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12/15/2018 6:13 am  #1


Non-personal necessary being

Hello everyone.
I was considering responses that atheists give to cosmological argument. If we set aside the "brute fact" one, a possible answer is that there's a necessary being, but it isn't God. Good enough: but if that's the case, they should be able to give some plausible account of its necessity, right?
So here I am. I actually know, or at least I'm acquinted with threes authors who did give such an account:

- Kant, which is basically agnostic about "true" modality outside mind;
- Spinoza, which I really need to read entirely one day;
- Leslie. Well, he's still some sort of theist with his infinities of "goddish" minds.

It would be rather strange to just say "matter is neccessary" without making its necessity as clear as possible.
Does any of you find one of these plausible? Or is there better account? Some reading advice would be great.

 

12/16/2018 5:53 am  #2


Re: Non-personal necessary being

I am reviewing one of Leslie’s books at present. To give him his due he ended his theory as neautral between theism and pantheism, though develops ‘pantheism’ as a full thesis in Infinite Minds. I am not sure the Optimalist is committed to a a non-theistic necessary being though. They may try to argue that what the Optimalist thesis implies is that ‘Necessarily a very good world exists’, where very good is taken de dicto to mean any world that satisfies that description, ergo although it’s necessary that such a world exists it is contingent just which world it happens to be, as opppsed to a de re reading ‘A very good world exists necessarily’, in which case one specific world exists necessarily and we have modal collapse.

The Optimalist theist might say that God’s necessary existence, that of an all good free agent, better accounts for the contingency of the world.

 

12/16/2018 12:03 pm  #3


Re: Non-personal necessary being

I liked Leslie's Universes ... until that weird chapter about the universe existing because it ought to. Feser has an interesting take on what Leslie means: 

Ed Feser wrote:

 John [Leslie] has sometimes described his position as entailing that “creative value” is the source of all things, and that the universe exists because of its “ethical requiredness.” I think that in substance what he is defending is essentially the sort of view one finds in Plato and Plotinus, but that the language in which he expresses it is arguably too modern and potentially misleading. At least since Hume, “value” connotes for most philosophers something that depends on someone who does the valuing, and thus seems essentially subjective or mind-dependent. And the “ethical,” for most modern philosophers, essentially connotes a property of the actions of rational creatures like us. Hence a position like John’s is quite mistakenly, but understandably bound to seem very strange and even unintelligible to most contemporary philosophers. More traditional Platonic expressions like “the Form of the Good” or even just “the Good,” while hardly common in contemporary philosophy, are in my view preferable since they better convey the objectivity or mind-independence of what John is talking about.)

Can anyone recommend a great book on Spinoza?

 

12/19/2018 3:15 pm  #4


Re: Non-personal necessary being

@DanielCC

But your first proposition would lack some contrastive explanation isn't it? Why THIS world rather than another?
It would be some half-brute explanation. What would be better for the atheist/pantheist though: modal collapse or semi-brute fact?
Something very interesting anyway is be the axiological status of God: would a world without God be better or not? I know that some atheist say that they would like that God exist. (I think Michael Tooley is like that.) But what about the angry ones? Like the New Atheists?

@119

Spinoza himself? He seems pretty accessible.

     Thread Starter
 

12/19/2018 4:41 pm  #5


Re: Non-personal necessary being

Ouros wrote:

@DanielCC

But your first proposition would lack some contrastive explanation isn't it? Why THIS world rather than another?
It would be some half-brute explanation. What would be better for the atheist/pantheist though: modal collapse or semi-brute fact?
Something very interesting anyway is be the axiological status of God: would a world without God be better or not? I know that some atheist say that they would like that God exist. (I think Michael Tooley is like that.) But what about the angry ones? Like the New Atheists?

Such a principle would indeed fail in the case of contrastive explanation (this is one objection against Rundle’s theory). Presumably Rundle or the Rundlesque Optimalist (who is at least in a better position in that he can give a partial reason why there must be contingent being) would try to argue that a PSR allowing for contrastive explaination would be too strong even for the the theist. The Optimalist could try to deflect by making some claim that an element of randomness is better in that it adds an additional something to be grateful for I.e. that this as opposed to an equally good but very different world is actual - not that this is a brilliant answer mind but I’m playing Devil’s Advocate.

Patrick Grimm and a few others, usually billed as anti-theists, have tried to argue it would be better if God did not exist. This is not an easily defensible position though given that most theists require axiological perfect as a hallmark of God (most default to the old idea of arguing that the concept of God is incoherent).

Last edited by DanielCC (12/19/2018 4:42 pm)

 

12/20/2018 4:58 pm  #6


Re: Non-personal necessary being

@DanielCC

Too strong in what sense? Libertarian free will I suppose?
I'm incline to think that libertarian free will should be able to give us contrastive explanation.

I got the impression that some atheist would say that axiological perfection would make the world worst, because it would mean imperfection stand alongside perfection. I would say that it isn't a brilliant answer, too. :-)

That said, there's some paper by Yujin Nagasawa on what we could call "The practical problem of evil", which also touch atheist; https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/6d4b8e_e2fede5338c949e29637ccd5b79b6609.pdf
It could be relevant with the "We can be grateful" in a "Rundlesque Optimisalist World".

     Thread Starter
 

12/21/2018 7:53 am  #7


Re: Non-personal necessary being

Ouros wrote:

@DanielCC

Too strong in what sense? Libertarian free will I suppose?
I'm incline to think that libertarian free will should be able to give us contrastive explanation.

I concur. This is the route I would take.

Ouros wrote:

I got the impression that some atheist would say that axiological perfection would make the world worst, because it would mean imperfection stand alongside perfection. I would say that it isn't a brilliant answer, too. :-).

No, it's close to a contradiction in the strictly analytical sense - by definition the presence of axiological perfection is a good rather than a bad thing.

 

12/25/2018 3:41 pm  #8


Re: Non-personal necessary being

DanielCC wrote:

No, it's close to a contradiction in the strictly analytical sense - by definition the presence of axiological perfection is a good rather than a bad thing.

It's not simply the presence of a axiological perfection alone, but the simultaneous presence of it and imperfection(s).

In fact, I think it raises two interestings questions:
1) How to keep believing in God when we feels sometime that some events are truly absurd and evil?
2) How does God create imperfect beings? How does evil came in the world strictly speaking?
I don't think those are stupid questions.
(Obviously, very good answers were given to both. Leslie's account of (2) is pretty good in fact. "Not a perfect world, but worthy of being thought about.")

If anyone else think that there's good account of impersonnal necessary being, feel free to share ofc. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png

     Thread Starter
 

12/27/2018 1:44 am  #9


Re: Non-personal necessary being

Ouros wrote:

DanielCC wrote:

No, it's close to a contradiction in the strictly analytical sense - by definition the presence of axiological perfection is a good rather than a bad thing.

It's not simply the presence of a axiological perfection alone, but the simultaneous presence of it and imperfection(s).

In fact, I think it raises two interestings questions:
1) How to keep believing in God when we feels sometime that some events are truly absurd and evil?
2) How does God create imperfect beings? How does evil came in the world strictly speaking?
I don't think those are stupid questions.
(Obviously, very good answers were given to both. Leslie's account of (2) is pretty good in fact. "Not a perfect world, but worthy of being thought about.")

If anyone else think that there's good account of impersonnal necessary being, feel free to share ofc. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png

I believe I have an answer, although a very inarticulate one, for I haven't read up much about this, specifically, but people such as Leibniz argue that we live in a "perfect world" or the "best possible world." Now, at face value this seems absurd, because we constantly encounter rape, murder and the like, but this analysis of the world, so Leibniz would declare, is far too specific a reading of our world. He gives a few analogies, but I will only present two. One, is that if you take a peice of art, and you focus in on a small section of it, it seems like a random tossing of paint (or ink?), but as one takes in the art as a whole, it becomes clear what the picture represents. Or, how in music is composed, contains dissonance, which without context, seems painful to the ear, but when given musical context, fits nicely between its surrounding chords. You could say, I suppose, wouldn't a "more perfect" peice of music contain only consonance? To that I would say, no. I wouldn't even attempt to create a peice of music containing only consonance. It is to boring.
 

 

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