Eric post-discussion- higher being
Last Friday, I had the opportunity to share my thoughts on the ontological argument behind gods existence, with other classmates with similar questions. Each person also brought some ideas and questions they have pursued. Some of the big ideas they brought talked about if morality could exist by itself , the purpose behind religion, whether AI was possible, and the idea of free will.
Many of our questions had an overarching theme, or relied upon knowing whether a “higher perfect being” exists or not, and what the implications are if it does exist. Trying to discuss in the most logical manner, we began our conversation with Descartes’ syllogism to prove god existed.
- I have an idea of supremely perfect being, i.e. a being having all perfections.
- Perfection includes existence.
- Therefore, a supremely perfect being exists.
From this we did our best to find which parts of this argument could be challenged.
Our first discussion was about the idea of perfection: how do we, as humans who are “imperfect” possible fathom a thing or being that can be “perfect”. Does perfect mean it would be free of all flaws, or just those known to humans? We label the word “perfect” on God because that is what we believe it should be, but perfect isn’t as tangible a characteristic like tall or red or kind. Perfection implies many attributes, such as kindness, benevolence, and forgiveness, which we have can think because we see it in humans. But perfection also includes all-knowing and morally correct. How can humans know what all-knowing entails, or what morally correct looks like? We can’t. These are words that are used to represent things that we can’t comprehend, and therefore can’t prove we know.
The next point was about premise two: Premise includes existence. This basically meant that part of being a perfect being, involves existence. Is this true? Again this comes to our first topic about our unclear definition of perfect, and whether it involves existence. But let’s say we had the idea of perfect being. Does the idea of a perfect being prove the perfect being exists, or just the idea? Can we create the idea of a perfect being and it not exist? Why is necessary existence included into an attribute of perfection?
These are some of the questions that I took with me, alongside some more research I did, into my Phil’s day off, which I will talk about in my next blog post. Thanks for reading.