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  1. #1
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    Does a necessary beng exist, and is it consistent with the theistic God?

    Is there a possible world in which nothing exists? Put more emphatically, does it so much as make any sense to say of a possible world it consists in nothing? It seems to me it doesn’t, for it doesn’t make much sense to predicate a property of what doesn’t exist, even if we take “being nothing” as a proper property. Do most of us feel comfortable saying of, say, centaurs, they have the properties “having a human head”, “having an equine body”, and “being nothing”? If so, then we can conceive of a possible world in which nothing exists by simply adding to every set of properties that distinguish one object from another in this, the actual world, the property “being nothing”. But it’s not really that simple, is it? For we can’t add the property “being nothing” to a set of properties essentially predicated of some object, without thereby conceiving an incoherent object, and object with a set of internally self-contradictory properties.

    If we can’t conceive of a possible world in which nothing exists by simply adding to everything that does exist in the actual world, the property “being nothing” (or “nothingness” may be better for a property), without thereby transgressing a widely received definition for a “possible world”1 can we conceive of a possible world in which only one thing exists, and then add the property “nothingness” to the set of properties that define it? I think we run into the same contradiction, thereby transgressing the same definition for a “possible world”.

    We can, I believe, make much shorter work of all this by simply accepting, as I do, that things that don’t exist don’t possess properties, and “nothingness” is therefore not a property that can be predicated of anything, and therefore not an actual property. If “nothingness” is not a legitimate property, in that it can’t be coherently predicated of anything, it certainly can’t be predicated of anything in which a possible world consists, and so it would seem reasonable to say there is no possible world in which nothing exists. In fact, it doesn’t so much as make any sense to say there is a possible world in which nothing exists, because in this sense “nothing exists” becomes an oxymoron, like “pretty ugly” .

    So, in every possible world it seems there is at least one thing that must exist; that for a possible world to exist, even merely as a coherent mental construct, it must contain at least something that actually exists in it 2. But then it must be possible that only one thing exist, right? I mean, if there is a possible world consisting in only one thing, what we are really saying is there is a possible thing that has no necessary conditions for its existence. And in saying that about some thing or another, are we not thus implying there is something that possibly exists and is necessary? I think we are, and we can say we’ve just demonstrated in fairly plausible fashion, at least until some equally plausible objection is raised, that a necessary thing, i.e., being exists. I haven’t shown a necessary being exists as a logically necessary being, of course, but that some being is necessary on possible worlds modality, and that to deny this necessary being exists, it will be necessary to first deny the validity of the possible worlds semantic for modality; something that to my knowledge no one has seriously tried to do.

    So what are the characteristics of this necessary being? Well, as we’ve seen, its existence is unconditional. There are no necessary conditions for it coming to exist (in that there is a possible world in which only it exists), and so it has no beginning to its existence. Likewise, because there are no conditions on which it depends for its existence, there are none capable of causing it to cease to exist. So a necessary being is eternal in the strictest sense of the word. It has no beginning to its existence and no end. Furthermore, because it is necessary, it must exist not only in the possible world in which it is the only extant thing, but it must exist in every possible world, for that is the possible worlds modality of necessity. And if it exists in every possible world, and obviously the actual world, this world, is a possible world, then this necessary being exists in this, the actual world.

    It also seems plausible to me, although at present I’m not sure how to argue this that in every possible world containing contingent beings, this necessary being would have to be if not the immediate cause of their coming to exist, then at the very least their ultimate cause; their “necessary condition” for existing. What, besides a necessary being could fill the role of being the final cause in a causal chain formed by some collection of contingently existing entities? I just don’t see how such a chain of causation can be traced backward, from effect to cause forever, never ending at a necessity. Someone will have to educate me on how this isn’t the case.

    If there are no serious problems with any of the above, it seems to me this is a good case for the existence of at least one necessary being, a being(s) that is the immediate or ultimate cause for all contingent beings in all possible worlds, thus superior in an ontological sense to them all in all possible worlds, and this being is consistent with the being theists call God.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I’m presenting this not as a finished work, but more as a first draft in the hope of it perhaps becoming an article some day, having benefited from the appropriate amount of constructive criticism. This helps explain the lack of citations, which I intend to include should this essay reach the level of improvement where they become important.


    1. A possible world is first a maximal set of propositions, where propositions are descriptions of states of affairs, and “maximal” means “exhaustive”, such that no proposition can be added to the set without thereby forming a contradiction. So a possible world is a maximal set of propositions that forms no contradiction.
    2. This is not saying that what actually exists in a possible world that is not actual actually exists, for this is to confuse actuality and possibility. Rather, it is to say that there are possible worlds consisting of things that actually exist in those possible worlds, but that those possible worlds don’t actually exist, save one, which is the actual world.





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    Re: Does a necessary beng exist, and is it consistent with the theistic God?

    "it must exist not only in the possible world in which it is the only extant thing, but it must exist in every possible world, for that is the possible worlds modality of necessity. And if it exists in every possible world, and obviously the actual world, this world, is a possible world, then this necessary being exists in this, the actual world."

    I gather from your analysis that this "necessary being" would necessarily be "omnipresent",

    and, thus, ... all-pervasive throughout the universe, in every one of its visible and invisible parts.

    Would you say then, that "omnipresence" would have to be a necessary quality of your creator-god's prescription?


    Be the Rainbow in Someone Else's Cloud!! Kis

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    Re: Does a necessary beng exist, and is it consistent with the theistic God?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kisadio
    I gather from your analysis that this "necessary being" would necessarily be "omnipresent"
    Not necessarily. Just because a being exists in every possible world, it doesn't follow it has all the same properties in every possible world. It would only be true that God would be necessarily omnipresent were it the case that all the properties God has, He has necessarily. And, of course, on the existence of other possible worlds besides this one, and the commonly held belief that God has free will, and therefore could have created a different possible world than the one He did, it follows that God has at least one of His properties (ie., "being the Creator of THIS possible world) contingently.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kisadio
    Would you say then, that "omnipresence" would have to be a necessary quality of your creator-god's prescription?
    Not if I were to base it on His necessity. Rather, His omnipresence is entailed by His being the Creator of all things, the Ultimate Origin of all that has an origin.

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    Re: Does a necessary beng exist, and is it consistent with the theistic God?

    Quote Originally Posted by cstamford View Post
    Not necessarily. Just because a being exists in every possible world, it doesn't follow it has all the same properties in every possible world. It would only be true that God would be necessarily omnipresent were it the case that all the properties God has, He has necessarily. And, of course, on the existence of other possible worlds besides this one, and the commonly held belief that God has free will, and therefore could have created a different possible world than the one He did, it follows that God has at least one of His properties (ie., "being the Creator of THIS possible world) contingently.

    Not if I were to base it on His necessity. Rather, His omnipresence is entailed by His being the Creator of all things, the Ultimate Origin of all that has an origin.
    Wow, In goes "Omnipresence" and Out comes ... ?? Well, I'm more confused than before. Thanx for the universal-worlds tour, and for taking the time to answer me, Mr. cstamford.

    So, ... I gather that your notion of divine omnipresence purports some "Necessary Being" to be present throughout its creation like Henry is Omnipresent in every Ford automobile; i.e., in that his creative spirit and unique stamp is ubiquitously endowed upon every one of his automobiles.

    I'm a funny guy, ... so please allow me to be a bit facetious when saying that I feel like Lou Costello must've felt when he asked Bud Abbott, "Who's On First?"

    (Their 8-minute video stand-up skit is one of my favorite side-splitters!)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTcRRaXV-fg


    Be the Rainbow in Someone Else's Cloud!! Kis

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    Re: Does a necessary beng exist, and is it consistent with the theistic God?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kisadio View Post
    Wow, In goes "Omnipresence" and Out comes ... ?? Well, I'm more confused than before. Thanx for the universal-worlds tour, and for taking the time to answer me, Mr. cstamford.

    So, ... I gather that your notion of divine omnipresence purports some "Necessary Being" to be present throughout its creation like Henry is Omnipresent in every Ford automobile; i.e., in that his creative spirit and unique stamp is ubiquitously endowed upon every one of his automobiles.

    I'm a funny guy, ... so please allow me to be a bit facetious when saying that I feel like Lou Costello must've felt when he asked Bud Abbott, "Who's On First?"

    (Their 8-minute video stand-up skit is one of my favorite side-splitters!)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTcRRaXV-fg
    I don't mind you wanting to use a serious answer to your question as a stage for a bit of stand-up. However, you can't expect to make a habit of it and continue to have me, or many others here, take your questions seriously. I offer that to you as a bit of unsolicited free advice, so take it for what it's worth.

    As for your Henry Ford metaphor, no, it doesn't apply. Henry Ford is in no real sense "present" in or to every Ford motorcar to roll off the assembly line. God is, in every sense of the word, present everywhere there is a "where", for He not only created every "where", but actively sustains every "where" in existence. Henry Ford does not sustain every Ford in existence.

    This is not to say that pantheism is true. God is not "in" everything He creates by being present to everything He creates. In fact, it may be easier to grasp the relationship between Creator and creature to say all His creatures are present to Him. This gets rid of the possible false inference that all God's creatures are aware of His presence, which, of course, many of them are not. The lack of sensing God's presence is a property rocks and atheists have in common.

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    Re: Does a necessary beng exist, and is it consistent with the theistic God?

    Quote Originally Posted by cstamford View Post
    I don't mind you wanting to use a serious answer to your question as a stage for a bit of stand-up. However, you can't expect to make a habit of it and continue to have me, or many others here, take your questions seriously. I offer that to you as a bit of unsolicited free advice, so take it for what it's worth.

    As for your Henry Ford metaphor, no, it doesn't apply. Henry Ford is in no real sense "present" in or to every Ford motorcar to roll off the assembly line. God is, in every sense of the word, present everywhere there is a "where", for He not only created every "where", but actively sustains every "where" in existence. Henry Ford does not sustain every Ford in existence.

    This is not to say that pantheism is true. God is not "in" everything He creates by being present to everything He creates. In fact, it may be easier to grasp the relationship between Creator and creature to say all His creatures are present to Him. This gets rid of the possible false inference that all God's creatures are aware of His presence, which, of course, many of them are not. The lack of sensing God's presence is a property rocks and atheists have in common.
    Au Contraire! I didn't take your answer to my Q very serious (as U could tell), ...

    I took it as a Chubby-Checker-like-Twist-Dance around my simple Q, ... Mr. cstamford.

    I.e., ... U twist the straight-forward meaning of "Omni- (Gr. for ALL) -Present" until U get your religion's view into it.


    I looked it up:

    "Omnipresence or ubiquity is the property of being present everywhere." (Dictionary)
    "... Most doctrines bestow omnipresence onto a deity commonly referred to as God."

    For example, the Bible God, "YHWH", and the Koran's God, "Allah", are promoted by their worshippers as possessing the unworldly attributes of Immanence, Omnipotence, and Omnipresence.

    The literal meaning of God's immanence is "to be within" in relation to God's creation. ...
    God's "Immanence" is closely related to God's "Omnipresence" (so we are told), in that God is always present within the universe as its sustaining cause, albeit, distinct from it.

    "Do you people think I'm some local deity and not the transcendent God?” the Lord asks. “Do you really think anyone can hide himself where I cannot see him?” the Lord asks. “Do you not know that I am everywhere?” the Lord asks." - Jeremiah 23:23-24 (NET)

    And, Hebrews 4:13, "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.";

    And, Job 34:21, 22 says, "His eyes are on the ways of mortals; he sees their every step. There is no deep shadow, no utter darkness, where evildoers can hide.";

    And, It is dictated of Christ, He existed before anything else,
    and he holds all creation together. - Colossians 1:17 (NLT);

    Which claim supports the claim that, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." - John 1:1;

    Which dovetails into the Biblically Mysterious, ... "I AM THAT I AM", ...
    Thus, closing the eternal circle to make the religious confusion total and complete!!

    Viola!

    ps: As far as my posting style, ... it is what it is, ...
    like ... your is what it is, ... and "I Am That I Am", etc.

    psst: it's game time soon! ... Enjoy (If'n U like FB), Mr. cstamford.

    I do have an SB Party to attend to. GO BRONCOS!!


    Be the Rainbow in Someone Else's Cloud!! Kis

  7. #7
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    Re: Does a necessary beng exist, and is it consistent with the theistic God?

    Good thinking, let me see if I can pick some nits here...
    I'll skip the bits that I agree with and much of what I write will be more a kind of re-framing the same ideas to cast more direct light on them.

    Quote Originally Posted by cstamford View Post
    Is there a possible world in which nothing exists?
    Depends on what you mean by "world". If you had a universe in which there was one quark and nothing else, then what would be different between the universe and the quark? Nothing would be my answer. Each has the same properties as the other. If a universe had two quarks in it, then the properties of said universe would essentially be the collected properties of the quarks.

    So this leads us to conclude I think that any universe with nothing in it shares the properties of said nothing meaning it itself is also nothing aka non-existent. I think this is simply another formulation of your case that no things means no universe and any universe or "world" as you use the term can be void of all content and still be a thing itself.

    But I think my formulation leads to a more substantive notion that a universe is just a handy label for "all the stuff we can determine exists" rather than a thing in and of itself. That or all stuff that exists, no matter how we differentiate one bit from the next, is actually truly just one thing and that thing is the universe.

    Do most of us feel comfortable saying of, say, centaurs, they have the properties “having a human head”, “having an equine body”, and “being nothing”?
    Technically I don't. A centaur is not nothing, it is an idea, and ideas are represented by information and information is a thing that definitely exists. Rather than "being nothing" a centaur should be called "imaginary" i.e. it is an informational construct that differs from a matter of fact instance. Same goes for every word I type. These words exist in reality, but they exist as representations, aka imagination information. Again, easier to think of a painting of a woman. The woman ON the painting exists but only as a painting, the woman the painting represents may or may not exist outside the painting. Our minds instinctively blur out the difference and see the image and understand it is representational of different thing. Simpler minds don't do that and in a sense they see more literal truth. The painting is in fact not a person at all. Your conception of a person is also not actually a person, but like the painting it none the less has its own existence.

    So, in every possible world it seems there is at least one thing that must exist; that for a possible world to exist, even merely as a coherent mental construct, it must contain at least something that actually exists in it 2.
    I just want to reiterate that I think your distinction between the world and the thing the world contains is probably a false one. For there to be a distinction, the container, or world would have to have some property that is not on the things it contains, it would have to have some independent existent property. Your construct here doesn't seem to allow for that.

    Most of the time when we think of containers we think of a thing, say a box. It's hard for us to conceptualize otherwise. Say we designate a cardboard box as a world... are the walls of the box part of the content of the world or not? Something non existent would have no content so I think you have to say, yes, the walls are content in as much as a boundary. It all gets a bit head spinning until...

    You land on a notion that all existence is truly a singular and distinctions are all rather arbitrary. One of those being the arbitrary distinction between a world and what the world is composed of. Those two things are in fact the same thing and the distinction is meaningless.

    But then it must be possible that only one thing exist, right?
    More than possible, I think its axiomatic. I think therefore I exist so were pretty darn sure at least one thing exists.

    I mean, if there is a possible world consisting in only one thing, what we are really saying is there is a possible thing that has no necessary conditions for its existence.
    You make a big jump here I think. The "necessary" word comes in here without much interlude and it also brings us the idea of cause and effect. So far we've not talked about conditions or causality. Only things that are or are not. I'd meditate a bit on the middle missing ground, how do you go from existence to necessary and/or conditions.

    So what are the characteristics of this necessary being? Well, as we’ve seen, its existence is unconditional. There are no necessary conditions for it coming to exist (in that there is a possible world in which only it exists), and so it has no beginning to its existence.
    I don't see where you have done that. All you have done is to establish that for there to be a universe there must be something that exists. Nothing here precludes or requires a universe to come into existence or not. No where do you define that the property called existing can or cannot change state. Only that the state of a universe is intrinsically tied to the state of that which is in the universe.

    Likewise, because there are no conditions on which it depends for its existence, there are none capable of causing it to cease to exist.
    Again it seems to me this is a leap from a missing foundation or a false distinction.

    So a necessary being is eternal in the strictest sense of the word.
    Only if the universe must be eternal as well. Now its true that we don't actually know of any instance where a thing goes from existing to non existing or vice-verse at a fundamental level. I can make a cake for instance but is the cake really more than just molecules? I didn't create those. I think you have to meditate on the nature of properties and identity of a whole vs a part.

    It has no beginning to its existence and no end. Furthermore, because it is necessary, it must exist not only in the possible world in which it is the only extant thing, but it must exist in every possible world, for that is the possible worlds modality of necessity. And if it exists in every possible world, and obviously the actual world, this world, is a possible world, then this necessary being exists in this, the actual world.
    I think a mistake you make here is one of identity. You went from something that must exist to A Thing that must exist. You have given the simple property of existing an identity. In essence you try to give a name to the fact of existence itself. The phrase "all possible worlds" implies variation, and thus a variance of traits. The only trait they must share is existence, and existence is so fundamental it makes little sense to give it an identity as you do linguistically. You have simply turned "existing" into "necessary being" and it seems to me a sort of anthropomorphism at a very vague level.

    It also seems plausible to me, although at present I’m not sure how to argue this that in every possible world containing contingent beings, this necessary being would have to be if not the immediate cause of their coming to exist, then at the very least their ultimate cause; their “necessary condition” for existing. What, besides a necessary being could fill the role of being the final cause in a causal chain formed by some collection of contingently existing entities? I just don’t see how such a chain of causation can be traced backward, from effect to cause forever, never ending at a necessity. Someone will have to educate me on how this isn’t the case.
    My conception is more of a singularity. The universe exists, this is simply self evident. What is only sort of self evident is that the universe is a single thing that is the sum of its parts. That is of course conditional but right up front in our one thing universe we establish why this makes sense (my first paragraph of response.) Your necessary being is quite simply everything in the universe.

    What we then have to come to grips with is the nature of how properties vary in said universe over time. We aren't looking at what comes into or out of existence but how what exists manifests itself and changes.

    So, lets say you have this one necessary thing of yours... why can't it change over time to have a great range of properties such that we might say it is the entirety of the universe or why not say that the universe is in fact just one thing and that the necessary thing is everything?

    You want to justify one thing being prime and then it creates other things that are separate. My question for you is why? It seems Occam's razor at lest would argue it is much simpler and therefore more likely that everything is the necessary thing and thus there are no things contingent.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

  8. #8
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    Re: Does a necessary beng exist, and is it consistent with the theistic God?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kisadio View Post
    Au Contraire! I didn't take your answer to my Q very serious (as U could tell), ...

    I took it as a Chubby-Checker-like-Twist-Dance around my simple Q, ... Mr. cstamford.

    I.e., ... U twist the straight-forward meaning of "Omni- (Gr. for ALL) -Present" until U get your religion's view into it.
    And how do you think I twisted anything, much less that I did to fit it to my religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kisadio
    I looked it up:

    "Omnipresence or ubiquity is the property of being present everywhere." (Dictionary)
    "... Most doctrines bestow omnipresence onto a deity commonly referred to as God."
    And how is anything I said to you contradicted by this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kisadio
    For example, the Bible God, "YHWH", and the Koran's God, "Allah", are promoted by their worshippers as possessing the unworldly attributes of Immanence, Omnipotence, and Omnipresence.
    I would take exception to the word "promoted" here. It is one thing to promote, another to believe. Maybe you should look that one up too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kisadio
    The literal meaning of God's immanence is "to be within" in relation to God's creation. ...
    God's "Immanence" is closely related to God's "Omnipresence" (so we are told), in that God is always present within the universe as its sustaining cause, albeit, distinct from it.
    When you say immanence is "closely related" to omnipresence, how, in your mind, are they related?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kisadio
    "Do you people think I'm some local deity and not the transcendent God?” the Lord asks. “Do you really think anyone can hide himself where I cannot see him?” the Lord asks. “Do you not know that I am everywhere?” the Lord asks." - Jeremiah 23:23-24 (NET)

    And, Hebrews 4:13, "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.";

    And, Job 34:21, 22 says, "His eyes are on the ways of mortals; he sees their every step. There is no deep shadow, no utter darkness, where evildoers can hide.";

    And, It is dictated of Christ, He existed before anything else,
    and he holds all creation together. - Colossians 1:17 (NLT);

    Which claim supports the claim that, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." - John 1:1;

    Which dovetails into the Biblically Mysterious, ... "I AM THAT I AM", ...
    I find nothing particularly "mysterious" about the sentence "I am that I am". If you do, why do you?

    In fact, what, exactly, do you find confusing about any of the above? You're not stating your case here at all, only your conclusions/opinions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kisadio
    ps: As far as my posting style, ... it is what it is, ...
    like ... your is what it is...
    Mine is whatever I want it to be, same as yours. Writing styles are not like being the child of a certain woman, you know. Authors can and do change them all the time. But I'm not going to argue the point with you. Proverbs 12:15

    Quote Originally Posted by Kisadio
    psst: it's game time soon! ... Enjoy (If'n U like FB), Mr. cstamford.

    I do have an SB Party to attend to. GO BRONCOS!!
    Sorry. That must have been difficult to watch. It was for me, and the Broncos aren't my team.

  9. #9
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    Re: Does a necessary beng exist, and is it consistent with the theistic God?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Good thinking, let me see if I can pick some nits here...
    Well, thanks, and okay...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sig
    Depends on what you mean by "world". If you had a universe in which there was one quark and nothing else, then what would be different between the universe and the quark? Nothing would be my answer. Each has the same properties as the other. If a universe had two quarks in it, then the properties of said universe would essentially be the collected properties of the quarks.

    So this leads us to conclude I think that any universe with nothing in it shares the properties of said nothing meaning it itself is also nothing aka non-existent. I think this is simply another formulation of your case that no things means no universe and any universe or "world" as you use the term can be void of all content and still be a thing itself.

    But I think my formulation leads to a more substantive notion that a universe is just a handy label for "all the stuff we can determine exists" rather than a thing in and of itself. That or all stuff that exists, no matter how we differentiate one bit from the next, is actually truly just one thing and that thing is the universe.
    Well, you're certainly correct that it all depends on what I meant by "world", so let me clarify. I'm sure you know that a "proposition" is the description of a state of affairs; a way things are. All propositions predicate one or more properties to a state of affairs. States of affairs can include other states of affairs via the logical entailment relationship between propositions. For example, the proposition "I own a red house", which describes the state of affairs in which I own a red house, logically entails the propositions "I exist" and "At least one house exists", and "Something exists", and "Something is red",etc., and therefore we can say that the state of affairs consisting in my owning a red house also consists in all that that state of affairs "includes", which is the same thing as saying the proposition "I own a red house" "entails" several other propositions, such as those I've given there (and many, many others) as examples. So most states of affairs include other states of affairs, and most propositions entail other propositions.

    A "possible world" then, is a state of affairs that is so large, it includes every other state of affairs possible. We may think of this possible state of affairs as being maximally large in the following sense: if we think of the propositions that describe all the smaller states of affairs in which this maximally large state of affairs consists, then the number of those propositions will be the largest it can be without one proposition being the denial of another. A "possible world" is therefore a state of affairs so "big" that it can't get any "bigger" without becoming self contradictory.

    And given this concept of a possible world (assuming I've explained it enough for that concept to be clear now), it becomes fairly easy to see why a possible world in which nothing exists is impossible. The proposition describing such a world would have no property to predicate of any subject, if we accept that "nothing" has no properties; which I do wholeheartedly. Some people think "being nothing" or "being nonexistent" is a property that can be predicated of nothing, as if "nothingness" were actually "somethingness", but not me. For me it is simply a contradiction in terms to say of "nothing" it has "something" as a property.

    Clear as mud, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sig
    Technically I don't. A centaur is not nothing, it is an idea, and ideas are represented by information and information is a thing that definitely exists. Rather than "being nothing" a centaur should be called "imaginary" i.e. it is an informational construct that differs from a matter of fact instance. Same goes for every word I type. These words exist in reality, but they exist as representations, aka imagination information.
    There is a very important difference between a centaur and the words on this page. The words on this page "actually" exist (they possess the property "being actual"), whatever other properties they may possess, and this is a property, or so we assume and are saying, centaurs lack. This is an important distinction to keep in mind at all times. Do you think I need to include that in my draft?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sig
    I just want to reiterate that I think your distinction between the world and the thing the world contains is probably a false one. For there to be a distinction, the container, or world would have to have some property that is not on the things it contains, it would have to have some independent existent property. Your construct here doesn't seem to allow for that.
    Having read my account of a "possible world" now, do you still think this? I don't want to address your above, much less emend my draft, until I know if I've clarified my use of the term "possible world" enough for your objection here to be moot for you now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sig
    More than possible, I think its axiomatic. I think therefore I exist so were pretty darn sure at least one thing exists.
    I'm not sure, but I believe I was still referring to the impossibility of a world consisting in no being, necessary or contingent, at all. In such a world neither you nor I nor anyone else would exist to think, and therefore be. Nothing would exist; not any thinking being, nor any nonthinking being. Properties are abstract objects, as are numbers, sets, etc., and they would not exist in a world consisting in nothing at all either for the realist or the anti-realist.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sig
    You make a big jump here I think. The "necessary" word comes in here without much interlude and it also brings us the idea of cause and effect. So far we've not talked about conditions or causality. Only things that are or are not. I'd meditate a bit on the middle missing ground, how do you go from existence to necessary and/or conditions.
    Okay, so you think I need a paragraph introducing causation. Got it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sig
    I don't see where you have done that.
    Well, I see that you're half right. I muddied up a very simple fact, and that is what is necessary isn't conditional (synonyms here: accidental, contingent), and what is conditional isn't necessary when we're talking about an object's modality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sig
    No where do you define that the property called existing can or cannot change state. Only that the state of a universe is intrinsically tied to the state of that which is in the universe.
    Well, clearly I haven't properly explained the difference between a "world" and the physical universe. And it seems I haven't adequately explained the difference between "existence" and "actuality" sufficiently for my subject. All "possible worlds" exist in some sense of "exist", but there is only one of them, this one, that actually exists; that has the property "actually existing". We need this distinction in the our working concept of existence to consistently account for the distinction between propositions that are possibly true, but actually false.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sig
    Again it seems to me this is a leap from a missing foundation or a false distinction.
    But it is the same missing foundation, right, not another one? I mean, you can see that if it is true an object is necessary then it exists in all possible worlds, and that if it exists in all possible worlds then there is no possible world in which its existence is conditional, right? I'm taking this to be a matter of definitions for "necessary" and "conditional".

    Quote Originally Posted by Sig
    Only if the universe must be eternal as well.
    Having read the above to this point do you still think so?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sig
    I think a mistake you make here is one of identity. You went from something that must exist to A Thing that must exist. You have given the simple property of existing an identity. In essence you try to give a name to the fact of existence itself. The phrase "all possible worlds" implies variation, and thus a variance of traits. The only trait they must share is existence, and existence is so fundamental it makes little sense to give it an identity as you do linguistically. You have simply turned "existing" into "necessary being" and it seems to me a sort of anthropomorphism at a very vague level.
    For any "object" to exist (and here I'm using "object" in its philosophical ontological sense of anything at all, whether personal or impersonal, physical or non-physical...so that an "idea" would be an "object"), it must possess a nature, a set of essential properties that distinguish it from every other object in every other possible world that is not itself. As Russell argued in a compelling enough fashion, every thing that exists has the property of being identical with itself. So the concept of "identity" is entailed by existence, rather than existence being entailed by identity. The concept of identity is entailed by the concept of properties, and as we've already seen at length above, what doesn't exist has no properties, and therefore no identity.

    I've heard of casual references to certain existentialists who argue that existence is possible without any exemplification of it, but I've never actually seen the argument for this, to me, bizarre notion. If you have, and can recreate it for me, I'll be happy to include it in my draft at some point, along with why I don't think it's true. But I have to see it first.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sig
    My conception is more of a singularity. The universe exists, this is simply self evident. What is only sort of self evident is that the universe is a single thing that is the sum of its parts. That is of course conditional but right up front in our one thing universe we establish why this makes sense (my first paragraph of response.) Your necessary being is quite simply everything in the universe.

    What we then have to come to grips with is the nature of how properties vary in said universe over time. We aren't looking at what comes into or out of existence but how what exists manifests itself and changes.

    So, lets say you have this one necessary thing of yours... why can't it change over time to have a great range of properties such that we might say it is the entirety of the universe or why not say that the universe is in fact just one thing and that the necessary thing is everything?
    Well, you're asking two different question that have two different answers, but until I'm sure of what you intend by "universe" I can't really answer either one, and this has been a recurring problem for me throughout your welcome criticism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sig
    You want to justify one thing being prime and then it creates other things that are separate. My question for you is why?
    Well, again, because we have these two concepts of necessity and contingency, and as long as we do we have to deal with what they actually are. Of course, we could get rid of necessity, I suppose, and make everything contingent. Some do, but then the question becomes can this be done without either question begging (It just is) or incoherence at some level of analysis.

    Listening to your criticisms it seems to me I may not have spent nearly enough time explaining why the modal concept of "necessity" can't be easily gotten rid of.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sig
    It seems Occam's razor at lest would argue it is much simpler and therefore more likely that everything is the necessary thing and thus there are no things contingent.
    But then we'd have to accept that you are necessary, by which we'd mean that you couldn't have possible failed to exist. Yet I assume you were born, and that you believe before you were born you failed to exist, right? Furthermore, I'm sure you believe at some point your life will end, and as an atheist, that this will mean you simply cease to exist, right? So according to your beliefs, there was a time at which you failed to exist, then you came to exist, and you'll eventually fail to exist again. These are things necessary beings do not do; properties they don't have by definition.

    I hope you'll come back on some of this stuff, because you've sort of vaguely highlighted weaknesses in my draft, and if I can strengthen them to your satisfaction I'll know I've probably fixed the deficiencies.

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    Re: Does a necessary beng exist, and is it consistent with the theistic God?

    Forgive my abusive intrusiveness, Mr. cstamford.

    I'm still wet behind the ears here at ODN and learning the ropes.

    I thought this thread was in open-forum-debate form, where you try to knock 'em down and drag 'em out screaming (which is what I enjoy, fiery debating!).

    But I notice now that this section is titled, "Member Articles & Essays". You evidently meant to instruct me and not debate me.

    Sorry 'bout that mistake, Mr. cstamford. ... My Bad!


    Be the Rainbow in Someone Else's Cloud!! Kis

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    Re: Does a necessary beng exist, and is it consistent with the theistic God?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kisadio View Post
    Forgive my abusive intrusiveness, Mr. cstamford.

    I'm still wet behind the ears here at ODN and learning the ropes.

    I thought this thread was in open-forum-debate form, where you try to knock 'em down and drag 'em out screaming (which is what I enjoy, fiery debating!).

    But I notice now that this section is titled, "Member Articles & Essays". You evidently meant to instruct me and not debate me.
    Actually, I wasn't trying to do either. The purpose was to get some constructive criticism from anyone willing to give it, and with their continued help, strengthen the article. The process looked for here isn't all that different from debate, so long as both parties understand what's going on.

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    Re: Does a necessary beng exist, and is it consistent with the theistic God?

    I think you jumped to many conclusions with out supporting the prior conclusions. Also, I believe you confuse the issue a bit.

    In the all possible worlds having at least one thing that exists, or Can a possible world contain nothing.

    A world that doesn't contain a world is illogical. So the world always contains the world. So you could have asked does a world that doesn't contain a world possible. No. That is just a truism.

    Next I notice you switch and equivocate words that don't mean the same thing in an attempt to get you where you want to go. You go from thing to being in usage. You don't show how or why or support why the thing becomes a being. Until you do you can't go on trying to figure out what properties the being has.

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    Re: Does a necessary beng exist, and is it consistent with the theistic God?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mdougie View Post
    I think you jumped to many conclusions with out supporting the prior conclusions. Also, I believe you confuse the issue a bit.
    Without being specific this is not constructive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mdougie
    In the all possible worlds having at least one thing that exists, or Can a possible world contain nothing.

    A world that doesn't contain a world is illogical.
    I never mentioned a "world that doesn't contain a world". What I was talking about was a possible world that is empty; that contains no states of affairs. Some existentialists hold that a possible world consisting in "nothing" is logically possible. My remarks were meant as an objection to this idea.

    What you've done here, it seems to me, is conflate the terms "state of affairs" and "world", and that's a conceptual mistake in the possible worlds analysis of modality. A state of affairs can be a possible world, of course, but it needn't be. States of affairs come in all "sizes", by which I mean, they logically include or exclude various numbers of other states of affairs. Only the state of affairs inclusive of a maximal number of other states of affairs, without thereby resulting in a logical contradiction, is a "possible world".

    Quote Originally Posted by Mdougie
    Next I notice you switch and equivocate words that don't mean the same thing in an attempt to get you where you want to go. You go from thing to being in usage.
    Without an example of what you're talking about, this isn't helpful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mdougie
    You don't show how or why or support why the thing becomes a being.
    Because I judged it to be self-evident. Is it even possible to conceive of an "object" (ie., "thing") that lacks being, that has no ontological status, no properties it possesses, no proposition able to describe it, because it fails to be a state of affairs? I certainly can't, and if you can, and can articulate it specifically enough and clearly enough to make it apparent to me, I'd appreciate it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mdougie
    Until you do you can't go on trying to figure out what properties the being has.
    I think you're confused as to the purpose in the article. It is not to discover what properties a being that is necessary has, other than, of course, the property "being necessary", but to determine if a necessary being actually exists, and if so, is it logically consistent with the theistic concept of a personal God and Creator of all things.

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    Re: Does a necessary beng exist, and is it consistent with the theistic God?

    Quote Originally Posted by cstamford View Post


    I never mentioned a "world that doesn't contain a world". What I was talking about was a possible world that is empty; that contains no states of affairs. Some existentialists hold that a possible world consisting in "nothing" is logically possible. My remarks were meant as an objection to this idea.

    What you've done here, it seems to me, is conflate the terms "state of affairs" and "world", and that's a conceptual mistake in the possible worlds analysis of modality. A state of affairs can be a possible world, of course, but it needn't be. States of affairs come in all "sizes", by which I mean, they logically include or exclude various numbers of other states of affairs. Only the state of affairs inclusive of a maximal number of other states of affairs, without thereby resulting in a logical contradiction, is a "possible world".
    Well you are asking about the existence of a thing or "state of affairs" inside another thing or "state of affairs". That is the universe. Is it possible for there to be an empty universe? Or are you asking if it is possible for the universe not to exist?

    The answer to both is no. The universe exists, and it is not possible for it not to exist. As everything inside the universe is just the universe saying the universe exists covers both.



    Quote Originally Posted by cstamford View Post
    Because I judged it to be self-evident. Is it even possible to conceive of an "object" (ie., "thing") that lacks being, that has no ontological status, no properties it possesses, no proposition able to describe it, because it fails to be a state of affairs? I certainly can't, and if you can, and can articulate it specifically enough and clearly enough to make it apparent to me, I'd appreciate it.
    It is not self evident that the thing in your hypothetical must be a being. It could be a photon.



    Quote Originally Posted by cstamford View Post
    I think you're confused as to the purpose in the article. It is not to discover what properties a being that is necessary has, other than, of course, the property "being necessary", but to determine if a necessary being actually exists, and if so, is it logically consistent with the theistic concept of a personal God and Creator of all things.

    Ah. Well in that case I see no reason to think any being is logically necessary.

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    Re: Does a necessary beng exist, and is it consistent with the theistic God?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mdougie View Post
    Well you are asking about the existence of a thing or "state of affairs" inside another thing or "state of affairs". That is the universe. Is it possible for there to be an empty universe? Or are you asking if it is possible for the universe not to exist?

    The answer to both is no. The universe exists, and it is not possible for it not to exist. As everything inside the universe is just the universe saying the universe exists covers both.
    Answer me this: when you say "the universe", to what are you referring?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mdougie
    It is not self evident that the thing in your hypothetical must be a being. It could be a photon.
    A photon has being, doesn't it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mdougie
    Ah. Well in that case I see no reason to think any being is logically necessary.
    Okay, why not?

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    Re: Does a necessary beng exist, and is it consistent with the theistic God?

    Quote Originally Posted by cstamford View Post
    Answer me this: when you say "the universe", to what are you referring?



    A photon has being, doesn't it?



    Okay, why not?
    The universe as I am using the term is all that exists. I am open to a different definition if you want to debate something else.

    A photon is not a being. When someone uses the word being it is most commonly in reference to a living thing that has a brain and thinks. So a photon is not a being. So let's not confuse the issue by using a word that is out of place.

    The reason I don't see an intelligence as a necessary cause is for everything is that things don't need the intelligence to exist. Or why is the universe impossible with out the intelligence?

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    Re: Does a necessary beng exist, and is it consistent with the theistic God?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mdougie View Post
    The universe as I am using the term is all that exists. I am open to a different definition if you want to debate something else.
    No, that's fine. Now, let me ask you, do possibilities exist? For example, you take a common pair of dice in your hands, shake them, intending to throw them onto the crap table. The question I'd like you to answer is, before you throw them is there a real possibility they'll end up showing a four?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mdougie
    A photon is not a being. When someone uses the word being it is most commonly in reference to a living thing that has a brain and thinks. So a photon is not a being. So let's not confuse the issue by using a word that is out of place.
    The article is philosophical and existential in nature. Therefore, "being" in its own context requires the existential, philosophical connotation of the word, not what is common in some other context. In its own context "being", then, refers to anything that has actual existence. So you are a being, because you actually exist, and a rock is a being, because it actually exists, and a photon is a being, or so the theory goes, because it actually exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mdougie
    The reason I don't see an intelligence as a necessary cause is for everything is that things don't need the intelligence to exist. Or why is the universe impossible with out the intelligence?
    What does that have to do with my article?

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    Re: Does a necessary beng exist, and is it consistent with the theistic God?

    Quote Originally Posted by cstamford View Post
    No, that's fine. Now, let me ask you, do possibilities exist? For example, you take a common pair of dice in your hands, shake them, intending to throw them onto the crap table. The question I'd like you to answer is, before you throw them is there a real possibility they'll end up showing a four?
    Possibility exists as a concept. Possibilities don't actually exist. So if I roll the dice what I get is what happens. 4 exists as a possibility. Meaning the idea I might get 4 exists.


    Quote Originally Posted by cstamford View Post
    No,
    The article is philosophical and existential in nature. Therefore, "being" in its own context requires the existential, philosophical connotation of the word, not what is common in some other context. In its own context "being", then, refers to anything that has actual existence. So you are a being, because you actually exist, and a rock is a being, because it actually exists, and a photon is a being, or so the theory goes, because it actually exists.
    Well let's nail down terms. A state of being is not a being. So if you want to talk about A being don't use being in two different ways at different times. It just makes conversation needlessly difficult.

    A photon might have a state of being. It is not a being.

    Quote Originally Posted by cstamford View Post
    No,
    What does that have to do with my article?
    It relates directly to the article.

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    Re: Does a necessary beng exist, and is it consistent with the theistic God?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mdougie View Post
    Possibility exists as a concept. Possibilities don't actually exist.
    So you're saying concepts don't actually exist? Seriously?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mdougie
    Well let's nail down terms. A state of being is not a being.
    No, it's not, but a state of being without a being in that state is obviously impossible, which was the self-evident point all along.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mdougie
    So if you want to talk about A being don't use being in two different ways at different times.
    Quote me using "being" to mean "state of being".

    Quote Originally Posted by Mdougie
    A photon might have a state of being. It is not a being.
    This is metaphysical nonsense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mdougie
    It relates directly to the article.
    Be specific or be gone. In what way does it relate to the article.

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    Re: Does a necessary beng exist, and is it consistent with the theistic God?

    Quote Originally Posted by cstamford View Post
    So you're saying concepts don't actually exist? Seriously?
    They exist as concepts.



    Quote Originally Posted by cstamford View Post
    So No, it's not, but a state of being without a being in that state is obviously impossible, which was the self-evident point all along.
    No it is a state of existence. A photon is not a being.


    Quote Originally Posted by cstamford View Post
    So Quote me using "being" to mean "state of being".
    Why? Don't you know how you have been using the word? I contend you are hung up on the word being to equivocate your way through a debate.


    Quote Originally Posted by cstamford View Post
    So This is metaphysical nonsense.
    It's your thread.


    Quote Originally Posted by cstamford View Post
    So Be specific or be gone. In what way does it relate to the article.
    The article is about God and the universe. If you aren't talking about God and the universe what are you talking about?

 

 
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