Thursday, March 17, 2022

Infinite value

  1. All persons have infinite value.
  2. Nothing in the universe other than persons has infinite value.
  3. There was a first person in the universe.
  4. Everything in the universe has a cause.
  5. The first person in the universe wasn’t caused by a person in the universe.
  6. Nothing with finite value can cause something with infinite value.
  7. So, something not in the universe and with infinite value caused the first person in the universe.
I am not confident of premise (1).


Walter Van den Acker said...

I am not confident of premises 1 and 2

Mariel. C said...

Mr Pruss, this isn't related to this post, but do you think that the reason of why something exits can be because of its possibility? or does the possibility of a thing first depends on something actual, and so it can't be the reason? I ask because I was wondering why can't the reason of why a physical thing is be grounded on the fact that is possible rather than God.

Alexander R Pruss said...

I don't think possibility explains actuality. That Alice can eat ice cream doesn't explain why she eats ice cream.

Unknown said...

If we give premise 1, premise 2 seems iffy

1. If we assume naturalism, anything that can create persons (e.g. evolution) would have infinite value as it can create something that does

2. Things that allow the existence of persons (time, space, matter) could also have infinite value as you need it for the existence of persons. (Though arguably you may not need space or matter to have persons).

RunDec said...

What if we use something like "sacredness" instead?

Persons are sacred (or, there is such a thing as the sacred and the holy - religions seem in great part to be responses to our conviction that sacred-properties exist)
Nothing not-sacred, or profane, could cause the sacred
So there is a first sacred cause

Apologetics Squared said...

An argument for (1):
8. A flower has a finite amount of value, f.
9. A collection of n flowers is at least as valuable as n*f.
10. If a flower has a finite amount of value, then any collection of n flowers has finite value.
11. All persons have more value than any collection of finitely many flowers.
12. Therefore, all persons have infinite value.

Ovidiu Badea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ovidiu Badea said...

What does „value” mean here? Or, „infinite value”, for that matter?

Alexander R Pruss said...


"If we assume naturalism, anything that can create persons (e.g. evolution) would have infinite value as it can create something that does": But it sure seems implausible to think that the earth prior to the advent of life had infinite value.

Zsolt Nagy said...

Since there are no actual infinities according to theists (at least according to William Lane Craig) the first premise should rather state the following:
1. All persons have potentially infinite value.
Just sayin.

Felix said...

Couldn't one note that it seems implausible at least prima facie that human beings have infinite value. This can come from the idea that on what grounds are we confident in saying that finite things can have infinite value. I think the only way to say that humans aren't finite is if there's a belief in the soul or something of that sort that lives eternally. I think the argument also doesn't go through against those who are anti-realist about value.

Alexander R Pruss said...

Anti-realism about value is self-defeating: if it's true, there is no value to believing it. :-)

Zsolt Nagy said...

Otherwise if anti-realism about value is true, then believing in there to be no value is justifiable, since anti-realism about value is supposedly true in this case.

Felix said...

Even if Anti-realism about value is self defeating what're your thoughts on what I mentioned earlier about the providing an account as to why they are infinitely valuable. Thank You!