Friday, October 5, 2007

Anselms' argument, simplified.

He assumes that we (even "fool" atheists) have the concept of God, i.e., the idea of "the being who none greater can be conceived" i.e., thought. (Question: do we have such a concept? Is the concept coherent? Is a being like this possible? Perhaps not: perhaps

Here's the argument, simplified.

1. Either (a) "the being whom none greater can be conceived" exists only as a concept or an idea or (b) "the being whom none greater can be conceived" exists both as a concept and in reality.
2. To exist in reality is greater than to exist only as a concept or an idea. [see Anselm, end of 2nd paragraph, p. 71 of handout; Stairs premise 2, p. 82]
3. If (2) is true and if (a), the claim that "the being whom none greater can be conceived" exists only as a concept or an idea is true, then there exists a being greater than "the being whom none greater can be conceived."
4. But there cannot be a being greater than "the being whom none greater can be conceived," because that's a contraction.
5. So, (a) is not an option.
6. So, (b) "the being whom none greater can be conceived" exists both as a concept and in reality.
7. So, God exists, the being whom none greater can be conceived.

The basic logic:
1. Either A or B.
2. If B is true, then C is true.
3. But C is not true (because C is contradictory)
4. So, not B. (2, 3 Modus Tollens)
5. So, A. (1, 4, Disjunctive Syllogism).

Here's the argument from the Descartes' Fifth Meditation with a modifed translation:
If I can clearly and distinctly think the idea of something, then everything which I clearly and distinctly perceive to belong to that thing really does belong to it. "Certainly, the idea of God, or a supremely perfect being, is one that I find within me just as surely as the idea of any shape or number. And my understanding that it belongs to his nature that he always exists is no less clear and distinct than is the case when I prove of any shape or number that some property belongs to its nature." (AT 7:65; CSM 2:45).
So here's the argument:
1. If we can clearly and distinctly think the idea of something, then everything which we clearly and distinctly perceive to belong to that thing really does belong to it.
2. We can clearly and distinctly perceive the idea of God, or a supremely perfect being.
3. We can clearly and distinctly perceive that he always exists.
4. Therefore, since (1), (2) and (3) are true, God exists.

Here's an ontological argument commonly attributed to Descartes (but perhaps without textual evidence, since this is a bit different than the argument above?):

1. God is an all-perfect being.
2. An all-perfect being has every perfection (i.e., a great-making quality).
3. Existence is a perfection (i.e., a great-making quality; for something to exist makes it greater than for it not to exist: recall Anselm's "To exist in reality is greater than to exist only as a concept or an idea").

For discussion on Descartes' ontological arguments, see here:
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/descartes-ontological/

Questions:
  • Are there reasons to think that any of the premises in these arguments are false?
  • Are there reasons to think that any of the premises in these arguments assume the conclusion they are supposed to support?
  • What about Gaunilo's objection that Anselm's argument can be used to "show" the existence of any "perfect" thing whatsoever (e.g., the island which none greater can be conceived, the tattoo needle which none greater can be conceived, etc.), and so is faulty? Are they any good?

1 comment:

Fausto Intilla (fisico teorico) said...

a)The Jungian Theory of Syncronicity, is a clear demonstration that
everything in this Universe is predeterminated.The Heisenberg's
Indetermination Principle comes from the human ignorance
(we cannot see the reality in its totality)...so only an ignorant,can believe in Free Will.

b)Matter is a complex form of energy; Energy
is a complex form of Information; Information...is God's Thought.

The Universe is God...so we are parts of God.

c) Every kind of "human desire",is followed by a Chain of "Electron wave
functions collapses" (in agreement with Schrödinger's Theory) which will not
follow ours expectations! ...So the paradox is: if we want to get hold of
something,we shouldn’t have to search for it. (Men stay still,and the mountains move...).
A curiosity: The connection between the electron
wave-function and the human intent has to do with the fact that
experiments have proved that the intentions of the operator of a radio
transmission facility, directly and instrumentably alter the
"footprint", the radiation pattern of the antenna. It has also been
shown that the intent of the human being causes a divergence in
the quantum field (which is the information field).
Any divergence in the information field results in
alterations of "probability", which directly influences
the outcome of any system which contains any element
of chance, directly influencing the resulting observable
events. (See the work of Princeton Engineering Anomalies
Research at http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/).

Notes:

"In agreement with Henri Bergson's thought (see the last pages of "Entre
le temps et l'éternité" of Ilya Prigogine ,Librairie Arthème Fayard,Paris),
we can accept the idea of a "Space-time absolute value", where
all the "Space-time relativ values" are incorporated (in agreement with Einstein’s
theory of relativity); the conclusion is that there is only one Real
Matrix of the Universe...so every other possible /potential parallel
"event/dimension/future" it's only a human illusion.

All the other parallel Universes (or Multi-Universes,as Phd. Everett said)
can only exist in our minds...perhaps whilst dreaming.

Unfortunately several physicists are conditioned by Heisenberg's Principle of
Indetermination...which, as you will know, is enough explain the
existence of Free Will.

Well, the Principle of Indetermination is hardly bound by the limits of
observations made by the human brain.

(We cannot see the reality in its totality...Bohm taught).

If we accept the idea that our Universe really is God,well,in a infinite
Caos of Energy too, there must to be a logical (but not for human
brain),exact,specific,and perfectly organized ...Plan.

How many significant (important) coincidences can happen to a person in his
life,living in a unorganizated and stupid Universe?...I think no-one.
Every synchronism in our life, is like an open-eyes-dream (Jung
taught)...and we can thank the fine intelligence of our Universe...if
they happen."

Fausto Intilla
(Inventor-scientific divulger)
www.oloscience.com