Agnosticism

Agnosticism is inadequately defined as being uncertain whether God exists. Unless one is uncertain whether God is really possible, he can’t be uncertain whether God exists.

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4 Comments

  1. April 15, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    I am not sure that the statement, “Unless one is uncertain whether God is really possible, he can’t be uncertain whether God exists,” I suspect that there are many people who are uncertain whether God exists, even as they believe it to be possible that That God exists. Such a person might say, “It’s possible that there God exists, but I’m not certain.”

    Perhaps one might want rather to say, “Unless one is uncertain whether God is really possible, he can’t consistent uphold the principles of modal logic and be uncertain whether God exists. “

    • April 15, 2015 at 4:31 pm

      The only way anything can be a real possibility is if it either actually exists or can be made, and God can’t be made; said another way, anything that can be either is or is contingent, and a necessary being can’t be contingent. Leibniz figured all this out without needing any exotic logical scheme.

      More broadly, whenever you assert the truth of something you commit yourself to everything that it logically implies, even if this is an infinite set of commitments. Were this not the case, we wouldn’t have to change an opinion when any possible contradiction was found in it. And so agnosticism has to be defined in a way that is incompatible with the possibility of a proof for he existence of God; and in order to do this is has to commit to more than being uncertain whether God actually exists. Agnosticism requires work: one needs to convince himself he’s uncertain whether God could exist.

      • April 15, 2015 at 4:39 pm

        We are not disagreeing, though I would not characterize modal logic, i.e., the logic at work in your statement that a necessary being can’t be contingent, as an exotic logical scheme.

  2. April 15, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    I meant to say that I was not sure that the statement, “Unless one is uncertain whether God is really possible, he can’t be uncertain whether God exists,” is in fact true.


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