1387/07/15, 14:39 #1
Burhan al saddiqin
Dear Prof. Graham Oppy
There is an argument in Islamic philosophy which is called argument of "proof of the truthful" (burhan al saddiqin) .There are some good versions of this argument in this article :
Let that be known that I'm not defending this argument , I'm rather intrested in a critique of this argument.
I think muslim argument assume something that must still be proved and agree with you that " general criticism of ontological arguments which have appeared hitherto is this: none of them is persuasive, i.e., none of them provides those who do not already accept the conclusion that God exists — and who are reasonable, reflective, well-informed, etc. — with either a pro tanto reason or an all-things-considered reason to accept that conclusion. Any reading of any ontological argument which has been produced so far which is sufficiently clearly stated to admit of evaluation yields a result which is invalid, or possesses a set of premises which it is clear in advance that no reasonable, reflective, well-informed, etc. non-theists will accept, or has a benign conclusion which has no religious significance, or else falls prey to more than one of the above failings." but help me what possible problems are in this muslim Ontological Argument
ویرایش توسط Borzin : 1387/07/15 در ساعت 15:01
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1387/07/15, 14:40 #2
Graham Oppy Wrote
I've corresponded a little bit with Ruhollah Bockmier about the burhan
al saddiqin, but I hadn't read the article that you directed me to.
I think that you're right to suppose that the argument *must* presuppose
something -- at least, you're right to suppose that on the assumption
that there is something here that deserves to be called 'the' argument.
The problem is that there are many different arguments that are
presented in the course of Bockmier's article, and there are different
things to say about each of them.
Consider, to take just one example, this formulation: "Existence is
Existence and as such exists." There is a well-known Western argument
for the existence of God that goes like this: God = God therefore God
exists. The formulation from Bockmier's text looks like a
straightforward variant of that argument. Of course, in standard
classical logic: this argument is valid: 'a=a' entails 'there is
something identical to a' (and that's just a way of saying 'a exists').
But standard classical logic assumes that there are no empty names. If
we suppose that there can be empty names -- e.g. 'Santa Claus' -- then
we need a different logic, since we don't want to accept that 'Santa
Claus = Santa Claus' entails 'Santa Claus exists'.
If 'Existence' is an empty name, then it is in the same boat as 'Santa
Claus': the inference from 'Existence is Existence' to 'Existence
exists' is no good. In order for the inference to be good, we have to
assume what we're supposed to be proving: namely, that 'Existence' is
not an empty name. (Alternatively, we might deny that Santa Claus =
Santa Claus, i.e. we might restrict the 'law of identity' to non-empty
names -- but, in that case, trouble surfaces at another point:
'Existence = Existence' is only an instance of the 'law of identity' if
'Existence is not an empty name' -- and yet that's the very thing that
we're supposed to be proving.)
That's a criticism of one formulation of 'the' argument. But there are
very different criticisms to make of *other* formulations of 'the' argument.
I'll mention one more. Consider the claim 'Existence necessarily
exists'. That's on a par with the claim 'The jolly red guy who delivers
presents to children on Xmas Eve necessarily delivers presents to
children on Xmas eve'. We can read it in a way on which it is true
(Necessarily, if something = Existence, then that thing exists -- cf.
Necessarily if something = a jolly red guy who delivers presents to
children on Xmas Eve, then there is a jolly red guy who delivers
presents to children on Xmas Eve). We can also read it in a way in which
it is not obviously true (Existence is necessarily existent -- cf. Santa
Claus is such that he necessarily delivers presents to children on Xmas
Eve.) Again, it is only if we presuppose that something = Existence that
we can move forwards: and yet that was the very thing that we were
supposed to be proving.
And so on. It would be a *major* task to provide a careful evaluation of
all of the different arguments that Bockmier mentions in his article.
Even changing one word in one premise can make a major difference to the
status of an argument. But there are literally dozens of different
arguments that Bockmier mentions in the course of his discussion.
Note that I don't say that one couldn't reasonably believe that God
exists necessarily and is the ground of the existence of everything
else. The question that I'm addressing is only whether it is plausible
to think that there are *proofs* of -- or even good arguments for --
ویرایش توسط Borzin : 1387/07/15 در ساعت 14:42 دلیل: O
1387/07/15, 14:57 #3
Thank you for your answers Professor, I hope I'm not boring you with reincarnating this thread
I find flaws in all versions outlined in the article.
Consider the first premise, "Existence necessarily exists."
1.I take it that this is equivalent to "Necessarily whatever exists exists."
2.If it doesn't mean that, then I simply fail to understand what it does mean.
Only if it does mean what I take it to mean in (1) can the claim that it is an a priori logical truth be defended.
But by the same token, one has a priori grounds for the assertion "Nonexistence necessarily nonexists", where this is taken to mean "Necessarily whatever does not exist does not exist" (another necessary truth).
One could then go on to make similar moves to those outlined in various versions of the "proof" and conclude with the stipulative definition that "God" just is Nonexistence.
6.Note that "God necessarily nonexists (or doesn't exist)" comes close to certain versions of Theravadin Buddhism according to which the ideal state of an individual is that of nonexistence by virtue of being absorbed in ultimate reality.
I said that if "Existence necessarily exists" does not mean "Necessarily whatever exists exists" then I find it unintelligible. This is partly because if "Existence" is treated as a noun that names some entity that is then said in the predicate to be something that has the property of existing, then a fallacy of reification (otherwise known as hypostasizing) is being committed.
To illustrate, consider the following passage from Through the Looking Glass, ch vii, by Lewis Carroll [Charles Dodgson]
"I haven't sent the two Messengers, either. They've both gone to the town. Just look along the road, and tell me if you can see either of them."
"I see nobody on the road," said Alice.
"I only wish I had such eyes," the King remarked in a fretful tone. "To be able to see Nobody! And at that distance too! Why, it's as much as I can do to see real people, by this light.!"
The fallacy consists in treating all nouns as names of objects, hence abstract nouns as names of abstract objects. It is one of the commonest of all fallacies, one committed by Plato and many of his followers. Others guilty of it include Heidegger who reified the noun "Nothing" and came up with the inanity "Nothing nothings" (in parallel to "Existence exists"). Utter balderdash.
Peter Heath, The Philosopher's Alice, [London, Academy Editions, 1974, p. 201], offers the following comment:This passage, and its reprise a page or two later, are a perennial standby for philosophers who wish to horrify their readers with the dangers of hypostasizing the null class, and so fabricating nonentities. Because nobody functions grammatically very like somebody, there is a temptation to believe that it is the name of a peculiar, diaphanous sort of somebody, who is then unnecessarily added to the world's inhabitants. In such a way does the language of abstraction darken counsel, corrupt communications, and beget bad philosophy, a theme much insisted on by Bacon, Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, and their many modern successors.
2) but Why is existence equal to god ? If God is existence, why even use the term "God"? We already have the term "existence". Then all that is being said is this: 'Everything which exists, exists'. Which is true, but does not show that God exists. Unless muslims are using the word 'God' to mean 'Everything which exists', which is not the way people normally use it, and seems pointless
ویرایش توسط Borzin : 1387/07/15 در ساعت 15:22
1387/07/15, 14:58 #4
I agree that 'Necessarily, what exists exists' is a plausible reading of
'Existence necessarily exists', and that that reading is no help for
defenders of the argument.
I'm not so sure that treating 'Existence' as a name for a universal
gives an unintelligible reading of the sentence: Platonists think that
universals exist necessarily (and independently of whether or not they
are instantiated). However, this reading of the sentence is also clearly
of no use to defenders of the argument: you could be this kind of
Platonist, and deny that God exists.
Another thought is that 'Existence' is a name for God. On that reading,
the sentence is also intelligible. But, of course, that reading can only
yield question-begging arguments. (This is true even if it is supposed
that, if God exists, then God is 'the ground of existence', or 'that in
which there is no distinction between essence and existence' or
whatever: if *those* expressions are empty -- i.e. fail to designate
anything -- then it simply isn't true that, on this reading, Existence
necessarily exists. And it is no surprise that many philosophers do,
indeed, suppose that those expressions are empty.)
1387/07/15, 15:05 #5
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