Friday, December 8, 2017

From particular perfections to necessary existence

This argument is valid:

  1. Necessarily, any morally perfect being can morally perfectly deal with any possible situation.

  2. Necessarily, one can only morally deal with a situation one would exist in.

  3. So, necessarily, any morally perfect being is a necessary being.

That said, (1) sounds a bit fishy to me. One may want to say instead:

  1. Necessarily, any morally perfect being can morally perfectly deal with any possible situation in which it exists.

But that’s actually a bit weaker than we want. Imagine a being that can deal with one situation and only with it: the case where it has promised to eat a delicious cookie that is being offered to it. But imagine, too, that the being can only exist in that one situation. Then (4) is satisfied, but surely being able to fulfill a promise to eat a cookie isn’t enough for moral perfection. So we do actually want to strengthen (4). Maybe there is something in between (1) and (4) that works. Maybe there isn’t.

There are other arguments of the above sort that one can run, based on premises like:

  1. A maximally powerful being can weakly actualize any possibility.

  2. An epistemically perfect being can know any possible proposition.

  3. A rationally perfect being can rationally deal with any possible situation.

It is looking like moral perfection, maximal power, epistemic perfection and rational perfection each individually imply necessary existence.

If this is right, then we have an ontological argument:

  1. Possibly, there is a morally perfect or a maximally powerful or an epistemically perfect or a rationally perfect being.

  2. So, possibly there is a necessary being. (By arguments like above.)

  3. So, there is a necessary being.

I am not saying that this a super-convincing argument. But it does provide some evidence for its conclusion.

1 comment:

Martin Cooke said...

(6) An epistemically perfect being would know all true propositions in any possible language (?)