Philosophy The Name of Love's Philosophy Essays

Tyanna of Pentos

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@The Name of Love I would just make the observation that an Augustinian worldview is closer and more sympathetic to our worldview without actually straying in any sense from Christian Orthodoxy (Unless someone really wants to argue that St. Augustine wasn’t fully Orthodox).
 

Mia Koro

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Yes, I rather smiled at seeing your reference to Edward Feser, as I have been a regular reader of his for many years now.

I won't pretend to be anything like a philosopher of his calibre, and at this point I am also going to lay aside the hat I previously wore as someone who has devoted a great deal of time to studying Filianic teaching and dares, at times, to offer a cogent summary on some point. I now assume, instead, my hat marking me as a person of generally theological interest thinking out loud, in no way claiming to represent views other than my own, and quite probably running the risk of contradicting my own views en route to discursive understanding.

It does not seem to me, having made my best attempt to follow the argument's in Feser's article which you kindly linked, that the idealistic monist is obliged to reject the premise that "ideas are determinate". It would seem sufficient to amend the premise to "concepts are determinate" (or possible "some concepts are determinate", but for the moment I'll even assume the stronger form for the sake of argument). It does not follow from this that all our ideas are concepts, or that all our thought processes depend upon concepts. Indeed, two points suggest to me that that cannot be the case:

1) Feser himself, following in the authority of classical sources, rejects the notion that other higher mammals have concepts in the sense he is using the term. Given that apes, whales, and many other animals do clearly appear to possess relatively sophisticated mental processes that include awareness of states of mind, establishment of identity, and at least quasi-linguistic behavior on the part of apes (and I am tempted to contradict Feser in calling it fully linguistic), it would appear that a very large range of human mental activity is not actually dependent on determinate concepts, but can be carried out quite effectively on the sole basis of indeterminate mental images. (Given the frequency with which Feser and his sources lean on mathematical operations and figures in their examples, it is particularly interesting to me that there is a body of linguistic evidence suggesting that many cultures don't actually distinguish "concepts" of number above very small quantities; in extreme cases, some languages don't even have number words beyond singular, dual, and plural).

2) Following on the claims of Gregory of Nyssa, Isaac the Syrian, and other Church Fathers who argued that we are not actually capable of willing against our own interest when properly informed, such that there would perforce have to be perfect congruity between our will for ourselves and God's will for ourselves if we possessed full knowledge and understanding, it seems to me as though at least some of our mental processes and ideas must be indeterminate in order for sin (in the Christian sense) or ignorance (in the Buddhist sense) to occur. If it were the case that "ideas are determinate" without exception, that would seem to imply that all of our thinking occurs on the basis of terms that correspond to Pleromic Reality, in which case all the bodhisattvas could move on and manifest creation could be tied up with a bow and packed away (or remade into the New Jerusalem, as you may prefer). I am inclined to take it as a part of the condition of being "fallen" that, in fact, we often cannot tell what we are even thinking and are epistemologically (and I dare say ontologically, in some sense) incoherent.

As I say, I am no Scholastic and I am musing here off of my own limited understanding and not following the well-worn footsteps of a guru, so I may be missing something important in this reasoning.

PS There is also the more fundamental point that Advaita does not argue for a solipsistic monism, in which material reality has to be explained as the outcome of a process of the human mind. We are instead dealing with an expression of the Divine mind as interpreted or received by the human mind. One could thus also perhaps argue that what we call "physical processes" are determinate in the mind of God (where they are archetypal Pleromic forms) and are only indeterminate in our fallen perception. This would seem consistent with the belief that all "physical processes" are participants in natural revelation, in that the concept of natural revelation seems to depend on the idea that the Forms physical processes imperfectly express are determinate.
 
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The Name of Love

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As I say, I am no Scholastic and I am musing here off of my own limited understanding and not following the well-worn footsteps of a guru, so I may be missing something important in this reasoning.
It's a very complicated issue that I had to summarize. What I would say to you is that your argument that "if we thought in terms of forms, we'd all be bodhisattvas" doesn't follow. Scholastics like Feser and myself reject the notion that forms like that exist in some sort of Platonic way. The forms only exist either inside minds as abstractions or in the forms of particular material things. So our minds could be mistaken about concepts, about what is good or not, if we do not study particular things closely enough. Additionally, our minds are affected by physical things such as emotions, pleasure, and pain that may detract from enlightenment.

Your point on animals wouldn't be an argument in your favor. Rather, all it would do is prove that a given animal is a human in the Aristotelian sense of being a rational animal. But the idea that these creatures are really capable of rationality is (to paraphrase Noam Chomsky) like saying that a dog can fly because it can jump very high. You'd have to provide empirical proof these animals are rational, which, given the deficiencies of a biology built on inadequate philosophy of nature and philosophical anthropology, would be difficult.

What is being noted here is the idea that Augustine alluded to in one of his writings that language has only derived meaning, applied to all physical symbols. This is a well-established idea in analytic philosophy, and philosophers such as Quine and Kripke have made arguments for this that are laid out in Feser's work.
 

Mia Koro

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Scholastics like Feser and myself reject the notion that forms like that exist in some sort of Platonic way. The forms only exist either inside minds as abstractions or in the forms of particular material things. So our minds could be mistaken about concepts, about what is good or not, if we do not study particular things closely enough.
The Zen master Dogen (a contemporary of Meister Eckhart) once instructed his students to "handle a leaf as though it were the body of the Buddha, and the body of the Buddha will manifest through it". When this is done, and the experience of this apprehension is achieved, it seems as though we are faced with something that is neither existent within a mind as an abstraction or in the form of a particular material thing (the "Buddha nature" being logically antecedent to both mind and thing). Aristotle's circumscription of the Forms has always seemed to me to create an epistemological cul-de-sac. I am not sure there is a way from mental abstractions based on observation of particulars to any true knowledge. That is not to say, of course, that such observation and abstraction cannot be helpful, but only that I suspect they are only ever signposts leading toward a revelatory experience, rather than an efficient cause of knowledge in themselves. I suppose I lean more on al-Ghazali in this respect, viewing the relationship of observation/abstraction, knowledge, and God as being somewhat akin to the relationship of fire, the burning of cotton, and God.
What is being noted here is the idea that Augustine alluded to in one of his writings that language has only derived meaning, applied to all physical symbols.
I think, as I reflect more on this point, that I am inclined to challenge the notion that language has only derived meaning. While I grant that that is true in most cases, there would appear to be revelatory exceptions, as indicated by both the Christological doctrine of Christ as the Word of God and the doctrine of the uncreated Qur'an. In both cases, if God's speech is regarded as an attribute, and divine simplicity dictates that God's attributes are identical with God's being, then revealed statements appear not, in fact, to be mere symbols, but to be concepts in the way Feser's paper envisions. "Snow is white" is an arbitrary assemblage referring to a concept in back of it, but "الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ" ("praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds", Qur'an 1:2) would seem not to be, neither "Ἠλί, Ἠλί, λιμὰ σαβαχθανί" (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34).
 

The Name of Love

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All I can say is that I disagree with both of your points, @Mia Koro. I don't see how abstraction of particulars doesn't lead to true knowledge given that truth is existing being. I can understand if you think reality is an illusion (as the Buddha would claim) that you don't think empirical observation doesn't lead to knowledge, but that requires metaphysics that are alien to my own presuppositions. As for your point on language, I don't believe in the uncreated Quran, and Christ is not "God's word" in the sense that he is a spoken word. Rather, the Greek word Logos is more important. If you studied Greek natural theology, you'd understand that the Logos is the organizing principle of the universe, not a "word" of a language. Confusing the Logos with a written word leads you to errors like Pastor Steven Anderson proclaiming that the Bible is God. I'd refer to E. Michael Jones on this point.
 

Mia Koro

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I am aware of the two different senses of "logos". My point in referring to the doctrine of the uncreated Qur'an is that any formulation of divine simplicity that accepts speech as an attribute would seem to have difficulty in cleanly separating a revelatory act from God's own nature. In fact, God seems consistently to ground divine self-identification in such acts. In Exodus 3:15, for example, God identifies "the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob" as being God's name forever. A name being an attribute, it would seem that God's relationship to these patriarchs is, in some sense, non-different from the divinely simple Being in a fashion not dissimilar to Karl Barth's observation that the union of the human and divine natures in Christ preceded the creation of Adam. God similarly self-identifies with a revelatory act in Exodus 20:2 in a fashion markedly parallel to the self-identification in Isaiah 48:17, insofar as the first is related to leading the people out of Egypt, and the second more generally to "lead[ing] you in the way you should go". It seems credible that infallibility is a divine attribute in Isaiah 48:17 and therefore non-different from the divinely simple Being, and the fact of having led the people out of Egypt thus appears to be cast in the same light.

Now, all three of these cases obviously have further conceptual referents. There is a distinction between the phrase "the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" and the conceptual fact of being their God. What came to interest Muslim theologians is that there appear to be cases in which God's speech and God's act are one and the same. This is broadly accepted across the Abrahamic faiths in the fiat lux, for example, though there remains ambiguity there about the extent to which the recorded biblical phrase is representative of God's speech in a merely analogous sense. The Qur'an was, in the Islamic context, an example of a case in which the form in human language was intrinsic to the act, since the Qur'an would not have been a revelatory act had it not been understood by 7th century Arabs. To say "God is the God revealed in the Qur'an" is to identify God with the actual words of the Qur'an in a fashion very similar to that in which saying "God is the God revealed in Jesus" is to identify God with Jesus.

You don't accept the Qur'an as revelation and that is fine, but the discussion had over it historically highlights something that, in other situations, could easily be missed. When Christ appears to Lady Julian with something in his hand the size of an hazelnut and informs her that "It abideth, for that God loveth it," it seems like we have a case, like that of the Qur'an within the Muslim framework, where the revelatory act itself assumes the shape of linguistic content, such that that content seems to have more than merely "derived" meaning.

That has taken us some distance from the point of this thread, however. I think we are all firmly agreed on DDC albeit perhaps for somewhat different reasons. The difference between idealistic monism and any form of dualism is probably a bigger issue than we are going to manage to parse here.
 
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The Name of Love

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I really want to thank both of you for this amazing discourse, it is exactly the best of what I hoped for when I created this board.
Aw, shucks.

Well, it’s kind of difficult to get into the meatier stuff as a layman, but I consider it a victory if I can understand the other side’s position and they understand mine.
 

The Name of Love

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Well said. Mutual understanding is a great gift, indeed!
Mutual understanding is how we progress.

As a side note, nothing disinterests me more than people going into an argument with the hopes of "winning" the argument by embarrassing the other side. I understand there's a natural drive to "win" an argument, but that's not going to be useful to you unless your goal is to utterly embarrass the other side. Now, sometimes polemics are necessary if the other person is being unreasonable, but you shouldn't use polemics on a polite person.
 
The Problem with Pantheism (Or Why God is Male)

The Name of Love

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The following contains an excerpt from Edward Feser’s blog and makes references to his book Five Proofs of God’s Existence. Again, the link to his website is here. I also reference various articles from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

So, in my last thread, I went over an argument for God’s existence that depended on the real distinction between essence and existence. This argument originated in the Catholic philosopher Thomas Aquinas’s book On Being and Essence, and, to summarize, argues that everything that has a real distinction between its existence (that it is) and its essence (what it is) must have its existence ultimately derived from some first cause whose essence just is existence itself. Since all known objects of our experience have such a real distinction, they all have their existence caused by a first cause. And since nothing whose essence is identical with its existence can have multiplicity or contingency, this first cause is an absolutely necessary uncaused cause of everything else. This argument was framed as a refutation of the Doctrine of Existential Inertia (which holds that objects, once they start existing, remain in existence until they are positively destroyed) and a proof for the Doctrine of Divine Conservation (which holds that any created object depends on God’s will in order to exist at any point in time and would be destroyed if God ceased to will it into existence).

In this essay, we will attempt to build on the previous argument, refute both pantheism (the belief that God is the universe) and panentheism (the belief that God is both immanent to the universe and beyond the universe simultaneously), and defend classical theism.

First, there is a need for definitions. Pantheism is the belief that God is identical to the world in an ontological sense (that is, in being). To them, God is the universe, full stop. Pantheism is associated with Advaita Vedanta school of Hinduism, some varieties of Kabbalistic Judaism, Celtic spirituality, Sufi mysticism, Spinozan philosophy, and transcendentalism. The Stanford Encyclopedia also notes that modern popular film, such as Star Wars, Avatar, and The Lion King all include pantheistic themes. Similarly, panentheism is the belief that God is both immanent to the universe and beyond the universe simultaneously. Unlike pantheism, God is not identical with the world, but is still present in the world in such a way that he is changed by it. Panentheism is associated with the religious beliefs of Neoplatonism and their Cambridge Platonist successors, the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church, and universalism. It should be noted that there is significant overlap between pantheists and panentheists, such that Baruch Spinoza and the Advaita Vedanta school of Hinduism could be argued as being either pantheistic or panentheistic.

Classical theism is the tradition of natural theology most common to Western philosophical theism and has prevailed in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam historically. It is rooted in the classical realist philosophy (that is, in the Aristotelian and Neoplatonic traditions). Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Maimonides, and Avicenna were all classical theists. Classical theism holds that, whatever else we say about God, he must be the metaphysically ultimate first cause of creation. Classical theism has traditionally stressed God’s transcendence and distinctness from his creation.

Building on what we know from last time, we know that God is absolutely necessary for the existence of everything else and utterly unique in his existence (that is to say, there could not be more than one God). But it follows then that if God is utterly unique from anything, including things in the realm of experience, how can we learn about him?

Following the Christian philosopher Pseudo-Dionysus the Aeropagite, we know of three ways that we can determine God’s attributes: via negativa, via causalitatis, and via eminentia. Via negativa or by way of negation is where we deny of God any characteristic that is incompatible with his being the first cause or is incompatible with his other attributes. Via causalitatis or by way of causality is where we move from knowledge of the world to knowledge of God as the cause of the world. And finally, via eminentia or by way of eminence is whereby we conclude, by way of the principle of proportionate causality (according to which every cause contains the effect in some way), that God can be said to possess in an eminent way certain features we attribute to things in the world.

First, God must have aseity. Divine aseity refers to God’s independence in his existence, decrees, will, and actions. If God were not self-sufficient in a radical way, then he would depend on something else for his existence or actions. Thus, he would not be a first cause in any real sense. Contrary to atheist fiction, which depicts God as being somehow dependent on his worshippers, God does not need us in any way. All he needs is himself.

Another important attribute God has is simplicity. God must be non-composite or without parts (material or metaphysical). God is an undivided whole that cannot be separated in reality. For if God did have parts, then each of those parts would be ontologically prior to it, so there would need to be some cause even more basic to explain why God’s parts were combined the way they were and that thing would be the first cause. Divine simplicity has many radical implications, one of which being that God is each of his own attributes; he does not have existence, he is existence. God’s simplicity makes him so utterly unlike anything else that it is hotly contested by modern theologians like Alvin Plantinga and William Lane Craig, who argue that the concept is incoherent. But to deny it is to deny that God is the first cause, which is anathema to any self-respecting monotheist.

These concepts fit in nicely with our previous essay. God’s utter transcendence (or aseity) fits with the previous description of him being the absolutely necessary uncaused first cause. God doesn’t need something outside of himself in order to exist. As an Aristotelian would put it, he has no potential in need of actualization, because he is purely actual. And God’s absolutely simple nature fits very nicely with his essence and existence having no distinction. Created beings, insofar as they have a real distinction between their essence and existence, have parts.

This is where the pantheist and panentheist positions break down. Contra the pantheist, God could not be the universe because the universe is made up of parts, and God is simple. The universe and its constituent parts are metaphysical composites of essence and existence, and the material universe in particular is made up of physical parts that are conjoined. God, being metaphysically simple by necessity, could not be the universe for this very reason.

And contra the panentheist, God cannot be immanent to the universe in a way that would allow him to be affected by the universe, else that would violate his aseity. Some panentheists try to get around this by claiming God has necessary and contingent aspects. But this again would violate divine simplicity, as God could not have any real contingent properties in the Scholastic sense. Note that this does not lead to us believing that God’s every action is part of his necessary essence and is therefore necessary in itself. God’s status as creator of the world is not a real property but what Scholastics call a relation. To demonstrate what I mean by this, imagine that Socrates and Plato were the same height, but then Plato grew a few inches. According to modern philosophy, Socrates would have gained the “property” of “being smaller than Plato,” but this does not entail any real change in Socrates. Similarly, the creation of the world and its changing relationship with God entail no real change in God.

In conclusion, the correct conception of God is classical theism: a radically transcendent being that has no need to interact with us, but deigns to do so anyways.

As a side note for any of my, this conception of God ties into why God is male. For this topic, I’ll quote Edward Feser’s blog here. He starts by refuting the idea that God is an impersonal “it” by pointing to how God has something analogical to an intellect and free will, and since these are definitive of persons, it follows that God cannot be referred to as an “it.”

I will go over a defense of God’s intellect in a later post.

Edward Feser said:
But why “He” rather than “She”? Well, consider further that from the point of view of classical natural law theory, the fundamental natural social institution – the family – has the father as its head… Suffice it to say that the claim is not that men are morally superior to women, or that they have dictatorial rights over their wives and children, or that all men are born leaders and all women born followers. The claim is rather that in any orderly social arrangement there must be some ultimate authority, and that nature has ordained that at least in the normal case it is in the father in whom this authority resides. For when human beings are living in accordance with what the natural law requires of them in the area of sexual morality, families will tend to be large. Obviously this would put a very great burden on mothers if there were no one to protect and provide for them and their children, but protecting and providing for them is precisely what a father is supposed to do. And that, from the point of view of natural law theory, is why men tend to be more assertive and oriented to the public rather than the domestic realm, and thus more oriented toward leadership.

…[F]rom the perspective of the moral theory associated with A-T, paternal and thus masculine imagery is naturally going to be regarded as the appropriate sort to use when characterizing God’s relationship to His creatures. For they are dependent on Him in a way comparable to a family’s dependence on a father; and He has authority over them comparable to the authority a father has over his family.
So, one reason for God’s being a “he” rather than a “she” is that he relates to the universe similar to how a man relates to his family: as its head.

The second reason has to do with the doctrine of ex nihilo and its implications.

Edward Feser said:
From a classical theistic perspective, God creates the world ex nihilo rather that out of His own substance. Creation is thus in no way comparable to gestation and birth, imagery which, when applied to theology, suggests either pantheism or a pagan cosmogony. The divine creative act is more like the relatively “distant” role played by the father in procreation. Accordingly, paternal and thus masculine imagery better conveys God’s transcendence.
Again, Feser defends referring to God as “he” by invoking the concept of imagery. Certainly, those who claim God is male are not claiming him to be male in the sense humans are (since he doesn’t have physical parts). Rather, he is male in a way analogous to us, in the sense to how he relates to creation.

Feser then goes on to note the specifically Scriptural reasons why God would be considered male by a Christian, but I will not go into them into detail here.

If I were to summarize, I would say that a classical theist conception of God would portray God as masculine because of his authority and transcendence. In contrast, a feminine portrayal of God invokes images of submission and physical gestation (and therefore dependence on creation). Describing God as female invokes imagery that makes him more creaturely and less divine, so it is more fitting given God’s nature for him to be male.
 
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Doomsought

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Furthermore there is a consistent usage of the term "The world" as something separate from god, at least in the New Testament.

Another simple argument is that the world cannot be god, becuase it contains sin - which is equivelent to not god.

Another important attribute God has is simplicity. God must be non-composite or without parts (material or metaphysical). God is an undivided whole that cannot be separated in reality. For if God did have parts, then each of those parts would be ontologically prior to it, so there would need to be some cause even more basic to explain why God’s parts were combined the way they were and that thing would be the first cause.
I take issue with this logic because there is nothing in Set mathematics that implies causation or order. You only get such structures by introducing rules into the system define ordinality.

For example there is no order to the boolean identities. Also once they have been defined as true, the uncountable set of boolean algebra also is known to be true, to have always been true, and always will be true, independent of us knowing the identities. Because boolean algebra satisfies the definition of reality (Reality is that which remains true once you cease to believe in it), it has a form of atemporal reality. Thus it is no wonder to me that some Greek philosophers thought logos to be god.
 

The Name of Love

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Furthermore there is a consistent usage of the term "The world" as something separate from god, at least in the New Testament.

Another simple argument is that the world cannot be god, becuase it contains sin - which is equivelent to not god.
I agree with you that, in Scripture, there are good reasons to believe pantheism is false. But I'm writing for an audience interested in natural theology and metaphysics, not simply for Christians. Quoting the Bible as an authority may not work for those who aren't Christian. That's why I make arguments whose conclusions one can reach through the use of their own natural reasoning.

I take issue with this logic because there is nothing in Set mathematics that implies causation or order. You only get such structures by introducing rules into the system define ordinality.

For example there is no order to the boolean identities. Also once they have been defined as true, the uncountable set of boolean algebra also is known to be true, to have always been true, and always will be true, independent of us knowing the identities. Because boolean algebra satisfies the definition of reality (Reality is that which remains true once you cease to believe in it), it has a form of atemporal reality. Thus it is no wonder to me that some Greek philosophers thought logos to be god.
Christians believe Logos is God too though. John 1:1 says "In the beginning there was the λόγος (logos), and the λόγος was with God, and the λόγος was God." Both the Latin and the modern English translate it as "Word", but that makes zero sense.

As for your ideas of algebra, understand that I take an Aristotelian-Thomist view of such things. I regard numbers to be either abstractions of reality existing in a mind or as part of the real forms of the things. This matches how most of us are taught mathematics in primary school (through concrete examples). Conceding that Boolean algebra does have extra-mental reality, then we would have to say that it, as with universals, propositions, other numbers, and possible worlds, existed first in God's mind as a single, undivided idea. I must clarify, however, that we as finite, material creatures have a very limited understanding of how exactly this works, but we do know this is true because both the Doctrine of Divine Simplicity and the Principle of Proportionate Causality are true. This is what Edward Feser calls the "Scholastic Realist" view and what Greg Welty calls the "Theistic Conceptual Realist" view.

The upcoming essays will deal with: the arguments for God's omnipotence, omniscience, and perfection; the Problem of Evil; Platonic Forms and their relationship with God; the teleological-essentialist view of nature; and Natural Law ethics. After those five essays, I'll start applying those foundations of my worldview to very specific circumstances.
 

Doomsought

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Conceding that Boolean algebra does have extra-mental reality, then we would have to say that it, as with universals, propositions, other numbers, and possible worlds, existed first in God's mind as a single, undivided idea. I must clarify, however, that we as finite, material creatures have a very limited understanding of how exactly this works, but we do know this is true because both the Doctrine of Divine Simplicity and the Principle of Proportionate Causality are true.
You are completely missing my argument. Your argument was that because that the human comprehension of a subject has ordinality, then the subject must have ordinality. This is not only invalid, but provably wrong. I brought up algebra because it is an uncountable set of axioms. Because it is uncountable it has no ordinality, yet we comprehend it in an ordinal manner. Universal ordinality has been proven false since diagonalization, so any theory that relies on it is also proven false. In many infinities there is not first, there is no last, there simply is.
 

The Name of Love

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You are completely missing my argument. Your argument was that because that the human comprehension of a subject has ordinality, then the subject must have ordinality. This is not only invalid, but provably wrong. I brought up algebra because it is an uncountable set of axioms. Because it is uncountable it has no ordinality, yet we comprehend it in an ordinal manner. Universal ordinality has been proven false since diagonalization, so any theory that relies on it is also proven false. In many infinities there is not first, there is no last, there simply is.
It's fine for you to point to Boolean Algebra to show that there is no "first" or "last", but I've already explained in my very first essay why objects do not have existential inertia, and I demonstrated that they must derive their existence from a first cause at any point in time in which they do exist. The objects of our experience are contingent: they come into existence, go out of existence, and there's no inherent reason why they must exist. You must have recourse to a first cause for this reason.

I think this might be a case of you mistaking an abstraction of reality for the whole of reality. This is a common mistake amongst many moderns. For instance, there are people who claim that physics has disproven the existence of time because their new equations make no reference to time. The underlying assumption is that the equations can tell you about the entirety of reality. In fact, neither mathematics nor modern physics can tell you everything there is to know about reality because they are both abstractions of real things. Details get left out. I think there might be something like this happening here, where you think because Boolean Algebra makes no reference to ontologically ordered causal series, they must not exist.

In ordered to defeat my argument, you'd have to prove the Doctrine of Existential Inertia and disprove the Doctrine of Divine Conservation. There is no getting around this. Either material objects require God's act to exist at any given moment in principle or they don't. What's your position, and why?
 
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The Name of Love

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God has allowed things to exist without and outside his will, because sin exists.
Do you concede that my objection to your argument concerning Boolean Algebra is correct?

The thing is, evil does not have ontological existence. Rather, it is a privation of the good. This follows from the convertibility of goodness and being. Any thing, even something that is evil, is good insofar as it exists. What makes a thing evil is that it fails to live up to some standard set for it by its nature. It is not a thing in and of itself. To say that "evil exists" or to say that "sin exists" is like saying "darkness exists." You can say that, but darkness is not a real thing. It's an absence of something that should exist (namely, light).

I would read this and this to see what I'm talking about.
 

Doomsought

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Do you concede that my objection to your argument concerning Boolean Algebra is correct?
Not really. Axioms exist because they are inherently true. They exist outside of time, first and after are meaningless. Fundamentally, you have failed to demonstrate to me that time is necessary for reality.


The test for existence is simple: Reality is that which remains true when you cease to believe in it. Evil is an evaluation of an action, thus from the point of view of propositional logic Evil is a function Evil(x). From the definition of reality, Evil is not real if and only if Evil(x) ceases to be true because you cease to believe in evil. This is equivalent to: Evil is not real if and only if moral relativism is valid. Moral relativism is inherently self contradictory, thus invalid. Thus evil must be real.
 

The Name of Love

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Not really. Axioms exist because they are inherently true. They exist outside of time, first and after are meaningless. Fundamentally, you have failed to demonstrate to me that time is necessary for reality.
Axioms are true, but do they represent the whole of reality? No. Mathematics cannot capture the full truth of what is real. Neither can science. Only a comprehensive view of human knowledge that resists reductivism will bring forth an accurate picture of what is real. That there is “no first or last in Boolean algebra” is irrelevant.

The test for existence is simple: Reality is that which remains true when you cease to believe in it. Evil is an evaluation of an action, thus from the point of view of propositional logic Evil is a function Evil(x). From the definition of reality, Evil is not real if and only if Evil(x) ceases to be true because you cease to believe in evil. This is equivalent to: Evil is not real if and only if moral relativism is valid. Moral relativism is inherently self contradictory, thus invalid. Thus evil must be real.
Evil is real, yes. But it doesn’t have ontological being. It’s a privation, an absence of something that should be there. Evil is to goodness what blindness is to sight, or what darkness is to light. Again, I implore you to read the links in my previous post, since you don’t seem to understand what I was saying.
 
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