Monday, September 10, 2012

Monotheism, value and unrestricted compositionality

Start with these premises:

  1. If unrestricted compositionality (UC) is true, for any two objects A and B, there is an object A+B that is their mereological sum.
  2. If A and B have no parts in common, and B has positive value, then A+B is at least as valuable as A.
  3. Nothing other than God is at least as valuable as God.
  4. God exists.
  5. There is a creature, B, that has no parts in common with God and that has positive value.
  1. If UC is true, God+B exists and is at least as valuable as God. (1, 2, 4, 5)
  2. If God+B exists, then God+B is distinct from God. (By standard mereology, the sum of two non-overlapping objects is distinct from each.)
  3. UC is false. (3, 6, 7)
Acknowledgment: I am grateful to Ross Inman for discussions on theism and UC.


appearedtoblogly said...

Interesting argument. I wonder if Moore's Principle of Organic Unities (POU) would challenge 2. The principle states that "the value of ... a whole bears no regular proportion to the sum of the values of its parts." (PE 1:18-22). If POU is true, then we cannot infer value sums from mereological sums, which seems to be an assumption of 2.

Alexander R Pruss said...

I don't think I make any claims about value *sums*. I only make something like the weak claim that adding something that has positive value does not decrease value.

Heath White said...

I think, if I were inclined to defend UC, I would deny 3. I would say that God has infinite value, and any mereological sum including God also had (the same) infinite value.

Alexander R Pruss said...

But isn't it a part of theism that nothing is like God in value?

Alexander R Pruss said...

Bibliographic note: An argument along these lines is coming out in APQ in a paper co-authored with Ross Inman.