plantinga ontological argument

Later on I shall show how to restate the argument this way. Hence there is no doubt that there exists a being, than which nothing greater can be conceived, and it exists both in the understanding and in reality. Now according to the doctrine under consideration, A is so far greater than B. In 1974 Alvin Plantinga published his Modal Ontological Argument. The form of the argument is that of a reductio ad absurdum argument. Graham Oppy, who elsewhere expressed the view that he “see[s] no urgent reason” to depart from the traditi… Plantinga is unconvinced that the ontological argument is unsound and develops his own version of the argument that might well be more powerful than Anselm’s original. (premise), (3) God’s existence in reality is conceivable. By whatever and by however many predicates we may think a thing — even if we completely determine it — we do not make the least addition to the thing when we further declare that this thing is. If I want to prove that bachelors, unicorns, or viruses exist, it is not enough just to reflect on the concepts. Suppose we call them great-making properties. And yet nearly every major philosopher from the time of Anselm to the present has had something to say about it; this argument has a long and illustrious line of defenders extending to the present. What I claim for this argument, therefore, is that it establishes, not thetruth of theism, but its rational acceptability. The same holds true of the concept of an absolutely necessary being. If it is then granted that the property of being maximally P is possibly exemplified, it follows that it is exemplified. Either Kant was confused or else he expressed himself very badly indeed. [10] But how is this even relevant? It’s more helpful since being is implied instead of a thing. So read, (21) does contradict (20). It then follows, of course, that existence is not a real property or predicate. The author concludes that while the argument is probably formally valid, it is ultimately unsound. And the answer must be, I think, that it does not. The 'Confusion to Avoid' sections at the end of each chapter will be particularly useful.” It says that there is a possible being having such and such characteristics. Plantinga is unconvinced that the ontological argument is unsound and develops his own version of the argument that might well be more powerful than Anselm’s original. 2. (31) Necessarily, a being has maximal excellence in every world only if it has omniscience, omnipotence, and moral perfection in every world. By Darrin at 1/17/2009. Steps (16) through (20) certainly look as if they follow from the items they are said to follow from. And when he says that a certain state of affairs is conceivable, he means to say, I believe, that this state of affairs is possible in our broadly logical sense, there is a possible world in which it obtains. [37] There is an important difference between these two. Thanks very much for this help. A hundred real thalers does not contain the least coin more than a hundred possible thalers. The Ontological Argument Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1965 by Alvin Plantinga (Author) See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions. But if so, the argument flagrantly begs the question; for then we can accept the inference from (14) to (16) only if we already know that the conclusion is true. For suppose it exists in the understanding alone; then it can be conceived to exist in reality; which is greater. What it shows is that if it is possible that there be a greatest possible being (if the idea of a greatest possible being is coherent) and if that idea includes necessary existence, then in fact there is a being that exists in every world and in some world has a degree of greatness that is nowhere excelled. It has it in some world or other but not necessarily in Kronos, the actual world. But is it relevant to the ontological argument? [40] (22) and (24) are the premises of this argument; and what follows is that if W’ had been actual, B would have existed in every possible world. In the actual world I am writing up this blog post, but I could have decided instead to go pour myself a Scotch. Why not? [21] If this is what he means, he’s certainly right. Step (13) is the hypothesis for reductio, the assumption to be reduced to absurdity, and is thus entirely above reproach. Where does this being have that degree of greatness? ). Attempts have also been made to validate Anselm’s proof using an automated theorem prover. In the actual world I am writing up this blog post, but I could have decided instead to go pour myself a Scotch. Because this argument is prone to misunderstanding, a fair amount of groundwork must be laid first. And second, although the argument certainly looks at first sight as if it ought to be unsound, it is profoundly difficult to say what, exactly, is wrong with it. Alvin Carl Plantinga, born November 15, 1932 (age 87), in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was a professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana.He is known for his lectures in the debate over divine sovereignty and providence, as well as works on the existence of God, including a version of the Ontological argument based on possible-worlds modality. Certain ontological arguments do make this claim (I believe Anselm is one of them), but this claim is not made by Plantinga in the MOA. Ontological Argument - Development - Alvin Plantinga. Still, it is evident, I think, that there is nothing contrary to reason or irrational in accepting this premise. I would ask the reader to … [13] Now how, exactly is all this relevant to Anselm’s argument? These issues and a hundred others arise in connection with Anselm’s argument. (14) For any being x and world W, if x does not exist in W, then there is a world W’ such that the greatness of x in W’ exceeds the greatness of x in W. Restate premise (3) in terms of possible worlds. Plantinga's Ontological Argument. That is, if W had been actual, (33) There is no omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect being. At the very least it can’t have its maximum degree of greatness — a degree of greatness that it does not excel in any other world — in a world where it doesn’t exist. The omnipotence cannot be rejected if we posit a Deity, that is, an infinite being; for the two concepts are identical. I have chosen Plantinga’s version for two reasons: It is relatively simple. Otherwise it would not be exactly the same thing that exists, but something more than we had thought in the concept:and we could not, therefore, say that the object of my concept exists. Unfortunately, however, we have no reason, so far, for thinking that (21”) is true at all, let alone necessarily true. Does that so much as make sense? For while indeed it is a necessary truth that bachelors are unmarried, what this means is that the proposition. He examined each in succession, discarding them as he proceeded while repairing the weaknesses of each until he arrived at what, he claimed, is the final triumphant version. If so, it is located at the same place as the Middle Teton. [32] But are there any possible beings — that is, merely possible beings, beings that don’t in fact exist? My financial position, however, is affected very differently by a hundred real thalers than it is by the mere concept of them (that is, of the possibility). That is, we might say. [6] Now when Anselm says that a being exists in the understanding, we may take him, I think, as saying that someone has thought of or thought about that being. Theism. Alvin Plantinga. (7) It is false that God exists in the understanding but not in reality. In this paper I argue, against Plantinga and others, that Kant’s claim is indeed relevant to Anselm’s argument, [from (1) and (2)], (5) It is conceivable that there is a being greater than God is. Indeed, if we regard (27) and (28) as consequences of a definition — a definition of maximal greatness — then the only premise of the argument is (25). There is a possible world in which there is an entity whichposs… [49] This possible being, you recall, was God Himself, supposed not to exist in the actual world. We can make sense of (18), therefore, only if we are prepared to grant that there are possible beings who don’t in fact exist. But in fact they don’t exist, although nonetheless there are such things. All Categories; Metaphysics and Epistemology What he means to say, I believe, is that no existential proposition is necessary in the broadly logical sense. So all the premises of the argument are, if true at all, necessarily true. Like ‘why does God cause things like tornadoes. Price New from Used from Paperback, Import "Please retry" $9.16 — $9.16: Mass Market Paperback "Please retry" $85.99 . The greatest possible being is a possible being who in some world or other has unsurpassable greatness. [17] Then (as we might mistakenly suppose) just as it is a necessary truth that bachelors are unmarried, so it is a necessary truth that superbachelors exist. And suppose P1, P2, … , Pn, are the properties jointly sufficient and severally necessary for something’s falling under C. Then C can be defined as follows: A thing x is an instance of C (i.e., C applies to x) if and only if x has P1, P2, …, Pn. (Amazon verified Customer). Anselm’s argument can be seen as an attempt to deduce an absurdity from the proposition that there is no God. By Darrin at 1/17/2009. 2. raised to the ontological argument as presented in God Freedom and Evil can also be applied to the argument as presented in The Nature of Necessity. So we may conclude that. Furthermore, you recall that an object can have different properties in different worlds. For the purposes of this essay, I will focus on Plantinga's formulation of his argument in his God, Freedom and Evil. Are there possible mountains like this all over the world? Step (14) says only that it is possible that God exists. … And so we are led on irresistibly, by the demands inherent in religious reverence, to hold that an adequate object of our worship must possess its various excellences in some necessary manner. Perhaps Kant means to make point that we could put by saying that it’s not possible to define things into existence. What was particularly intetesting was seeing Alvin Plantinga's rebuttal of the argument he would later come to support, although only after tweaking it (which I think has really transormed it and is the most convincing form of it that I've ever read). [9] One characteristic feature of Anselm’s argument, as we have seen, is that if successful, it establishes that God exists is a necessary proposition. He examined each in succession, discarding them as he proceed ed while repairing the This essay critically examines Plantinga's modal version. And hence it is impossible in the actual world (which is one of the possible worlds) that there be no omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect being. [(3) and (4)], (6) It is conceivable that there be a being greater than the being than which nothing greater can be conceived. In a reductio you prove a given proposition p by showing that its denial, not-p, leads to (or more strictly, entails) a contradiction or some other kind of absurdity. Dr. Plantinga's modal ontological argument includes many of the aspects of Anselm's original argument but includes various additions and changes. Accordingly, (13) is false. [(18)], (20) So it’s possible that there be a being greater than the being than which it’s not possible that there be a greater. Today, we'll begin with Alvin Plantinga's modal ontological argument for God. Where did he try to define God into being by adding existence to a list of properties that defined some concept? But God is the greatest conceivable being, so definitionally we cannot conceive of anything greater than God 5. Clearly this is so. The first thing to recognize is that the ontological argument comes in an enormous variety of versions, some of which may be much more promising than others. But while contingent truths vary from world to world, what is logically impossible does not. The premise corresponding to (25) then says simply that maximal greatness is possibly instantiated, i.e., that. He finds it comprehensive but yet written in simple language which is ready to understand. Kant’s point, then, is that one cannot define things into existence because existence is not a real property or predicate in the explained sense. Pretty deep stuff. As soon as it was published there was an uproar in nearly every philosophy department the world over. But if we reject the subject and predicate alike, there is no contradiction; for nothing is then left that can be contradicted. Accordingly these premises, (25), (27), and (28), entail that God, so thought of, exists. What can be confusing about the argument to people who don’t have some previous familiarity with philosophy is the notion of a “possible world.” A possible world is simply a way the world might have been. [38] Suppose instead we read it as (21”). What would contradict a proposition like God does not exist is some other proposition — God does exist, for example. That is to say, a being B has maximal excellence in a world W only if B has omniscience, omnipotence, and moral perfection in W — only if B would have been omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect if W had been actual. That is, had W’ been actual, there would have been a being with maximal greatness. A being, then, has the maximal degree of greatness in a given world W only if it has maximal excellence in every possible world. What is their status? As Plantinga [1975: 110] admitted, 'I am inclined to think the supposition that there are such things—things that are possible but don't in fact exist—is either unintelligible or necessarily false.' For all the argument shows, this being might exist in the actual world but be pretty insignificant here. The earlier versions also depended on that assumption; consider for example, this step of the first version we considered: (18) So there is a possible being x and a world W’ such that the greatness of x in W’ exceeds the greatness of God in actuality. Plantinga’s Modal Ontological Argument. This is obvious, because if one can conceive of a being greater than God, then thatbeing would be God 3. [35] All we are really told, in being told that God is a possible being, is this: among the possible beings there is one that in some world or other has a degree of greatness that is nowhere excelled. But how shall we understand Kant here? Anselm began with the concept of God as… theism: The ontological argument. Plantinga progressed through a number of versions of his ontological argument. Does that matter? The ontological argument was first criticized by Gaunilo of Marmoutiers, a contemporary of Anselm of Canterbury. One of the most curious arguments for the existence of God has been presented by St. Anselm, René Descartes, and many other theologians throughout the centuries: the Ontological Argument. Analytic philosopher Alvin Plantinga criticised Malcolm's argument, and offered an alternative. Indeed, the last few years have seen a remarkable flurry of interest in it among philosophers. Most forms of the ontological argument rely on the premise that existence is greater than non-existence, or that necessary existence is greater than conditional existence. Perhaps there are two reasons for it. Learn how your comment data is processed. [28] So (13) [with the help of premises (14) and (15)] appears to imply (20), which, according to (21), is necessarily false. Unfortunately, Oppy's section on Plantinga's argument has another flaw. He approached it this way: 1. 2. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. And hence if the premises of this argument are true, then [provided that (6) is really inconsistent] a contradiction can be deduced from (1) together with necessary propositions; this means that (1) entails a contradiction and is, therefore, necessarily false. A great buy.” Other arguments have been categorised as ontological, including those … Modal ontological argument. Those who are fond of the calculus might put it by saying that there is a function assigning to each being in each world a degree of excellence; and a being’s greatness is to be computed (by someone unusually well informed) by integrating its excellence over all possible worlds. which is not really very startling. That is to say, it is not necessarily true that there are things to which this concept applies. The traditional definition of an ontological argument was given by Immanuel Kant. You recall that an object may exist in some possible worlds and not others. Nonetheless, it seems to have a bad smell about it. What about (25)? For it is ambiguous as between, (21′) It’s not possible that there be a being whose greatness surpasses that enjoyed by the unsurpassably great being in the worlds where its greatness is at a maximum. Account & Lists Sign in Account & Lists Returns & Orders.

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