Saturday, June 26, 2010

Numinous beings and naturalism

I think the following argument is sound, at least if the conditionals are material.

  1. (Premise for reductio) Naturalism is true.
  2. (Premise) If naturalism is true, nothing is numinous.
  3. (Premise) If naturalism is true, and F is a simple concept that someone has, then at least one individual's having the concept F is caused by something that falls under F.
  4. (Premise) The concept of the numinous is simple.
  5. (Premise) Someone has a concept of the numinous.
  6. If naturalism is true, there is something numinous. (3, 4)
  7. Naturalism is not true. (2, 5)

Perhaps, though, the naturalist will say that the numinous is something subjective and merely intramental, and thus deny 2. But:

  1. (Premise) There could be a numinous deity.
  2. (Premise) Necessarily, if a deity exists, it's not subjective.
  3. (Premise) If the numinous is subjective, it is always necessarily subjective.
  4. Therefore, the numinous can never be subjective.
  1. (Premise) If something is numinous, it is in some respect greater than us.
  2. (Premise) Nothing merely intramental is greater than us.
  3. Therefore, the numinous is not merely intramental.

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