Philosophy Seminar Series: 3 Nov 2011, 2-4pm, Philosophy Resource Room; Speaker: István Aranyosi, AssistantProfessor, Bilkent University, Ankara; Moderator: Dr. Ben Blumson
Abstract: In the first section I expound a formalization of the modal ontological argument based on a formulation by Alvin Plantinga that assumes S5 modal logic, after which, in the second section, I explain an objection against it, which I call the “the objection from modal depth”, due to Michael Tooley’s (1981) discussion of Plantinga, but also present in some more recent literature on the issue of whether conceivability entails possibility (Stephen Yablo 1999, David Chalmers 2002). This is a very powerful objection from modal epistemology, given that it can grant even a modal logic as strong as S5 to the supporter of the ontological argument and still have the same bite. According to this objection, though one can conceive of God, and hence of a being greater than which nothing can be conceived, one cannot conceive of the necessary God. The reason is that the conceivability of God not existing is a modal epistemological fact that is at a more fundamental level than the alleged conceiving of a necessary God. Conceiving of the necessary God has more modal depth than conceiving of His nonexistence. According to the objection, modal epistemological claims have to be based on modal epistemological facts of the lowest-order, hence God’s nonexistence, which is a first-order fact should drive all other higher-order modal epistemological claims, like whether the necessary God is conceivable. I argue that the only way to deal with this objection is by equating God with the Absolute Everything, that is, with Logical Space itself. Thereby we get to a new doctrine that I propose and defend, called “Logical Pantheism”. Given certain peculiarities of my notion of logical space, it will be apparent that the only entity that satisfies the Anselmian description for God, “the being greater than which nothing can be conceived”, is Logical Space itself. Finally, several issues related to how Logical Pantheism could be thought as closer to classical theism than traditional Pantheism will be briefly explained.