On babies, bathwater, matters ontological and Plantinga . . .
|March 19, 2014||Posted by kairosfocus under Atheism, Philosophy, Science, Philosophy and (Natural) Theology, Science, worldview issues/foundations and society|
I think that sometimes, it helps to pull back a bit and reflect on the meta . . . philosophical . . . issues connected to design, mind, being, cause and effect, what it would mean to be a necessary being, etc.
I have also been thinking in that context, that the modern, modal ontological argument championed by Plantinga (and with some roots in Godel etc) is a good place to begin from, and so, I have blogged on that here, beginning:
>> Perhaps the most controversial of the major arguments pointing to God is the ontological argument. Many think it is little more than verbal trickery, and are highly dismissive. Others are fond of parodying and dismissing it.
But, we need to pause and ask a little question.
Alvin Plantinga, for a generation, has been a leading and widely respected American philosopher: so let us ponder,
Q: if the ontological argument family is so easily brushed aside, why is he — obviously highly intelligent and informed — a major champion of the argument in our day, specifically the modal form?
A: Maybe, then, there is more to this argument than meets the eye, and we should pause and consider whether one issue is that it is subtle and sophisticated, thus easily misunderstood and caricatured then thrown away with a forest of knocked over strawmen. Besides, the key modern concept, of a maximally great being — one of maximal excellence across possible worlds — helps us understand in a profound way several key ideas in the theistic concept of God. (That, BTW, is one of the benefits of such arguments, they enrich our understanding of theology.) Last, but not least, this argument not only sharpens up our logic skills, but it is a part of a cumulative case that sets up the question that to reject theism, what are you implicitly committing yourself to, and is that position, in aggregate, a reasonable view? [For instance, it turns out that as necessity of being is pivotal to the idea of being God and being eternal, one is looking at implying that God is impossible, a pretty stiff claim to defend.]
Of course, a subtle, sophisticated and frankly quite technical argument is not an argument that is easy to grasp, and is not a part of a case made while standing on one foot, so to speak. Pull up an easy chair, and let us take a little while to contemplate. It may well be more than worth it . . . [MORE]>>
Any thoughts, especially on possible worlds, possible/impossible beings, necessary/contingent beings, enabling causal factors [thus, first principles of right reason including causality], the self-referential incoherence of scientific materialism, the implication of thoughts revealed long before their time, and the like? END