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Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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Consul
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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Consul » August 15th, 2019, 9:33 pm

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 8:50 pm
My guess, and it's only a guess, is that you are operating out of a substance-attribute ontology and those attributes are not fully separate from the substance they are "of". I have a more radical separation between bare particular - those things you think are contradictions and not real - and universals. I also have various nexus to tie all those separate things together.
Given that difference between our basic ontologies, I'm wondering how we can discuss these matters, if indeed we can at all.
It seems we can—as long as we understand each other.

Yes, my basic ontology is a substance-attribute/object-property ontology. But I (and Heil) believe that attributes/properties are particulars rather than universals. Properties are ways things are, and I don't understand how properties can exist separately from the things having them, being externally "attached" to them by means of a "nexus" that is an additional entity in facts. I think an atomic fact of the form "a is F" consists of two entities only: a & F. The copula "is" doesn't represent a third entity connecting a and F, because the property F is self-connecting or self-relating to a. That is, there needn't be an additional, external nexus gluing a and F together, because F is "gluey" in itself.

This isn't only true of properties but also of relations, so Bradley's famous regress argument is a nonstarter. For example, in the case of dyadic relations, you don't need two additional relations to connect a dyadic relation with its two relata, because the relation is self-connecting or self-relating to its relata. It connects its relata and itself with them. a relational fact of the form "a stands in R to b" consists of three entities only: a & b & R.

"Substances are property bearers; properties are ways substances are. If there are substances, there are properties; if there are properties, there are substances. Every substance is some way or other, every property is a way some substance is. Substance and property are complementary categories of being. The idea is expressed by Locke's contention that substance and property are 'correlative'; they 'stand or fall together'."

(Heil, John. The Universe As We Find It. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. pp. 12-3)
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Consul » August 15th, 2019, 9:44 pm

Consul wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 9:33 pm
This isn't only true of properties but also of relations, so Bradley's famous regress argument is a nonstarter.
Footnote:
I'm skeptical about the existence of relations; but if they should turn out to be an indispensable and irreducible ontological category, I'm prepared to include them into my basic ontology in addition to objects/substances and properties.

"But why, it may now be asked, should we have any compelling concern to eliminate all putatively ‘real’ relations? What is wrong with them? My basic answer is that they seem to be ontologically weird."

(Lowe, Jonathan E. "There Are (Probably) No Relations." In The Metaphysics of Relations, edited by Anna Marmodoro and David Yates, 100-112. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. p. 111)
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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » August 15th, 2019, 9:50 pm

Consul wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 9:44 pm
Consul wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 9:33 pm
This isn't only true of properties but also of relations, so Bradley's famous regress argument is a nonstarter.
Footnote:
I'm skeptical about the existence of relations; but if they should turn out to be an indispensable and irreducible ontological category, I'm prepared to include them into my basic ontology in addition to objects/substances and properties.

"But why, it may now be asked, should we have any compelling concern to eliminate all putatively ‘real’ relations? What is wrong with them? My basic answer is that they seem to be ontologically weird."

(Lowe, Jonathan E. "There Are (Probably) No Relations." In The Metaphysics of Relations, edited by Anna Marmodoro and David Yates, 100-112. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. p. 111)
I think you have, in these two posts, stated your position well. I think it would be useless for me to state or describe my own ontology again. I don't know what else to say.

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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Consul » August 15th, 2019, 9:54 pm

Greta wrote:
August 14th, 2019, 6:28 pm
So I'm interested in looking beyond the easy division of of "life" and "non life" because there's many entities whose sophistication lies between that division. Viruses, prions, stars, planets, crystals, organic molecules.
The first two are borderline cases of living things; but the other four definitely aren't, since they are definitely non-living things. Of course, for instance, the sun is a dynamic physicochemical system, but it's a nonbiological system.
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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Consul » August 15th, 2019, 10:02 pm

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
August 14th, 2019, 7:19 pm
I love the Ontological Argument.
I don't, because it's unsound. (There is more than one ontological argument, but they are all unsound.)

"Getting real existence from pure logic is just too much of a conjuring trick. That sort of hat cannot contain rabbits!"

(Rescher, Nicholas. The Riddle of Existence: An Essay in Idealistic Metaphysics. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1984. p. 3)
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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » August 15th, 2019, 10:25 pm

Consul wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 10:02 pm
GaryLouisSmith wrote:
August 14th, 2019, 7:19 pm
I love the Ontological Argument.
I don't, because it's unsound. (There is more than one ontological argument, but they are all unsound.)

"Getting real existence from pure logic is just too much of a conjuring trick. That sort of hat cannot contain rabbits!"

(Rescher, Nicholas. The Riddle of Existence: An Essay in Idealistic Metaphysics. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1984. p. 3)
Here is my take on the Ontological Argument. You are a rationalist, a logician, a proper intellectual. Therefore you should not read what I have written. It will make you sick. Let me repeat, Don't read this!! https://tapaticmadness.wordpress.com/20 ... han-which/

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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Consul » August 15th, 2019, 10:46 pm

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 10:25 pm
Here is my take on the Ontological Argument. You are a rationalist, a logician, a proper intellectual. Therefore you should not read what I have written. It will make you sick. Let me repeat, Don't read this!! https://tapaticmadness.wordpress.com/20 ... han-which/
Well, I did. (Don't imagine a pink elephant! Oops, you just did so, didn't you?) Doing so didn't make me sick, but the text is pretty messy; so you're right: "My mind and my writing are a mess."

"Now to classical arguments for the existence of God. The only one I like, being the good Platonist I am, is the Ontological Argument. If you are an Extreme Platonist, a Radical Empiricist, then the argument works."

How?
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » August 15th, 2019, 10:55 pm

Consul wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 10:46 pm
GaryLouisSmith wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 10:25 pm
Here is my take on the Ontological Argument. You are a rationalist, a logician, a proper intellectual. Therefore you should not read what I have written. It will make you sick. Let me repeat, Don't read this!! https://tapaticmadness.wordpress.com/20 ... han-which/
Well, I did. (Don't imagine a pink elephant! Oops, you just did so, didn't you?) Doing so didn't make me sick, but the text is pretty messy; so you're right: "My mind and my writing are a mess."

"Now to classical arguments for the existence of God. The only one I like, being the good Platonist I am, is the Ontological Argument. If you are an Extreme Platonist, a Radical Empiricist, then the argument works."

How?
An Extreme Platonist, a Radical Empiricist, thinks that whatever appears to his thinking mind exists. Therefore, the statement A does not exist, is always wrong. It is wrong because in order to think it, it had to exist. That is extreme direct realism. There are no such things as concepts, which are only in the mind and must be tested against reality to see if they exist or not.

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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Consul » August 15th, 2019, 11:22 pm

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 10:55 pm
An Extreme Platonist, a Radical Empiricist, thinks that whatever appears to his thinking mind exists. Therefore, the statement A does not exist, is always wrong. It is wrong because in order to think it, it had to exist. That is extreme direct realism. There are no such things as concepts, which are only in the mind and must be tested against reality to see if they exist or not.
You cannot perceive what doesn't exist; but objects of thought or imagination needn't exist. In fact, many things we think about or imagine don't exist. Being thought or imagined doesn't entail being. For example, it is true that Sherlock Holmes doesn't exist; but his nonexistence doesn't prevent me from thinking about him. You may say that whenever we imagine Sherlock Holmes we imagine him as an existent person; but it doesn't follow that we thereby imagine an existent person. Actually, we don't, since Sherlock Holmes is known to be a nonexistent person.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Consul » August 15th, 2019, 11:30 pm

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 10:55 pm
There are no such things as concepts, which are only in the mind and must be tested against reality to see if they exist or not.
The existence of concepts is one thing, and the existence of objects "falling under" them (as Frege would put it) is another.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Consul » August 15th, 2019, 11:36 pm

Consul wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 11:30 pm
The existence of concepts is one thing, and the existence of objects "falling under" them (as Frege would put it) is another.
"The concept/idea of God exists.
Therefore, God exists."

It's bleeding obvious that this is not a valid argument.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » August 15th, 2019, 11:50 pm

Ok, I'm mad. I twice sent replies to Consul and neither has showed up. What wrong?

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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Consul » August 15th, 2019, 11:56 pm

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 11:50 pm
Ok, I'm mad. I twice sent replies to Consul and neither has showed up. What wrong?
The forum software seems to be working fine. Are you sure you clicked on SUBMIT?
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » August 16th, 2019, 12:00 am

This time I'm going to use quick reply instead of that quotation mark up above. Concerning the non-existent Sherlock Holmes I will admit that what Consul wrote was (boring) commonsense and all sensible people will agree with him. What I wrote was the "truth" of Direct Realism and if anyone doesn't like that "truth" then he should stay away from it. I think that Direct Realism always leads to a mystical, erotic theism. That suits me. De gustibus non est disputandum.

As for Frege, he divorced Sinn from Bedeutung. I think he was wrong. And there is no nexus of "falling under".

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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by steveb1 » August 16th, 2019, 12:05 am

Consul wrote:
August 14th, 2019, 6:44 pm
steveb1 wrote:
August 14th, 2019, 6:32 pm
There's a difference between proving the existence of God and experiencing God as an object of "gnostic" immediacy.
"Experiencing God" means "perceiving God". How can you perceive a god who is a spatially unextended and spatially unlocated immaterial soul/spirit?
Because it's not a sense perception, i.e., it's not a material category mediated by the senses. It's awareness of an "Other" that presses upon one from the inside, as it were, at least that's what mystics say. I don't view it or "It" as a material object, force or process, because that would be to deal with a qualitative entity as if it were a quantitative entity.

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