Wednesday, January 4, 2012

If monotheism is true, mereological universalism is false

  1. (Premise) If monotheism is true, there is no entity other than God that has all of God's causal powers.
  2. (Premise) A mereological sum of x and y has all of the causal powers of x.
  3. (Premise) If mereological universalism is true, then for any two distinct entities x and y such that y is not a part (proper or improper) of x, there is a mereological sum of x and y that is distinct from x.
  4. (Premise) If monotheism is true, God exists and I am not a part of God.
  5. (Premise) I exist.
  6. If monotheism and mereological universalism are true, there is a mereological sum of God and me that is distinct from God.  (By 3, 4 and 5)
  7. Every mereological sum of God and me has all of the causal powers of God. (By 2)
  8. If monotheism and mereological unviersalism are true, there is something distinct from God that has all of the causal powers of God. (By 6 and 7)
  9. If monotheism and mereological universalism are true, monotheism is false. (By 1 and 8 and first order logic)
  10. If monotheism is true, mereological universalism is false. (By 9 and first order logic)
This is a variant on a simpler argument I once blogged that if mereological universalism is true, then there is something greater than God, namely the mereological sum of God and something else, and it's absurd that there be something greater than God.

10 comments:

Jonathan D. Jacobs said...

Why think premise 2 is true?

Alexander R Pruss said...

Because there is nothing more and nothing less to a mereological sum than its parts?

Jonathan D. Jacobs said...

So you don't think there are exclusion arguments against it, similar to things Merricks says?

Alexander R Pruss said...

If there are, maybe we have a direct argument that mereological universalism is false. Mereological sums have no new causal powers--otherwise they wouldn't be just the sums of their parts. So if they don't inherit causal powers from their parts, they have no causal powers. But physical objects with no causal powers are really weird.

Jonathan D. Jacobs said...

QED!

Doug Benscoter said...

Could we restrict our mereological scope to the sum of all contingent entities? I think this would compliment your cosmological arguments well and would avoid the problem detailed in the OP.

Sami said...

Can you offer some arguments for monotheism (or against polytheism)?

Ian Spencer said...

A panentheist (who would understand him/herself as a monotheist, though maybe one could argue against that) could reject premise 4 because of the "not a part of God" expression. I wouldn't like that myself, but one could alter 4 to say "If monotheism is true, God exists and either I am not a part of God or panentheism is true." Then the argument would work somewhat differently and end up with a conclusion that either mereological universalism is false or panentheism is true. (of course, since I think panentheism is false, I would then infer that mereological universalism is false as well)

Doug Benscoter said...

Arguments for monotheism usually include the ontological argument (there can only be one maximally great being) or the metaphysics of someone like Thomas Aquinas.

Thomas distinguishes between being and essence. For example, we can describe a unicorn's essence (roughly, a magical horse with a horn) without committing ourselves to saying it exists.

If it can be shown that something exists which has an essence identical to its being, then we can infer that such an entity is unique. For, to be distinct from being is to be non-being, which is the same as saying it doesn't exist. Other things differ not by being, but by essence.

If there is more than one deity, then there would be distinctions between them. Therefore, there can be only one deity (only one "being itself subsisting").

Christian said...

(Premise 1) If monotheism is true, there is no entity other than God that has all of God's causal powers.

(Premise 2) A mereological sum of x and y has all of the causal powers of x.

For what it's worth, I think anyone that accepts (2) should reject (1). For there are mereological fusion s that contain God as one part, and some arbitrary atoms as another. Given (2), this distinct entity has all of God's causal powers, thus rendering (1) false.

I think if mereological universalism is true, then a more general universalism is true, one that is not restricted to fusions of within ontological categories, but also across ontological categories. For parthood is category nuetral... hope all is well.