Monday, March 21, 2022


In my previous post, I glibly talked of the infinite value of persons. I forgot that such talk was discredited by this argument. Instead, one should talk of relatively infinite value: being infinitely more times valuable than.

I think the argument of that post can be rescued. And while I am at it, I can modify the argument to avoid another objection, that higher animals like dogs and dolphins are not infinitely less valuable than persons. I do not know if the objection is sound, but it won't matter.

  1. Definition: A thing has megavalue if and only if it is infinitely more times valuable than every portion of non-living reality in the universe.

  2. The sum total of life in the universe has megavalue.

  3. Nothing can cause something that has infinitely more value than itself.

  4. If the sum total of life in the universe has a cause and that cause is wholly within the universe, then the cause is a portion of the non-living reality in the universe.

  5. There is a cause of the sum total of life in the universe.

  6. A cause of the sum total of life in the universe is not wholly within the universe.


Alexander R Pruss said...

Here's a technical difficulty with the thesis that nothing can cause something with infinitely more value than it itself. Suppose that Alice and Bob are so evil that their overall value, namely the difference between what is good in them and what is bad in them, is very small--say, no more than the value of a flower. But Alice and Bob could still have a child that has infinitely many times the value of a flower.

To get out of this example, I think that instead of talking about the overall value of a thing, I should talk about the overall good of a thing, which is the sum total of all that is good about the thing, without subtracting anything for the evils. The argument should continue to work.

If evil is a privation of good, then overall good might be the same as overall 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.

So then why is such a hassle done here in this blogpost?
Just sayin.

Alexander R Pruss said...

Craig objects to actual cardinal infinities: an infinite *number* of things. Infinite value is not an infinite *number* of things.

Zsolt Nagy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zsolt Nagy said...

If "value" is measurable, then it has a measurable unit and if "value" has a measurable unite and some particular thing supposed to have infinite "value", then that particular something supposed to have an infinite number of "value" units.
If "value" is not measurable, since it doesn't supposed to have any units, then what is "value" supposed to be in the first place and why even bother with such a thing, which is not measurable?!?
Your whole argument, A. R. Pruss, is juts dubious then, since it and you doesn't even bother with exactly quantifying, what "value" of an object and a thing is supposed to be, which is the central concern of your whole argument.
I guess, then all of your premises are just empty phrases without any proper meaning behind them.

Alexander R Pruss said...

We can compare values even if there is no such thing as a natural unit of value.

Zsolt Nagy said...

What do you, A. R. Pruss, think, what standard units are?
Those have been first defined in comparison with measurements under certain physical conditions of water/H2O.
And how are you defining your "relative values"? In comparison to God or by other persons?
It is quite fascinating, how philosophers/theists/theologens have such a little grasp of reality. And it's more interesting, how inconsistent theists are.
If you define "relative value" in such a way, which you have defined it, then indirectly you gave with that a definition for a "value unit". Then again here is my objection: According to theists and at least according to William Lane Craig there is no actual infinity. So then if all persons have an infinite "value" and God supposed to have an infinite relative value to any person, then God has an infinite number of VUPs. And a VUP is the Value Unit of a Person.
But then again there are no actual infinities. (Since the existence of any number is dependent on being measurable and countable and since an infinite number of things is not measurable or countable. Hence an actual infinity is impossible.)
So God can only have potentially an infinite number of VUPs and therefore, God can have potentially infinite value. Duh.