Modal ontological argument: open for discussion and defense

Author: Soluminsanis ,

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  • Soluminsanis
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    Soluminsanis
    The modal ontological argument as developed by philosopher Alvin Plantinga:

    1. It is possible that a maximally great being* (mgb for short) exists. 

    2. An mgb exists in some possible world.

    3. If an mgb exists in one possible  world, then an mgb exists in all possible worlds.

    4. An mgb exists in the actual world.

    5. Therefore God exists. 

    *for our purposes an mgb is defined as a being that possesses all great making properties,  and lacks no great making property.  


    Out of all the classical theistic arguments,  this one is my personal favorite. Albeit, somewhat paradoxically,  although I  believe it to be a sound proof , it seems to be the less convincing for many people. 


    I realize each premise needs expounding,  hence the reason I started the thread. This thread is open for discussion to anyone. Atheists are welcomed and encouraged to comment. 



    Thank you 
  • BrotherDThomas
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    --> @Soluminsanis



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    Soluminsanis,

    For the sake of discussion on a God concept existing, PLEASE state which God you are referring to, okay?  Thank you.

    Pick one of the many Gods that people believed in over the millenniums from the extensive list below:

    Azura Mazda, Angus, Belenos, Brigid, Dana, Lugh, Dagda, Epona, Allah, Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Atehna, Demeter, Dionysus, Eris, Eos, Gaia, Hades, Hekate, Helios, Hephaestus, Hera, Hermes, Hestia, Pan, Poseidon, Selene, Uranus, Zeus, Mathilde, Elves, Eostre, Frigg, Ganesh, Hretha, Saxnot, Shef, Shiva Thuno, Tir, Vishnu, Weyland, Woden, Yahweh, Alfar, Balder, Beyla, Bil, Bragi, Byggvir, Dagr, Disir, Eir, Forseti, Freya, Freyr, Frigga, Heimdall, Hel, Hoenir, Idunn, Jord, Lofn, Loki, Mon, Njord, Norns, Nott, Odin, Ran, Saga, Sif, Siofn, Skadi, Snotra, Sol, Syn, Ull, Thor, Tyr, Var, Vali, Vidar, Vor, Herne, Holda, Nehalennia, Nerthus, Endovelicus, Ataegina, Runesocesius, Bacchus, Ceres, Cupid, Diana, Janus, Juno, Jupiter, Maia, Mars, Mercury, Minerva, Neptune, Pluto, Plutus, Proserpina, Venus, Vesta, Vulcan, Attis, Cybele, El-Gabal, Isis, Mithras, Sol Invictus, Endovelicus, Anubis, Aten, Atum, Bast, Bes, Geb, Hapi, Hathor, Heget, Horus, Imhotep, Isis, Jesus, Khepry, Khnum, Maahes, Ma"at, Menhit, Mont, Naunet, Neith, Nephthys, Nut, Osiris, Ptah, Ra, Sekhmnet, Sobek, Set, Tefnut, Thoth, An, Anshar, Anu, Apsu, Ashur, Damkina, Ea, Enki, Enlil, Ereshkigal, Nunurta, Hadad, Inanna, Ishtar, Kingu, Kishar, Marduk, Mummu, Nabu, Nammu, Nanna, Nergal, Ninhursag, Ninlil, Nintu, Shamash, Sin, Tiamat, Utu, Mitra, Amaterasu, Susanoo, Tsukiyomi, Inari, Tengu, Izanami, Izanagi, Daikoku, Ebisu, Benzaiten, Bishamonten, Fukurokuju, Jurojin, Hotei, Quetzalcoatl, Tlaloc, Inti, Kon, Mama Cocha, Mama Quilla, Manco Capac, Pachacamac and Zaramama, Vera.



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  • drafterman
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    The issue is that either you are including "existence" as part of its "great making properties" in which case you are attempting to define something into existence via tautology ("I defined God as existing, ergo God exists") or "existence" is not part of such set of properties in which case #3 does not follow from any premise and the argument ceases to be valid.
  • Soluminsanis
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    --> @BrotherDThomas
    I'm not quite sure the selection you offered me is 100 percent relevant to this particular argument.  The ontological argument is trying to establish the existence of an mgb.  That's all.

  • Soluminsanis
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    --> @drafterman
    I think your objection works with St. Anselm's original argument which was based off of conceptualization.  

    However, I would disagree,  or at least nuance your statement about existence as part of its great making properties. 

    The MOA hinges on the idea that a being with ***necessary *** existence is greatert than one with contigent existence.  That is the main point.
  • drafterman
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    --> @Soluminsanis
    I think your objection works with St. Anselm's original argument which was based off of conceptualization.  
    It is a historical objection (initially raised by Kant) against the Modal ontological argument, specifically.

    However, I would disagree,  or at least nuance your statement about existence as part of its great making properties. 
    It's not a statement, it's an enumeration. Either existence is one of those qualities or it is not. These are the only two options.

    The MOA hinges on the idea that a being with ***necessary *** existence is greatert than one with contigent existence.  That is the main point.
    Then this falls into  "God exists because I define God as something that exists" camp which is tautological. Also you haven't defined what "greater" means.
  • Soluminsanis
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    --> @drafterman
    I'm no historian,  but as far as I know,  Kant never interacted with this particular formulation of the OA because it is fairly new, having been developed by Plantinga in the 70s. 

    Kant's objection, again, afaik, was against Anselm's original formulation.  Unless you and I are from alternate timelines,  which is entirley possible. 

    "Either existence is one of those qualities or it is not"

    The question is which **mode** of existence is greater, Contigent existence or necessary existence. Not whether having existence in and of itself is a great making property. The orginal OA depended on that,  but not this one.

    The first premise states that it is possible for an mgb to exist.  The question then becomes what would an mgb look like.


    Do you grant the first premise?



    Then this falls into "God exists because I define God as something that exists" camp which is tautological. Also you haven't defined what "greater" means.
    Well no. Firstly by greater I simply mean having a superior mode of being.  The argument doesn't define God as something that exists de facto.


    What it does say though is that IF God exists,  and we define God as an Mgb,  then His existence must be in the mode of necessity not contingency,  because necessity is a great making property. And contigency is a lesser making property 






  • drafterman
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    --> @Soluminsanis
    I'm no historian,  but as far as I know,  Kant never interacted with this particular formulation of the OA because it is fairly new, having been developed by Plantinga in the 70s. 

    Kant's objection, again, afaik, was against Anselm's original formulation.  Unless you and I are from alternate timelines,  which is entirley possible. 

    "Either existence is one of those qualities or it is not"
    It was against Decartes and Leibniz, but I'll put that point aside.


    The question is which **mode** of existence is greater, Contigent existence or necessary existence. Not whether having existence in and of itself is a great making property. The orginal OA depended on that,  but not this one.

    The first premise states that it is possible for an mgb to exist.  The question then becomes what would an mgb look like.


    Do you grant the first premise?
    I can't grant any premise until you define what it means for a mode of existence to be "greater" or "superior" than another.


    Then this falls into "God exists because I define God as something that exists" camp which is tautological. Also you haven't defined what "greater" means.
    Well no. Firstly by greater I simply mean having a superior mode of being.  The argument doesn't define God as something that exists de facto.


    What it does say though is that IF God exists,  and we define God as an Mgb,  then His existence must be in the mode of necessity not contingency,  because necessity is a great making property. And contigency is a lesser making property 
  • Soluminsanis
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    --> @drafterman
    I can't grant any premise until you define what it means for a mode of existence to be "greater" or "superior" than another.
    Right so, St. Anselm's original formulation of this argument was an attempt to actually define what God is.  If we think of it in terms of a food chain that's helpful. 

    What is the top of the "food chain" of existence? IOW, what is the greatest possible. or conceivable being? 

    When we answer this question some things become obvious:

    What's greater,  a being that knows some things or a being that knows all things? All things right?

    What's greater,  a being that has some power or all power? All power right?


    Then we get to necessity and contigency.  

    A contingent being is one whose explanation for its existence is found in an outside or prior entity. You and I are contigent beings,  our explanation for existence is found in a prior being or state of affairs. 

    A necessary being however,  is a being whose existence is not explained by a prior or outside reality, but one whose existence is explained in its own nature. It exists because it is existence. Not because it was actualized by a prior cause. 


    Now which of these two beings would you say is greater? A being which was actualized by a prior reality? Or a being who was not actualized by a prior reality? 

    I think the answer would be the obvious latter




  • drafterman
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    --> @Soluminsanis
    Then we get to necessity and contigency.  

    A contingent being is one whose explanation for its existence is found in an outside or prior entity. You and I are contigent beings,  our explanation for existence is found in a prior being or state of affairs. 

    A necessary being however,  is a being whose existence is not explained by a prior or outside reality, but one whose existence is explained in its own nature. It exists because it is existence. Not because it was actualized by a prior cause. 


    Now which of these two beings would you say is greater? A being which was actualized by a prior reality? Or a being who was not actualized by a prior reality? 

    I think the answer would be the obvious latter
    I'm less interest in you appealing to human cognition and rooting the definition of greatness in some sort of objective logical framework.

  • BrotherDThomas
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    --> @Soluminsanis



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    Soluminsanis,

    YOUR QUOTE TO MY POST #2 IN ASKING YOU IN WHAT GOD YOU ARE REFERRING TO: "I'm not quite sure the selection you offered me is 100 percent relevant to this particular argument."

    Within your initial post's a priori stance for a maximally great being, you included the statement #5 which stated: "Therefore God exists" which is an outcome. If you are going to use this statement #5 within your presented hypothesis, then seemingly my question to you on which of the following Gods that I presented to you, as once again shown below,  needs to be addressed. Thank you.

    Azura Mazda, Angus, Belenos, Brigid, Dana, Lugh, Dagda, Epona, Allah, Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Atehna, Demeter, Dionysus, Eris, Eos, Gaia, Hades, Hekate, Helios, Hephaestus, Hera, Hermes, Hestia, Pan, Poseidon, Selene, Uranus, Zeus, Mathilde, Elves, Eostre, Frigg, Ganesh, Hretha, Saxnot, Shef, Shiva Thuno, Tir, Vishnu, Weyland, Woden, Yahweh, Alfar, Balder, Beyla, Bil, Bragi, Byggvir, Dagr, Disir, Eir, Forseti, Freya, Freyr, Frigga, Heimdall, Hel, Hoenir, Idunn, Jord, Lofn, Loki, Mon, Njord, Norns, Nott, Odin, Ran, Saga, Sif, Siofn, Skadi, Snotra, Sol, Syn, Ull, Thor, Tyr, Var, Vali, Vidar, Vor, Herne, Holda, Nehalennia, Nerthus, Endovelicus, Ataegina, Runesocesius, Bacchus, Ceres, Cupid, Diana, Janus, Juno, Jupiter, Maia, Mars, Mercury, Minerva, Neptune, Pluto, Plutus, Proserpina, Venus, Vesta, Vulcan, Attis, Cybele, El-Gabal, Isis, Mithras, Sol Invictus, Endovelicus, Anubis, Aten, Atum, Bast, Bes, Geb, Hapi, Hathor, Heget, Horus, Imhotep, Isis, Jesus, Khepry, Khnum, Maahes, Ma"at, Menhit, Mont, Naunet, Neith, Nephthys, Nut, Osiris, Ptah, Ra, Sekhmnet, Sobek, Set, Tefnut, Thoth, An, Anshar, Anu, Apsu, Ashur, Damkina, Ea, Enki, Enlil, Ereshkigal, Nunurta, Hadad, Inanna, Ishtar, Kingu, Kishar, Marduk, Mummu, Nabu, Nammu, Nanna, Nergal, Ninhursag, Ninlil, Nintu, Shamash, Sin, Tiamat, Utu, Mitra, Amaterasu, Susanoo, Tsukiyomi, Inari, Tengu, Izanami, Izanagi, Daikoku, Ebisu, Benzaiten, Bishamonten, Fukurokuju, Jurojin, Hotei, Quetzalcoatl, Tlaloc, Inti, Kon, Mama Cocha, Mama Quilla, Manco Capac, Pachacamac and Zaramama, Vera.





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  • Soluminsanis
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    --> @drafterman
    I'm not really sure I follow.  To me,  it just seems self evident,  and therefore logical and objectively true,  that a necessary being is superior to a contigent being.  

    Would you disagree? If so,  what is your reasoning?

  • Soluminsanis
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    --> @BrotherDThomas
    Fair enough.  I would obviously choose Yahweh because I am a Christian.  However,  it needs to be stated,  the OA in and of itself cannot prove Christianity,  just that an mgb exists. 

    Any deity on that list that has attributes that can be considered to exemplify maximal greatness,  the OA can be used to establish. That narrows the list down.
  • drafterman
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    --> @Soluminsanis
    I neither agree or disagree because I have no conception of what it means for one being to be superior to another. That is why I've continually asked for you to root it in objective logical reasoning rather than what is personally self-evident to you.

    Because otherwise all this argument boils down to is: God exists because it is evident to me God exists.

    While you may find that personally satisfying, it's not much of use to anyone else.

  • Soluminsanis
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    --> @drafterman
    I neither agree or disagree because I have no conception of what it means for one being to be superior to another. That is why I've continually asked for you to root it in objective logical reasoning rather than what is personally self-evident to you.
    Surely you don't believe all beings are equal in their attributes or modes of existence? Is an octopus not superior in intelligence to a flea? Is an elephant not superior in size to an ant? 

    I drew the analogy that a being who knows all things would be greater than a being who knew some things 

    Would you agree? Yes? No?

  • drafterman
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    --> @Soluminsanis
    I agree that one being can be greater in an attribute than another being. But I have no conception of what it means for a being to be - in total - superior than another being. And octopus is greater in intelligence then a flea. But I have no idea what it means for an octopus to be greater than a flea.
  • Soluminsanis
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    --> @drafterman
    I agree that one being can be greater in an attribute than another being. 
    And

    But I have no idea what it means for an octopus to be greater than a flea.
    Suppose the octopus was greater in ***all*** of its attributes than the flea. The octopus was greater in size, intelligence, age, wisdom,  and even moral perfection.  This would mean the octopus was greater than the flea. I'm stretching the analogy but you get the idea.


    Now suppose we have a being that is greater in all of its attributes to any other being in existence. That's an mgb 

  • drafterman
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    --> @Soluminsanis
    Suppose the octopus was greater in ***all*** of its attributes than the flea. The octopus was greater in size, intelligence, age, wisdom,  and even moral perfection.  This would mean the octopus was greater than the flea. I'm stretching the analogy but you get the idea.
    Except the octopus wouldn't be greater than the flea in smallness, stupidity, youth, naivete, and immorality.

    Now suppose we have a being that is greater in all of its attributes to any other being in existence. That's an mgb 
    Except attributes can be contradictory. Ergo it is impossible for such a being to exist.
  • Soluminsanis
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    --> @drafterman
    "Except the octopus wouldn't be greater than the flea in smallness, stupidity, youth, naivete, and immorality."


    You could certainly frame it this way.  However none of those attributes possesed by the flea are great making properties.  They're lesser making properties. So the flea is greater in lesser making properties making it not greater but lesser. 


    Except attributes can be contradictory. Ergo it is impossible for such a being to exist.
    Can you elaborate on this? Which attributes in particular?
  • drafterman
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    --> @Soluminsanis
    "Except the octopus wouldn't be greater than the flea in smallness, stupidity, youth, naivete, and immorality."

    You could certainly frame it this way.  However none of those attributes possesed by the flea are great making properties.  They're lesser making properties. So the flea is greater in lesser making properties making it not greater but lesser. 
    What is a "great making property?"


    Except attributes can be contradictory. Ergo it is impossible for such a being to exist.
    Can you elaborate on this? Which attributes in particular?
    The color of one's eyes. A person who is greatest in "brown colored eyes" can't also be greatest in "blue colored eyes."

    A being greatest in mercy can't be greatest in cruelty. A shape greatest in number of corners can't be greatest in its smoothness.

  • BrotherDThomas
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    --> @Soluminsanis



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    Soluminsanis,

    YOUR STEPPING IN THE PROVERBIAL POO QUOTE:  "Fair enough.  I would obviously choose Yahweh because I am a Christian."

    You obviously chose the wrong God concept if you pick only the brutal serial killer Yahweh God and want to be a Christian, and this is because Yahweh within the Old Testament scriptures was the God of the Jews ONLY!


    THE JEW GOD YAHWEH STATED: “At the same time, saith the Lord, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people..” (Jeremiah 31:1).

    “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them.” (Isaiah

    “A people for his own possession, above all peoples on the face of the earth” (Deut. 7:6)


    Deducing these 3 passages to their irreducible primary, is the fact that the House of Israel is the Jewish people that Yahweh will rule over, and said house are Jews ONLY. 

    Therefore, what Jewish sect do you belong to as a Jew, whereas the main sects are the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Essenes, or the Zealots, of which there're smaller sects as well, along with some orthodox sects, but we can leave those out at this time for the sake of brevity. 

    Awaiting your answer, thank you.



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  • FLRW
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    --> @Soluminsanis
    For the  modal ontological argument,

      1.  We don't know that intelligibility implies possibility
    And
      2.  We don't know that "maximally-great being" is a truly intelligible concept
    So
      3.  We don't know that it is possible for a maximally-great being to exist.
    What's more
      4. We don't know that necessity is a predicate
    Which means
      5. We don't know it is greater to exist necessarily than contingently
    Therefore
      6. Plantinga's proof fails.




  • Sum1hugme
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    --> @Soluminsanis
    What constitutes greatness?

      This is literally an attempt to define god into existence. I could replace the word "god" with any other noun and it would be equally unconvincing as an argument for its existence.
  • zedvictor4
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    --> @Soluminsanis
    Just insert "does not" into statements 1 to 5, and you have a perfectly feasible alternative.

    So a GOD might or might not exist.....What's new?
  • 3RU7AL
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    --> @Soluminsanis
    The modal ontological argument as developed by philosopher Alvin Plantinga:

    1. It is possible that a maximally great CHAIR* (mgC for short) exists. 

    2. A mgC exists in some possible world.

    3. If a mgC exists in one possible  world, then a mgC exists in all possible worlds.

    4. A mgC exists in the actual world.

    5. Therefore a maximally great CHAIR exists (in every possible fraction of the multi-cosmos). 

    *for our purposes an mgC is defined as a being that possesses all great CHAIR  properties,  and lacks no great CHAIR property.