?
“The truth of our faith becomes a matter of ridicule among the infidels if any Catholic, not gifted with the necessary scientific learning, presents as dogma what scientific scrutiny shows to be false.”
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#15
RE: Why ontological arguments are illogical
-Usually it argues that when you're thinking of God, you must be thinking of something that actually exists; as opposed to when you thinking of Superman, or unicorns, where you're not thinking of something that actually exists.-

Must I? Why might that be?



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#16
RE: Why ontological arguments are illogical
(August 3, 2012 at 1:57 am)Rhythm Wrote: -Usually it argues that when you're thinking of God, you must be thinking of something that actually exists; as opposed to when you thinking of Superman, or unicorns, where you're not thinking of something that actually exists.-

Must I? Why might that be?

Hmm. I thought the meaning of that sentence was clear. I wasn't saying that that was true, I was saying that that was what ontological arguments argue.

I'll try again:

"Usually ontological arguments claim that, 'If you're thinking of God, you must be thinking of something that actually exists.' When you think of something like unicorns, or the state of Oregonia, you're thinking of things that don't actually exist; whereas when you think of things like beavers, or the state of Oregon, you're thinking of things that actually exist."
“The truth of our faith becomes a matter of ridicule among the infidels if any Catholic, not gifted with the necessary scientific learning, presents as dogma what scientific scrutiny shows to be false.”
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#17
RE: Why ontological arguments are illogical
(August 3, 2012 at 1:08 am)CliveStaples Wrote:
(August 2, 2012 at 11:47 pm)Tempus Wrote:


Which arguments use this assumption, specifically? Most of the philosophical ontological arguments I've seen have very precisely defined what they mean by "perfection".

I thought Anselm's did, but perhaps not. I was mainly going by the OP.

(August 3, 2012 at 1:08 am)CliveStaples Wrote:
(August 2, 2012 at 11:47 pm)Tempus Wrote:


Well, to be specific, the Ontological argument doesn't hold that your idea of God is somehow given essence. Usually it argues that when you're thinking of God, you must be thinking of something that actually exists; as opposed to when you thinking of Superman, or unicorns, where you're not thinking of something that actually exists.

Oh, I understand that it's not saying the idea in your mind is brought into being. In hindsight I should've written something more like: "The belief in imagined things is not suddenly justified by attaching imagined properties to them."
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#18
RE: Why ontological arguments are illogical
(August 2, 2012 at 10:53 pm)CliveStaples Wrote: That reality doesn't make everything more perfect does not demonstrate that reality doesn't many anything more perfect. It might be that reality is a necessary property of complete perfection, but that there are certain things which are worse if made real.

If perfection can be imagined without the object being real, then it follows that reality is not a necessary property of complete perfection.

(August 2, 2012 at 10:53 pm)CliveStaples Wrote: This doesn't make sense. If "God is perfect" implies "God is flawlessly 'good'", then if "God is perfect" is true, then "God is flawlessly 'good'" is true, and hence if "God is perfect" can be logically proved, then "God is flawlessly 'good'" can be logically proved.

But "God is perfect" is tautological if "God" is defined to be "that which possesses all perfections".

Not unless "goodness" is proven to be a necessary part of perfection.

(August 2, 2012 at 10:53 pm)CliveStaples Wrote: No, it's not saying "God exists and is perfect; therefore, God exists." It's saying, "God is perfect; therefore, God exists."

To paraphrase Alvin Plantinga, once a logical argument is understood, the premise can be seen as tantamount to the conclusion. If I can show that "x is divisible by 4" implies "x is divisible by 2", you might object "But assuming that x is divisible by 4 assumes that x is divisible by 2!" And, once you've seen the proof that 4|x -> 2|x, you'd agree. But this isn't a circular argument; it's valid deduction.

What the argument truly shows--if the argument works--is that perfection entails existence.

No, it doesn't. The argument doesn't even attempt to prove that existence is a part of perfection. It simply states it.
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#19
RE: Why ontological arguments are illogical
(August 3, 2012 at 5:18 am)genkaus Wrote: If perfection can be imagined without the object being real, then it follows that reality is not a necessary property of complete perfection.

Well, the argument goes something like:

If you're imagining something that has every perfection, and you're imagining something that doesn't actually exist, then the thing you're thinking of would be 'better' if it did actually exist. Hence what you were thinking of could not have been complete perfection.

(August 2, 2012 at 10:53 pm)CliveStaples Wrote: Not unless "goodness" is proven to be a necessary part of perfection.

Well, moral goodness is a type of goodness, and moral perfection would be a kind of perfection (under the moral theory that these arguments are typically made under).

Quote:No, it doesn't. The argument doesn't even attempt to prove that existence is a part of perfection. It simply states it.

I think you just need to see more ontological arguments, then. Leibniz doesn't just declare that existence is a part of perfection; Plantinga doesn't couch his modal ontological argument in those terms, either.
“The truth of our faith becomes a matter of ridicule among the infidels if any Catholic, not gifted with the necessary scientific learning, presents as dogma what scientific scrutiny shows to be false.”
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#20
RE: Why ontological arguments are illogical
(August 3, 2012 at 2:07 am)CliveStaples Wrote: Hmm. I thought the meaning of that sentence was clear. I wasn't saying that that was true, I was saying that that was what ontological arguments argue.

I'll try again:

"Usually ontological arguments claim that, 'If you're thinking of God, you must be thinking of something that actually exists.' When you think of something like unicorns, or the state of Oregonia, you're thinking of things that don't actually exist; whereas when you think of things like beavers, or the state of Oregon, you're thinking of things that actually exist."


No, no, crystal clear. I'm just wondering why they argue that. It's a fairly ridiculous statement (imo anyway). Are those using this argument perfectly okay with it being directed towards any god whatsoever? I mean, when I'm thinking of Wotan, I must be thinking of something that actually exists? Correct (as per the argument)? Wakan-tanka also. Ah, and Tom Navy too. It's a good thing that there's alot of room "up there" because the skies are filling up with gods rather quickly in my mind atm.



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