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I am surprised that views, such as this one, do not get much traction among contemporary philosophers of religion. Jacquette's position eliminates the cosmological and fine-tuning arguments from a theist's hand. That being said, a theist armed with his own theory of existence may be in a better place to defend the existence of God that one without such a theory (one reason why I think presenting arguments without an underlying metaphysical system is often pointless). As an aside, I have just discovered, while reading Colin McGinn's little book, "Logical Properties: Identity, Existence, Predication, Necessity, Truth," that he too believes that 'exists' is a predicate that expresses a property (like other predicates do), that can be correctly applied to individuals. A pleasant surprise! Grigory
Toggle Commented Jun 11, 2021 on Is Existence Completeness? at Maverick Philosopher
BV, Thank you for your response and Happy New Year! I admit that I have a made a few inaccuracies. Allow me to rephrase my answer. My point is that: (1) A watch is a device that is worn on one's wrist and has the purpose of accurately telling the time is not the same as: (2) A watch is a device that is worn on one's wrist and accurately tells the time Whereas (2) entails that an inaccurate watch is not a watch, (1) does not. To put it even more simply. My definition of a watch would be a modification of (1): (1*) A watch is a device that is worn on one's wrist and ought to accurately tell the time in order to be a good watch I agree though, that my definitions do include evaluative judgements namely of what makes a watch good. So in the end, I have to agree that MacIntyre's argument does not work out. Grigory P.S. On an unrelated note, do you think it is plausible to speak of non-essential but necessary properties of individuals? Although it would seem superfluous in most cases, I wonder whether God would have no metaphysical composition yet had necessary properties entailed by His 'simple' essence. Perhaps they would only be Cambridge properties though.
I think you are incorrect in your critique. It seems to me that you confuse (i) the purpose of the watch with (ii) the fulfillment of the purpose of the watch. The way that a watch can be distinguished from a bracelet is that a part of the watch's essence is its purpose, namely that of "accurately telling the time." If a watch fails to fulfill its purpose, it thereby does not cease to be a watch, rather it attains a second-order property of having an unfulfilled purpose. Hence, if we distinguish the essential property of having a given purpose and the fulfillment of that purpose, then MacIntyre's argument seems to work, assuming that goodness is identified with purpose fulfillment. Hence a watch with an unfulfilled purpose, for example if it is inaccurate, is considered a bad watch. For persons this has a interesting consequence because people are able to self-fulfill their purposes. Thus, perhaps, ethics can be considered to supervene on the extent and ability of any given person to self-fulfill their objective purpose.
Thanks everyone. There is still more thinking and studying to do for me, so I appreciate the comments and suggestions.
This I think will be the last addition to what I wrote before. Hopefully, it will be interesting to others too. Although I still do not know, what it is that I do not know, here is an attempt at a presenting the problem. Consider the following: (0) There are correct and incorrect inferences (1) I exist (2) Something exists As put above, we know can infer correctly (2) from (1). This assumes that there is a distinction between inferences that are correct and incorrect. Thus there are 'laws of logic'. However this is made more complicated by the fact that there is a distinction between true proposition and tru propositions that I know. It seems to me that the following is true: Language Thesis: For every x that is a true proposition, x has to be expressed in language to be known This seems true enough. When I say, 'Snow is white' or in Russian 'Cнег белый', I express the same meaning, but that 'meaning' is itself only understood using language. The meaning of the sentences 'Snow is white' & 'Cнег белый' is that "Snow is white". The meaning is only known through language. From this it would follow that for me "know" the proposition that 'I exist', I would have to presuppose knowledge of language. Equally, if I were to know (0), then I would only know it if it were expressed using language. However here comes the problem. Language surely makes some logical presuppositions, perhaps identity statements of sorts. However, we now have a circularity problem: in order to know the logical presuppositions of language, expressed as propositions, I have to know language first. To put my line of thought more clearly: (1) For every x that is a true proposition, x has to be expressed in language to be known (premise) (2) 'I exist' and 'Something exists' are true propositions (premise) (3) For the propositions 'I exist' and 'Something exists' to be known, the propositions have to be expressed in language (by 1 & 2) (4) 'Something exists' is a true proposition because it is correctly inferred from 'I exist' which is also a true proposition (premise) (5) If any proposition y is inferred from a proposition z, then logically prior to the inference there are true propositions that are 'laws of logic' or 'rules of inference' (premise) (6) Hence, logically prior to the inference there are true propositions that are 'laws of logic' or 'rules of inference' (by 4 & 5) (7) Hence, logically prior to the inference (from 'I exist' to 'Something exists'), and for the 'laws of logic' to be known, they a have to be expressible using language (by 1 & 6) (8) There is a set of propositions or 'laws of logic' A, every member of which must be true, in order for language to meaningful (premise) (9) In order to know that language is meaningful, every member of the set of propositions A must be known (by 8) (10) Thus, in order to know that language is meaningful, every member of the set of propositions A must be expressible using language (by 9 &1) However thinking about it (10) is absurd because in order to know that language is meaningful, I have to assume that is meaningful. Hopefully, I have not made too many errors in the above. I still have a lot of study ahead of me. Admittedly, your blog post on "The Discursive Framework, Logic, and Whether the Via Negativa is the Path to Nowhere" changed my attitude towards language and now I cannot stop thinking about it.
About my last question. Consider the ontological issue of holes. The sentence, "The piece of paper has a hole it in it" can be paraphrased in a number of different ways. For instance, ∃x(x is a piece of paper & x is singularly perforated) ∃x∃y(x is a piece of paper & y is a hole in x) Notwithstanding those less that perfect translations, I do not understand how, or perhaps why, these manipulations ought to contribute to our philosophical understanding of holes? On the face of it, they undermine they introduce a sort of relativism in our use of language, and provide evidence to the claim that language does not capture reality very accurately. If that is that case, how then can we use language to give an accurate expression of metaphysical truths?
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Aug 28, 2020