Thursday, March 10, 2011

rant against a bad blog post critique of the Ontological Argument

not saying this small effort deserves to be called phildickian,
but hopefully it's in the ballpark of the spirit

Not a very good article, unfortunately. Doesn't really explain modal logic or get into the formal ontology behind why those premises may or may not be acceptable. It's simply not true that those assumptions are hasty or simply proceed from a naive construal of ordinary language. But I guess it's clear that this author can only handly writing about the cartoon version of the arguments (I can assure you that the atheist and polytheist responses in formal ontology are much more interesting...) The concepts (perfection, metaphysics, etc.) in question have long histories going back to Plato and Aristotle, resting on a series of deductions that had been tweaked by some of the best ontologists in ancient and medieval history. One might expect that it would take more effort than a half-assed blog post to dismantle them. Unfortunately this guy can't argue that Anselm, Avicenna, Aquinas etc. aren't taken seriously by contemporary philosophers, because they are. I worked at UCD with an analytic philosopher who's one of the world's leading authorities on Aristotle, and there's a reason he is so well paid to study formal metaphysics that doesn't have anything to do with religion. He sure doesn't think Plato is any kind of fool. Of course he doesn't think Plato/Aristotle etc. said what most bloggers think they said...

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