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The Dilemma Theodicy

  1. By definition, God is a maximally great being, i.e. an omnipotent, omniscience, morally perfect being in every possible world.
  2. Any argument against God’s existence that depends on a premise of the form “If God were to exist, then we would expect there to be x” (hereafter, the “counterfactual” premise) must have a justification, either by way of a trivial entailment, given the incoherence of the concept of God, and so the impossibility of the existence of God, or by way of the defense of a substantive counterfactual implication, given a thoroughgoing conceptual analysis of the concept of God, and the sorts of states of affairs implied by God’s existence.
  3. If the justification for the “counterfactual” premise is by way of a trivial entailment, given the incoherence of the concept of God, and so the impossibility of the existence of God, then the justification for the “counterfactual” premise begs the question of any argument against God’s existence that depends upon the “counterfactual” premise, which means the argument containing the “counterfactual” premise is informally fallacious.
  4. If the justification for the “counterfactual” premise is by way of a defense of a substantive counterfactual implication, given a thoroughgoing conceptual analysis of the concept of God, and the sorts of states of affairs implied by God’s existence, then the justification depends upon the metaphysical possibility of God, and the sorts of states of affairs that obtain in the nearest possible worlds where God exists, which also serves as a justification for the possibility premise of the modal ontological argument, by which the existence of God can be directly demonstrated from His metaphysical possibility, based upon an axiom of S5.
  5. But, a successful argument cannot be informally fallacious, nor can a successful argument depend on a justification that directly implies the contradictory of the its conclusion.
  6. So, no argument against God’s existence that depends on the “counterfactual” premise is successful.

Escaping the horns would require a substantive justification of the counterfactual premise that does not imply any real metaphysical possibility of God.  Would such a justification be compelling enough for a theist, or neutral party to accept the truth of the counterfactual premise? 

Ontological Argument Improved Again

Let, 

E!x ≝ x exists in re
Ix ≝ x exists in intellectu
Gx ≝ x admits of more greatness
G<Px,~Px> ≝ x having P is greater than x not having P
Gxy ≝ x is greater than y
©… ≝ it is conceivable that…

g ≝ (ɿx)(~©Gx ∧ ~©(∃y)Gyx)

1. (∀x)[(Ix ∧ ~E!x) ⊃ ©E!x] (premise)
2. (∀x)G<E!x, (~E!x ∧ Ix)> (premise)
3. (∀x){[[~E!x ∧ G<E!x, (~E!x ∧ Ix)>] ∧ ©E!x] ⊃ ©Gx}(premise)
4. Ig (premise)
5. ~E!g (IP)
6. Ig ∧ ~E!g (4,5 Conj)
7. (Ig ∧ ~E!g) ⊃ ©E!g (1 UI)
8. ©E!g (6,7 MP)
9. G<E!g, (~E!g ∧ Ig)> (2 UI)
10. ~E!g ∧ G<E!g, (~E!g ∧ Ig)> (8,9 Conj)
11. [~E!g ∧ G<E!g, (~E!g ∧ Ig)>] ∧ ©E!g (5,10 Conj)
12. [[~E!g ∧ G<E!g, (~E!g ∧ Ig)>] ∧ ©E!g] ⊃ ©Gg (3 UI)
13. ©Gg (11,12 MP)
14. (∃x){{[~©Gx ∧ ~©(∃y)Gyx] ∧ (∀z){[~©Gz ∧ ~©(∃y)Gyz] ⊃ (z = x)]}} ∧ ©Gx} (13 theory of descriptions)
15. {[~©Gμ ∧ ~©(∃y)Gyμ] ∧ (∀z){[~©Gz ∧ ~©(∃y)Gyz] ⊃ (z = μ)]}} ∧ ©Gμ (14 EI)
16. {(∀z){[~©Gz ∧ ~©(∃y)Gyz] ⊃ (z = μ)]} ∧ [~©Gμ ∧ ~©(∃y)Gyμ]} ∧ ©Gμ (15 Comm)
17. {(∀z){[~©Gz ∧ ~©(∃y)Gyz] ⊃ (z = μ)]} ∧ [~©(∃y)Gyμ ∧ ~©Gμ]} ∧ ©Gμ (16 Comm)
18. {(∀z){[[~©Gz ∧ ~©(∃y)Gyz] ⊃ (z = μ)]} ∧ ~©(∃y)Gyμ] ∧ ~©Gμ} ∧ ©Gμ (17 Assoc)
19. (∀z){[[~©Gz ∧ ~©(∃y)Gyz] ⊃ (z = μ)]} ∧ ~©(∃y)Gyμ] ∧ {~©Gμ ∧ ©Gμ} (18 Assoc)
20. ~©Gμ ∧ ©Gμ (19 Simp
21. E!g (5-20 IP)

Vexing Links (2/13/2016)

Happy St. Valentine’s Day readers!  I have been busy with my dissertation, so I have not had an opportunity to post any new arguments or articles.  In the meantime, here are some links of note:

  1. The  Vatican Library Digitizations Project is very exciting!  I imagine there will be some extraordinary treasures in there.
  2. The true history of Socrates’s last day on Earth.  Plato (or maybe Phaedo) had it all wrong.
  3. Wisecrack has an awesome video on Philosophy and the Walking Dead.  See the connections to Rome, and the ways in which the Walking Dead makes us confront the meaning of life and death.
  4. Dr. Larycia Hawkins claimed that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.  Subsequently, she was placed on administrative leave following a controversity at Wheaton College.  It looks like she will be terminated.  Many philosophers have weighed in on the question, including Dr. Francis Beckwith, Dr. Bill Vallicella, Dr. Dale Tuggy, Dr. William Lane Craig, and Dr. Lydia McGrew.  I think I am close to Vallicella’s position in that I think the question may be intractable, or at least depend upon what features one is going to insist upon as fixed, when determining the reference.  Perhaps the bigger issue is the disturbing trend in academia to discipline and fire professors when they voice positions with which the administration disagrees.  The fact that so many thinkers have arrived at completely different positions may tell you that Dr. Hawkins was taking a position that is not settled within Christian orthodoxy.  Indeed, if we construe this as a question in the philosophy of language and the question of reference, then it seems that one can reasonably agree with Dr. Hawkins and be a staunchly orthodox Christian.
  5. On the same theme of academic freedom, the President of Mount St. Mary’s College in Maryland, Simon Newman, decided to implement a plan to identify and cull out freshman who were unlikely to flourish and graduate (rather than, you know, help your students succeed).  He alledgly compared such freshmen to fuzzy bunnies who need to be drowned.  Faculty and administration who disagreed with Newman were terminated, even if they had tenure.  A provost was removed from his position.  It now looks like Newman is under pressure to take it all back.  At the same time, it is coming to light that Newman wants to rid MSM of her Catholic tradition and identity.  This is a troubling trend in Catholic education, to say the least.
  6. On the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Graham Oppy has updated his entry on Ontological Arguments, Daniel Nolan has updated his entry on Modal Fictionalism, and Christopher Menzel has an updated entry on Possible Worlds.
  7. Read Dr. Ed Feser’s review of Jerry Coyne’s Faith versus Fact.  It has to be the most scathing and hilarious review ever written.
  8. Dale Tuggy poses his “Jesus is God” challenge.  Perhaps when I have time, I will offer a substantive critique, but I think there are issues with P2 and P4, which render the argument unsound.  The first issue is that I suspect that identity statements about God are not subject the Leibnizian laws.
  9. This may be an older site, but it is new to me and it looks like it has a ton of resources for anyone interested in Early Church History and various original language documents: Documenta Catholica Omnia.
  10. I’ve been enjoying the music of Mikis Theodorakis lately.
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