Thursday, 17 January 2008

Antiontological proof

The believer has in his head an idea of God (as the most perfect being) that includes existence: hence, he says, God exists. But wait: I have in my head an idea of God without existence; which is to say, I conceptualise a God just like the one the believer conceptualises, but with this crucial difference: He doesn't exist. My God is more perfect than the believer's God, since it is unsullied by existence. Therefore, by the terms of the ontological proof, mine is the God to go with.

2 comments:

sylvan-historian said...

I like it, but don't the terms of the ontological argument override the comparatively insignificant question of God's existence?

Say the conception of an idea takes place before its particulars - in this case existence - can be conceived and later debated. Therefore God exists from the very moment (he) is conceived as a primal idea, before the more advanced question of his actual existence is raised. Would you not simply say: 'I conceptualise a God'. That god's potential existence comes later, usually just after you realise you're going to die.

Unless the conception of an idea by a creature able to perceive its own consciousness automatically brings that idea into existence?

In which case, we're buggered.

Adam Roberts Project said...

Sorry to have missed this comment (I so rarely get comments on this blog, I'm never expecting them...)

The usual problem philosophers raise with the ontological proof is that 'existence' is not an attribute (it's not the same sort of thing as, say, 'yellow', 'square', 'squishy' and so on) and so can't be included with them as one more. What I'm playing with in this post is: let's suspend our disbelief and say it is an attribute; why should we then assume that existence is more 'perfect' than non-existence? I can think of lots of cases in which the latter is to be preferred to the former