Friday, March 31, 2017

Fictional characters and the ontological argument

This argument is valid:

  1. If God exists in any way, he exists in the supreme way of existing.
  2. If God does not exist in the supreme way of existing, God exists as a fictional character.
  3. So, God exists in the supreme way of existing.

7 comments:

Walter Van den Acker said...

Are you sure this is valid?
If we accept 1, we should IMO reject 2. Because if 1 is true, God can only exist in the supreme way of existing and unless existing as a fictional character is the same as existing in the supreme way, 2 cannot be true.

Alexander R Pruss said...

It's valid.

Here are the steps between 2 and 3.

Suppose for a reductio that God does not exist in the supreme way of existing.
Then God exists as a fictional character (by 2).
Then God exists in the supreme way of existing (by 1, since existing as a fictional character is a way of existing).
That's a contradiction.

So, God exists in the supreme way of existing.

tompaine said...

This is an April fools joke. It is not a valid argument because...

a proper conditional proof. Such a proof should take the form

1. A → B ("If A, then B")
2. B → C ("If B, then C")
3. A (conditional proof assumption, "Suppose A is true")
4. B (follows from lines 1 and 3, modus ponens; "If A then B; A, therefore B")
5. C (follows from lines 2 and 4, modus ponens; "If B then C; B, therefore C")
6. A → C (follows from lines 3–5, conditional proof; "If A, then C")

So for this argument it would be

1. If God exists in any way, he exists in the supreme way of existing.
2. If God does not exist in the supreme way of existing, God exists as a fictional character.
3. Suppose it true God exists in some way
4. God exists in the supreme way of existing
5. God exists as a fictional character
6 God exists in the supreme way of existing, therefore God exists as a fictional character?

Wow, that is truly bollixed. Either I made a mistake, the argument is just nonsense, or Pruss proved God is a fictional character. ????

I think the thing is it's just not a proper proof of anything. The conclusion as I think the argument is intended to make one think would follow from by asserting that God is not a fictional character.

But that would beg the question egregiously.

I see the problem. The consequent in 1, B, doesn't match the antecedent in 2, which should also be B.

So, actually what he gave was

1. A->B
2. ~B-> C
3. C

ERROR MESSAGE

tompaine said...

OK, now I think I have absorbed the secondary comment and this is supposed to be a reductio ad absurdem and not a conditional proof.

In that case it is simply an equivocation fallacy, because existence as a fictional character is a different sense of existence than actual existence which is the type of existence necessary to carry P1.

Still have to think this is an April Fools joke.

Alexander R Pruss said...

Existing as a fictional character would be a way of existing. I myself am sceptical of fictional characters, so I wouldn't say that anything exists as a fictional character.

Jaroslaw Michalak said...

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/b9/MagrittePipe.jpg

vexingquestions said...

I would think that those who accept fictional existence as a kind of existence would be disinclined to accept (1) unless they already think it is true that God exists in a supreme way. Valid but perhaps a bit question begging.