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Ntech
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Ntech
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Shepherd

@Hahiha @Doombreed
Of our Knowledge of the Existence of a God
(John Locke, Concerning Human Understanding: Chapter X, pages 349 – 351)
(Articles I – VI, VIII)

I. We are capable of knowing certainly that there is a God. Though God has given us no innate ideas of Himself,; though He has stamped no original characters on our minds, wherein we may read His being; yet having furnished us with those faculties our minds are endowed with, He hath not left Himself without witness: since we have sense, perception, and reason, and cannot want a clear proof of Him, as long as we carry ourselves about us...

II. For man knows that he himself exists. I think it is beyond question, that man has a clear idea of his own being; he knows certainly that he exists, and that he is something. He that can doubt whether he be anything or no, I speak not to; no more than I would argue with pure nothing, or endeavor to convince a nonentity that it were something. If any one pretends to be so skeptical as to deny his own existence, (for really to doubt of it is manifestly impossible,) let him for me enjoy his beloved happiness of being nothing, until hunger or some other pain convince him of the contrary. This, then, I think I may take for a truth, which every one’s certain knowledge assures him of, beyond the liberty of doubting, viz. That he is something that actually exists. [Note well the meaning of “actually,” that is, something that is actual vs. that which does not exist.]

III. He knows also that nothing cannot produce a being; therefore something must have existed from eternity. In the next place, man knows, by an intuitive certainty, that bare nothing can no more produce any real being, than it can be equal to two right angles. If a man knows not that nonentity, or the absence of all being, cannot be equal to two right angles, it is impossible he should know any demonstration in Euclid. If, therefore, we know there is some real being, and that nonentity cannot produce any real being, it is an evident demonstration, that from eternity there has been something; since what was not from eternity had a beginning; and what had a beginning must be produced by something else.

IV. And that eternal Being must be most powerful. Next, it is evident, that what had its being and beginning from another, must also have all that which is in and belongs to its being from another too. All the powers it has must be owing to and received from the same source. This eternal source, then, of all being must also be the source and origin of all power; and so this eternal Being must also be the most powerful.

V. And most knowing. Again, a man finds in himself perception and knowledge. We have then got one step further; and we are certain now that there is not only some being, but some knowing, intelligent being in the world. There was a time, then, where was no knowing being and when knowledge began to be; or else there has been also a knowing being from eternity.

If it be said, there was a time when no being had any knowledge, when that eternal being was void of understanding; I reply, that then it was impossible there should ever have been any knowledge: it being as impossible that things wholly void of knowledge, and operating blindly, and without any perception, should produce a knowing being, as it is impossible that a triangle should make itself three angles bigger than two right ones. For it is as repugnant to the idea of senseless matter, that it should put into itself sense, perception, and knowledge, as it is repugnant to the idea of a triangle, that it should put into itself greater angles than two right ones.

VI. And therefore God. Thus, from the consideration of ourselves, and what we infallibly find in our own constitutions, our reason leads us to the knowledge of this certain and evident truth, – That there is an eternal, most powerful, and most knowing Being; which whether any one will please to call God, it matters not. The thing is evident; and from this idea duly considered, will easily be deduced all those other attributes, which we ought to ascribe to this eternal Being.

If, nevertheless, any one should be found so senselessly arrogant, as to suppose man alone knowing and wise, but yet the product of mere ignorance and chance; and that all the rest of the universe acted only by that blind haphazard; I shall leave him that very rational and emphatical rebuke of Tully (1. ii. De Leg.), to be considered at his leisure: “What can be more sillily arrogant and mis-becoming, than for a man to think that he has a mind and understanding in him, but yet in all the universe beside there is no such thing? Or that those things, which with the utmost stretch of his reason he can scarce comprehend, should be moved and managed without any reason at all?” Quid est enim verius, quam neminem esse oportere tam stulte arrogantem, ut in se mentem et rationem putet inesse, in caelo mundoque non putet? Aut ea quae vic summa ingenii [ingenī] ratione comprehendat, nulla ratione moveri puter?

From what has been said, it is plain to me we have a more certain knowledge of the existence of a God, than of anything our senses have not immediately discovered to us. Nay, I presume I may say, that we more certainly know that there is a God, than that there is anything else without us. When I say we know, I mean there is such a knowledge within our reach which we cannot miss, if we will but apply our minds to that…

VIII. Recapitulation – something from eternity. There is no truth more evident than that something must be from eternity. I never yet heard of any one so unreasonable, or that could suppose so manifest a contradiction, as a time wherein there was perfectly nothing. This being of all absurdities the greatest, to imagine that pure nothing, the perfect negation and absence of all beings [Id est, the complete absence of actualities], should ever produce any real existence. [Id est, actualities have potential, where there is no actualities there is no potential, nor can there ever be.]

Of God – His Existence
(Benedict de Spinoza, Ethics, Part I)

DEFINITIONS

1. BY CAUSE of itself, I understand that, [a Being] whose essence involves existence; or that, [a Being] whose nature cannot be conceived unless existing.

2. That thing is called FINITE in its own kind (in suo genere) which can be limited by another thing of the same nature. For example, a body is called finite, because we [may] always conceive another which is greater. So a thought is limited by another thought; but a body is not limited by a thought, not a thought by a body.

3. BY SUBSTANCE, I understand that which is in itself and is conceived through itself; in other words, that, the conception of which does not need the conception of another thing from which it must be formed.

4. BY ATTRIBUTE, I understand that which the intellect perceives of substance, as if constituting its essence [constituting the essence of a substance, not the intellect].

5. BY MODE, I understand the affections of substance, or that which is in another thing through which also it is conceived.

6. BY GOD, I understand Being absolutely infinite, that is to say, [a] substance consisting of infinite attributes, each one of which expresses eternal and infinite essence.

Explanation. I say absolutely infinite but not infinite in its own kind (in suo genere); for of whatever is infinite only in its own kind (in suo genere), we can deny infinite attributes; but to the essence of that which is absolutely infinite pertains whatever expresses essence and involves no negation.

7. That thing is called FREE which exists from the necessity of its own nature alone, and is determined to action by itself alone. That thing, on the other hand, is called necessary, or rather compelled, which by another is determined to existence and action in a fixed and prescribed manner.

8. BY ETERNITY, I understand existence itself, so far as it is conceived necessarily to follow from the definition alone of the eternal thing.

Explanation. For such existence, like the essence of the thing, is conceived as an eternal truth. It cannot therefore be explained by duration or time, even if the duration be conceived without beginning or end.

AXIOMS

1. Everything which is, is either in itself or in another.

2. That which cannot be conceived through another must be conceived through itself.

3. From a given determinate cause an effect necessarily follows; and, on the other hand, if no determinate cause be given, it is impossible that an effect can follow.

4. The knowledge (cognitio) of an effect depends upon and involves the knowledge of the cause.

5. Those things which have nothing mutually in common with one another cannot through one another be mutually understood, that is to say, the conception of the other. [A blind man cannot understand the sense of sight merely through the sense of hearing; nor can a deaf man understand the sense of hearing merely through the sense of sight.]

6. A true idea must agree with that of which it is the idea (*** suo ideato).

7. The essence of that thing which can be conceived as not existing does not involve existence.

PROPOSITIONS

PROPOSITION 1. Substance is by its nature prior to its affections.
DEMONSTRATION. This is evident from Definitions 3 and 5. [That is to say, nothing can have no affections.]

PROPOSITION 2. Two substances having different attributes have nothing in common with one another.
DEMONSTRATION. This is also evident from Definition 3. For each substance must be in itself and must be conceived through itself, that is to say, the conception of one does not involve the conception of the other. [That is to say, if two substances – which are wholly independent of each other – have different attributes, it is self evident that they share nothing in common – the opposite of proper – with each other.] Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 3. If two things have nothing in common with one another, one cannot be the cause of the other.
DEMONSTRATION. If they have nothing mutually common with one another, they cannot (Axiom 5) through one another be mutually understood, and therefore (Axiom 4) one cannot be the cause of the other. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 4.Two or more distinct things are distinguished from one another, either by the difference of the attributes of the substances, or by the difference of their affections.
DEMONSTRATION. Everything which is, is either in itself or in another (Axiom 1), that is to say (Definitions 3 & 5), outside the intellect there is nothing but substances and their affections. There is nothing therefore outside the intellect by which a number of things can be distinguished one from another, but substances or (which is the same thing by Definition 4) their attributes and their affections. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 5. In nature there cannot be two or more substances of the same nature or attribute.
DEMONSTRATION. If there were two or more distinct substances, they must be distinguished one from the other by difference of attributes or difference of affections (Proposition 4). If they are distinguished only by difference of attributes, it will be granted that there is but one substance of the same attribute. But if they are distinguished by difference of affections, since substance is prior by nature to its affections (Proposition 1), the affections therefore being placed on one side, and the substance being considered in itself, or, in other words, (Definition 3 and Axiom 6), truly considered, it cannot be conceived as distinguished from another substance, that is to say (Proposition 4), there cannot be two or more substances, but only one possessing the same nature or attribute. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 6.One substance cannot be produced by another substance.
DEMONSTRATION. There cannot in nature be two substances of the same attribute (Proposition 5), that is to say (Proposition 2), two which have anything in common with one another. And therefore (Proposition 3) one [substance] cannot be the cause of the other, that is to say, one [substance] cannot be produced by the other [substance]. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 7. It pertains to the nature of substance to exist.
DEMONSTRATION. There is nothing by which substance can be produced (Proposition 6). It will therefore be the cause of itself, that is to say (Definition 1), its essence necessarily involves existence, or in other words it pertains to its nature to exist. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 8. Every substance is necessarily infinite.
DEMONSTRATION. Substance which has only one attribute cannot exist except as one substance (Proposition 6), and to the nature of this one substance it pertains to exist (Proposition 7). It must therefore from its nature exist as finite or infinite. But it cannot exist as finite substance, for (Definition 2) it must (if finite) be limited by another substance of the same nature, which also must necessarily exist (Proposition 7), and therefore would be two substances of the same attribute, which is absurd (Proposition 5). It exists therefore as infinite substance. Q.E.D.

Scholium 1. Since finiteness is in truth partly negation, and infinitude absolute affirmation of existence of some kind, it follows from Proposition 7 alone that all substance must be infinite.

Scholium 2. I fully expect that those who judge things confusedly, and who have not been accustomed to cognise things through their first causes, will find it difficult to comprehend the demonstration of the 7th Proposition, since they do not distinguish between the modifications of substances and substances themselves, and are ignorant of the manner in which things are produced.
Hence it comes to pass that they erroneously ascribe to substances a beginning like that which they see belongs to natural things; for those who are ignorant of the true causes of things confound every thing, and without any mental repugnance represent trees speaking like men, or imagine that men are made out of stones as well as begotten from seed, and that all forms can be changed one into the other. So also those who confound human nature with the divine, readily attribute to God human affects, especially so long as they are ignorant of the manner in which affects are produced in the mind. But if men would attend to the nature of substance, they could not entertain a single doubt of the truth of Proposition 7; indeed this proposition would be considered by all to be axiomatic, and reckoned among common notions.
For by “substance” would be understood that which is in itself and is conceived through itself, or, in other words, that, the knowledge of which does not need the knowledge of another thing.
But by “modifications” would be understood those things which are in another thing – those things, the conception of which is formed from the conception of the thing in which they are. Hence we can have true ideas of non-existent modifications, since although they may not actually exist outside the intellect, their essence nevertheless is so comprehended in something else, that they may be conceived through it.
But the truth of substances is not outside the intellect unless in the substances themselves, because they are conceived through themselves.
If any one, therefore, were to say that he possessed a clear and distinct, that is to say, a true idea of substance, and that he nevertheless doubted whether such a substance exists, he would forsooth be in the same position as if he were to say that he had a true idea and nevertheless doubted whether or not it was false (as is evident to any one who pays a little attention).
Similarly, if any one were to affirm that substance is created, he would affirm at the same time that a false idea had become true, and this is a greater absurdity than can be conceived.
It is therefore necessary to admit that, the existence of substance, like its essence, is an eternal truth.
Hence a demonstration (which I have thought worth while to append) by a different method is possible, showing that there are not to substances possessing the same nature.
But in order to prove this methodically it is to be noted: 1. That the true definition of any one thing neither involves nor expresses anything except the nature of the thing defined. From which it follows, 2. That a definition does not involve or express any certain number of individuals, since it expresses nothing but the nature of the thing defined. For example, the definition of a triangle expresses nothing but the simple nature of a triangle, and not any certain number of triangles. 3. It is to be observed that of every existing thing there is some certain cause by reason of which it exists. 4. Finally, it is to be observed that this cause, by reason of which a thing exists, must either be contained in the nature itself and definition of the existing thing (simply because it pertains to the nature of the thing to exist), or it must exist outside the thing.
This being granted, it follows that if a certain number of individuals exist in nature, there must necessarily be a cause why those individuals, and neither more nor fewer, exist.
If, for example, there are twenty men in existence (whom, for the sake of greater clearness, I suppose existing at the same time, and that no others existed before them), it will not be sufficient, in order that we may give a reason why twenty men exist, to give a cause for human nature generally; but it will be necessary, in addition, to give a reason why neither more nor fewer than twenty exist, since, as we have already observed, under the third head, there must necessarily be a cause why each exists.
But this cause (as we have shown under the second and third heads) cannot be contained in human nature itself, since the true definition of a man does not involve the number twenty, and therefore (by the fourth head) the cause why these twenty men exist, and consequently the cause of why each exists, must necessarily lie outside each one; and therefore we must conclude generally that whenever it is possible for several individuals of the same nature to exist, there must necessarily be an external cause for their existence.
Since now it pertains to the nature of substance to exist (as we have shown in this Scholium), its definition must involve necessary existence, and consequently from its definition alone its existence must be concluded.
But from its definition (as we have already shown under the second and third heads) the existence of more substances than one cannot be deduced.
It follows, therefore, from this definition necessarily that there cannot be two substances possessing the same nature.

PROPOSITION 9. The more reality or being a thing possesses, the more attributes belong to it.
DEMONSTRATION. This is evident from Definition 4. [For as attributes constitute a thing’s essence to the intellect, the more “essence” a thing has, a corresponding number of attributes is perceived by the intellect.]

PROPOSITION 10. Each attribute of a substance must be conceived through itself.
DEMONSTRATION. For an attribute is that which the intellect perceives of substance, as if constituting its essence (Definition 4), and therefore (Definition 3) it must be conceived through itself. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 11. God, or substance consisting of infinite attributes, each one of which expresses eternal and infinite essence, necessarily exists.
DEMONSTRATION. If this be denied, conceive, if it is possible that God does not exist. Then it follows (Axiom 7) that His essence does not involve existence. But this (Proposition 7) is absurd. Therefore God necessarily exists. Q.E.D.

Another proof. For the existence or non-existence of everything there must be a reason or cause. For example, if a triangle exists, there must be a reason or cause why it exists; and if it does not exist, there must be a reason or cause which hinders its existence or which negates it.
But this reason or cause must either be contained in the nature of the thing or lie outside it. For example, the nature of the thing itself shows the reason why a square circle does not exist, the reason being that a square circle involves a contradiction. And the reason, on the other hand, why substance involves existence (see Proposition 7).
But the reason why a circle or triangle exists or does not exist is not drawn from their nature, but from the order of corporeal nature generally; for from that it must follow, either that a triangle necessarily exists, or that is impossible for it to exist. But this is self evident.
Therefore it follows that if there be no cause nor reason which hinders a thing from existing, it exists necessarily. If, therefore, there be no reason nor cause which hinders God from existence, or which negates His existence, we must conclude absolutely that He exists.
But if there be such a reason or cause, it must be either be in the nature itself of God or must lie outside it, that is to say, in another substance of another nature. For if the reason lay in a substance of the same nature, the existence of God would by this very fact admitted.
But substance possessing another nature could have nothing in common with God (Proposition 2), and therefore could not give Him existence nor negate it.
Since, therefore, the reason or cause which could negate the divine existence cannot be outside the divine nature, it will necessarily, supposing that the divine nature does not exist, be in His Nature itself, which would therefore involve a contradiction.
But to affirm this of the Being absolutely infinite and consummately perfect is absurd. Therefore neither in God nor outside God is there any cause or reason which can negate His existence, and therefore God necessarily exists. Q.E.D.

Another proof. Inability to exist is impotence, and, on the other hand, ability to exist is power, as is self-evident. If, therefore, there is nothing which necessarily exists excepting things finite, it follows that things finite are more powerful than the absolutely infinite Being, and this (as is self evident) is absurd; therefore either nothing exists or Being absolutely infinite also necessarily exists.
But we ourselves exist, either in ourselves or in something else which necessarily exists (Axiom 1 & Proposition 7). Therefore the Being absolutely infinite, that is to say (Definition 6), God, necessarily exists. Q.E.D.

Scholium. In this last demonstration I wished to prove the existence of God a posteriori, in order that the demonstration be the more easily understood, and not because the existence of God does not follow a priori from the same grounds.
For since ability to exist is power, it follows that the more reality belongs to the nature of anything, the greater is the power for existence it derives from itself; and it also follows, therefore, that the Being absolutely infinite, or God, has from Himself an absolutely infinite power of existence, and that He therefore necessarily exists.
Many persons, nevertheless, will perhaps not be able easily to see the force of this demonstration, because they have been accustomed to contemplate those things alone which flow from external causes, and they see also that those things which are quickly produced from these causes, that is to say, which easily exist, easily perish, whilst, on the other hand, they adjudge those things to be more difficult to produce, that is to say, not so easy to bring into existence, to which they conceive more properties pertain.
In order that these prejudices may be removed, I do not need here to show in what respect this saying, “What is quickly made perishes,” is true, nor to inquire whether, looking at the whole of nature, all things are or are not equally easy.
But this only it will be sufficient for me to observe, that I do not speak of things which are produced by external causes, but that I speak of substances alone which (Proposition 6) can be produced by no external cause.
For whatever perfection or reality those things may have which are produced by external causes, whether they consist of many parts or of few, they owe it all to the virtue of an external cause alone and not from their own.
On the other hand, whatever perfection substance has is due to no external cause.
Therefore its existence must follow from its nature alone, and is therefore nothing else than its essence.
Perfection consequently does not prevent the existence of a thing, but establishes it; imperfection, on the other hand, prevents existence, and so of no existence can we be more sure than of the existence of the Being absolutely infinite or perfect, that is to say, God.
For since His essence shuts out all imperfection and involves absolute perfection, for this very reason all cause of doubt concerning His existence is taken away, and the highest certainty concerning it is given, – a truth which I trust will be evident to any one who bestows only moderate attention.

  • 180 Replies
Ntech
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Ntech
258 posts
Shepherd

@FishPreferred

That definition is circular.

I used "movement" in Movement's definition to emphasize the meaning. You could use "change" to the same effect.

Then, movement (as you've defined it) is not something that ever happens. Things do not go from "can be" to "is", because "can be" isn't a state independent of "is".
I don't understand what you're saying.

No, it isn't. Change is not a substance; it's an abstract term for the tendency of things to have time-dependent attributes.
Change is not a substance :-), I didn't say that, though substances explain change. Change occurs when a substance is the bearer of qualities which successively become actually so.

Incorrect. The motion you've defined is not evident in any way. It is not something that can happen.

Evident to the senses is that: (things that can be so become so) = Movement. Movement is basically this: that which is not so becomes so.

1 No, they don't.

A rather petty assertion, as this uses the absolute term "they," which negates its validity, for, men such as I do call this substance God. If, however, you had used "some," your assertion would be correct.

2 That which is so cannot be the cause of itself being so. Therefore, if nothing could be so without God, God isn't so.
That which is so yet could be so cannot be the cause of itself being so. However, God is eternal, thus, He can't "could be so" for He is eternal. That which is not eternal "could be so," yet, since God is eternal, He is.

On a side note, let me share more of my knowledge of God and religion, and perhaps you'll see how this all fits in.

God, besides being that eternal Sustaining Principle, is, moreover, Goodness itself. Now, Aristotle showed that man's actions are ordered towards the Good. God is Goodness itself, that whose Goodness is mirrored (though in a lesser way) in the material universe. That which fulfills my hunger (food, for instance) is Good. Yet, God fulfills my whole being (i.e. God fulfills all, He is the ultimate fulfillment of man). God fulfills both my physical and spiritual, my formal and material, of which the spiritual is paramount. Beauty is a quality in that which fulfills man, ascribed to them by Love, which is man's tendency to seek fulfillment. Man may suffer from misperception, that is, the misconception of things; it is his lack of knowledge that leads him to an apparent Goodness, comparable to a mirage. Only when in true consideration of all things may he make a reasonable decision, a Good decision, and through act he ever seeks the Good.

Man seeks God all the time, though that in which he seeks God is neither always Good itself (which is God alone), nor conducive to Good. When I eat, I do so because I, informed by my Love of Good, seek the fulfillment of my hunger; When I converse with you, I, informed by my Love of Good, seek the fulfillment of you through the greater knowledge of God and Goodness.

All is intrinsically bound up by Goodness, for man is nothing more than a seeker of Good in himself and through others, and the material world is nothing but mirrors of the Greatest Goodness in God.

God is not a magical conception, He is the core of our being; the very reason for our Existence is to find Him.

Through religion I order my actions, the better through which to find Goodness, bound by the Law of He who I believe was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered, died and was buried, who rose from the Dead: the Son of God -- God Incarnate, God-Man, Jesus.

Everyone, without exception, seeks Good, though in different ways, varying as to his perception of it and that which through which he seeks fulfillment. Thus, the ultimate challenge of man is the pursuit of Happiness, which is the fulfillment found in Good.

This pursuit is not without a happy ending. When I die, I hope to be united with all in heaven, one with God, in perfect Happiness for all eternity. My ancestors, the saints, all my relatives, all of redeemed mankind, in heaven. (It'll be grand speaking to Napoleon [if he's there :-)], Locke, Dante, Aristophanes, Plato, Aristotle, and others!)

Religions is but natural, not supernatural. It is the reasonable pursuit of that which fulfills man, not a distraction, nor a waste of time, neither even a hobby. Religion is the worthwhile ordering of life (the compilation of one's actions) to that which matters: Good.

The Catholic Church, which before the year 0 has existed, is the eternal monument to the coming of God, made flesh, to die for our sins (for our injusticies - our evil acts) to redeem us and to show us the Way, Truth, and Life.

HahiHa
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HahiHa
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Regent

@Ntech

*Potentiality: When we say a thing is potentially A, we mean that it can be actually so.

That is not the definition you have used so far. So far you have defined potentiality as "that which does not exist". If an object 'can be' so, it possesses the potential to be so, therefore that potential cannot be non-actual/nonexistent. That potential is, then, actual. Which negates your definition of 'movement'.

1. Evident to the senses is MOTION. [That which does not exist (POTENTIALS) become so ( MOVEMENT)]

See my argument above, as well as Fish's.

2. That which is so (ACTUALITIES) POTENTIALLY continues to be so. For that which is so can in fact continue to be so.

No. Something that IS continues to BE unless something else affects it. Your use of potentiality here already assumes your conclusion (see circular reasoning) by implying that things MAY NOT continue to be so, entirely without any apparent reason; which is begging the question.
Ntech
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Ntech
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Shepherd

@HahiHa

That is not the definition you have used so far. So far you have defined potentiality as "that which does not exist". If an object 'can be' so, it possesses the potential to be so, therefore that potential cannot be non-actual/nonexistent. That potential is, then, actual. Which negates your definition of 'movement'.

An object that is not so possesses nothing, for neither is it so nor are those so whose being so requires its being so. Those which are not so cannot cause things to be so.

Something that IS continues to BE unless something else affects it.

Nay. It is an axiom that that which is not so is not so. There is nothing more unquestionable than that. To continue to be so is not so, only the being so is so. Your use of "be" implies two premises: That which is so is so insofar as it is not caused not to be so (thus, I am so until I die). That which is so is so eternally, if nothing causes it not to be so.

If you accept the above two conclusions from your premise, it can be demonstrated that your premise is false.

Consider that firstly, your premise is an observation. "Something that IS [so] continues to BE [so] unless something else affects it." Your premise is not a statement, which would be "That which is so is so until something else affects it," and is thus not debatable, for you hold it as an unquestionable truth (using an undefined word: "be&quot.

Secondly, that doesn't contradict what I said. I have said that that which could be so is not so, by the very fact that the inclusion of "could be so" implies that it is not so. You reply by stating that "that which is [so] continues to be [so] unless something else affects it." There is only an apparent tension between the two statements. My statement is reasonable, that which could be so is not so, else it would be so and not "could be" so. Yours, on the other hand, deals with a different topic. "That which is [so] continues to be [so] unless something else affects it," whereby declaring that that which could be so is in fact so (that is, you are saying that that which is so is eternal, for its continuing to be so is so). Your statement is unrelated, in that it states that all things (which could be so) are in fact so until they are not so -- a logical error, as well as a non-sequiter, by which you ascribe eternity to all that is so.

FishPreferred
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I don't understand what you're saying.
Well, what do you mean by "can be"? If something doesn't have the attribute X, but "can be" X, it doesn't start off being " potentially" X as though it were located somewhere between X and not X, so potential has nothing to do with it.

Change occurs when a substance is the bearer of qualities which successively become actually so.
Actually what? Your wording is a bit hard to follow.

Movement is basically this: that which is not so becomes so.
And if you define it only as such, there's no issue.

A rather petty assertion, [...]
No more than your own assertion that this thing is what men call God. If, however, you had used "some," (or, let's be honest here, "one or more" ) your assertion would be correct.

That which is so yet could be so cannot be the cause of itself being so. However, God is eternal, thus, He can't "could be so" for He is eternal.
If it isn't true that He could be so, then by the law of excluded middle it is true that He couldn't be so. If He couldn't be so, it stands to reason that He isn't so.

God, besides being that eternal Sustaining Principle, is, moreover, Goodness itself.
No. In fact, He isn't either of those things, regardless of what at least one human being on the planet chooses to call them.

Now, Aristotle showed that man's actions are ordered towards the Good.
No, he didn't.

God is not a magical conception, He is the core of our being; the very reason for our Existence is to find Him.
Why?

It is the reasonable pursuit of that which fulfills man, not a distraction, nor a waste of time, neither even a hobby.
No, it's an irrational pursuit that fills men with false hopes and misconceptions.

The Catholic Church, which before the year 0 has existed, [...]
By what measure, exactly?

Nay. It is an axiom that that which is not so is not so. There is nothing more unquestionable than that.
No surprise, then, that this isn't something he questioned.

That which is so is so insofar as it is not caused not to be so (thus, I am so until I die). That which is so is so eternally, if nothing causes it not to be so.
That is one and the same premise, but okay.

If you accept the above two conclusions from your premise, it can be demonstrated that your premise is false.
Yet you utterly fail to demonstrate it. Why is that?

Consider that firstly, your premise is an observation. "Something that IS [so] continues to BE [so] unless something else affects it." Your premise is not a statement, [...]
Are you actually trying to suggest that a written observation cannot be stated? And if so, why?

[...] and is thus not debatable, for you hold it as an unquestionable truth (using an undefined word: "be&quot.
1 Did he ever say that he holds it as an unquestionable truth?
2 It's the same word you've been using to describe potential since you tried to define it, so why complain now?

[...] by the very fact that the inclusion of "could be so" implies that it is not so.
No, it doesn't. Like, for example, saying "it could be raining out" or "this could be the place I'm looking for" when, in fact, it is.

Secondly, that doesn't contradict what I said.
You're right; it doesn't. At most, all it does is specify why things would stop being so, instead of leaving it completely ambiguous as you have.

Your statement is unrelated, in that it states that all things (which could be so) are in fact so until they are not so -- a logical error, [...]
1 No, he said things that are so are so until they are not so. You're the one who keeps going on about things that could be, but at the same time mysteriously aren't.
2 By your own admission, it complies with your statement. You're both saying that whatever is so continues to be so unless it ceases to be so. That is not a logical error, so the only thing that would make one statement true and the other false is what leads to things ceasing to be so, which you haven't done anything to clarify on your part.
HahiHa
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HahiHa
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Nay. It is an axiom that that which is not so is not so.

I never said otherwise.
This has nothing to do with my statement.

Consider that firstly, your premise is an observation. "Something that IS [so] continues to BE [so] unless something else affects it." Your premise is not a statement, which would be "That which is so is so until something else affects it," and is thus not debatable, for you hold it as an unquestionable truth (using an undefined word: "be&quot.

- I didn't use the word 'so'.

- I don't see any difference between the two, other than that I merely mention the existence of an object, whereas you mention its existence in a particular state, but it essentially means the same thing. Do you not consider it a statement simply because it is not phrased the same exact way you would have phrased it?

- The word 'be' does not denote unquestionable truths.

- The only undefined word used here is the word 'so', which you have been throwing around like an octopus trying to escape through a cloud of obscure phrasing. IS and BE come from to be, meaning to exist.

Yours, on the other hand, deals with a different topic. "That which is [so] continues to be [so] unless something else affects it," whereby declaring that that which could be so is in fact so (that is, you are saying that that which is so is eternal, for its continuing to be so is so).

- My statement does not address "that which could be so", for "that which could be so" does not exist. Do not put words in my mouth, please. I only address "that which is".

- I only say that it is eternal in a very specific, hypothetical case, which is when nothing affects it. I wrote "unless something else affects it", which specifically includes change.

- Consider a hypothetical thought experiment: Take a static object and isolate it entirely, meaning nothing can touch or otherwise affect it. In your opinion, does it continue to exist?
Ntech
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Ntech
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@FishPreferred

Actually what? Your wording is a bit hard to follow.

Change occurs when a substance is the successive bearer of qualities which become actually so (that is, so is in the sense "it is so," or, "so existent&quot.

No more than your own assertion that this thing is what men call God. If, however, you had used "some," (or, let's be honest here, "one or more" ) your assertion would be correct.

On a side note, "men" does not mean "all men," of which the singular would be "Man." To say "men call [this] God" is as valid as saying "men smoke," which doesn't imply that all men smoke, that meaning, however, could be inferred from a statement such as "Man calls [this] God."

If it isn't true that He could be so, then by the law of excluded middle it is true that He couldn't be so. If He couldn't be so, it stands to reason that He isn't so.

Correct, however, consider that He couldn't not be so because He is so eternally (that is, He is so for-ever), thus, it is not that He isn't so (and thus couldn't be so) but that He is so (which is why is couldn't not be so). Else, that which is so, by the fact that that which is so couldn't not be so at the same time, would not be so; that, of course, is absurd.

No surprise, then, that this isn't something he questioned... Yet you utterly fail to demonstrate it. Why is that?

@HahiHa stated that that which is so is so until caused not to be so, and, I believe you support that statement. It follows naturally from this that that which is not so is so, that is, that a candy-bar (if never altered) is so insofar as it is never altered (thus, unto eternity). However, this ascribes eternity to a finite and caused thing -- a candy-bar, whose continued existence is not so, through possible.

Are you actually trying to suggest that a written observation cannot be stated? And if so, why?
I am not. However, your statement is an observation in that it declares that something is so until another alters it. This first clause is dependent on the validity of the condition implied by the second, which you didn't either state or deny, that is, either that "everything is altered by another -- therefore, that potential of that which is so to continue to be so is actually so, (even when it is not so)," or, "everything is unaltered by another -- therefore all is eternal."

2 It's the same word you've been using to describe potential since you tried to define it, so why complain now?

In my statement, I said "be so." The meaning is evident. In his, however, he used the term "BE." Is "so" implied after "be," or, is "be" a separate mode of existence, an eternal one?

No, it doesn't. Like, for example, saying "it could be raining out" or "this could be the place I'm looking for" when, in fact, it is.

That which could be so is not so. If one says "it could be raining out" when it is, this is speculation, which doesn't affect the fact that the rain is so, not merely "could be so." Just because you can say a falsity doesn't change the nature of things.

instead of leaving it completely ambiguous as you have.
I believe it is evident how I explain how things stop. That which could be so doesn't become so.

That is not a logical error, so the only thing that would make one statement true and the other false is what leads to things ceasing to be so, which you haven't done anything to clarify on your part.
True. However, how we hold this continuation happens differs.

@HahiHa

Do not put words in my mouth, please. I only address "that which is".

Yes. But you imply that that which is shall continue to be (that is, they exist) until altered. This is true. However, you state that since it continues to be, this continuation of being requires no cause. I, on the other hand, state that since it continues to be, this continuation requires a cause. Our argument lies not in the statement, but the matter behind it.

- Consider a hypothetical thought experiment: Take a static object and isolate it entirely, meaning nothing can touch or otherwise affect it. In your opinion, does it continue to exist?

It continues to exist if the Sustaining Principle can affect it. However, if the Sustaining Principle can't affect it, it doesn't continue to exist. Nothing finite is the source of its own being.
HahiHa
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@Ntech

Yes. But you imply that that which is shall continue to be (that is, they exist) until altered. This is true. However, you state that since it continues to be, this continuation of being requires no cause. I, on the other hand, state that since it continues to be, this continuation requires a cause.

Thanks for the clear reply.

The best way to clarify my position is to use an analogy, conveniently from Aristotle. Aristotle believed that an object only moved as long as it was pushed, or only as long as a force was actively applied to it. He believed that the object stopped moving once you remove that force. This appears to make sense in our everyday lives, but that is only due to friction.

We know since at least Galileo, and as confirmed by astronomy and space exploration, that objects continue to move due to inertia until some force actively slows or halts it.

Similarly, existence does not require continuous causation. An object's existence is initially caused by outside forces, but as long as no other cause affects it, it will remain as it is. This does not imply self-causation. On the contrary, it will only stop to exist if it is caused to stop to exist.
FishPreferred
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Change occurs when a substance is the successive bearer of qualities which become actually so (that is, so is in the sense "it is so," or, "so existent
If those qualities have to become actual, what you're saying is that the substance does not possess them, so which is it?

On a side note, "men" does not mean "all men," of which the singular would be "Man."
I don't care. When you're saying that this is what men call God, you're implying that it's the one and only thing that men call God, which simply isn't the case. You've already applied the term to at least three other things in a big mess of false equivalences, so if there is any particular set of men for which the statement is true, it's a set that doesn't include you.

Correct, however, consider that He couldn't not be so because He is so eternally (that is, He is so for-ever), [...]
Well, no, He isn't. That's kind of the point. Your attempt at proving that He is so led to the conclusion that He cannot be so, and you even agree with the terms of that conclusion. It does no good to say "oh but that doesn't matter because He really is so", as that is exactly what you were supposed to be demonstrating in the first place and what you demonstrated was the inverse.

However, this ascribes eternity to a finite and caused thing -- a candy-bar, whose continued existence is not so, through possible.
1 A candy bar is not an event, and therefore not a caused thing.
2 All you're saying here is "it isn't because it isn't"; that what we're saying is wrong because it isn't what you claim to be right. Sorry, but that simply isn't how this discussion works.

However, your statement is an observation in that it declares that something is so until another alters it. This first clause is dependent on the validity of the condition implied by the second, which you didn't either state or deny, that is, either that "everything is altered by another -- therefore, that potential of that which is so to continue to be so is actually so, (even when it is not so)," or, "everything is unaltered by another -- therefore all is eternal."
1 Not my statement.
2 He said that about something, not the the totality of everything, so your objection is utterly meaningless.
Please note that when I say that your objection is utterly meaningless, I am referring specifically to your objection -the one that I quoted right here- and not to every objection anyone ever made to anything. I just thought I'd clarify that because apparently this sort of distinction isn't immediately obvious to you.

That which could be so is not so. If one says "it could be raining out" when it is, this is speculation, which doesn't affect the fact that the rain is so, not merely "could be so." Just because you can say a falsity doesn't change the nature of things.
The mere fact that you can call something a falsity does not change the validity of my example of the epistemic modal usage of 'could'. In other words, the fact that you're using it to imply an indeterministic state does not disallow me from using it to denote uncertainty.

I believe it is evident how I explain how things stop. That which could be so doesn't become so.
And where, exactly, do you explain this? I ask because you very definitely have done nothing at all to explain it in this thread and I'd like to keep abreast of the entire discussion if at all possible.

Nothing finite is the source of its own being.
Interesting how you apply this statement specifically to finite things, as though it weren't necessarily applicable to all things. Why, it looks almost like another attempt at special pleading.
Doombreed
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Similarly, existence does not require continuous causation. An object's existence is initially caused by outside forces, but as long as no other cause affects it, it will remain as it is. This does not imply self-causation. On the contrary, it will only stop to exist if it is caused to stop to exist.

Οh I tried that line 7 - 8 months ago I believe. Ntech replied that this is true in physics and physical motion but we are talking about metaphysics when discussing God and that kind of Motion, so the same doesn't apply, more or less

HahiHa
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Οh I tried that line 7 - 8 months ago I believe. Ntech replied that this is true in physics and physical motion but we are talking about metaphysics when discussing God and that kind of Motion, so the same doesn't apply, more or less

I see. Then Ntech is really deep into special pleading territory Considering, too, that his argumentation for his metaphysical 'motion' doesn't work, he's basically left with "that's how I believe things work", which is fine! Just, y'know, evidently not proof.

/thread?

Nothing wrong with being optimistic...
Doombreed
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/thread?

It was in a conversation we had in the AG chatroom, so sadly, not anywhere that I can link you to. Moegreche and Boofuss were present for it though

HahiHa
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HahiHa
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Oh no, by that I meant something like <end thread>

Which also explains the small print below it ^^

Ntech
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@HahiHa

Similarly, existence does not require continuous causation. An object's existence is initially caused by outside forces, but as long as no other cause affects it, it will remain as it is. This does not imply self-causation. On the contrary, it will only stop to exist if it is caused to stop to exist.

This is correct; yet our difference is that you say that "it will remain as it is," yet I see a necessary reason why it should remain as it is. Even were I to concede this facet of the argument for now, still, there is to explain how everything came into existence.

@FishPreferred

If those qualities have to become actual, what you're saying is that the substance does not possess them, so which is it?
The substance known as water is actually blue, where blue is a quality possessed by it. It is not that a quality is a separate thing from a substance, but that it is that by which a substance is qualified.

Your attempt at proving that He is so led to the conclusion that He cannot be so, and you even agree with the terms of that conclusion.
He cannot could be so.

It does no good to say "oh but that doesn't matter because He really is so", as that is exactly what you were supposed to be demonstrating in the first place and what you demonstrated was the inverse.
To say that that which is so can't actually be so because it couldn't not be so, by the very fact that it is so, is looking at it from the wrong perspective. A thing that couldn't not be so is so by definition.

A candy bar is not an event, and therefore not a caused thing.

Two false premises are stated wherein: first, that existence is not an event, and second, that that which exists is not a caused thing as it is not existence itself. If only events were caused,
what would cause them? Nothing would exist to cause them.

2 He said that about something, not the the totality of everything, so your objection is utterly meaningless.
Everything, in totality, can be described by as a set of "somethings."

In other words, the fact that you're using it to imply an indeterministic state does not disallow me from using it to denote uncertainty.

Yet your usage of it to denote uncertainty cannot be taken as proof of determinable ground for objection.

@HahiHa

Oh no, by that I meant something like <end thread>

If both of you shall agree, I'll be happy to call this one a draw; I haven't changed your views, neither have you mine. I appreciate your willingness to this discussion, and your long participation; thankyou, guys.

Doombreed
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Doombreed
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The substance known as water is actually blue, where blue is a quality possessed by it. It is not that a quality is a separate thing from a substance, but that it is that by which a substance is qualified.

Uhm, what? o.O Water is blue?
It's not any colour, not to mention colours aren't at all absolute qualities, but rather dependent on other environmental factors.
So even if it was blue for the example's sake, the quality turns out to actually BE separate from the substance, as it's a quality applied onto said substance by the surroundings, and not inherent to the substance. To generalise, what makes you think this doesn't apply to every quality of everything in the universe? what if all qualities are dependent on factors and not innate to the thing in question?

FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
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Duke

The substance known as water is actually blue, where blue is a quality possessed by it. It is not that a quality is a separate thing from a substance, but that it is that by which a substance is qualified.
Water isn't change, though, so I'm not seeing the relevance here.

He cannot could be so.
As I said: If it isn't true that He could be so, then by the law of excluded middle it is true that He couldn't be so. Still, I think I know what you're trying to say here, so how about we replace 'be' with 'become' to avoid any confusion? If that's alright with you, then there's no issue, because "God never exists" and "God always exists" both agree that God didn't come into existence.

To say that that which is so can't actually be so because it couldn't not be so, by the very fact that it is so, is looking at it from the wrong perspective. A thing that couldn't not be so is so by definition.
Great. Now give me any reason at all to believe that God couldn't not be so.

Two false premises are stated wherein: first, that existence is not an event, [...]
False in what sense? Existence is a defining attribute of things that exist, not an occurrence that happened at one time or other. Existence did not elapse any more than the candy bar's density or sugar content did.

[...] and second, that that which exists is not a caused thing as it is not existence itself.
It has nothing to do with being existence itself. Events are changes in the attributes of things. They don't cause objects; they only affect them in ways that cause subsequent events.

Everything, in totality, can be described by as a set of "somethings."
And a straw man can be described as a scarecrow, but we all know that isn't really what this is about, don't we?

Yet your usage of it to denote uncertainty cannot be taken as proof of determinable ground for objection.
Right, which is why I never asserted that it was proof of anything. My point, however, remains unassailable.

I can see the intent behind most of these lines of argument and also why they will never work the way you intend. What I find especially amusing is that the way you're putting some of them together just defeats their entire purpose. Take, for example, this whole 'external cause' thing:
You want to prove that God is the source of everything else.
To have any hope of doing this, you'd need to take the stance that not everything needs to be produced by something else in order to exist. Otherwise, God being something that exists would require something else to create Him.
You don't even have to defend that stance from me, since it's one that I already hold as true. The problem is that this gets you no closer to proving God; it just means both of us believe that something or other exists eternally without having to be created first.
You don't like this, so you invoke some weird time junk to make up a reason for things to need to be created, but since that need would apply equally to God, your only recourse is to exclude God from everything that defines what real things are.
Trying to dress up your made up reason as God Himself allows that, but prevents Him from being anything more than a pointless non-explanation. What's worse is that your time junk is completely non-deterministic -it's independent of causality- which flies in the face of "God is the source of everything else" because a) there is no agency without causality, and b) if things just started to exist for literally no reason, a divine creator isn't needed to non-explain them.
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