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Thursday, April 25, 2019


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What about the following line of reasoning?

1.[P] There is a fact that "I am hungry."
2.[P] God is sufficient reason (cause, ground, etc.) for every fact.
3. God is sufficient reason for the fact that "I am hungry."
4.[P] If God is sufficient reason for x, then God knows x.
5. God knows the fact that "I am hungry."
6.[P/df?] If x is indexical fact, then only the subject P, who utters the indexical sentence can know the fact which makes this sentence true [alternatively (maybe better for God's case): If x is indexical fact, then only the subject P, who entertain the proposition made true by fact x can know this fact.]
7.[P] Fact that "I crave for coffee" is indexical fact.
8. I am the only subject, who knows that "I crave for coffee."
9.[P] And I'm pretty sure I'm not God

And so we have a contradiction.

We also need justification for 4.:

1. God is sufficient reason for x iff range of God's power include bringing about x.
2. God knows x iff range of God's knowledge include x.
3. If capabilities (/power[/attribute?]) x and y are identical, then they have the same range.
4. God is simple.
5. So God's power is identical to God's knowledge.
6. So God's power and God's knowledge have the same range.
7. So if God is sufficient reason for x, then God knows x.

This argument is not much convincing for me, because it includes too many uncertainties, but probably it is a fate of metaphysician. We can also try the following argument:

1. Let's assume that it's false that if God is sufficient reason for x, the God knows x.
2. So it's possible that God is sufficient reason for x and God does not know that x.
3. We can substitute x for a class of considered indexical facts, so: It's possible that God is sufficient reason for the facts connected with usage of first-person pronouns and does not know them.
4. Knowledge of facts connected with the usage of first-person pronouns is necessary for certain knowledge that one is a subject. (possibility of Cartesian machines, zombies etc.)
5. So it's possible that God is sufficient reason for a subject, but does not know with certainty that the effect of his being reason is a subject.

Well, if the argument is correct, then we have a bit unpleasant consequence, particularly if we have religious intuitions that world somehow exists for persons. But again, I did not inspect premises thoroughly, so I may be wrong (God's knows best).

Is an indexical fact even a distinct fact? Doesn't "I am making a mess" represent the same fact as "David is making a mess"?

It seems to me that there is some conflation going on here between subjective perception of a fact vs. the fact itself.


Your point is well taken. If a fact is a truth-maker, then 'Dave is making a mess' and 'I am making a mess' (uttered by Dave) would seem to have the same truth-maker. A fact in this sense is a concrete state of affairs having a concrete infinitely-properties thing as a subject constituent.

The abstract propositions expressed by the two sentences would seem to be different however.

Dave could have a de re belief about himself without realizing that the man about whom he has the belief is himself. Suppose Dave sees a man in a mirror making a mess, and that man is himself, but Dave doesn't realize that the man is himself. So Dave believes that the man in the mirror is making a mess, and the man = Dave, but Dave does not believe the proposition expressed by 'I am making a mess' as uttered by Dave.

Hm. You seem to have uncovered an inconsistency in my collection of beliefs about propositions, states of affairs, and intensional logic. I'll have to think about it.

Thank you, I guess? :)

If a being is omniscient just in case it knows every true proposition, then it would appear that no one knower could be omniscient assuming that there is more than one knower.

Suppose there are just two knowers, God and Socrates. Socrates is not omniscient for obvious reasons. But neither is God. For there is one proposition that God does not know, namely, the proposition that Socrates knows when he knows that he himself is Socrates. This is the proposition expresed by 'I am Socrates' when assertively uttered by Socrates.

I presume that no property, had in actuality by any thing whatsoever, ever involves the obtaining of the impossible (logical or non-logical, as per your distinction), and that few will want to claim God has such properties (though some, somewhere, no doubt have). So mustn't any argument, such as Grim's about omniscience, claiming that God cannot have property X because no being can have it (logically or non-logically), only ever end up leading to the clarification of the nature of the divine attributes -- refining them so that they don't involve the obtaining of the impossible -- rather than showing God doesn't exist? It seems to me like this approach must always be only an exercise in clarification (not without value) rather than any demonstration of fact, just as some would say of the ontological argument's potential and limitations. I'm wondering in general to what extent the theistic tradition contains any descriptions of God that an atheist could ever legitimately leverage into an a priori argument against God (e.g. Normal Malcolm's argument against any being being necessary, which you've discussed before), as opposed to just leading to the refining of our definitions. Is the a priori approach, sometimes pursued to prove God, doomed to be a non-starter as far as disproving God?


I agree with you. God cannot be proved a priori not to exist since to do that the atheist has to begin with a definition of God, one that the theist is free to modify or reject.

At most, the atheists can demonstrate a priori that a certain concept of God cannot be instantiated, say a concept of God according to which God can do absolutely anything; but the theist is under no obligation to accept that concept.

For example, it is provable a priori that nothing can be both a necessary being and capable of doing absolutely anything. For if God can do absolutely anything, then he can commit suicide/deicide; but if he could do that he would not be a necessary being.

The theist response will be that there are limits on divine power.

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