Monthly Archives: November 2019

Hempel’s Raven Paradox and God’s Existence

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Hempel’s Raven Paradox: a red apple is evidence that “all ravens are black things”, since it counts as evidence for the logically equivalent proposition “all non-black things are non-ravens”.
 
Likewise, the fictional character, Elsa of Arendelle, is evidence that God is non-fictional, since “All things identical to God are non-fictional beings” is logically equivalent to “All fictional beings are non-identical to God”.
 
If it is evidence, it isn’t very good evidence, I would admit. But, even if it isn’t very good evidence, there is a potential infinity of fictional characters that are non-identical to God. How would you block that from generating a cumulative case for God, simply by increasingly inventing fictional characters that are not God?
 
This is an honest question I have. I am not trying to provide some bizarre cumulative case for God’s existence, as I perceive that this would prove too much.
 
I suppose this just is Hempel’s paradox, but I don’t think I have seen it applied to existential claims about singular terms before.

An Abductive Cosmological Argument

Let us define God as the non-natural sufficient explanation of nature.  If so, I think the following abductive argument presents a plausible reason to believe in God.

P1: If God is not the best explanation for nature, i.e. the whole of natural reality, then either nature is self-explanatory, or we ought to think nature is brute, i.e. it has no explanation.

P2: If nature is self-explanatory, then the quiddity of nature, i.e. what nature is, includes its facticity, i.e. that nature is.

P3: It is not the case that the quiddity of nature includes its facticity, i.e. the existence of nature is not an analytic truth.

P4: If we ought to think something, x, is brute, then then all things are among those which have been eliminated as possible explanations for x.

P5: God is not among that which has been eliminated as a possible explanation for nature.

P6: If God is the best explanation for nature, then it is probable that God exists.

C: It is probable that God exists.

The deduction is as follows:

C1: It is not the case that nature is self-explanatory [from P2 and P3 by Modus Tollens].

C2: If we ought to think nature is brute, then all things are among those which have been eliminated as possible explanations of nature [from P4 by Universal Instantiation].

C3: Some things are not among those which have been eliminated as possible explanations for nature [from P5 by Existential Generalization].

C4: Not all things are among those which have been eliminated as possible explanations of nature [from C3 by Contradiction].

C5: It is not the case that we ought to think nature is brute [from C2 and C4 by Modus Tollens].

C6: It is not the case that nature is self-explanatory, and it is not the case that we ought to think nature is brute [from C1 and C5 by Conjunction].

C7: It is not the case that either nature is self-explanatory or we ought to think nature is brute [from C6 by DeMorgan’s Theorem].

C8: It is not the case that God is not the best explanation for nature [from P1 and C7 by Modus Tollens].

C9: God is the best explanation for nature [from C8 by Double Negation].

C10: It is probable that God exists [from P6 and C9 by Modus Ponens].

 

 

A Private Language Argument Against Unitarianism

Nature is semiotic.  The intelligible, effable, and teleological characteristics of creation, and the alethic, aesthetic, and moral values it intrinsically possesses, are best explained by the existence of a non-unitarian God.  The One, Eternal God “spoke” creation into existence such that it is suffuse with meaning.  Thus, all things are pros hen analogically comparable insofar as they reflect, to varying degrees, ipsum esse subsistens.  “For from the greatness and the beauty of created things their original author, by analogy, is seen” (Wisdom 13:5).  Nature did not gain this meaning with the advent of other intelligent beings.  The meaning was embedded in nature by its “author” from eternity.  Yet, there are no private languages.  So, from eternity, the analogical meaning communicated ad extra to each created thing must be grounded in a kind of non-private ad intra divine communication, which is impossible on the supposition that God is but one person.