I wish I understood the Ontological Argument

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WindowtotheWorld
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I wish I understood the Ontological Argument

Post by WindowtotheWorld »

I wish I understood the Ontological Argument. Or maybe I do? But the next moment, it seems to slip through my fingers.... One second I think I get it, the next I'm completely at a loss.

Then again, I've never been good with formal arguments with premises and a conclusion and so on.... Still, the Ontological Argument at times kindles in me an imaginative interest.... It's so simple in a way, but also deeper as you go on in... like a crystal that you can gaze deeply into and ferret out its complex facets the more closely you squint your eyes.... This is what I sense in the Ontological Argument... a type of Beauty which other classical arguments don't seem to have in my opinion. The Teleological and Cosmological arguments are fine in so far as they go... but those are straightforward and pretty rudimentary compared to the self-contained flash of insight(s) I see in the OA.... Maybe someone can flesh out why they think the OA is airtight or not? I think it is....

The way I look at it (and this may be some erroneous headspin on my part with but a kernel of truth..)
there must be a union of IDEA (what we mentally conceive) and IDEATUM (that which parallels or corresponds
in objective fact to the Idea). In the OA there exists a unique type of union, a wedding of concept and referent
no other idea really has.... If there exists a Maximally Great Being (in a certain definite sense - not just as a
vague "perfect island" but in certain key ways that are objectively coherent - "all-knowing, all-powerful, all-moral", etc)
then this Maximally Great Being would only be Maximally Great if it existed in point of fact, not just imaginatively.
Otherwise, there would be an idea that we could and yet could not conceive of, which is absurd. If we admit at the
outset that we can conceive of a Maximally Great Being, we can't renege on the formulation of that concept.
If we renege and say that the MGB only exists in the mind, we would have to eschew what makes that MGB the MGB, which
would need to have the added cherry of Existence atop it.... We can say Existence is not a perfection, though in
my Romantic frame of mind, how could it not be? How could the Beautiful Sheer Act of Pure Existence not be Perfection
In and Of Itself? It would seem a paucity of appetite on the philosopher's part not to yield to that final temptation....

Alas, I think I've lost it again. But it was a fair shot I hope.... Anyone else have ideas?
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Pattern-chaser
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Re: I wish I understood the Ontological Argument

Post by Pattern-chaser »

What is the "Ontological Argument", as you understand it?
Pattern-chaser

"Who cares, wins"
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WindowtotheWorld
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Re: I wish I understood the Ontological Argument

Post by WindowtotheWorld »

Pattern-chaser wrote: September 22nd, 2022, 12:16 pm What is the "Ontological Argument", as you understand it?
I suppose it is that the conception of a Maximally Great Being, necessarily implies its concrete reality. Otherwise, one could not conceive of it to begin with.

That is my understanding as of now, but perhaps its hopelessly mired in a sea of mysterian abstraction for which I hope you forgive me....
Good_Egg
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Joined: January 27th, 2022, 5:12 am

Re: I wish I understood the Ontological Argument

Post by Good_Egg »

In other words, that a maximally-perfect being must exist. Because to exist is better than not to exist.

It's false.

I could tell you a story of a realm called Narnia where a perfect being called Aslan exists (with apologies to CS Lewis).

And I could tell you a story of a realm called Nornia where a perfect being called Oslan is believed to exist, but turns out to be purely imaginary.

There's no obvious contradiction in saying that Aslan seems to you more perfect than Oslan because Aslan has a reality, a property of existence, that Oslan lacks.

But it doesn't mean that either exists in the real world...
"For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God" - James 1:20
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Sculptor1
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Re: I wish I understood the Ontological Argument

Post by Sculptor1 »

WindowtotheWorld wrote: September 21st, 2022, 7:57 pm I wish I understood the Ontological Argument. Or maybe I do? But the next moment, it seems to slip through my fingers.... One second I think I get it, the next I'm completely at a loss.

Then again, I've never been good with formal arguments with premises and a conclusion and so on.... Still, the Ontological Argument at times kindles in me an imaginative interest.... It's so simple in a way, but also deeper as you go on in... like a crystal that you can gaze deeply into and ferret out its complex facets the more closely you squint your eyes.... This is what I sense in the Ontological Argument... a type of Beauty which other classical arguments don't seem to have in my opinion. The Teleological and Cosmological arguments are fine in so far as they go... but those are straightforward and pretty rudimentary compared to the self-contained flash of insight(s) I see in the OA.... Maybe someone can flesh out why they think the OA is airtight or not? I think it is....

The way I look at it (and this may be some erroneous headspin on my part with but a kernel of truth..)
there must be a union of IDEA (what we mentally conceive) and IDEATUM (that which parallels or corresponds
in objective fact to the Idea). In the OA there exists a unique type of union, a wedding of concept and referent
no other idea really has.... If there exists a Maximally Great Being (in a certain definite sense - not just as a
vague "perfect island" but in certain key ways that are objectively coherent - "all-knowing, all-powerful, all-moral", etc)
then this Maximally Great Being would only be Maximally Great if it existed in point of fact, not just imaginatively.
Otherwise, there would be an idea that we could and yet could not conceive of, which is absurd. If we admit at the
outset that we can conceive of a Maximally Great Being, we can't renege on the formulation of that concept.
If we renege and say that the MGB only exists in the mind, we would have to eschew what makes that MGB the MGB, which
would need to have the added cherry of Existence atop it.... We can say Existence is not a perfection, though in
my Romantic frame of mind, how could it not be? How could the Beautiful Sheer Act of Pure Existence not be Perfection
In and Of Itself? It would seem a paucity of appetite on the philosopher's part not to yield to that final temptation....

Alas, I think I've lost it again. But it was a fair shot I hope.... Anyone else have ideas?
I have always had trouble trying to understand nonsense.

All the so-called "proofs of God's existence", lack the most basic logical credibility. When confronted by incoherence, smart people find themselves "at a loss". But rest assured - the reason you do not get it is that there is nothing to "get" here. It's rubbish; it has always been rubbish and will continues to be that way.

The only people who succumb to such sophistry are those for whom the existence of god is an endemic assumption.
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