The Modal argument

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check out my God argumemts, the ones I've written myself.
http://religiousapriori.blogspot.com/2009/01/rational-warrant-for-belief-sub-menu.html


Let's discuss one in particular.

The Modal Argument

Image result for Charles Hartshorne the Philosopher
Charles Hartshorne 1897-2000
Modern Champion of the modal argument


What follows is one of the most challenging subjects you will ever hear about. It is the best way to get a head ache, but I think it proves the existence of God. The problem is it requires a very specialized background to understand it. First you have to understand modal logic.

Modal Logic is so called because it turns upon the use of so called "modal operators." It's called "modal" because it is the logic of modes of being. "modes" as in what type of existence something exits in, weather it is dependent upon other things, weather it can cease or fail to exist and so forth. The modal operators are "necessity," "contingency" "impossibly," "possibility."

Necessity and contingency lie at the base of our modern understanding of cause and effect. They come from scholastic notions of logic, but the distinction between the notion our modern notions of c/e and the scholastic ones in the middle ages is not that great. The  scholastic had more levels of cause, efficient cause, final cause and several others. But one could everything we have done in modern science using the scholastic ideas of c/e.

Necessity doesn't mean has to exist. It doesn't mean God is necessary to the existence of the world (except in so far as if God exists then of closure God is necessary to the world as creator--without God there would be no world).The modal argument does not begin with the assumption that God has to exist. It begins with the assumption that there is a valid distinction between necessity and contingency, which there must be.It proceeds along the lines of hypothetical consequence that obtain from different scenarios of God's existence. It concludes that is necessary. But by "necessary" it means not contingent, or not dependent upon something else for its' existence.

This is often misconstrued by atheists and taken to mean the argument proceeds from God's existence as an assumed first premise. This is not the case, the first premise is either/or. Either God's existence is necessary or it is impossible. This allows for the possibility that there is no God. So the argument does not begin by "defining God into existence."

Necessity essentially not contingent, it also coneys the idea of he can;'t cease or fail to exist, stemming from his eternal nature.

Contingent means the opposite: that a thing is dependent upon a prior thing for existence, or that it could cease or fail to exist.

Impossible means logically impossible, something in the structure of the idea contradictions, such as square circles.

one of the sore spots that atheists get stuck on is the idea that God cannot be contingent. They will always leap to the conclusion that this is defining God into existence, because they don't understand the concept of God. God, by the nature of the concept, carriers certain parameters just as the existence of any human assumes humanity, or the existence of any tree assumes that the tree in question is a plant. To have to define that God is not contingent should not even come into it. The idea of God is that of eternal creator of all things. Thus God cannot cease to exits and cannot be dependent upon anything (or he wouldn't be the creator of all things). Atheists usually assume that all knowledge has to be empirical. they will argue this is defining God into existence. maybe God is contingent.

Argument:


Close to Hartshorne's version

1. God is either necessary or impossible.
2. God can be conceived without contradiction.
3. Whatever can be conceived without contradiction is not impossible.
4. God is not impossible.
5. God's existence is a necessity (
from 1-4, not contingent or impossible means necessary)
6. If God is necessary, then God exists.
7. Belief in God's existence is warranted




About Hartshorne


Hartshorne Lived to be 103, at the time of his death in the Fall of 2000, he was known as "the greatest living Metaphysician." Hartshorne was one of the major forces in the "back to God" movement in Philosophy (a term coined by  Christianity Today in a 1979 article. His first and greatest claim to fame is as the second most influential voice in process philosophy, along with Alfred North Whtiehead, but he is also credited as the man who brought the Ontological argument back from ignominious defeat by Kant almost two centuries earlier. Hartshorne was also a recognized authority on birdsong, and an authority on bycicles, having never driven a car a single time in his centogenerian lifespan. Hartshorne devoted the last years of life to waging a letter's to the editor campaign to advocate social issues such as medical care.


Supporting Material

Fun with the nodal argument

The Logic of The Modal Argument

Terms of The Modal Argument

Answering Argument That God Need not 
Exist as necessity

Comments

Anonymous said…
Joe: 1. God is either necessary or impossible.
2. God can be conceived without contradiction.
3. Whatever can be conceived without contradiction is not impossible.
4. God is not impossible.
5. God's existence is a necessity (from 1-4, not contingent or impossible means necessary)
6. If God is necessary, then God exists.
7. Belief in God's existence is warranted


First of all, let me say this is far more coherent (i.e., can be comprehended and understood) than you transcendental signifier argument, so well done on that!

Let us say that we DEFINE God (in part) as a being that is necessary. I think that that is a reasonable approach, as long as we are clear on that, and I think that that is what you are doing. In that case, number 1 must be true. So far so good.

I am going to jump to 5 and 6. 5 necessarily follows from 1 and 4, and 6 from 5. No problem there.

I find it laughable that in step 7 this supposed logical proof merely gives rational warrant. If it is right, then it proves God exists!

So numbers 2, 3 and 4. In fact, really, it comes down to what "conceived without contradiction" really means. Let us suppose the straightforward reading... Are fairies possible? No. Can they be conceived without contradiction? Yes. So where you argument fails is number 3.

I think it also worth pointing out that human knowledge is expanding. We have a better unmderstanding of what "can be conceived without contradiction" now than we used to have, and it seems likely that will improve. I think there is therefore an unknown inherent in number 3. We cannot be sure what can be conceived without contradiction because those contradictions might only be realised later.

Pix
First of all, let me say this is far more coherent (i.e., can be comprehended and understood) than you transcendental signifier argument, so well done on that!

Ok thanks, That gives me something to work on

Let us say that we DEFINE God (in part) as a being that is necessary. I think that that is a reasonable approach, as long as we are clear on that, and I think that that is what you are doing. In that case, number 1 must be true. So far so good.

I am going to jump to 5 and 6. 5 necessarily follows from 1 and 4, and 6 from 5. No problem there.

I find it laughable that in step 7 this supposed logical proof merely gives rational warrant. If it is right, then it proves God exists!

I like a soft sell. Acutely this the way Hartshorne argued he liked soft sell too. If accept it as proof so be it.

So numbers 2, 3 and 4. In fact, really, it comes down to what "conceived without contradiction" really means. Let us suppose the straightforward reading... Are fairies possible? No. Can they be conceived without contradiction? Yes. So where you argument fails is number 3.

If farriers are not possible then their existence is a contradiction to reality.

I think it also worth pointing out that human knowledge is expanding. We have a better understanding of what "can be conceived without contradiction" now than we used to have, and it seems likely that will improve. I think there is therefore an unknown inherent in number 3. We cannot be sure what can be conceived without contradiction because those contradictions might only be realised later.

Nonsense, you have to spell out the contrition. You say fairies can't exist but are you really saying they can't because they don't?


On being conceived without contradiction: I only said it means "Whatever can be conceived without contradiction is not impossible." Fairies can be possible and still not exist. Saying that fairies can be conceived without contradiction does not mean they exist.
the upshot is God is unique in that for him to be possible is to be necessary.Since he is not contingent he must be either necessary or impossible, since he is not impossible he must be necessary and therefore must exist,
Anonymous said…
Joe: the upshot is God is unique in that for him to be possible is to be necessary.Since he is not contingent he must be either necessary or impossible, since he is not impossible he must be necessary and therefore must exist,

I think therefore the question is whether God, a necessary being, is possible, i.e., that the existence of a necessary being is NOT a contradiction to reality?

How do you intend to prove that that is the case?

Pix
Anonymous said...
Joe: the upshot is God is unique in that for him to be possible is to be necessary.Since he is not contingent he must be either necessary or impossible, since he is not impossible he must be necessary and therefore must exist,

I think therefore the question is whether God, a necessary being, is possible, i.e., that the existence of a necessary being is NOT a contradiction to reality?

How do you intend to prove that that is the case?

No it's your burden of proof, you must show a contraction in the concept of God.There is no reason why one must prove is not contradictory if there is no reason to think it is
Anonymous said…
Joe: No it's your burden of proof, you must show a contraction in the concept of God.There is no reason why one must prove is not contradictory if there is no reason to think it is

Wrong. It is your argument, you need to show the premises are true. Otherwise, it is just opinion.

Pix


Close to Hartshorne's version

1. God is either necessary or impossible.
2. God can be conceived without contradiction.
3. Whatever can be conceived without contradiction is not impossible.
4. God is not impossible.
5. God's existence is a necessity (from 1-4, not contingent or impossible means necessary)
6. If God is necessary, then God exists.
7. Belief in God's existence is warranted

PX.Wrong. It is your argument, you need to show the premises are true. Otherwise, it is just opinion.

those premises are self evident; 1. God is either necessary or impossible.deny it! 2. God can be conceived without contradiction. show me the contradiction. 3. Whatever can be conceived without contradiction is not impossible. I dare yo to deny that, show me how any of those are not self evient


Anonymous said…
Joe: those premises are self evident; 1. God is either necessary or impossible.deny it! 2. God can be conceived without contradiction. show me the contradiction. 3. Whatever can be conceived without contradiction is not impossible. I dare yo to deny that, show me how any of those are not self evient

I said why they are not self-evident. I have no interest in repeating myself; just re-read my previous posts.

Pix

"I said why they are not self-evident. I have no interest in repeating myself; just re-read my previous posts."

You said

"Wrong. It is your argument, you need to show the premises are true. Otherwise, it is just opinion."

that is not an argument it is not proof it's just sloffing off the obvious. look a couple of premises:


1. God is either necessary or impossible.

this is logical obvious since God is eternal and cannot be contingent, he must be either necessary or possible those are the only choices. we can can that from the meaning of the terms,.

2. God can be conceived without contradiction.

you cannot producer the contradiction. That in itself proves there is no contradiction in the God concept. If there was you would be able to say what it is my pointing this out is proof.


3. Whatever can be conceived without contradiction is not impossible.

that's logically the nature of the case.

4. God is not impossible.

Because he has no contradiction that's what has been said above.
Anonymous said…
Joe: 2. God can be conceived without contradiction.

you cannot producer the contradiction. That in itself proves there is no contradiction in the God concept. If there was you would be able to say what it is my pointing this out is proof.


That I cannot produce the contradiction does not prove there is no contradiction.

You might as well say:

1. It looks to me like God exists
2. Therefore I have rational warrant for believing God exists

Everything else is just window dressing; it is there to give the appearance of a rational argument.

Pix
Anonymous said...
Joe: 2. God can be conceived without contradiction.

you cannot producer the contradiction. That in itself proves there is no contradiction in the God concept. If there was you would be able to say what it is my pointing this out is proof.

That I cannot produce the contradiction does not prove there is no contradiction.

you cannot assert there might be so there is. you cannot produce a contradiction I have no reason to assume there is one

You might as well say:

1. It looks to me like God exists
2. Therefore I have rational warrant for believing God exists

Yes that is reasonable. I have reason to think so so I think so. that is reasonable.

Everything else is just window dressing; it is there to give the appearance of a rational argument.

If I see red i have ration to believe something is red, why should I assume it's not red merely because you suggest it;s not with no proof?

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