1. Hmmm . . .
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    10 Oct '11 05:063 edits
    Suppose a posited entity, called G, meeting the following criteria:

    1. G is the cause of all that is the case other than itself (the “world” );

    2. G is not coextensive with the world;

    3. G is itself uncaused; and

    4. G is the only entity meeting criteria 1 - 3.

    Q1: What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for positing the actuality of such an entity to make sense?

    Q2: What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for such an entity to be known to be actual by any entity other than itself?

    _______________________________________________________

    Basically, I take criteria 1 – 3 to be those minimally required for a strict “causal metaphysical dualism” (e.g., dualistic theism); 2 is a "transcendance" criterion; 4 is a simplifying criterion (that would pertain, e.g., to monotheism). I am happy to entertain corrections and clarifications from those who are more skilled than I at such formulations…. After all, if I’ve muddled the questions, I can hardly expect unmuddled answers.
  2. Joined
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    10 Oct '11 12:10
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Suppose a posited entity, called G, meeting the following criteria:

    1. G is the cause of all that is the case other than itself (the “world” );

    2. G is not coextensive with the world;

    3. G is itself uncaused; and

    4. G is the only entity meeting criteria 1 - 3.

    Q1: What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for positing th ...[text shortened]... rmulations…. After all, if I’ve muddled the questions, I can hardly expect unmuddled answers.
    Being only human I can offer this muddled reply. 😉

    Q1: What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for positing the actuality of such an entity to make sense?

    If I understand this question correctly, I believe the necessary and sufficient conditions for positing the actuality of such an entity are, and can only be, established by the entity that meets the criteria of 1-3.

    Q2: What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for such an entity to be known to be actual by any entity other than itself?

    That creation have sufficient ability, and be equipped with those faculties necessary to know said entity's own word as revealed to creation.

    Oddly enough, if the creature is sufficiently equipped to know when it hears such an entity's proclamation of itself, the creature is also correspondingly equipped with equal ability to deny the existence of such an entity.

    I think it's called free will. Hard to say given how muddled things are.

    Good to hear from you again my friend.

    (I think my answer to the second question also answers the first question. All answers are abbreviated and far from complete)
  3. Cape Town
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    10 Oct '11 13:54
    Originally posted by vistesd
    1. G is the cause of all that is the case other than itself (the “world” );

    2. G is not coextensive with the world;
    I find 'cause'in this instance to be incoherent. Time is a property of the world and meaningful only within the world and 'cause' is a function of time. It is incoherent to talk of the 'cause' of time.
  4. Hmmm . . .
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    10 Oct '11 14:11
    Originally posted by josephw
    Being only human I can offer this muddled reply. 😉

    Q1: [b]What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for positing the actuality of such an entity to make sense?


    If I understand this question correctly, I believe the necessary and sufficient conditions for positing the actuality of such an entity are, and can only be, established by the entit ...[text shortened]... question also answers the first question. All answers are abbreviated and far from complete)[/b]
    I think your answers are tautological in that they reduce to something like: “If there really is G, then G has met the conditions of there really being G”. And: “If there is G, then G is G.”

    Hope you are well.
  5. Hmmm . . .
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    10 Oct '11 14:581 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I find 'cause'in this instance to be incoherent. Time is a property of the world and meaningful only within the world and 'cause' is a function of time. It is incoherent to talk of the 'cause' of time.
    First, since I did not specify the features of “all that is the case”—and simply used the word “world” as a placeholder for “all that is the case”—I’m not sure that “cause” is logically incoherent; that is, it might not be a term that makes sense vis-à-vis this world, but that doesn’t make it incoherent for all possible worlds. Even if that’s the case, however, it’s not satisfactory to me to rest on that kind of quibble (my quibble, that is: your objection is not a quibble).

    Second, although I have also argued before that cause and effect are terms that cannot be de-contextualized from this world, anyway, your objection seems to cut deeper—since there is perhaps no transitive verb in our language that does not imply time (or any intransitive verb, for that matter; or space for that matter). If that is the nature of your objection, then it would also seem to apply within this world vis-à-vis some observations of subatomic particles. That is, “cause” may only be coherent at a certain level of dimensionality within this universe. Further, I am not sure that your objection would hold for any (possible or actual) language, e.g. one whose syntax is different. That’s not an objection to your objection, just an observation.*

    So, I’m happy to drop the sign “cause” and restate 1. as follows:

    [/i]“1. All that is the case other than G obtains if and only if G”.[/i]

    At the same time, I’ll accept that, if “cause” or an equivalent sign is used, then a necessary condition for G to be actual is that G exists within a dimensionality that includes time.

    ____________________________________________________________

    NOTE: As reformulations seem necessary, I will periodically restate the OP, putting such restatements as separate whole posts. I won’t do this each time, but as often as it seems needed for continuing clarity. For example, now I will await any objections to my suggested restatement…

    _____________________________________________________________


    * EDIT: I just realized that I am misstating the problem here. It is not with the verbs, but with the transitiveness to which they refer. I will also attempt to point out my own errors as I see them.
  6. Donationbbarr
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    10 Oct '11 15:02
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Suppose a posited entity, called G, meeting the following criteria:

    1. G is the cause of all that is the case other than itself (the “world” );

    2. G is not coextensive with the world;

    3. G is itself uncaused; and

    4. G is the only entity meeting criteria 1 - 3.

    Q1: What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for positing th ...[text shortened]... rmulations…. After all, if I’ve muddled the questions, I can hardly expect unmuddled answers.
    I'm not sure what you mean by 'coextensive' in (2). Typically 'coextensive' is used in reference to properties or predicates (saying, in effect, that some set of them are always and only found together), not the bearers of properties. Are you saying that God is not identical to the world? Also, when you say 'all that is the case' in (1), are you conceiving of the world as a set of true propositions, or of facts, or of states of affairs that obtain?
  7. Hmmm . . .
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    10 Oct '11 15:282 edits
    Originally posted by bbarr
    I'm not sure what you mean by 'coextensive' in (2). Typically 'coextensive' is used in reference to properties or predicates (saying, in effect, that some set of them are always and only found together), not the bearers of properties. Are you saying that God is not identical to the world? Also, when you say 'all that is the case' in (1), are you conceiving ...[text shortened]... he world as a set of true propositions, or of facts, or of states of affairs that obtain?
    Thanks. What I’m after in 2. is a statement of dualism. So I appear to be mis-using “coextensive” (although one might make a statement to the effect that either none or not all of G’s properties/attributes are coextensive with the world). And I always find the word “transcendent” to be vague (maybe that’s only because I vaguely understand it). Can you suggest a restatement?

    I mean states of affairs. But I would take any state of affairs to be defined by a given set of facts. (Which, I think, means that I am not using “fact” in the same way as W. in the Tractatus.)

    ____________________________________________________

    LATE EDIT: It strikes me that I did what I said I tried not to do: use technical language that I ought not to use without understanding the requisite technical context. In other words, I attempted an “abstraction to clarity” that is not clear—I should have been less clear, for the sake of clarity! 😉

    I could perhaps put the whole thing more broadly: I am trying to get at the minimum requirements for a “’causal’ [using that word only provisionally, given twhitehead’s objection] dualist metaphysics”—i.e., a dualist theism with a “creator god”, but without such added properties as OOO, or personhood, or such that usually go with dualist theism. Often the arguments are cast in terms of a necessary “first cause”, prior to adding any of the other “god characteristics”, and then we argue over that (e.g., Epi’s presentation of a cosmological argument some time back). I thought I would try to flip the question, by asking what are the necessary and sufficient conditions, if any, for that kind of dualism to make sense.

    Nevertheless, as you guys analyze my attempt at pursuing a line of inquiry within the context of analytical philosophy, I will learn.
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    10 Oct '11 16:401 edit
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Suppose a posited entity, called G, meeting the following criteria:

    1. G is the cause of all that is the case other than itself (the “world” );

    2. G is not coextensive with the world;

    3. G is itself uncaused; and

    4. G is the only entity meeting criteria 1 - 3.

    Q1: What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for positing th rmulations…. After all, if I’ve muddled the questions, I can hardly expect unmuddled answers.
    You have good ideas and have had some good comments. FWIW, I'll add some more comments, good or not.
    Suggested criteria:
    1. A thing that we will call G exists.
    2. There is only one G.
    3. Things that are not G exist. We call the entirety of them U.
    4. If G did not exist, U would not exist. (U's existence is contingent on G's existence.) (This gets around "cause." But it implies, to the human mind, a kind of "space-time" or habitat H, for G. G's habitat would not be the one which we inhabit or would include ours but is not accessible to us while we are in U. I don't think this problem goes away, it suggests that G's existence is contingent on H's existence, and where did H come from? Maybe there is an identity relationship between G and H, but not between G and U?)

    On Q1: From the above, I would propose that a necessary condition for it to "make sense" to a thing in U, is the existence of some sort of H which G inhabits, or that G is. The only sufficient condition that does not require additional criteria, would be: plausibility that if G did not exist, U would not exist. Descartes tried this.

    On Q2: A necessary condition: there has to be a thing in U that CAN know a thing exists that meets the criteria stated. A sufficient condition: That thing knows that if G did not exist, U would not exist. Otherwise you need more criteria. This raises the question of how this knowledge comes to be.

    BTW, You haven't specified that G can or does know or cares whether G, H, or U exists.🙂 Lots more to go.
  9. Hmmm . . .
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    10 Oct '11 17:04
    Originally posted by JS357
    You have good ideas and have had some good comments. FWIW, I'll add some more comments, good or not.
    Suggested criteria:
    1. A thing that we will call G exists.
    2. There is only one G.
    3. Things that are not G exist. We call the entirety of them U.
    4. If G did not exist, U would not exist. (U's existence is contingent on G's existence.) (This gets around " ...[text shortened]... ied that G can or does know or cares whether G, H, or U exists.🙂 Lots more to go.
    Thanks. I want to ponder it a bit--but a few brief comments:

    (a) I think your 4. Is a better way of putting than my causal statement (and overcomes twhitehead’s objection on that score).

    (b) Your point about H is well-taken. I once argued something similar, but with some heavy-handed semantics (what is required for an entity to be identified as such—or to have identity… Basically, I was trying to be too “cute”. I do not how one could get away from H.

    (c) I think your 3. Is both simpler and avoids the confusion that bbarr points out about my use of the word “coextensive”.

    (d) On your Q2 response: Now I think we have, “What are the conditions for any being in U to have such knowledge?”.

    (e) On your “BTW”: Yes, I did not want to get into the possibility of G’s consciousness or ability for self-reflection, etc.

    I think I’m now going to attempt a reformulation incorporating the suggestions so far. We may reach a point where I need to start a whole new thread to discuss what is a final formulation…
  10. Cape Town
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    10 Oct '11 17:27
    I am not even convinced that it is meaningful to talk of 'existence' where said existence is not a physical entity within the universe.

    Maybe this 'G' you are looking for is something like 'the laws of physics'? Would they satisfy your criteria?
  11. Hmmm . . .
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    10 Oct '11 17:532 edits
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I am not even convinced that it is meaningful to talk of 'existence' where said existence is not a physical entity within the universe.

    Maybe this 'G' you are looking for is something like 'the laws of physics'? Would they satisfy your criteria?
    I originally tried to avoid the word "exist" because of that; however, for the sake of not being too cumbersome, I have adopted it to mean in any way instantiated. I think that your objections on that score are similar to JS357's point about H, and the possibility of H that is not-U. I too do not see how G could be instantiated except in the context of some H. But I am willing to let the question remain open for argument at this point.

    At what point do your objections devolve into a simple claim that only the physical (by which I do not mean strictly material) universe exists and can exist--or at least is all that can coherently be conceived to exist? And at what point does that become a strong atheism that bears the same burden of proof, as a claim, (which it may bear well) as theism?

    What I am trying to pursue is the question of the minimal requirements (if there are any) for dualist theism to be coherent, or the weakest form in which it might be coherent.

    No, the laws of phyisics do not fit the bill, as G is defined here as an entity. What I am "looking for" is either the minimum requirements for the possibility of such an entity, or the total lack thereof. In a sense, I suppose that G could be thought of as an entity that also of itself comprises a monistic "possible world" other than our own.

    By "flipping" the usual way we talk about this--i.e. by inquiring into the minimal conditions for the reality of a G with minimal attributes--I am trying to find a kind of "bedrock" where a strong atheism is possible (if it is). If you want to make a strong atheist argument that there are no conditions under which such a G is possible, or coherent, I welcome it. It would be interesting to see how your premises might line up compared to mine...or to those of someone who would make the theist argument.
  12. Hmmm . . .
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    10 Oct '11 18:01
    First Reformulation

    Here is an attempted reformulation of the OP, based on suggestions/objections so far—

    1. There exists an entity we will call G;

    2. There is only one G;

    3(a). There exist states of affairs that are not G; (b) the totality of such states of affairs we will call U;

    4. U’s existence is contingent upon G’s existence.

    Note: 3(b) implies that, if the existence of G is contingent on anything, it would have to be contingent on some aspect of U; that seems to preclude any non-U H (and would also preclude a strict metaphysical dualism vis-à-vis G and U). To make G non-contingent on U, while accepting H, would require another disjunction: there exists some H such that H is ~G and ~U.

    I will also attempt to restate the questions:

    Q1: What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for the existence of G to be possible? [JS357 has made an offering here.]

    Q2: Is the notion of a non-contingent G coherent? If so, how? [This goes to necessity of H.]

    Q3: How can any being in U know (i) that G exists, and (ii) that U is contingent on G?

    __________________________________________________

    I expect this to need further restating. I have used the word “exist” for now despite recognizing twhitehead’s objection; I would be happy to substitute a better word.
  13. Joined
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    10 Oct '11 19:01
    Originally posted by vistesd
    [b]First Reformulation

    Here is an attempted reformulation of the OP, based on suggestions/objections so far—

    1. There exists an entity we will call G;

    2. There is only one G;

    3(a). There exist states of affairs that are not G; (b) the totality of such states of affairs we will call U;

    4. U’s existence is contingent upon G’s existence. ...[text shortened]... r now despite recognizing twhitehead’s objection; I would be happy to substitute a better word.[/b]
    If you require G to have somewhere to exist in, which seems logically necessary,
    I would propose having everything not G be H, with U being a subset of H.

    G inhabits H, which contains U.


    Also if you are trying to make this a general as possible why are you starting from the position of monotheism?

    How about we replace G with D, where D is the set of all deities and is comprised of a number of G.
    Labelled G1, G2, ..... Gn where n is the total number of G in the set D?

    so it might look something like....

    1. D is the set of all G.

    2. n is the total number of G [G1, G2, .... Gn, where n is total number of G]

    3. Everything not-D is H.

    4. D's existence is contingent upon the existence of H.

    5. H contains D and U.

    6. U’s existence is contingent upon the existence of D. (and thus also of H)




    Incidentally are you defining strong atheism as;

    "belief in the non-existence of god/s"
    Or
    "knowledge of the non-existence of god/s"?


    Answers?
    Q1: I would suggest that as a starting point all entities of set D are bound by the laws of logic.
    Otherwise everything else is meaningless.
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    10 Oct '11 19:092 edits
    G = U + H

    U doesn't know G until H so if G "is" then U + H "is" thus U knows G.

    This problem was already visited by JS but G isn't contigent upon H it is contigent upon U + H thus G = G (obviously)

    G = 0 + ∞ where 0 = H and ∞ = U this "fixes" the problem of needing a habitat but is still a logical equation where G isn't contigent only upon the concept of ∞ but also upon the concept of 0.
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    10 Oct '11 19:12
    Originally posted by tomtom232
    G = U + H

    U doesn't know G until H so if G "is" then U + H "is" thus U knows G.
    That isn't a dualist god.
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