Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The latest on Five Proofs


Tomorrow, Thursday July 25, Cameron Bertuzzi’s Capturing Christianity program will be hosting a live discussion between atheist philosopher Graham Oppy and me about my book Five Proofs of the Existence of God

Philosopher Stephen L. Brock briefly reviews the book in The Review of Metaphysics.  From the review:

It is hard to imagine how such difficult ideas and arguments could be set forth more digestibly. The tone is academic but lively, and certainly not diffident…

Plenty of particular objections are addressed in the first six chapters, but the last one takes up objections to natural theology as a whole. There are sixteen of them, drawn from a multitude of authors... Feser is at his best in disputation, and, for my money, this is the book’s most effective part.

End quote.  Five Proofs was also recently reviewed in the Homiletic and Pastoral Review by theologian Fr. John Cush.  From the review:

Feser’s text… will prove to be a helpful addition to natural theology classes in seminaries and undergraduate classes in the English-speaking world

I cannot stress enough how good it is in its explanations and illustrations and those who teach philosophy will surely find it to be a tremendous resource.  I highly recommend this book to teachers and students and I know that in Five Proofs of the Existence of God I have found a text that I trust for seminarians beginning their study of natural theology.

End quote.  In the July/August 2019 issue of Faith magazine, theologian Christina Read also reviews the book.  From the review:

Edward Feser has written a very useful book on five proofs of the existence of God…

[Feser’s] approach helps make ‘God’ arguments accessible to an audience formed in an agnostic, materialistic/ atheistic worldview, whilst [his] methodology… opens the topic to the lay reader without neglecting a more formal philosophical treatment and the engagement in scholarly debate which pushes forward Feser’s contributions to academic reflection on this topic.

In all this he demonstrates striking explicatory skill, indicative of an effective teacher.

107 comments:

  1. Please include the Aristotelian and Rationalist in your debate with Oppy. These are your most powerful arguments IMO. What do you think?

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  2. I would certainly have to agree with those reviews. It is a fantastic book. I especially liked the historical exegesis of the infamous “What caused God” strawman.

    I have lately been thinking of an argument for the existence of God taken from the division of being into infinite and finite. I know that Francisco Suarez makes this division, but I am not very familiar with his work. Does anyone know of any philosophers who have attempted this approach to arrive at a classical theistic conception of God.

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    1. The line of reasoning would roughly be:

      (Given the PSR) Whatever is finite requires an essential cause at every moment of its existence (something to make it this way rather than that way). Objects of our experience are finite (our field of vision, for example). Therefore, objects of our experience require an essential cause. All essentially ordered causal series’ require a first member. This first member must be absolutely infinite (infinite in every way). Otherwise the relatively infinite cause would still require a cause to make it infinite in one way rather than another (for example, triangularity is infinite in the sense that it can represent the form of an infinite number of triangles, but it is finite in the sense that it is determined to three-sidedness and not four-sidedness). This absolutely infinite cause is called God. From the property of infinitude, we can derive divine simplicity, etc.

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    2. The foreseen advantage of this approach is that finitude is the most readily perceived property. While it takes two data of perception to argue for the existence of change, finitude can be seen from a single datum even in a genuinely unchanging universe. I would love to hear people’s thoughts, and I look forward to hearing the conversation from Dr. Feser.

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    3. Scott please post this on the Classical Theism Forum. I'd love to have a long thread discussion about your argument. You're basically making an argument for a metaphysically simple First Cause via finite reality--like all classical cosmological arguments, except yours seems more direct.

      While other First Cause arguments imply the finitude of beings through compositional distinctions like act-potency, essence-existence, parts-unity, your argument doesn't. This may be seen as advantageous because it excludes the philosophical jargon and cuts right to, as you said, a rather immediate datum of reality.

      However won't you have to eventually enmesh yourself in that same philosophical languange, invoking the classical metaphysical distinctions, in order to establish the divine attributes? One advantage of the AT argument from motion is that it introduces the act-potency distinction at the very beginning and then naturally works its way to a purely actual first mover. And by virtue of being purely actual, certain divine attributes can be readily applied.


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    4. Scott

      You are forgetting something extremely fundamental, something that A-T metephysics cannot handle.

      The problem is with this statement of yours:

      triangularity is infinite in the sense that it can represent the form of an infinite number of triangles, but it is finite in the sense that it is determined to three-sidedness and not four-sidedness).

      Your entire argument is dependent on hyperspace, i.e. the dimensionality of reality.

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    5. RomanJoe,

      Feel free to post it to the forum and reply to this comment with a link do the discussion can continue over there.

      Yes I certainly do not deny that you will eventually have to get to the essence/existence, act/potency, simple/composite distinctions. I believe that you can directly argue for any of the key attributes of God and the rest of His attributes will follow. I also believe that composition is immediately evident to the senses from a single datum. However, there are so many merelogical nihilists out there that the infinite/finite approach might be more beneficial insofar as it can circumvent that.

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    6. Philip Rand,

      What is hyperspace? A brief google search gave me science fiction hits. You say the dimensionality of reality. Are you implying that reality does not have dimensions?

      In any case, my argument does not depend on that. Take any dimensionless object, a point particle like an electron for example. The form of being an electron is in a sense infinite insofar as it can take on an infinite number of different accidents. But it is finite insofar as it is limited to (mostly) emitting and receiving photons and never emitting gluons. Our senses are just a much more direct observation of finitude than say the measurements of a large number of electrons. Even if reality is best expressed mathematically as being without dimension (it isn’t, but let’s just say so for the sake of argument), our perception is still obviously finite insofar as it has an obviously limited scope. I can see where my field of vision ends. I can also see finite gradations of light (red here, blue there, etc.) within my scope of vision. This determination is by definition finite.

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    7. Scott

      On a search engine type: hyperspace triangles.

      Your dimensionless "electron" is smeared across all of space-time.

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    8. I'm speaking from memory here, but I think Norris Clarke discusses a similar argument in his excellent book "The One and the Many". He mentions how the First Cause would have to be infinite, otherwise there would be something like a brute selection for finite attributes, etc.

      Another recommendation would be Joshua Rasmussen's work. Might not be the same thing, but it is related: Rasmussen argues that the necessary being should be infinite because if it were finite, there would be some brute fact about its finite attribute, which would also be arbitrary (for example, if it had a size, why would it have THIS size and not some other?). He uses it as part of the case for stage 2 of the cosmological argument (identifying the necessary being with God), but you could perhaps flip it and argue that every finite being would require an explanation for its particular limits, etc.

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    9. Scott,

      Here's the link to the forum thread:

      http://classicaltheismforum.com/forum/philosophy/1871-scott-s-argument-to-god-via-the-finitude-of-reality

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    10. Atno,

      That is helpful. I will look into that. Yes I know many many people argue for the infinite nature of God in this way. I generally do not see people start out directly from the finite/infinite distinction however.

      RomanJoe,

      I will check out the forum. Thanks for posting it!

      Finally, hyperspace triangles in Google gave me Wookiepedia as the first search result. Can people please remind me of Philip Rand is a troll?

      Philip,

      Please do not troll here if that is what you are doing. If you are genuinely interested, I will try to dissect the argument a little further for you to make it more clear. Also, your understanding of QFT is flawed.

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    11. Scott

      Asyou should all ready know... "your" idea is not new... I have come across it before...

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    12. Scott please stop replying to Philipp. His refusal to formulate his objections in the forum has exposed him to not being interested in a genuine (and sane) discussion. The nonsense about the universal triangularity requiring something like hyperspace is only further evidence.

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    13. Scott

      Really, really read what you have proposed...it amounts to two propositions:

      1/ All essentially ordered causal series require a first member.

      2/ Otherwise the relatively infinite cause would still require a cause to make it infinite in one way rather than another.

      C/ Therefore God


      It sounds and looks like a mess when you summarise "your" hypothesis... doesn't it?

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    14. @Scott

      The link to the discussion is here:

      http://classicaltheismforum.com/forum/philosophy/1871-scott-s-argument-to-god-via-the-finitude-of-reality

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    15. @Phillip Rand

      Lol, dude c'mon.

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    16. RomanJoe

      Scott wishes to use the inverse of a necessary infinite being to explain finite being, right?

      It looks like this:

      x = Infinite Being Principle
      y = Anthropic Principle

      1 = xy

      Granted, such an approach is feasible, however, A-T Metaphysics is not capable of formulating the relationship correctly.

      The closest an Aristotelian analysis will provide is the the conclusion that the determinibility of the creation of the universe is outside the order of the intellect.

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    17. @RomanJoe:

      Phillip Rand is a crank and a kook. Three examples from *this line of discussion alone* started by Scott.

      (1) Scott advances an argument based on the classical, metaphysical distinction between finite and infinite *being*. Phillip, retorts that "Your entire argument is dependent on hyperspace, i.e. the dimensionality of reality." which is a complete misunderstanding of the argument (whether it ultimately works or not). No, the argument is not "dependent" on "the dimensionality of reality", a meaningless expression in itself -- what Phillip probably meant is the dimension of space-time. This is not an objection, this is a complete misreading.

      (2) On Scott's response, he then adds "Your dimensionless "electron" is smeared across all of space-time." This is once again, not even a coherent objection. It also evinces, as Scott points, a fundamental misunderstanding of QM since the system (e.g. an electron) is not to be confused with its state (e.g. usually represented by a section of a vector bundle over space-time, that can indeed be "smeared across all of space-time").

      (3) Then to top it all off, he asks "Scott wishes to use the inverse of a necessary infinite being to explain finite being, right?" How in the name of the Holiest of Holy can Phillip extract *that* from what Scott said? And the anthropic principle the *multiplicative inverse* (his notation) of infinite being? WTF? Because he is a Frankfurtean bullshitter, who does not care one whit about the truth but only in preening and pretending. If wants to bullshit he could at least try harder and say, invoke out of nowhere the hyperreals that contain infinities with inverses.

      Do not feed the cranks, or at list this particular crank. He does not need arguments, he needs prayers, and maybe a padded cell.

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    18. godrigues

      You state:
      Then to top it all off, he asks Scott wishes to use the inverse of a necessary infinite being to explain finite being, right?

      Obviously, godrigues, this must necessarily be the case since Scott has stated:

      the existence of God taken from the division of being into infinite and finite

      My representation takes the form "inversely proportional", which is the ONLY approach possible...

      You appear to be making a mathematical error in thinking that Scott is stating that the relationship is directly proportional... it is pretty clear he is not meaning this...because mathematically it does not make any sense.

      How can a mathematician like you miss this?

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    19. "Obviously, godrigues, this must necessarily be the case since Scott has stated:

      the existence of God taken from the division of being into infinite and finite"

      This had me laughing in stitches! He actually reads "division" has the mathematical operation of division! You can't make this stuff up.

      Well, if any more proof was needed...

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    20. Wow having people get into an exegetical argument over your blog comment when you are still alive and this able to reply is kind of surreal.

      Just to clarify though, it is not the division qua division that necessitates God. The division is just an “analytical” proposition if you want to use Kantian terms. All being is either finite or not-finite (if you accept the Law of Excluded Middle).

      Where the argumentative rubber hits the road is when you unpack what finitude entails (being this way rather than that way) and thus discover that it requires an explanation and therefore a cause. An infinite substance has no determination in the relevant since (it is not as if God is here rather than there) and therefore does not need the same type of explanation (a causal one) that a finite substance requires. The explanation for God can come from unpacking the definition of infinite. Ultimately the proof is similar to all the others (except maybe the Augustinian proof) with the only difference of having a different starting point. And of course, the proof is still a posteriori because we cannot know that anything finite exists without observing it first (since finite objects are not necessary by definition). Of course I would argue that this finitude is immediately observable and self-evident.

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    21. Please continue the discussion on the forum linked.

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    22. Grodrigues swinging in like one of the three musketers.

      Looking back through this blog you've been a huge help in the overlap between philosophy and science/maths.

      You deserve a beer.

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    23. Scott

      You have tabled two fundamental propositions that violate the Thomist Principle of Non-contradiction:

      Proposition 1:
      Finitude requires an explanation and therefore a cause.

      Proposition 2:
      Finitude is immediately observable and self-evident.

      Conclusion: Finitude is a priori and a posteriori at the same time and in the same sense

      As I have stated all ready stated and you have demonstrated; the closest an Aristotelian analysis will provide is the the conclusion that the determinibility of the creation of the universe is outside the order of the intellect.

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    24. Houdini

      A strong criticism, though I can see your point.

      Scott's approach is very confused (a consequence of A-T metaphysics)... he believes his methodology is analytic when obviously it MUST be synthetic... so, stating his method is analytic is nuts...

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    25. Just to be clear (and this is for other bloggers because Philip is no doubt going to read this comment uncharitably as well), the division is analytic or a priori, but the proof is synthetic or a posteriori. The division is just a definition, really. Obviously, per LEM, things are either finite or not finite. I do not believe that that somehow proves God’s existence. In fact it does not even prove that finite things exist. In order to prove that finite things exist, we need to look to our senses, and since one of the premises depends on our senses, the proof is a posteriori. Now this a posteriori datum I would call “self-evident” insofar as it is evident without question upon observation. For example, if I see a red apple in front of me, it is undeniable that I am having a phantasm or perception of a red apple. It may turn out that the apple is green and I simply have defective vision or am wearing red goggles, or it may turn out that the apple does not exist and that I am merely hallucinating. In any case, my perception of the apple being red is something I cannot deny. Once we have the sense data and a proper understanding of the terms, we can make a synthetic or a posteriori proof.

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    26. Scott July 24, 2019 at 1:35 PM
      "I especially liked the historical exegesis of the infamous “What caused God” strawman."
      Why does god exist as opposed to absolutely nothing at all?

      Why does the particular sort of god that exists exist as opposed to any of an unbounded number of gods that have been and could be asserted to exist?

      A reason that religion poisons "everything" is that in some formulations of religion the believer is obliged to claim to have explained the unexplainable, which inevitably leads to convoluted and unsound arguments being asserted which corrode the individual's intellectual integrity and degrade certain aspects of the individual's reasoning capacities.

      For we atheists, "nobody knows" is an acceptable answer since it is the honest answer.

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    27. Stardust,

      Read Dr. Feser’s book and maybe you will find out why those are bad objection.

      Notice how Dr. Oppy is a pretty intelligent and intellectually serious atheist. He read the book and did not bring up any of those objections in a 90 minute discussion.

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    28. Scott
      "Read Dr. Feser’s book and maybe you will find out why those are bad objection."
      Ok, so you cannot counter my objection, therefore my objection stands.

      "Go read a book" is not an argument, rather, an admission that you do not understand the argument and are thus unable to present a rational counter argument.

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    29. Well considering that this blog post is about Five Proofs and all of your objections are rigorously refuted in that book, I made the recommendation.

      It is not my job to give a rigorous presentation of an entire metaphysical world-view and natural theology in the space of a single blog comment. De. Feser spent 300 pages doing an excellent job on that. Dr. Feser and Dr. Oppy spent 90 minutes debating a single premise of one of those arguments.

      So if you refuse to read a book, that demonstrates your intellectual laziness, not my intellectual incompetence.

      You seem to comment here often, but do you even read the posts by Dr. Feser? He has given responses to all of your objections over the space of many posts on top of Five Proofs. If you aren’t willing to do any homework at all, then you are just a troll.

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    30. Scott,
      "it is not my job to give a rigorous presentation of an entire metaphysical world-view and natural theology in the space of a single blog comment."
      So, you do not understand the argument well enough to state it. You are taken in by long tedious chapters of sophisticated sounding words after which you feel like somehow that all made sense.

      But you really do not understand the argument yourself. If you did, you would not need 300 pages to state it. Anybody who understands an argument can state it in a few paragraphs.

      "You seem to comment here often, but do you even read the posts by Dr. Feser?"
      Yes, and I listen to the links, watch the lectures, and I read the first proof chapter in the book, which is my primary interest.

      "He has given responses to all of your objections over the space of many posts on top of Five Proofs."
      Not sound ones. His writing is invariably based on strawmen and faulty reasoning of various sorts.

      In the midwest we call his writing style a "snowjob", meaning a blizzard of sophisticated sounding words with the effect of blanketing his numerous logical errors with a volume of fire (to mix metaphors) that leaves the rational reader wondering how anybody can stand such long and tedious sophistry, but it has the effect of satisfying the confirmation bias of the faithful.

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    31. If that is the case, then you should be able to dissect his responses and find either a false premise or a logical fallacy. Why don’t you do that so we can have a meaningful discussion instead of asking me to rewrite a bunch of stuff that you apparently already know?

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    32. "But you really do not understand the argument yourself. If you did, you would not need 300 pages to state it. Anybody who understands an argument can state it in a few paragraphs."

      This of course is completely false. Here go three examples from mathematics:

      (1) The proof of the Carleson-Hunt theorem clocks in at about 40 or 50 pages in Fremlin's magisterial opus on measure theory.

      (2) The original proof of the Feit-Thompson theorem occupied a whole volume of the journal (whose name I forgot) and clocked in at about 200 pages.

      (3) The Kleiner-Lott reconstruction of Perelman's proof of the Poincaré conjecture is a fat article running at about 400 pages.

      Many, many other examples could be given and even more extreme ones.

      Philosophical arguments, while not as long as the extreme mathematical examples, can also go for several pages and be extremely delicate -- a notable example is Scotus' proof of God's existence, but there are many others.

      The complaint that if an argument is too long than it is a futile exercise in obscurity is the lame excuse of lazy ignorant intellectual cowards.

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    33. Scott,
      "If that is the case, then you should be able to dissect his responses and find either a false premise or a logical fallacy."
      Special pleading.
      There is no explanation available to human kind as to why there is something as opposed to absolutely nothing at all, as evidenced by the lack of publication in general circulation of such an explanation, and in a minor way, your manifest inability to produce such an explanation here.

      To attempt to define god into existence is specious. To say one has defined god to be necessary therefore it is invalid to ask for an explanation for that which is defined as explaining itself and thus not requiring an external or antecedent explanation has the logical force of blurting out "sez you", but the sophisticated sounding language that is used in such assertions satisfies the confirmation bias of the faithful.

      I can just as easily define myself as the necessary being, or 10^100 Plank scale magical causal fairies as the co-necessary beings or an unbounded number of fanciful idle speculations of which your particular definition of necessary being is just one, hence the special pleading fallacy.

      The honest answer is that nobody knows why there is something rather than nothing and inventing an imaginary being only pushes the problem back a step explaining nothing, Feser's specious attempt to define god into existence notwithstanding.

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    34. You know, Stardust, that you can just watch the start of the(pretty good) debate and see Ed explain the Aristotelian proof(the Thomistic one too way later), right? No one needs to explain to you something that you can learn in like, a few clicks.

      If you, like, just knew the argument instead of assuming a priori that it is wrong them you probaly could do like Oppy and seriously engage its premises, instead of producing this stupidity you think works as a refutation. I don't know the tradition very well but i will try to show to you that your objections just reveals ignorance of what the argument says.

      Like, the reason only God can be the Unmoved Mover its because He is completely actual, who have no potencies that need to be actualized by another. Totally contrary to the changing world of becoming that we see and are part. You or a hypotetical fairy clearly have potencies that need actualization, so it seems both aren't really the Mover.

      There's also can't be two or more Gods because you would need something to diferenciate one and another. This would need some caracteristic that one have that other lacks, but if one lacks a caracteristic them it has the potencial to have it, so is not fully actual or not God. This actually is discussed on the debate.

      God also would be necessary because(as is also kinda discussed on the debate) since he is completely actual He needs to be absolute simple, lacking any composition, since this composition would need a thing other that itself to explain how the parts remain together, why these parts and not others exist and because if God is composed He would have the potencial to have It's parts separed, but, since He don't have potencies, this is not the case. The thing is that this non-composition entails that is essence(what He is) and is existence(that He is) are the same, so the concept of the God of classical theism(if the concept is not a self-contradiction) necessary implies that He exist.

      But all of this might sound very, very strange to someone who don't know much about the tradition and i really have more to do with my time that explaining all to you. So if you are really interested in this then i recomend something like the Summa Contra Gentiles. I'am slowly reading it and Aquinas uses more that one hundred pages to explain all the atributes of the Unmoved Mover one by one. He explains in a pretty easy to follow way, so if you understand the tradition(reading a short introduction to scholastic or aristotelian philosophy) you can understand Thomas with little effort.

      That assuming you are interested on all of this. That i shall find out by your response or lack of one.

      If you really care them i say to you to be really humble(none of this arrogant agnostic "no one knows" nonsense) and read a lot. If a dumbass like me can follow most of a debate of that level them i sure you can learn a lot about classical theism!

      If you are not serious them just look at yourself and ask: "I'am being rational with these guys or is some emotional problem of mine attacking?". The answer may take some time, but you can know.

      Anyway, hope this comment helps and sorry about the bad english, i'am a portuguese speaker.

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    35. Talmid

      I am interested to know if the Thomist equates Jesus Christ with the Unmoved Mover?

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    36. You have got to be kidding, right?

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    37. "If you, like, just knew the argument (Aristotelian proof(the Thomistic one too way later))instead of assuming a priori that it is wrong"
      The First Way and Feser's version of it in his first proof chapter is unsound for a variety of reasons I am very well versed in and can explain to you in as much detail as you want.

      But, this thread is primarily about the Fifth Way, the teleological argument. Aquinas begs the question by using "designedly" in his premise and then concluding an intelligent designer.

      Further, in the link of the OP Feser states that "a pattern of efficient causes does not directly imply a mind". Thus, Aquinas commits a non sequitur when he has in his premise the regularities of natural bodies and from that concludes a mind.

      The Fifth Way, then, contains at least 2 logical fallacies, and is thus unsound, Feser's claim that it is sound notwithstanding.

      "He is completely actual, who have no potencies that need to be actualized by another."
      Unintelligible assertion made in sophisticated sounding language.

      The notion of "pure being" or "being itself" or "existence itself" or "pure act" is just an incoherent utterance. It's like saying pure left, or up itself.
      Existence is of a thing. Actuality is of a thing. If there is no thing there is no existence or act.

      "You or a hypotetical fairy clearly have potencies that need actualization, so it seems both aren't really the Mover."
      They have always been moving everything, dontchyaknow? You are not allowed to ask anything further about them because I have defined them to be the necessary beings that explain themselves.

      "(god) lacking any composition"
      How does a god that has no parts know everything and do different things at different locations in space at different times? The assertion of a completely simple god is just more unintelligible speech.

      "(none of this arrogant agnostic "no one knows" nonsense)"
      Admitting ignorance is the antithesis of arrogance. The arrogance is of the religious who claim to have explained the unexplainable. This claim then compels the faithful to make extremely long, convoluted attempts that are so deeply flawed as to corrode your intellectual integrity and aspects of your reasoning capacity.

      "Anyway, hope this comment helps and sorry about the bad english, i'am a portuguese speaker."
      Really, I honestly did not even consider that English is a second language for you. Often, I pick up stylistic and grammatical clues, but I was completely surprised when you said you are a Portuguese speaker. Thank you for taking the time to respond.

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    38. @Stardust,

      Do you think maybe there is a language barrier going on if your native language is Portuguese? I know I would be pretty lost if I read Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange in his original French.

      Perhaps you should try reading some Thomists who are native Portuguese speakers. Maybe then the language will not sound so sophistical. As a native English speaker, Aristotelian language sounds the least sophistical of all of the various philosophies.

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    39. Scott,
      You seem to be mixing up my native language with that of Talmid.

      You also seem to be mixing up "sophisticated" with "sophicstical"

      In any case, such matters are tertiary to the philosophical and rational arguments made.

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    40. Oh my mistake, well then direct the Portuguese comment to Talmid.

      No I mean that if we are going accuse a philosophical jargon of being sophistical, then that charge is least true when applied to Aristotelian logic and philosophy. Act and potency very nearly mirrors our common parlance insofar as Regular Joes talk about things being actually this way or potentially that way. Because Aristotelian philosophy utilizes common sense and consequently common language, I believe the charge of sophistry is very much unwarranted. In fact, because of its grounding in and development of common sense principles, I would argue that the only way to avoid Aristotelian philosophy is to engage in sophistry (or at the very least esotericism). And I believe that language follows philosophy so that a more sophistical philosophy leads to more sophistical language. I believe that this is most evident in symbolic logic and logical atomism.

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    41. @Talmid:

      "Anyway, hope this comment helps and sorry about the bad english, i'am a portuguese speaker."

      Woa, a Portuguese speaker?

      Do Brazil ou Portugal? Ou de um dos países africanos de lingua portuguesa? Eu sou de Portugal.

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    42. (I left the google acount and got back and it seems that i need to enter again to edit, so lets post like that)

      @Grodrigues

      Brasil. Maneiro ver um português num blog de filosofia. Pelas nossas piadas, é surpreendente hahaha.

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    43. Scott:
      "Regular Joes talk about things being actually this way or potentially that way."
      Regular Joes do not speak of pure actuality.

      A thing is actual, as you state. If there is no thing there is nothing to be actual.

      The term "pure actuality" is unintelligible, incoherent, babble.

      Sophistry in its modern dictionary meaning just means using fallacious arguments, especially intentionally.

      I prefer to avoid assertions of intent because they are very difficult to determine within the constraints of a commbox.

      Logical fallacies and other sorts of unsound arguments can at least be rationally discussed at face value without having to guess what the intent behind the arguments is.

      I have recently above detailed:
      Special pleading
      Non sequitur
      Begging the question
      Incoherent assertion

      A-T is sophistry.

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    44. Dusty is the combox' impersonation of the Dunning-Kruger syndrom

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    45. Stardust, you can say "nobody knows" but can you be sure of that? You can say it's an honest answer, but just because you honestly think it is true, that doesn't prove it's true. Is the ultimate answer really unknowable, and how could you know it's unknowable?

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  3. I have to say Ed, I can't think of someone who can explain difficult philosophical topics as well as you. It's a gift!

    I'm definitely turning up for the YouTube chat.

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  4. That's basically the Thomistic argument. In finite beings there is a real distinction between existence and essence. In God - being infinite - there is no such distinction.

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    1. I would argue that you are correct insofar as all divine attributes are only “different” attributes conceptually. Because of our finite and discursive mode of reasoning, we think of various attributes in different ways even if they really are the same thing. I think that the finite/infinite distinction is not explicitly the same as the essence/existence distinction (before unpacking the terms) so it might strike a chord with people who do not find the essence/existence argument convincing.

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  5. Read Aristotle's Revenge first. Whew. That was the hardest book I've ever made it through. My first introduction to A-T philosophy. Now I'm going through Aquinas. Five Proofs is on deck, already in my bag.

    Really cool stuff. Helping me to make sense of a lot of things. Going from a kind of implicit atomism to holism has been an incredible mind flip!

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    1. Haha! You are reading the books out of order!

      I recommend this order:
      Aquinas
      Scholastic Metaphysics
      Aristotle’s Revenge

      Five Proofs is excellent and worth the read, but the way it introduces concepts on the go, it does not really have any prerequisite reading. Philosophy of Mind is good too, but it does not draw as heavily on Scholastic metaphysics, so I wouldn’t say it has prerequisites either.

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    2. Well I know that now! Although thanks for the tip on Scholastic Metaphysics. I'm going to take your advice on that.

      Honestly, I picked up Revenge because I was interested in the chapters on time and space. I did NOT expect to have my mind changed at such a fundamental level, nor did I even anticipate that I would be challenged on those things.

      Very humbling, I have to say. Since I picked up Revenge, I've been doing much more reading, and much less writing!

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    3. Yes well in a country (United States) where you can become a Doctor of Philosophy (21 years of education) without attending a single philosophy lecture, let alone a class, you are in for a lot of surprises. Fortunately they are good reality grounding surprises. It’s like Alice in Wonderland but in reverse.

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    4. >It’s like Alice in Wonderland but in reverse.

      Nice, I like that! A good way to describe my experience so far.

      Do you know of a good forum to ask questions as I go along?

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    5. Sometimes Dr. Feser will have open forum on this blog. That is a good place to ask questions. Chances are if you thought of it, someone else has already asked it. There are lots of classical philosophy forums online (like the Classical Theism forum linked above). I find forums can be distracting at times because there are a lot of trolls that can divert attention from the discussion. Also forum discussions assume a lot of background information, and so if you don’t understand that information, it is easy to get lost.

      Podcasts are helpful like Pints With Aquinas with Matt Fradd and the Classical Theism podcast with John DeRosa (I highly recommend the podcast on first principles with Karlo Broussard as a starter). The Thomistic Institute has much more advanced Thomistic philosophical lectures, but is very helpful (Dr. Feser has given multiple lectures there). Some good blogs that intersect science and Scholastic Philosophy are arcaneknowledge.org run by Daniel Castellano and QuantumThomist.co.uk run by Dr. Nigel Cundy. A great general starting philosophy book is Socratic Logic by Dr. Peter Kreeft. And the great thing is once you get a decent foundation, it is typically easy to go much deeper since the really advanced stuff is free online (for example the works of Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange and St. Thomas Aquinas). From there you will figure the rest out on your own haha!

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    6. Thank you so much. This is really helpful. Haven't had much luck with search engines.

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    7. Scott gives some fantastic recommendations. Though it's not as academically rigorous as Feser's work, David Bentley Hart's The Experience of God is a beautifully written and charming expositon of the classical theistic worldview. Hart is somewhat of a Platonist but he invokes the AT tradition throughout the book. David Oderberg's Real Essentialism is a great book on Aristotelian realism and it's reasonableness in the face of competing realist and nominalist worldviews.

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    8. Real Essentialism is on my reading list, but that price tag...

      I wonder if there is a place you can buy back Philosophy textbooks from philosophy undergraduates or something.

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  6. Lookin forward to your discussion with Oppy, Feser. He's one of the good ones. I suspect he will try to focus on defending a naturalist conception of a First Cause; but he will probably try to question the causal principles/PSR in their applications to the cosmological data to be explained.

    Should be interesting to see.

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  7. Certainly, what Dr. Feser calls the Neo-Platonic and Thomistic proofs are irrefutable, which are the argument that composite beings entail a simple one, or that (in fact a subset of this) that beings which are composites of essence and existence entail a being for which essence is identical to existence.

    I'm not convinced by the Aristotelian though (at least not as a stand-alone). He seems to admit that it doesn't work for a series of causes through time (which he calls linear), but it does work for a hierarchically ordered simultaneous series of causes; however he can't prove that what he terms "causes" aren't in fact merely just sufficient conditions, in which case there is no hierarchical ordering and the argument falls apart. His example of where physical objects are in space certainly doesn't work: consider a universe with only two objects (A and B); object A can determine where object B is, and object B can also determine where object A is (for instance if they both orbit around a common center of mass. True, one can object as to why this is the universe that exists and not another one, but this is no longer the Aristotelian proof, but the rationalist one.

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    1. For the distinction between accidental and essential ordered serieses:

      https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/08/edwards-on-infinite-causal-series.html

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    2. Fewer addresses space and location Aristotles Revenge.

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    3. Yeah, I understand, but the metaphysics aren't the same when it comes to A existing vs. it having accident B. IOW, there's a difference between a metaphysical explanation and a mere contrastive one.

      If object A exists, it is a composite of essence and existence. Neither essence nor existence on their own is sufficient to explain the unity of the two. Some other metaphysical entity must be brought in to do so. And therefore some other object. If it, too is a composite of essence and existence, the problem repeats. Thus, there must be a simple entity for which essence and existence are identical (it is metaphysically self-explaining).

      But if object A is in act with respect to property B (let's say A is hot instead of cold), property B is metaphysically explained by the existence of A; nothing else is necessary. It's true that one can ask why is A hot instead of cold, which is asking for a contrastive explanation, and the answer is because it was just removed from the stove a minute ago. A contrastive explanation (a sufficient condition) is not the same as a metaphysical one (a cause) and thus I conclude Feser's version of the Aristotelian argument fails. That doesn't prove that one can't be successful, but I tried it 1,001 ways and simply not found one that works.





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  8. Thank you for the discussion you had! You did excellent! I appreciate you answering my question about logic. I'd love to see a blog post of you going into the metaphysical details you referenced.

    If you already have one, please just point me towards it.

    Thanks again.

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  9. FYI Q&A video is here: https://youtu.be/XoEGIfrJzEE

    ReplyDelete
  10. The moderator allowed a death penalty question to start things off! Sorry, but that's infuriating. We're listening to a discussion about proofs for God's existence, and some dingbat asks about the death penalty. Incredible.

    What kind of moderator allows that tripe?

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    1. Bill

      To his credit, Cameron Bertuzzi isn't a professional moderator.
      I also think the DP question should not have been allowed, but let's not be to harsh on Cameron. Overall, he's doing a good job.

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    2. Ok, ok. Perhaps I'm being too hard on him. I hope he learns from that.

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    3. By the way, Walter, I tried to reply to your latest post on the other thread, but for some reason, my posts aren't being published---even though I'm told it was published.

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    4. Walter, I asked Ed about the problem. He said that when posts get around 200, they'll still be posted, but you need to click the "load more" option at the bottom of the comments section. It's not the easiest thing to notice but obvious once you look for it.

      Even so, it appears that additional comments can only be added at the bottom and not under the direct thread of the conversation.

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  11. @Philip Rand

    Yes to His God nature, in a way, and not to the human one. But i don't study that much about theology and the Trinity is a mystery(on the catholic meaning) so i don't think i can explain much. Ed and a lot of other catholics wrote on the Trinity already so i recomend to you to take sometime to read really.

    @SP

    Cool to see you seems to know about the tradition. And thanks for your time too.

    I don't really understand the fifth way, so can't help on it.

    "Unintelligible assertion"
    Really? I think that is pretty easy to understand. God is so powerful and energetic that nothing can move Him or make Him more energetic, i guess. You got to remember: God essence is not really a thing we can see or compreend on this life, so things will really sound strange, since all of our knowledgment of Him is indirect.

    "They have always been moving everything"

    Irrelevant. They still clearly are composites and have potencies that need actualization, so need the Unmoved Mover to explain how they exist from moment to moment.

    "How does a god that lacks any parts know everything and do diferent things..."

    If i remember right, He knows is own essence and by that know literally every single way that Being could exist and still fail to imitate Him. This imitations are pretty much everything that do or can exist. All essences or possible worlds.

    God is not on space or in time, so He aren't doing things in diferent times or diferent places. I believe Aquinas uses the example of the hole of a ring, who is "touching" every sides of a ring at the same time, to explain this.

    "Admiting ignorance is the antithesis of arrogance"

    Agreed. But what i see when i think of that is someone saying something like "This i don't understand, but maybe i need to study more". You are saying that everyone is wrong, not just Thomists, who needs WAY more arguments.

    And thanks about the language. Guess is because aristotelian terms are easy for me to understand.

    @Scott

    Aristotelian language actuality is pretty easy to understand. I really need to read more on my language, but english is not a huge problem on philosophy. It also helps to study the language.

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  12. Talmid,
    "Really? I think that is pretty easy to understand. God is so powerful and energetic that nothing can move Him or make Him more energetic, i guess. You got to remember: God essence is not really a thing we can see or compreend on this life,"
    You just contradicted yourself within a couple sentences.

    First you say it is easy to understand, thus not unintelligible. Then you say it is not something we can comprehend, thus unintelligible.

    A-T arguments lead to a point of combining words that do not fit together, such a "pure" and "actuality". The fact that the term "pure actuality" cannot be comprehended in this life is what makes that term unintelligible, incoherent, babble.

    "they still clearly are composites and have potencies that need actualization, so need the Unmoved Mover to explain how they exist from moment to moment."
    Nope, they move each other, no first mover required.

    "God is not on space or in time, so He aren't doing things in diferent times or diferent places."
    Of course he is. He is performing this miracle over here at this time, and then later he performs that miracle over there at that time. God acts through time and god acts across space. To claim he is also not acting over time and space is again unintelligible, incoherent, babble.

    "You are saying that everyone is wrong"
    No, only those who claim to explain the explainable, such as theists typically do including Thomists, are wrong.

    A reason religion poisons "everything" is that it requires the believer to argue for the inarguable, to claim to explain the unexplainable. This leads the believer to make a series of irrational assertions that corrode intellectual honesty and capacity. Poisonous indeed.


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    1. Stardust,

      I would recommend you look at some blog posts or read some articles about the Via Negativa or Negative Theology. It is a doctrine of Thomism that God’s essence cannot be comprehended and that insofar as we say anything about God, we are either making an analogical predication or saying something about what He is not. “Pure Act” is not some esoteric description of God’s nature that only us “enlightened” Thomists understand. Saying God is Pure Act is merely another way of saying that he does not have any potentials that can in principle be actualized. He cannot change etc. He obviously is something, though, because He causes things to exist, change, etc. What exactly that is, we cannot know. However, the reasoning of the proofs for His existence show us that even though we may not be able to know exactly “what” He is, we must admit THAT He is.

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  13. Hi Stardusty! Thanks for taking the time to interact here. These discussions are always interesting. If I may jump in...

    "First you say it is easy to understand, thus not unintelligible. Then you say it is not something we can comprehend, thus unintelligible."

    What is comprehensible and what is incomprehensible are different elements of the discussion. The argument itself is comprehensible, but its implications are only analogically comprehensible. It is similar to a mathematical proof that utilizes some formulation of infinity: the proof is comprehensible, even though infinity is not comprehensible.

    "A-T arguments lead to a point of combining words that do not fit together, such a 'pure' and 'actuality'."

    As you probably know, Thomistic metaphysics regards a thing's being as a composite of actuality and potentiality. It is in this context that the terms "pure" and "actuality" fit together, as you put it. The term "pure" designates that which is not composite. If you really want to add a critique here, you'll need to object to the Aristotelian conception of being in the first place rather than to the use of terms that make perfect sense within that framework.

    "Of course he is. He is performing this miracle over here at this time, and then later he performs that miracle over there at that time. God acts through time and god acts across space."

    The discussion of miracles is a separate matter. One could assert a theistic God who does not perform miracles - in fact, many have. While perhaps less relevant to religion, this shows at least philosophically that such an objection is irrelevant to the matter of God's existence.

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    1. Hertoa1
      "Hi Stardusty! Thanks for taking the time to interact here. "
      You are quite welcome indeed.

      "It is similar to a mathematical proof that utilizes some formulation of infinity: the proof is comprehensible, even though infinity is not comprehensible."
      Yes, in mathematics one starts with axioms and constructs an abstract system that manipulates symbols by axiomatic methods agreed to by convention with no claim to their external existential reality.
      Thus, you have reduced A-T metaphysics to a mere system of symbolic representations with no claim to represent any existential realizations.

      I am interested, however, in arguments for the actual existence of god. In such arguments incoherence is a defeater.

      " If you really want to add a critique here, you'll need to object to the Aristotelian conception of being in the first place "
      I did so by showing that the term "pure actuality" is unintelligible and incoherent and therefore of no value in an argument for any real existent entities.

      "rather than to the use of terms that make perfect sense within that framework."
      One can write mathematical expressions for 57 dimension space, but that does not in any way demonstrate that 57 dimension space is real. You can invent a system in which you can manipulate incoherent assertions such as "pure act" but that in no way demonstrates the existential reality of "pure act".

      "The discussion of miracles is a separate matter. One could assert a theistic God who does not perform miracles".
      The Thomistic god performs the miracles of nudging things along to create the illusion of inertial uniform linear motion and to push material into existence across the entire universe and throughout all time. To then assert god is outside of time and space when he is continually or continuously acting across all of time and space is unintelligible and therefore not a valid aspect of an argument for a real existent god.

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  14. Continued for Stardusty:

    "No, only those who claim to explain the explainable, such as theists typically do including Thomists, are wrong."

    You should not claim epistemological humility while simultaneously making the truth claim "theists are wrong". Own the power of your arguments rather than the supposed superiority of your mental disposition.

    "A reason religion poisons 'everything' is that it requires the believer to argue for the inarguable, to claim to explain the unexplainable."

    Anyone can fall into this trap, not just religious people. Atheists have just as much a vested interest in atheism. From my perspective, atheists can be even worse than theists in this regard, because many deny the existence not only of God but consequently of the most fundamental aspects of our own being and experience.

    Now, to briefly address a couple of points in earlier comments:

    "Aquinas begs the question by using 'designedly' in his premise and then concluding an intelligent designer."

    The teleological argument has nothing to do with intelligent design. It rather has to do with the phenomenon of teleology itself. Even if you deny that nature is inherently teleological (something I think is impossible, but I digress), you cannot deny teleology as incipient to the mind (that is, without capitulating to eliminative materialism and denying the first and most fundamental epistemological reality: that you exist).

    "Nope, they move each other, no first mover required."

    This is an example of an accidentally ordered causal series, that is, ordered according to discreet events occuring in time for which no subject is *essentially* dependent on another. It has nothing to do with an essentially ordered causal series, which is the basis for the Mover argument. A basic illustration of an essentially ordered series is a man pushing a stone with a stick. The stone is moved by the stick, which is moved by the arm, which is moved by the muscles, which are moved by electrochemical impulses triggered by neurons, etc. In this series, which is not temporal but rather instantaneous, it is very clear that there must be a terminating mover or First Cause. You may not call whatever that is God, but we do, and a large part of Thomas's work demonstrates the connection between the Mover, Pure Act, Necessary Being, the various attributes of God, etc.

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    1. Hertoa1 July 29, 2019 at 6:43 AM

      "Anyone can fall into this trap, not just religious people."
      I never claimed atheists are always correct, only that theists who claim to explain the unexplainable are wrong. Nor did I claim "supposed superiority of (my) mental disposition."

      "atheists can be even worse than theists in this regard, because many deny the existence not only of God but consequently of the most fundamental aspects of our own being and experience."
      I don't know of any atheists that claim to be able to prove that god does not exist, only that all generally published attempts to argue for the existence of god fail, and that god is unnecessary.

      "The teleological argument has nothing to do with intelligent design."
      Aquinas raises both intelligence and design in the Fifth Way, the teleological argument. Maybe you have some other teleological argument but the T in A-T argues from intelligence and design.
      http://iteadthomam.blogspot.com/2011/03/fifth-way-in-syllogistic-form.html

      "This is an example of an accidentally ordered causal series, that is, ordered according to discreet events occurring in time for which no subject is *essentially* dependent on another. "
      That distinction, between per se and per accidens turns out to fail under close examination. All causality occurs in the present moment (the limit of delta t as as delta t approaches zero), is mutual, and a temporal process.

      The notion of a "discreet event" breaks down because what is considered as a single event is really the integrated mutual causality over some finite amount of time.

      The notions of an "essentially dependent" causality also breaks down because it treats an ongoing temporal process as having a cause and an effect such that if the causal process were ended the effect process would end.

      "It has nothing to do with an essentially ordered causal series, which is the basis for the Mover argument."
      The first mover argument is stated in the First Way. The teleological argument is stated in the Fifth Way, which does not argue for a first mover based on the (erroneous) notion of an essentially ordered series, rather uses begging the question and non-sequitur to argue for "some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end"

      " A basic illustration of an essentially ordered series is a man pushing a stone with a stick. The stone is moved by the stick, which is moved by the arm, which is moved by the muscles, which are moved by electrochemical impulses triggered by neurons, etc. In this series, which is not temporal but rather instantaneous, "
      You are presenting a classic argument in support of the First way, not the Fifth Way.

      Irrespective, your assertion that the stone, stick, arm, muscle, neurons, etc. regression analysis is "not temporal but rather instantaneous" is clearly and demonstrably incorrect. Time is required at each phase of the sequence and time is required for the ongoing process of muscle contraction and stone movement. Further, the term "etc." shows that you did not go back far enough in your regression analysis to reach a realistic conclusion, if you did, you would realize that the neurons have been firing in succession for a long time. Further, if you wish to go "down", as it were, you will find that mutual attractions and repulsions terminate the series without calling for an infinite regression, even if we discount the manifestly temporal nature of any real physical causal process.

      Scotus realized that denial of circular causality was critical to a first cause argument for god. Scotus was wrong, circular causality is not only possible, it is how causality proceeds at base, thus the first cause argument fails in that respect as well.

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  15. People arrived first, so lets just say a few things.

    @Stardust

    "First you say it us easy too understand..."

    Okay, i kinda screw up on the writing. What i mean to say is that the concept of pure act is pretty easy to understand: Is just the state(don't know if it is the right word) of having no potencies to be actualized, of not change like us. I say it is unintelligible on the sense we, as creatures full of potencies, can't really imagine how really is like to be like that way. If you try to use your imagination to try to understand He would look pretty inert or dead, but thats exactly the opposite of what the concept means. So the concept is easy do pick up when we keep it at the intelect, but it is pretty bizarre when the imagination tries to make sense of it by using our point of view.

    "Nope, they just move each other"

    They can do that, is just that they are composites, so need something else to explain how their parts are together and why they have these parts and not others. They also are composed of potency and act, so need something else to explain were the power they have to change things come from. They also are composed of essence and existence, so need something else to explain what keep these two together. They also are contigent, so need something else to explain why they exist at all.

    They being eternal would at best save them from the Kalam argument, not from some others like these.

    "Of course he is. He is performing this miracle over here..."

    That's the thing: there is no "now" or "future" or "here" or "there" to Him. We can't really imagine how it is like to be like that, but the concept makes sense to me, even if my imagination can't conceive of it.

    Scott is right that you should take a look at the Via Negativa and the Thomas doctrine of analogy. We can only really know God by Is acts and not by nature, but this still helps us understand that He is not like us or other parts of creation.

    "No, only these who claim to explain the inexplainable"

    Who is pretty much everyone who disagrees with you my friend. Is still a position who needs argumentation.

    Also, this not really have much to do with religion. Aristotle was just a theist and i suppose several people here are too.

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    1. Hi Talmid
      July 29, 2019 at 7:38 PM
      "So the concept is easy do pick up when we keep it at the intelect, but it is pretty bizarre when the imagination tries to make sense of it by using our point of view."
      Ok, that confirms my assertion then, that "pure act" is existentially unintelligible, and just a combination of disjoint terms that don't fit together for a meaningful description of any real existent thing.

      "They can do that, is just that they are composites, so need something else to explain how their parts are together and why they have these parts and not others. They also are composed of potency and act, so need something else to explain were the power they have to change things come from."
      Nobody has ever published any sound explanations for the ultimate "why" questions.

      I am not here to tell you that I have solved what no other human being has ever solved and published generally, I am here to tell you that you have not solved it, Feser has not solved it, Aquinas did not solve it, and no philosopher who has ever written on the subject has ever solved it.

      We atheists are just honest about this by saying nobody knows. It is theists who claim to have solved what has not and likely cannot be solved. That is a fundamentally intellectually dishonest claim that corrodes the intellectual integrity and degrades segments of reasoning capacity by compelling the believer to assert he has done what cannot humanly be done, and then assert a whole series of convoluted falsehoods in a vain attempt to support the unsupportable. Poisonous indeed.

      "That's the thing: there is no "now" or "future" or "here" or "there" to Him. We can't really imagine how it is like to be like that, but the concept makes sense to me, even if my imagination can't conceive of it."
      So, you realize the thing you believe is inconceivable yet you persist in believing it and those of like mind even claim these incoherent assertions are somehow "proofs" that the unintelligible is real.

      "Also, this not really have much to do with religion. Aristotle was just a theist and i suppose several people here are too."
      Aquinas was made a saint by the RCC. His five ways did not argue from scripture, rather, were quasi scientific in approach, arguing from what is manifest and evident to our senses. Religions vary, of course, but at base on the existence of god most come back to arguments such as those of Aquinas and others, which claim to solve what no human being has solved and published generally, and thus corrode intellectual integrity and reasoning capacity.

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  16. Dear Dr. Feser,

    I've just recently devoured your "Five Proofs" book, and I am currently going through the "Last Superstition". I must say I hadn't read before anything so refreshing and accessible on natural theology and metaphysics, and I've read a lot (if I must say so). I would like to adress you one little side-question on the Aristotelian argument, or rather on one of the examples used to illustrate it. It is about the analysis of change/motion in living beings.

    When addressing the objection that animals "actually move themselves", you comment that this is not in fact accurate, because "what this always amounts to is really just one part of the animal being changed by another part" (I'm quoting "The Last Superstion", p. 55): '"The dog 'moves itself' across the room, but only insofar as the potential motion of the legs of the dog is actualized by the flexing of the leg muscles, and their potential to be flexed is actualized by the firing of the motor neurons, and the potential of the motor neurons to fire is actualized by other neurons, and so on and so forth".

    My question would be: how would this "and so on and so forth" continue? Because it seems at first glance that one would be led to something like a first neuron (or group of neurons) in the animal that begins the firing, but what would then actualize that first neuron's potential to fire? Wouldn't we be forced to accept, then, somewhat of a cause external to the animal that is firing that firts neuron's potential? But wouldn't that throw out the window the whole idea that, somehow, animals move themselves, that they have spontaneous movement?

    If you or anyone of your readers can answer my questions, I'd be extremely grateful. Thanks for your work!

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  17. @Anonymous

    Hi! I had a similar question when I began studying metaphysics. As Ed seldom enters the combox (and then only briefly) I'll give your question a shot.

    I believe the answer is in proximate and ultimate causality. It is true that animals can self-move (proximate cause) but the ultimate ground for their movement is God. An analogy I like to use is a driver in an electric car. The driver turns, accelerates, slows, stops and parks a car, but the electricity enables the car to move. The analogy is imperfect of course because the driver is not dependent on electricity, but God provides the "fuel" for all movement, including the functioning of an animal's mind. God is thus the ultimate ground for all movement, though the creature is the proximate ground for what it does.

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  18. Anon,
    "If you or anyone of your readers can answer my questions, I'd be extremely grateful."
    To begin to answer, you have struck a key failing typical of A-T arguments, that they go a few steps, then just say " "and so on and so forth". Aquinas modeled this simplistic and superficial and fallaciously incomplete form or argument in the First Way using the sentence "But this cannot go on to infinity," without actually attempting a large number of steps such that a finite series could be reasonably considered to have been exhaustively ruled out.

    A-T arguments are typically the antithesis of exhaustive, rather, they go a few steps and then jump ad hoc to god.

    Animals do move themselves, clearly. A-T has the rather ill defined distinction between per se and an per accidens notions of causality, both of which are at odds with contemporary understating of causality,

    At base, causality is a mutual temporal process that occurs in the limit as t goes to zero, the present moment. The distinction between cause and effect in relating one object to another is both arbitrary and a simplification of the underlying mutually causal processes.

    An animal moves itself, depending on the level of analysis you wish to consider, either due primarily to the mutual electrostatic attractions and repulsions of molecules, or due to self contained temporal electrochemical processes.

    So, to follow Feser's steps of nerve actions we find a temporal sequence, not a hierarchical series, because nerve signals are preceded by other nerve signals which are preceded by other nerve signals going back to the time when the organism first developed nerves, clearly a temporal regression that exposes how baseless A-T hierarchical arguments are.

    Bill has kindly offered some words for you, but they only demonstrate my point, that the A-T proponent goes perhaps a few steps and then just jumps ad hoc to god.

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  19. "Ok, that confirms my assertion them,"

    Lets try again: Pure Act = The One who has no potencies at all but is completely actual.

    Is that really a hard concept?

    "Nobody has ever published any sound explanation for the ultimate "why" question."

    See how arrogant you are right now? I showed why your parody don't really work at all and you just change the subject and start question begging.

    Buddy, is clear that this empirical, changing world that we see and are part of can't explain itself, you like it or not. If you think otherwise you can just do like Oppy and try to show why these little arguments i gave to you are wrong and that beings who are composite, a mixture of essence and existence and not pure actual don't need anything outside themselves to exist.

    Also, if you know nothing about the deeper reality, why you call yourself a atheist? Just use agnostic, my friend. It suits your point of view way more.

    "So, you realize the thing you believe is inconceivable yet you persist in believe it"

    Right now? Yep. Just like someone who is born blind can't really conceive of how red is but knows that red exists. Really, read this and them look for more writings on the subject if you are interested: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apophatic_theology

    Sure we can't understand God like we do with a rock, but we can know that what we see is not capable of explaining itself and what the Explanation is not. This teaches us alot, even if not in a univocal way.

    "Aquinas"

    Thomas is just one in a enourmous philosophical tradition who has theists, muslims, catholics, jews, pentecostals etc.

    And i hardly would call metaphysical arguments "quasi scientific", even if both start with the senses on this case. Is like apples and oranges.

    Anyway, be a bit more humble, my friend. Like Socrates, you say that you don't know anything, but he was not a guy who just rejected every answer a priori.

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  20. Talmid August 5, 2019 at 3:58 PM
    "Lets try again: Pure Act = The One who has no potencies at all but is completely actual.

    Is that really a hard concept?"
    I don't see that as a concept at all, rather, a combination of words that for a real existent being is inconceivable, unintelligible, and incoherent.

    A being with no potentials that acts over here at one time and then over there at another time? Sorry, no, I do not see even the slightest rationality in such an assertion.

    Pure act? Pure being? That is like saying pure left, or pure volume. Being is of a thing, not a pure quality absent a thing.

    "Buddy, is clear that this empirical, changing world that we see and are part of can't explain itself"
    An explanation is in terms of something else. So how could there be an explanation for all that exists? By definition, there is nothing outside of all that exists, so how could we explain all that exists when there is nothing outside of all that exists to serve as an explanation?

    What explains why there is a god as opposed to absolutely nothing at all? Why is god necessary as opposed to there being no necessary being at all?

    Nobody has ever published generally any sound explanations for these ultimate "why" questions, and given that the greatest minds throughout recorded history have tried, it seems likely that either no such explanations are even possible or human beings are just hopelessly inadequate to the task.

    "And i hardly would call metaphysical arguments "quasi scientific","
    I called the Five Ways of Aquinas quasi scientific because they argue from what is manifest and evident to the senses, words from the first lines of the First Way that ground the reasoning of Aquinas in what can be observed with our senses and how we can reason further from our sense perceptions. Science also uses reasoning applied to sense perception.

    "he was not a guy who just rejected every answer a priori."
    What makes you think I reject every answer a priori? Notions such as "pure act", "being itself", "completely simple", and "no potentials" simply lack any intelligibility or coherence when applied to a supposed real existent being that acts across the whole universe of space and time.

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  21. @SP

    "I don't see it as a concept at all"

    I understand what the concept means and several other people too. Seeing that you insist on this "acts over here now etc" it seems to me you are trying to imagine a type of material being or something that can't change in any way, this would really be kinda incoerent.

    "A explanation is in terms of something else."

    Yes to contigent things. Why God is diferent? Lets try to explain.

    Well, using, say, the argument from essence and existence we can know that God essence(what He is) and is existence(that He is) are the same, so Is concept necessary implies is existence. Kinda like a ontological argument, He can't fall to exist at all.

    That would be why God is necessary and this world is not. Arguments like the Aristotelian Proof and the Neo-Platonic Proof(the composition one) would imply this conclusion too.

    "I called Aquinas Five Ways of Aquinas Quasi Scientific"

    But don't, like, almost every argument begins with our sense perceptions? Except in formal sciencies like mathematics or logic, it seems so.

    Quasi scientifc to me would be something that has similar methods to the sciencies but don't gets presented like that(them it would probably be a pseudoscience). Metaphysical arguments are pretty diferent, even if Thomas style is more empirical.

    "What makes you think i reject every answer a priori?"

    I mean, you said several times that no one has figured this out when your arguments would at best prove thomists wrong. You need to make more modest claims.

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  22. Talmid
    "I understand what the concept means and several other people too"
    I don't think so. I think you and others have convinced yourselves that combining disjoint words into incoherent terms somehow makes sense.

    "Pure act", "being itself", "existence itself" and "existent immaterial" are examples of incoherent terms that many people claim to understand but cannot soundly explain or justify or defend under closer examination.

    "Seeing that you insist on this "acts over here now etc" it seems to me you are trying to imagine a type of material being or something that can't change in any way, this would really be kinda incoerent. "
    I am describing the Thomistic god. God is said to be the unmoved mover at the base of every motion. God is the act, the actualizer, the actor, at the base of every motion in the universe at every moment, it is claimed.

    Clearly then, god acts in a vast number of different places, all the different places in the entire universe where there is motion, there god is acting as the first mover.

    Since god is asserted to be the first actualizer for all motions in the universe it must be the case that he has always been acting throughout all time and throughout all space.

    Since god acts across all space and all time, vast different places and times, the further assertions that god is outside of space, outside of time, completely simple, and completely devoid of potentials are all inconceivable, unintelligible, and incoherent. Plainly, the combination of all these asserted qualities is just so much nonsense.

    "God essence(what He is) and is existence(that He is) are the same"
    Another unintelligible assertion. Completely meaningless.

    Theistic philosophers invent incoherent terms when they get stuck, that is inherent to the process of theistic philosophy.

    If your reasoning leads you to call for purple upness then your reasoning has led you to utter gibberish, but that is what all theistic philosophers I have ever encountered do.

    Theistic philosophers engage in various sorts of analysis, which is wonderful, until they get stuck on a hard problem. Rather than stating honestly "I don't know and nobody I have ever read has ever solved this problem" the theistic philosopher instead chooses to combine disjoint words in ways that superficially seem to solve a problem, but in fact these combinational terms are simply gibberish, but wrapped up in sophisticated sounding jargon that gives the credulous believer a false sense of having answered the unanswerable, having solved the unsolvable, having explained the unexplainable.

    This insidious corrosion of intellectual honesty is a reason that theism poisons "everything".


    ReplyDelete
  23. @SP

    This seems to be getting repetitive.
    You insist on not interacting with my arguments about why this empirical world can't explain itself and what these arguments say the Explanation is not. Even if we can only compreend God in a analogical way, we can easy know that He is.

    Your argument is still like the blind man that insist that red(the qualia one) do not exist because no one can explain much about it to him. Try to explain red to someone like that and you probably will understand why your argument is not really a problem.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Talmid,
    "@SP This seems to be getting repetitive."
    Yes, you have repeatedly employed a variety of terms that are either incoherent in themselves, or incompatible with each other. I repeatedly point out such incoherencies and incompatibilities in your arguments.

    "You insist on not interacting with my arguments about why this empirical world can't explain itself"
    You simply do not recognize the interaction. Perhaps it just doesn't register with you somehow, dunno.

    I have gone into some fair amount of detail as to how your speculated god does not explain itself either, and that manifestly nobody has explanations for the ultimate "why" questions. You simply have not recognized those interactions of mine.

    " we can easy know that He is."
    How do you "know" that god exists? All arguments for the existence of god generally in publication fail immediately and obviously. I can quickly dismantle any argument for the existence of god, it isn't even difficult. There are not all that many such arguments in published circulation and their failures have all been decisively identified already.

    "Your argument is still like the blind man that insist that red(the qualia one) do not exist because no one can explain much about it to him. "
    Qualia do not exist. Qualia are processes of existent material. A more illustrative example is the color yellow.

    We perceive color as an additional computational factor mapped onto each visual pixel by our brain processing of signals from light sensitive nerve cells in our eyes. We each have 3 sorts of color receptor cells with peak sensitivities at wavelengths we call red, blue, and green. Each sensitivity curve looks somewhat like a bell curve and the sensitivity ends overlap.

    So, suppose monochromatic electromagnetic radiation, a pure spectral color of light, with a wavelength of 575nm enters your eye. You will perceive yellow.

    Now, suppose instead that 2 wavelengths of light enter your eye, 540nm and 670nm enters your eye. you will also perceive yellow.

    Therefore, clearly, there is no such thing as "yellow" as a real existent object in the universe. Yellow is simply a brain process that can be experienced the same even though the spectral content of the light entering the eye is very different in different instances.

    "Try to explain red to someone"
    My explanation to a blind person is that there are additional experiences that some people experience but others do not experience. There is no real existent object in the universe that is the experience itself. Each experience is a brain process applied to nerve signals that result from stimulation by incoming material, such as electromagnetic radiation or molecular kinetic energy.

    Terms like "existence itself", "pure act", and "his essence is his existence" are simply disjoint words jammed together to form incoherent utterances. The assertion that god is the first mover for all motions in the universe make further assertions that god is "completely simple" and "has no potentials" and "god is outside of space and time" also incoherent.

    The explanation of the experience of color has no analogy to the incoherencies intrinsic to A-T philosophy.

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  25. @SP

    "You simple do not recognize the interaction."

    Always a option.

    "How do you "know" that god exists?"

    By arguments and revelation. Personal experience works to me too but this is not useful here.

    So, you say the arguments fall easily. Shall we test this afirmation? Show me where the simplicity argument fails. I have already give a simple(the best word i found) version of it, like, two times here.

    If you are right, you can easily reread it on earlier comments or watch Feser give it on the debate(is more close to the end) them go back here and crush the argument. I wait.

    "Qualia do not exist"

    I don't know. I seeing several colors right now, feeling several things, hearing several noises etc. Aren't you having experiences too? Are you actually a robot and this is like a Turing test?

    You go on to talk about physical processes when i'am talking about experiences...

    A blind person can learn all you have writed, but can't know how is seeing red like(remember the Frank Jackson argument?), so in theory this person could just accept the scientific part and deny the qualia part. In fact, there is people that can see and still deny qualia!

    Serious. You did not explain a thing. All you did was write about a physical process that can easily be explained even if you do not say a word about qualia while denying that qualia really exist. Are you a explicit eliminativist or only a implicit?

    But if blind persons don't see color and no one can really explain what it really is why do they believe that color is a real thing? Because pretty much everything points to it, even if they can't experience or perfect explain it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Talmid,
      "Show me where the simplicity argument fails"
      Simplicity fails in conjunction with the many other traits also attributed to this same being. You can speculate that out there someplace there is some perfectly simple, static, inactive something. To speculate a completely simple being that has knowledge, or acts in different ways in different places at different times is incoherent.

      How does this being know so many different things yet there is no differentiation within this being at all? The assertion of simplicity together with knowledge is unintelligible.

      How is this being the first actor for all different motions at all different places at all different times yet this being is somehow absent any parts? Again, the assertion of simplicity together with first mover or first cause or first actor is unintelligible.

      "You go on to talk about physical processes when i'am talking about experiences"
      Experiences are physical processes, not existent things, rather, processes of existent things.

      "in theory this (blind) person could just accept the scientific part and deny the qualia part."
      Yes, without further evidence that would be reasonable, but there is further evidence, because a blind person experiences qualia as well. I have many sorts of experiences, so if somebody describes an experience that I have not experienced that is a reasonably believable assertion because that other experience is a variation on a known process with a known physical explanation, and thus does not require the invention of idle speculations of unevidenced stuff, such as god.

      " why do they believe that color is a real thing?"
      Color is not a real thing. There is no object called "red" floating about in the aether. Color, any particular color, is an experience, which is a brain process, a series of changes in arrangements of material.

      All generally published arguments for the existence of god fail variously because they contain logical fallacies, unsound premises, and incoherent assertion terms.

      For example, the Fifth Way of Aquinas suffers from begging the question and non-sequitur fallacies. Assertions that god is "existence itself" or "pure act" are incoherent as individual terms. The assertion that god "has no potentials" is unintelligible in combination with his further asserted properties of being the first mover and first cause moment to moment throughout all space and time.

      Delete
  26. (I had a bigger response but lost it, so i be quick)

    @SP

    You won't try do engage the argument? Do you agree them that composites can't explain themselves?

    "How does he does..."

    The motion and place one was already used here. The ring analogy and all.

    He knows Itself perfectly so knows every way being could fail to imitate Him. A virtual knowledgment.

    The change one can be explained by this analogy: I publish a cool book and go enjoy the woods with no technology. The book is a sucess and several people know me, but i'am still on the woods so i do not get changed at all by that.

    "Color do not exist"

    Nay, qualia is definity real. You just have this hidden premise that say: "What is not material do not exist". Not a thing for a metaphysical agnostic.

    And your argument for the blind person to believe in the existence of color qualia fails because science do not necessary implies qualia. Ask a eliminativist and he wil say to you that science can work better if we forget about this sort of thing.

    The blind person them could just say that color looks like something out of quantum mysticism: a totally strange experience that no one can explain and that is not necessary implied by the scientific evidence.

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  27. Talmid,
    Sorry you lost your big response, I know that can be annoying after you put in the work. You might try working and saving in Notepad, then turn off word wrap before you copy and paste.

    "You won't try do engage the argument? Do you agree them that composites can't explain themselves?"
    There is no explanation for the ultimate why questions because an explanation is in terms of something else, and there is nothing outside of all that exists to serve as an explanatory reference.

    If there must be a brute fact, be it the existence of god as opposed to nothing at all, the existence of a perfectly simple homogeneous soup, or the existence of complex material these are all brute facts just the same, with no explanation available in themselves or outside of themselves.

    You and I might wish for or long for or yearn for an explanation but that is our tough luck.

    What we do have, however, is our sense experience and our reasoning, both of which support real existent material as the only known sort of existence there is. Your speculations of immaterial metaphysics are just so much ad hoc imaginations, most of it incoherent and self contradictory and logically invalid when critically analyzed.

    I have engaged on your subjects, you simply do not recognize that engagement.

    "The ring analogy and all."
    The ring analogy does not work. Touching one point on a ring does not touch the whole ring, it touches one point on the surface of the ring.

    The analogy of the surface of a ring, or surface of a sphere as an unbounded but finite structure does not work for the universe as a whole because the surface of a sphere or ring requires an additional dimension in which the object is both bounded and finite. So the universe would need an additional dimension which would be bounded getting us right back to the problem of an actually infinite universe, or anything else that is really existent, god being no exception to the problem, your speculations about god solving the problem being nothing more than ad hoc speculative special pleading.

    Further, touching one point on a ring is just that, touching one point at one time. God is said to touch a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion different points at an unbounded number of different times in his supposed role of first mover for all motion in the universe. Very obviously, that requires a vastly differentiated being with vast numbers of potentials, making the assertion of his divine simplicity and pure act incoherent sophistry.

    "He knows Itself perfectly so knows every way being could fail to imitate Him. A virtual knowledgment."
    If god is perfectly simple then there are no parts, no differing segments. The notion of knowledge in such a being is utterly incoherent. Knowledge requires differentiation. Information is stored in differentiated entities. If all one has is an amorphous homogeneous soup or jello or pudding there is nothing to support or contain or hold or in any way have knowledge.

    A perfectly simple god that has knowledge is unintelligible, inconceivable, and incoherent.

    "qualia is definity real"
    Real what? A real existent object? Where? Made of what? Qualia are not existent things. Qualia are identifiable processes of things. When real existent things change in certain sorts of pattern sequences we identify those pattern sequences of material change as qualia processes, experiences.

    I showed you how divine simplicity fails, as requested. Like all generally published arguments for god, divine simplicity suffers from one or more fatal defects such as logical fallacies, unsound premises, and incoherent assertions.

    Divine simplicity in combination with divine knowledge or divine universal first mover is an incoherent assertion.

    ReplyDelete
  28. >SP

    I'am on my cellphone, so i don't know if i could do that, if i remember your tip tomorrow i go look if this is viable.

    "There is no explanation for the ultimate why question because an explanation is in terms of something else, and there is nothing outside of all that exists to serve as a explanatory evidence."

    Two important premises in that:

    1. Everything that exists is composite

    The only way your point about nothing existing outside of what exists have anything to do with the subject is if you think in something like this. Again too much for a metaphysical agnostic.

    2. A thing can't be is own explanation

    Question begging. I already defended that God is Is Own explanation.

    The point still stands: If the things we see can't explain themselves them they need a explanation. We can, knowing why do things need explanations, know what this explanation is not. By doing that we get at... the God of classical theism.

    "The ring analogy does not work".

    Nay, i guess it works well. The center of the ring "touches" every part of the ring at the same time. Since God is outside time, this looks good to me.

    "If god is perfectly simple then there are no parts no differing segments."

    Yep. Knowledgment of other things in His selfknowledgment is like(analogy again) the other colors in white. You have really only white(remember, a analogy and not a physics class) but virtualy have other colors too.

    You must remember this is all ilustrations. We can't know exactly how He is, but we can look at the world and see that we need He that is totally diferent from creation. Via Negativa.

    If you think there's something wrong, just show me this world can explain itself like Oppy tried. Complain that you can't understand God is just a waste of time, since we already expect that.

    "Real what?"

    A real part of my perception, i guess?
    Read real in this like a real dream or hallucination, definity not a physical object, but is real since it can afect us. Unless you don't have qualia, them you could deny that qualia afect us.

    Also, if your problem is with divine simplicity, what is your take on a Craig or a Plantinga? The Kalam Cosmological Argument, for example, do not need necessary a simple God but looks sound to me.

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  29. Talmid,
    Ok, working from a cellphone is more difficult. Thanks for taking the time and effort. Maybe your phone has a notepad or note taking function you could work in. Just a thought if that is more reliable. Another tip is to copy the whole work to your clipboard before posting or wherever you sometimes experience wipeouts, then just paste in case of a wipeout.

    "Two important premises in that:1. Everything that exists is composite"
    Composite or not, doesn't matter. There simply is nothing outside of the total set of all that exists to serve as an explanatory reference for the existence of all that exists as opposed nothing at all existing.

    "2. A thing can't be is own explanation. Question begging. I already defended that God is Is Own explanation."
    Defining X to be incoherent does not make X coherent. Your definition of god is incoherent and therefore of no value.

    What would that even mean, that X explains itself? One thing is explained in terms of another thing. If there is no other thing available then there is no explanation available. "Explains itself" is just another incoherent term like "existence itself" or "pure act". These are terms made of disjoint words that theists commonly combine into incoherent terms.

    "The center of the ring "touches" every part of the ring at the same time."
    The center of the ring does not touch the ring at all. If I put the ring on my finger I touch much of the inside surface of the ring because I am a composite and extended being and each little bit of me touches different parts of the ring and does different things to the ring at different times and at different places. That is what god is said to do as first mover, making god a composite being with potentials.

    "You have really only white(remember, a analogy and not a physics class) but virtually have other colors too."
    The analogy does not even begin to work. White is an experience when enough wavelengths enter the eye to stimulate the 3 sorts of color light sensitive receptors about equally.

    Knowledge requires differentiation. The assertion of a being with knowledge that has no parts is incoherent.

    "what is your take on a Craig or a Plantinga?"
    They take sophistry to high levels of pretension by masking their irrational assertions amid volumes of sophisticated sounding jargon that succeeds in peddling bad arguments to millions of credulous believers.

    The Kalam is an incredibly bad argument.
    Whatever begins to exist has a cause; (ad hoc, we have no observation of material beginning to exist)

    The universe began to exist; (ad hoc, nobody knows how or why the big bang occurred or that it was a beginning of material at all. All available evidence is that material is eternal since it cannot be created or destroyed)

    Therefore: The universe has a cause. (since both premises are unsupported the conclusion is idle speculation)

    If the universe has a cause, then an uncaused (ad hoc), personal Creator of the universe exists (ad hoc) who sans the universe is beginningless (ad hoc), changeless (incoherent), immaterial (incoherent), timeless (incoherent), spaceless (incoherent), and enormously powerful (ad hoc);

    Therefore, An uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists, who sans the universe is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless and infinitely powerful.
    (ad hoc, non sequitur, against evidence, incoherent)

    Like I said, the Kalam is an incredibly bad argument, but this is an A-T forum and the topic of the thread is the book 5 Proofs so I suggest we focus on A-T arguments, not the Kalam, which is a temporal argument.

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  30. Santi writes:

    All available evidence is that material is eternal since it cannot be created or destroyed)

    In closed systems. The conservation principle does not apply in open systems.

    ReplyDelete
  31. >@SP

    Thanks for the tips. I need to check them later.

    "Composite or not, doesn't matter.

    I say it does. What is composite can't explain itself while what is perfect simple can. You can say(like you do) that there's nothing simple, but not that it does not matter.

    "Defining X to be incoherent does not make X coherent.

    Agree.

    Can you give a argument for "a thing is explained in terms of another thing"? You continues to say the same thing, but i disagree, so you will need a bit more.

    Also, do you see reality them as a brute fact?

    "The center of the ring does not touch the ring at all.

    Agree, as the "" in touched make obvious. Is just a analogy.

    And why must God touch things in diferent places or times? Can't find a issue on the ancient "outside time and space" model.

    "The analogy does not even begin to work."

    You are taking the analogys too serious. The point is that really only white exist but all the other colors are in it. If white exists or not is not important, only what looks to be the case so you can understand my point.

    God knows Is nature only and by that knows what He is not. The second knowledgment is in the first.

    See it like(analogy) this: I know that every man is mortal and that Socrates is a man. After sometime i realize this means that he is mortal. I only realized it after sometime, but i knew it all along since this conclusion was virtually on what i knew.

    About the Kalam, yeah, is for another discussion. But seeing you interacting with it was interesting, even if strange.

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  32. Talmid,
    "What is composite can't explain itself while what is perfect simple can."
    Ad hoc, incoherent, non-sequitur.
    Why does something simple exist as opposed to absolutely nothing at all?
    How can a simple thing be actually past eternal?

    A simple thing has no more explanation for itself than a composite thing. Your assertion is utterly baseless.

    If 1 simple thing can explain itself why not 2 simple things explaining themselves, or a trillion trillion? Taken as a whole all these simple things explaining themselves gives us a composite that explains itself because all the simple things in it explain themselves.

    This is all simply unintelligible.

    "Can you give a argument for "a thing is explained in terms of another thing"?"
    That's what it means to explain something. Meaning and explanation are by comparing things, the relationships between things.

    Colloquially people sometimes say that a statement is self evident, but it never strictly is. Self explanatory just means that the explanation is obvious to most people without being told by another person.

    "And why must God touch things in different places or times? "
    That is what it means in A-T to be the first mover. The first mover is said to be the base actor, the base actualizer, the base cause, the first mover for every motion in the universe. But different things are moving in different ways at different times and different places throughout the universe, so god must then be acting in different ways in different places at different times, else god is not the first mover.

    "Can't find a issue on the ancient "outside time and space" model. "
    That model is completely incoherent in conjunction with the first mover assertion. God must be acting across space and through time to be the first mover.

    "God knows Is nature only and by that knows what He is not. The second knowledgment is in the first."
    Knowledge is incompatible with simplicity. God cannot be without parts and also have knowledge. Knowledge requires differentiation. How does information supposedly work in a complete uniform entity? Knowledge and simplicity are just another incoherent combination of asserted traits.

    ReplyDelete
  33. @SP

    "Why does something simple exist compared to anything at all?"

    Because is essence and is existence are the same? I said that two times, i believe.

    "If one simple thing can explain itself, why not 2 simple things..."

    Already talked about that one too. If there are two simple things you would need something to diferenciate them. But if one have something more that the other this diference will be a acident, so this thing is actually a composite and can't explain itself.

    In your trillion things example, actually you would have one simple and a lot of composites or only a simple, since these "trillion" things would be exactly the same thing.

    Also, so you really believe that the fact that something exists is a brute fact?

    "That's what it means to explain something".

    Not everything. Take for example my action of typing this right now. A metaphysical libertarian would say that, even if you can explain the movement of my hand by appealing to biology and the others natural sciencies, the most important explanation to my movement would be my will to talk with you. So i explain my movement in a way.

    "That what it means in A-T to be the first mover."

    Not really. A-T insists that God trancends time and space, so your argument is just question begging and a non-sequitur.

    "Knowledgment is incompatible with simplicity".

    If you mean like in us, sure. But the God of Classical Theism does not know like we do, or do anything like we do for that matter. So you need to understand that i'am not saying knowledgment in a univocal but analogical way. He is not with no intelect like a rock but is also not like us.

    How does Is knowledgment really work? I have no idea. You also do not, so how do you know that it requires the same differentiation that our one needs?

    The fact still stands: What is composite can't explain itself and everything that we see is composite, so there is something simple to explain why anything exists.

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  34. Talmid,
    "Because is essence and is existence are the same?"
    That doesn't explain anything, rather, is just another incoherent assertion.

    Why is there a being with essence and existence as opposed to absolutely nothing at all?

    The assertion of "essence and is existence are the same" is incoherent. Existence is of a thing. If there is no thing there is literally nothing existent. Essence is of a thing. If there is no thing then there is literally nothing to have any essence.

    "thing is actually a composite and can't explain itself."
    "explain itself" is just as incoherent for a simple thing as a composite thing.

    Just making up incoherent assertions and unintelligible terms does not explain anything, which is what all theistic philosophy in general publication is based on, incoherent ad hoc assertions and terms.

    "Also, so you really believe that the fact that something exists is a brute fact?"
    Nobody knows and has generally published an explanation for why something exists as opposed to absolutely nothing at all. It's just that atheists like me have the intellectual honesty to realize that as yet some questions are unanswerable by human beings, whereas all generally published theistic philosophers are intellectually dishonest so they claim to answer these ancient riddles by inventing incoherent terms and shrouding their unintelligibly in volumes of sophisticated sounding jargon that numbs the credulous believers into thinking these unintelligible terms have some explanatory value.

    " my will to talk with you. So i explain my movement in a way"
    That is a rather incomplete explanation. What explains your "will"? A ghost in your head?

    "If you mean like in us, sure. But the God of Classical Theism does not know like we do,"
    Ok, so you realize that knowledge and simplicity are nonsensical, and to deal with that you just assert there is somehow this super duper thing that somehow can be incoherent and unintelligible. And that appeals to you intellectually?

    I said that to assert knowledge and simplicity is unintelligible. That assertion stands, and is actually confirmed by your response.

    If you are going to just make up some wild speculation about some super stuff that can just be unintelligible, inconceivable, and incoherent then there are a multitude of ways anybody can just make up anything, which is to explain nothing, which is what you and all generally published theistic philosophers have done, pick one favorite speculation of what is literally nonsense and just call that the magic thingy.

    I can just as easily say that the magic thingy is 10^100 submicroscopic magic fairies that just do explain themselves and are simply allowed to be incoherent and unintelligible.

    With your kind of "explanation" anybody can just make up any nonsense by mere assertion.

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  35. Talmid (cont.)
    "How does Is knowledgment really work? I have no idea. You also do not, so how do you know that it requires the same differentiation that our one needs?"
    Right, you have no idea, in other words, you believe in something that is literally nonsense, it is non-nonsensical, it makes no sense, it is not understandable, it is unintelligible, and incoherent, and yet you believe it.

    What does it mean to "know"? Can a rock know anything? Can a jar of air or water know anything? Why not? How do you know that a rock cannot know anything, have you asked the rock? What if it is a magic rock and you just do not speak rockish?

    We know that a rock or a jar of air have no knowledge because knowledge requires a complex structure for information processing. Knowledge requires understanding, which is very complicated and present only in intelligent beings through the complex process of the brain which is highly structured and complex.

    Even if we consider that intelligence and information and knowledge could manifest in some way other than DNA based cellular structures what would it even mean to have knowledge yet have no structure at all? We don't go about building machines with artificial intelligence by building the simplest thing we can, how absurd that would be.

    "What is composite can't explain itself"
    Neither can something simple. The term "explain itself" is incoherent.

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  36. @SP

    "Why is there a being with essence and existence..."

    Is essence exists and if it exists it also has existence, since both are the same.

    "Essence is of a thing"

    I mean, we aristotelians would agree, except that they also exist on minds. This is actually a pretty important part of Saint Augustine argument for the existence of God from eternal ideas(universals).

    The thing is that there is existence and essence in beings. What exist is diferent from what do not and things clearly are diferent in general.

    "Nobody knows and has..."

    You don't know if there is a explanation for why there exists anything them? So there is the possibility it is a brute fact?

    You seems to agree that this world can't explain itself, so or it has a explanation or brute facts exist. Do you say that the two positions have the same probability?

    "This is a rather incomplete explanation"

    Agreed. Is just that there are materialistics libertarians, dualistics libertarians etc. So it was not important to the example.

    Also, you would be hard pressed to find a dualist who believe in "ghosts on the head" in philosophy. Platonists, aristotelians, cartesians and many others do not believe in nonsense like that. If you think so, or your ghost is diferent from what appears in media or you need to read more.

    The rest of your posts is just the same thing you insist matters, the fairy parody that already failed and a lot of question begging. I already said several times: We can't understand God on this life, so univocal talk about Him is not possible right now. All we can know is:

    1. What can't explain itself needs a explanation

    2. This world can't explain itself

    3. So there exists a explanation

    4. So there is more that this world

    Feel free to deny the premise you like.

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  37. Talmid,
    "Is essence exists and if it exists it also has existence, since both are the same."
    Ok, I don't see how that actually answers the great "why" questions.
    Why is there this being with essence as opposed to absolutely nothing at all?
    Why is there this being with existence as opposed to absolutely nothing at all?
    why is this being necessary as opposed to some other beings necessary or no beings necessary?

    Your god speculation fails to answer the ultimate "why" questions, just like every attempt to answer the "why" questions ever generally published.

    "The thing is that there is existence and essence in beings."
    Right, essence and existence are of beings, not pure qualities of nothing, because nothing has no qualities.

    The term "his essence is his being" is unintelligible and incoherent, like so many theistic terms.

    "You seems to agree that this world can't explain itself, so or it has a explanation or brute facts exist. Do you say that the two positions have the same probability?"
    We have no means to calculate such a probability.

    "Platonists, aristotelians, cartesians and many others do not believe in nonsense like that."
    The soul is a ghost in the head, as is spirit, or mind. Theists apparently think that they have some very sophisticated notions about soul, spirit, and mind that rise above mere ghost superstitions, but they don't. Reading more theistic philosophy numbs one into thinking nonsense actually somehow does make sense. The technique of theistic philosophers is to write volumes using sophisticated sounding jargon such that with repetition the credulous believer becomes convinced that the incoherent has somehow been demonstrated to be the case.

    "the fairy parody that already failed and a lot of question begging"
    Yes, just like god, both are mere speculations that attempt to define incoherent beings into existence. That's the point. You see this clearly with fairies. Atheists think more clearly because we see this with fairies and god.

    When you realize your god arguments have the same value as the fairy arguments then you will have started to think more clearly.


    "1. What can't explain itself needs a explanation"
    The term "explains itself" is incoherent. Explanations are in terms of other things.

    There is nothing outside of all that exists to serve as an explanatory reference for all that exists, so logically there can be no explanation for all that exists.

    "2. This world can't explain itself"
    Neither can a simple thing. Simplicity is irrelevant. Why does this simple thing exist as opposed to absolutely nothing at all? We are still right back to this basic unanswered and logically unanswerable "why" question.

    "3. So there exists a explanation"
    Since the premises are unsupported the conclusion is without value.

    "4. So there is more that this world"
    There cannot be more than all that exists. Nothing can explain itself. The term "explains itself" is incoherent.

    If you allow your favorite thing to "explain itself" by mere assertion of definition then I can merely assert by definition that fairies "explain themselves" and simply are allowed a number of incoherent qualities.

    You correctly identified the irrationality in my fairies assertion. When you realize the same objections hold for your formulation god and his numerous incoherent asserted qualities then you will have gained a degree of clear and critical rational analysis.

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  38. @SP

    "Why there..."

    Because His essence and existence are the same? We can know that a triangle has tree sides when there is no perfect triangle on this world. We can know what a dodo is when there is not one alive and we can know what a unicorn is when there's never existed one, so it seems that essence can exist with no existence. If not, how would we know all of this if a essence or nature only exist in things and we don't see these things?

    If i'am right, then essences don't need individuals to be but exist necessary, so does God essence, who just is existence, so He necessary exist. Kinda like the ontological argument, even if Thomas objection to it looks sound to me.

    "The soul is a ghost in the head"

    What is a ghost in this case? A substancial form(aristotelianism)? Just thinking(Descartes, i believe)? A being who has no normal body, can fly, turn invisible or intangible etc but normally functions like matter do(ghosts in media)?

    If you say something like the first two, them you are making sense. If you mean like the last one, them go back to studying, because that is just a dumb strawman. Dualists do not believe in ectoplasm.

    "Yes, just like god,"

    Nay. Your fairy is composite but necessary exists, a contradiction. God, on the other hand, do not seems to have a contradiction like that by what we can really know about Him. You just insist that the terms we use to Him are univocal, begging the question.

    If you want to show there is no God, just show that this world do not need Him to exist, like Oppy tried. Insist that there is a contradiction with Is atributes when you don't really know them as they are in Him is just nonsense. Like a man trying to deduce the identity of the Zodiac Killer, inventing a ridicule information about him("He is a russian who never leaved his country") and concluding that he never existed("how could a man in Russia kill people in the EUA and write letters there?).

    "There is nothing outside of all that exists to serve as explanatory reference to all that exists, so logically there can be no explanation for all that exists."

    Two hidden premises:

    1. This changing world is all there is

    2. Nothing can explain itself

    The second i don't complain, because we are discussing it, but the first just begs the question.

    So, you dodge this question before so here it is: Do you say them that there is no reason as for why anything exists? It is just a brute fact?

    If only this world exists and things can only be explained by other things them there can not be even in principle a explanation for this world. It seems you just happened to find out the answer to your "why" questions! Brute facts.

    Say now, please, do you agree with this idea? Are brute facts real for you them? With this ideas, i can't see other conclusion.

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