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Ontological Arguments.docx

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PHIL 101
Christopher Stephens

3. Ontological Arguments: Attempt to give a priori arguments for the existence of God A Priori Proposition: If it can be justified independently of sense experience (reason is sufficient to know its truth and justify it.) Theoretical deduction. 1+1=2; bachelors are unmarried A Posteriori Proposition: If it can only be justified or known through information and observation from the senses Bachelors eat mac and cheese Anslem’s Ontological Argument: P1: God is by definition the greatest being possible. P2: A being that fails to exist in the actual world (while existing in other possible worlds) is less perfect than a being that exists in all possible worlds. C: Hence, God exists, necessarily. “… if it can’t exist, it can’t be the greatest conceivable.  It must exist” Necessary Truth: A statement that is true in all possible worlds. 1+1=2 Contingent Truth: A statement that is only true in certain worlds. I came to class today Gaunilo’s Criticism: P1: A P-island is by definition the greatest possible island. P2: An island that fails to exist in the actual world (while existing in other possible worlds) is less perfect than an island that exists in all possible worlds. C: Hence, a P-island exists necessarily.  A form of Reductio Ad Absurdum… (Modus Tollens) P1: If Anselm’s argument is sound, than my perfect island argument is sound. P2: My P-island argument is not sound; it’s absurd C:  Anselm’s ontological argument is unsound. Anslem’s Response to Gaunilo: The E- Unicorn Analogy Unicorns don’t exist in the actual world, but consider a new concept that we can call an E-unicorn. An E-unicorn is by definition an existing unicorn … so, are there E-Unicorns? He simply says if there was an E-unicorn, it would have that property of existing; similarly, Anslem is saying that if God existed, he would be the greatest conceivable. Rational Faith: Expected Utility: Expected magnitude of satisfaction to your preferences (happiness) Expected Value of Outcome: (Gain * Prob1bility ) + (Ga1n * Proba2ility ) + … 2 Gain Ticket wins (1/1 million) Ticket loses (999 999/1 million) #1 Buy ticket $100 000 - $1 #2 Don’t buy / / ticket • EV of #1: (100 000) * (1/1 million) + (-1)(999 999/1 million) = -9/10 EV of #2: 0  To maximize expected monetary value, don’t buy the ticket Pascal’s Wager: Questioning the evidential and prudential rationality for our beliefs Evidential Rationality: believing only what is given through facts and information Prudential Rationality: an action that maximizes expected utility Gain God exists 50% or 1% No God exists 50% or 1% Believe in God Infinity Finite loss (-x) Don’t believe in 0, or, – infinity Finite gain (+x) God Objections to Pascal’s Wager: (1)Many Gods Objection, which states that there could be multiple Gods that reward different people according to different values. (2)Maybe God will only reward evidential rationality and punish those who display prudential rationality. William James: Gives an argument for the belief in the existence of God based on rationality of one’s own individual psyche, focused on present day beliefs as opposed to after-life circumstances. Gain Reassured by theism Not reassured by theism Believe God exists +x -x
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