The Ontological Argument

-If God is what philosophy says he is, some Ontological Argument should work. Logically necessary AND real existence.

-Being first divides into the mental and the real. But anything that transcends or contains such a division would have to have to be known in a way that was not limited or proper to the way we know either the mental or the real.

-The possibility of our thought is from the principle of contradiction, which recognizes the co-extensiveness and logical impossibility of identity of the mental and real.

-Why something and not nothing = why the real and not just the mental? Anselm’s answer is at once axiological and logical. It is better that something be real and not just mental and there is a contradiction in all being mental for then we could both admit and not admit the possibility of what was greater than thought.

Kant’s Axiom: We can know what we can construct. Without committing ourselves to the support structure of the claim, we can say that the paradigm case of systematic knowing is based on postulates of construction and Q.E.F. demonstrations. Experimental science borrows the trick of construction from geometry.  Because we can neither construct nor build a set of experimental circumstances for the absolutely unique and/or free, we cannot know spirits or the universe as a whole.

Godel’s Complication. Constructive knowing leaves out something known. What gets left out arises from the sort of knowledge that spirit can have of itself.

-More people were convinced by Kant’s refutation of the OA than of the cogito, but they’re a package deal. If the cogito worked we would have a synthetic a priori statement known without a sense intuition of the object, and the camel’s nose is under the tent.

-What’s most striking about STA is how alone he is in (a) rejecting the OA while (b) believing natural theology is true. He’s pretty much the only name in the region where those Venn circles intersect (Brentano).

Geach: Aristotle’s original sin was shifting from a noun-verb account of propositions in De interpretatione to a two term account of propositions in Prior. Take the DI tack, and existence is a clear predicate that satisfies the definition as univocally as any other essential predicate. Take the Prior tack and existence vanishes out of terms and into a sheer copula or subject-stipulation, as Kant says it does. The “is” becomes a “there is ___” operator for the term, and it’s the term that is the only thing that has a tie to reality. “Is” becomes part of the logical machinery that manipulates terms as opposed to being a predicate.

Historically, we saw the weakness of the term account though the analysis of relations. If you say

Christ is God

Mary is the Mother of Christ

then on the term-logic approach, no conclusion follows since the syllogism has four terms. But Aristotle did not work out a syllogistic based on logical noun-verbs. Our loss.




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