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6/19/2017 7:35 am  #31


Re: Poll: Is the proposition “God exists” true?

Technically, if you are correct, couldn't it be the case the contradiction is in our (discursive) reason? It wouldn't have to be reality per se.

I'm not sure. I don't think the mystics—this has been turned into a dirty word, but it shouldn't be one—would be bothered by anything I've said here, though, no.  

(I could have done a much better job with the paragraphs you're replying to, hah.)

 

6/19/2017 7:47 am  #32


Re: Poll: Is the proposition “God exists” true?

Jeremy Taylor wrote:

​But does this rely on possible worlds talk? Would the objection still apply if the theist had some other framework for understanding modality (for example, because possible worlds seem to make contingency problematic by implying the existence of all contingent or possible worlds)? If something could have been different but isn't, then, absent possible worlds talk, does that require a change in an atemporal God's nature?

No, as mention of possible worlds here is only semantic aka a way of spelling out a problem pertaining to modal matters with modern quantified logic. Even when get's into a metaphysical account of what possible worlds are it doesn't much effect it: very few theories of possible worlds hold that a possible world's existing means that there is another 'actual world' like this one - instead worlds can be assayed as platonic entities or, as the classical theist ought to say, ideas in the Divine Mind.

Jeremy Taylor wrote:

Interestingly, I believe Ibn Sina and some of the other Masha'iyya seem to believe God did not have knowledge of particulars.

Individuals such as Menzel and Leftow have argued that there are no facts about possible individuals qua individuals only qua instances of a type. This would mean amongst other things that S5 and maybe S4 are restricted to types as opposed to tokens.

 

6/19/2017 8:27 am  #33


Re: Poll: Is the proposition “God exists” true?

DanielCC wrote:

Individuals such as Menzel and Leftow have argued that there are no facts about possible individuals qua individuals only qua instances of a type. This would mean amongst other things that S5 and maybe S4 are restricted to types as opposed to tokens.

What then becomes the fate of transworld identity?

 

6/19/2017 8:45 am  #34


Re: Poll: Is the proposition “God exists” true?

John West wrote:

Vallicella sidesteps any problems the distinction between God's act of knowing and knowledge might cause by putting his argument entirely in terms of the latter. (I actually had this distinction in mind when I chose Vallicella's version of the argument.)

I'm sorry, but it isn't so clear to me how he sidestepped that objection. I imagine you have premise (3) in mind, when Dr. Vallicella said that whenever God knows something, there is something in God such that He knows it. In other words, premise (3) is that God's act of knowing is constituted by its contents.
But if that's the case, I think I anticipated exactly this rejoinder by pointing out that the content of God's act of knowledge is "in God" in a different sense than we use for His "faculties." Given this distinction, God is not identical to the content of His knowledge (as suggested before), which is exactly where the problem comes from. This is why I think the argument fails.

I'm just going to rephrase the argument I made before.

1. Knowledge of particulars is a relationship to said particulars.
2. God is not identical to His relationships to other things.
3. So God is not identical to His knowledge of particulars.

This also explains why I'm not sure whether this forces us to concede that God has accidental properties (in which case, I will have to either abandon this solution, or find some way to accommodate), as I find it unclear whether these relationships can plausibly count as Cambridge properties.


Caution: Novice at Work!
 

6/19/2017 9:48 am  #35


Re: Poll: Is the proposition “God exists” true?

Grace and Rust wrote:

I'm sorry, but it isn't so clear to me how he sidestepped that objection. I imagine you have premise (3) in mind, when Dr. Vallicella said that whenever God knows something, there is something in God such that He knows it. In other words, premise (3) is that God's act of knowing is constituted by its contents.

Your use of “constitute” is obscure. God would only be “constituted” by his (say) belief states in the sense that he would be strictly identical to them.

But if that's the case, I think I anticipated exactly this rejoinder by pointing out that the content of God's act of knowledge is "in God" in a different sense than we use for His "faculties." Given this distinction, God is not identical to the content of His knowledge (as suggested before), which is exactly where the problem comes from. This is why I think the argument fails.

Your use of “in God” is also obscure.

Either God has intrinsic items (e.g. belief states) whereby he knows truths he knows, or he doesn't. If he does, by Simplicity he's identical to each of them. If he doesn't, then your argument requires an externalist conception of knowledge. 

But I said the focus of the argument would be over whether externalist conceptions of knowledge are viable in the first place.

     Thread Starter
 

6/19/2017 9:48 am  #36


Re: Poll: Is the proposition “God exists” true?

This also explains why I'm not sure whether this forces us to concede that God has accidental properties (in which case, I will have to either abandon this solution, or find some way to accommodate), as I find it unclear whether these relationships can plausibly count as Cambridge properties.

Let G be the Divine Essence, R be God's knowledge relation (suggested in your 1), and + be the symbol for mereological addition. If we identify God with G + R, he's complex and we've abandoned Simplicity. If we don't, then God's knowledge relation is external to him (so that, if you're identifying God's knowledge with a relation or aggregate of relations, it's external to him).*

I'm well aware of Miller's reply to the accidental property objection (of which yours seems to be at least a close cousin). It, however, requires an externalist conception of knowledge.

*If you identify G and R, then since God has different knowledge relations in different worlds he's mutable.

     Thread Starter
 

6/19/2017 11:15 am  #37


Re: Poll: Is the proposition “God exists” true?

Hi, John West
Let's start with my term "in God." I agree that it is somewhat "obscure," and I think I was fairly upfront about it when I mentioned my uncertainties about what followed from my argument. I wanted a term that was broader that Dr. Vallicella's own "intrinsic" from premises (1) and (3):

=14.6667px1. God is simple: there is nothing intrinsic to God that is distinct from God.
3. Necessarily, if God knows some truth t, then (i) there an item intrinsic to God such as a mental act or a belief state (ii) whereby God knows t.

My reason is, whereas the term "intrinsic" usually means "essential," it seemed to me that Dr. Vallicella didn't want to commit himself to saying that God's knowledge of any particular contingent truth is somehow essential to Him; else that fact would be modally necessary (given simplicity), rather than contingent.
So I brought in the term "in God" to allow for that apparent ambiguity. Now I ought to explain the different senses. The first of course would be "essential." As for the other sense, I'm tempted to say God has this knowledge, but it is not essential to Him (see here: http://classicaltheism.boardhost.com/viewtopic.php?pid=2651#p2651). If we call this knowledge "necessary," it is not in any modal sense, but only by supposition (and here the supposition is one concerning what God wills, for what He wills to be true, He knows is true). I can't apologize enough, since I wasn't sure about the distinction's exact nature myself!

Next, I have to say I don't see how my use of "constituted" is obscure. When you said,

John West wrote:

God would only be “constituted” by his (say) belief states in the sense that he would be strictly identical to them,

you hit the nail on the head. I thought I was clear that I argued God's act of knowing is not strictly identical to the content of His knowledge.* So knowledge of particulars is only external to God in the sense that it is not essential to Him.
And that's my thrust against Dr. Vallicella's argument. In order for God to be identical to His knowledge of particulars, these "intrinsic items" at premise (3) must exist "in God" in the same way as His "faculties" do--they must be essential to Him. Because only then are these "intrinsic items" identical to God, or at least that's what I think.
I hope that handles the opening difficulties, because if it doesn't, I would be irresponsible trying to address your discussion on knowledge relations before having made this clear.

* But since I must have slipped somewhere, it would be good to know where, so I don't make the mistake again.


Caution: Novice at Work!
 

6/19/2017 1:04 pm  #38


Re: Poll: Is the proposition “God exists” true?

Grace and Rust wrote:

My reason is, whereas the term "intrinsic" usually means "essential," it seemed to me that Dr. Vallicella didn't want to commit himself to saying that God's knowledge of any particular contingent truth is somehow essential to Him; else that fact would be modally necessary (given simplicity), rather than contingent.

It's worth making the distinction between intrinsic properties and essential properties explicit. If Vallicella says that a has an intrinsic property, he's saying a has a non-relational property; if he says that a has an essential property, he's saying a has a property constitutive of its identity. (In other words, in Vallicella's jargon (which is just standard analytic jargon), intrinsic doesn't mean essential (the two are at least conceptually distinct).)

It's also worth distinguishing between the “in” of constituency, the “in” of identity, the “in” of partial but not whole identity, and the “in” of dependency. If God has knowledge as a constituent not identical to him, he's not absolutely simple; if he's identical with his knowledge, then all that tells us is that Vallicella's argument's first premise is right; if he's partially but not wholly identical with his knowledge, he's not absolutely simple; if his knowledge is merely dependent on him, then it's not “in” him in any sufficiently relevant sense (my shirt is also dependent on him).

Now, these are all the different senses of “in” I can think of*, and they're all either insufficient or lead to absurdities.*

*The two identity options also cover essential properties.
*It's not enough to say that God's knowledge is “in” him in some obscure way that just happens to avoid the accidental property objection, either. That would amount to little more than a foot-stomping declaration that the objection “just fails”.

I'm just commenting on this “option” for the sake of thoroughness (and, I suppose, anyone who thinks I'm just being an infuriating pedant). I know you [Grace and Rust] aren't saying this.

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6/19/2017 1:16 pm  #39


Re: Poll: Is the proposition “God exists” true?

As for the other sense, I'm tempted to say God has this knowledge, but it is not essential to Him (see here: http://classicaltheism.boardhost.com/viewtopic.php?pid=2651#p2651).

Hah. I'm familiar with Greg's position on the accidental property objection. We've talked about it a couple times, and I think he pretty much agrees with me about Vallicella's version of the argument, its opponents, and their wanting to go for externalism*.

(A probably non-Gregian way to say God can (intrinsically) have knowledge without it (at least) partly constituting his identity would be to make a move analogous to the one Pawl makes against Loux. But then you have the indiscernibility of identicals to contend with.)

*The version of externalism he mentioned is, however, a bit nuanced. (It's more like “partial externalism”.) I'll let him speak for himself, if he wants.

     Thread Starter
 

6/19/2017 4:28 pm  #40


Re: Poll: Is the proposition “God exists” true?

if God just sees His effects in Himself as their cause would that not be constituted as His Knowledge. 

Last edited by Jason (6/19/2017 4:29 pm)

 

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