Defining God
  • It is useless to speculate whether something exists or not without first defining what it is; you will not find it if you do not know what you are looking for.

    What is God?

    St Thomas Aquinas speculated that the proposition "God exists" is necessarily true because the subject and predicate are one and the same.
    This is not unlike the notion of the "primacy of existence" put forward by Ayn Rand nearly 700 years later stating that "existence exists", from which her philosophy of Objectivism is logically derived.
    Without further speculation into the logic of Thomism and Objectivism, both Aquinas and Rand were Aristotelians in many respects.

    One of the astounding ideas put forward by Aristotle is his ten "Categories of being": Substance, Quantity, Quality, Relation, Action, Passion, When, Where, Posture, Habiliment. All that can be put into language about anything fits into these categories. Like ten branches on tree, it is "being" or "existing" that is the trunk common to them all.

    Defining something is the process of acknowledging the sameness of a thing with others in a genera, then identifying the differentia to specify it from those others. The tree of Porphyry is a logical diagram of definition: Man is rational (differentia) animal (genus)- animal is sentient organism - organism is animate body - body is material substance - substance being the "summum genus"; one of the ten categories. Moving up and down these trees with the mind to take account of reality is known as "division and generalisation".

    I am myself a great lover of these processes of division and generalization; they help me to speak and to think. And if I find any man who is able to see 'a One and Many' in nature, him I follow, and 'walk in his footsteps as if he were a god.' - Socrates (Phaedrus)

    Logic is the art of identifying things by the nature of their interconnectedness in these trees. The "Logos", the greek word from which logic is derived means "word or account", which, from what I can gather, is the term to describe the networked web of logical trees in its entirety. The "-ology" suffix on the names we give to the various lesser fields of knowledge comes from the word logos. Christ was referred to as the logos by several schools of theology. It has often been declared since early christendom that the only way to god is through Christ.

    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.- John 14:6

    "The way" is the path through the logos to and from one unity, the primacy of existence. "The truth" is that which is logical, not contradictory; that which exists in reality. "The life" is that which pertains to existence.
    While "Christ" is God in the sense that it is the account of God, Christ pertains to knowledge, God is that reality which is known. Christ is the "son of God" in the sense that existence has produced a sub-existence who can know existence, namely you and me.

    Some modern notions of God maintain that God is outside of reality, outside of existence. That God does not exist, by definition.
    The God that exists is the God that is existence. God is transcendent in that existence is necessarily predicated of everything when it is declared that "It is...".

    I am that I am- Exodus 3:14

    "God is good", is true when the quality of goodness is affixed to existence. Life, that which is pertains to existence, is good. Things which are salubrious to life are goods. To turn your back on existence or live in accordance with things which do not pertain to existence is to necessarily condemn yourself to an old testament style death by vengeful God so to speak. Many philosophers throughout history have attributed to transcendent being - truth, goodness, and some philosophers attribute beauty for it can be said that nature makes no aesthetic mistakes.

    I should make clear the disclaimer that I am NOT a Christian. At least, not in the conventional sense. If Christ is the truth, and a Christian is someone who loves Christ, then I am. I prefer philosopher - lover of truth. There is less baggage attached to that. Christianity has the propensity to become evil where it makes a false idol of the truth as something that is not truth.

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    TL/DR: God exists because God is existence.






  • CamboCambo
    Hrair
    Not to throw labels at you, but sounds very pantheistic. I myself am a panentheist. So I believe that God is *within* everything rather than God *is* everything. I think there's a consciousness that animates all the Universe, and that consciousness is self-aware. So that's my definition of God.

    But that is by necessity an arbitrary and flawed definition. Defining God can never be anything more than a mental exercise. What's really important is experiencing God.
    How do you capture a beautiful bird without killing its spirit?
  • the tao that can be named is not the true tao.
    I suppose its the same for god...I think they needed to label this identity-less, energy.
    Eyes that have seen will know what I mean - Todd Rundgren
  • Hi Cambo, thank you very much for your response.

    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to able to entertain an idea without accepting it" - Aristotle.

    I wouldn't let labels stick to me if thrown; I don't want to adopt a particular take on philosophy and identify myself with it. This is why I invoke Thomism, Objectivism, Aristotelianism, Platonism and Christianity, not to assert one or the other as the truth, but for the purpose of pointing out the common truth that they point toward.

    If existence exists, then truth also exists, relative to that existence. No two contrary propositions can both be true. So either Pantheism is true, or Panentheism is true, or both are false. Existence is necessarily true and so I maintain that position.

    If "God *is*" seems insufficient for you, try asserting that "God is within" without first stating that "God is". Whether God is within or without is accidental beyond that point.

    A definition, with respect to my post (genus and differentia) is testable as a definition if subject and predicate are convertible so as to prove that the predicate is not accidental. The subject and predicate being one and the same "God exists" is a unique kind of definition, beyond convertible.

    To experience God is to consciously apprehend existence as a unitive, transcendent oneness, rather than as many different things with subordinate identities. No one thing exists on its own, a figure in a painting does not exist without a background; a background does not exist without a figure.
  • Hi Piquiod,

    "the tao that can be named is not the true tao."


    This is relevant if it means what I think it means. To name something is to attach a symbol to an actual logical term. Those terms mean nothing unless with respect to genera, species or individuals. Those terms fall within the ten categories. Being itself transcends those categories. Categorical terms can be attributed to being, but cannot define it.
    Post edited by Splendorsolis at 2012-05-14 08:58:57
  • fnordfnord
    Hrair
    i can't remember where i read this, but to me this is elegant and succinct enough to be an acceptable definition;

    god is pure love.
    sunt lacrimae rerum
  • sitarsitar
    Hrair
    Yoga sutras, Pada 1 - verses 24-27, with brief commentary by yours truly

    24] God is the seat of Supreme Being, totally free from conflicts, unaffected by actions and untouched by cause and effect.

    So God is a free enlightened soul, no hatred, no greed, no karma, no egomania, no confusion. although in this sutra, God is referred to as a special kind of soul (purusha). we are also purusha, so what it suggests, is that we are essentially the same as god, but he(she) is special in a few ways.

    25] God is the unsurpassed and unrivaled onesource of omniscent wisdom, transcendent, yet unfolds the entirety of omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence.

    God is and has ultimate wisdom

    26] God is the unlimited, unbounded, undefined source of all knowledge and is the foremost absolute guru untouched by time.

    God always existed, and always will exist. God never changes, god was always God. The first time anybody ever learned anything, that was God's grace.

    27] Aum (OM) is the sacred syllable signifying God and is the fulfillment of divinity and stands for the praise of the divine.

    God is Om. Chant Om and know God. Also, in this sutra, Om is called Pranava, which also translates to "exhultant shout of Joy". so don't think of Om and a still sitting still meditator Om. This of the Om that naturally escapes from your lips when you eat something delicious, or watch fireworks. God is this Delight.
    Mr. Takahashi would like to see you all in his office now

    sitaramdas.com
    @sitaramdas
  • sitarsitar
    Hrair
    fnord said:

    i can't remember where i read this, but to me this is elegant and succinct enough to be an acceptable definition;

    god is pure love.



    also, this
    Mr. Takahashi would like to see you all in his office now

    sitaramdas.com
    @sitaramdas
  • Hi fnord.

    I like your assessment and I would agree that God is pure love. Logically speaking though, this is not a definition but a predication. In the same way the "the ultimate good", or "absolute truth" can be predicated of God.
  • "So God is a free enlightened soul, no hatred, no greed, no karma, no egomania, no confusion. although in this sutra, God is referred to as a special kind of soul (purusha). we are also purusha, so what it suggests, is that we are essentially the same as god, but he(she) is special in a few ways."


    I notice with respect to my definition that I also exist. There is a kind of inseparability between the propositions "existence exists", and "I am" because what else is it that exists? It seems to be the purpose of that which "I am", to live in harmony with that which "is" because I exist by virtue of it. To live in discord with it is to rub myself out of existence.

    Edit: when I say "I am" all that exists, It is my intension for that to be read by you in first person.

    "God is and has ultimate wisdom"


    If existence exists, truth is defined with respect to that existence. Wisdom is knowledge of truth.

    "God always existed, and always will exist. God never changes, god was always God. The first time anybody ever learned anything, that was God's grace."


    If God is existence, then nothing else can exist but God. Nothing else has ever existed but God and nothing else will ever exist but God, by definition. The first time anybody learned anything, they learned something that was true or they learned nothing. Truth is defined with respect to existence.
    Post edited by Splendorsolis at 2012-05-14 10:15:13
  • GodGod
    Hrair
    You are trying to measure the speed of light with a rusty balance scale. Just enjoy the show and be nice.
    -God™
  • fnordfnord
    Hrair
    wonderful. Thank you, God.
    sunt lacrimae rerum
  • You can define god, but how do you know your definition is correct?

    Hint: you don't.

    Aristotle has some interesting thoughts on the infinite (Physics), while he doesn't apply those thoughts to god specifically, they're very in line with very this thread is going. Wish I could remember the quote.
  • sitarsitar
    Hrair
    dhizzo said:

    You can define god, but how do you know your definition is correct?

    Hint: you don't.

    Aristotle has some interesting thoughts on the infinite (Physics), while he doesn't apply those thoughts to god specifically, they're very in line with very this thread is going. Wish I could remember the quote.



    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=aristotle+infinite
    Mr. Takahashi would like to see you all in his office now

    sitaramdas.com
    @sitaramdas
  • fnordfnord
    Hrair
    fnord said:

    wonderful. Thank you, God.



    sunt lacrimae rerum
  • sitar said:


    hahahah Aristotle has whole chapters on the subject. Fine, I'll do some digging.

  • "You can define god, but how do you know your definition is correct?

    Hint: you don't. "

    A definition is a description of some logical thing (term) with respect to its relation to another term. The relationship groups it with other things of its kind (genus) and also distinguishes it from that group(differentia). A definition is distinguishable from other propositions by its convertibility; The proposition holds when subject and predicate are reversed. If a proposition fits that criteria then it's correctness is not even up for questioning.

    What I have attempted to describe is the very logical extreme of this process. It technically does not conform to the rules of definition because it is it's own genus, it only converts with itself. Subject and predicate are the same because there is nothing beyond it with which to predicate.

    Call this God or call it what you will. However, if you call it God, then for my strange definition to be incorrect, God would either a) not exist or b) exist subordinate to something which, keeping the several thousand years of discourse about God seems less than adequate.
  • You are trying to measure the speed of light with a rusty balance scale. Just enjoy the show and be nice.
    -God™


    I've tried to describe God as far as language allows, and that is admittedly not sufficient. It is what it is - "I am that I am"

    Throw us a bone why don't you :)
  • "The Infinite is god."


    Infinity pertains to quantity and quantity is categorical. It is transcendental with relation to quantity however and could be predicated of God, but not definitively.

    This is not unlike Cambo's initial assessment that I was asserting that "everything is god". "thing" pertaining to substance. Substance is categorical. "Everything" could be predicated of God, but not definitively.
  • "The Infinite is god."


    Infinity pertains to quantity and quantity is categorical. It is transcendental with relation to quantity however and could be predicated of God, but not definitively.

    This is not unlike Cambo's initial assessment that I was asserting that "everything is god". "thing" pertaining to substance. Substance is categorical. "Everything" could be predicated of God, but not definitively.


    But wouldn't this be what Infinity is to the(our) finite stand point, wouldn't infinity in the essence of itself as The Infinite have no understanding of quantity in the sense that if it never ends(The Infinite is infinity) then how can you quantify it without relation? My thoughts are influenced by when I was working on Alan Watts "The Supreme Identity" and I'm still trying wrap my head around it(I'm picking it up again thanks to this thread)! When I initially said "The Infinite is god." I just want to clarify that that's not any personal specific belief, but I thought it would be a solid instigating/jumping off point! : P

    Cambo said:

    ..But that is by necessity an arbitrary and flawed definition. Defining God can never be anything more than a mental exercise. What's really important is experiencing God.



    But they're such fun mental exercises! I really had no idea until finally getting a little older and of course listening to Duncan's enthusiasm of such subjects, topics, and discussions!

    ..If existence exists, then truth also exists, relative to that existence. No two contrary propositions can both be true. So either Pantheism is true, or Panentheism is true, or both are false. Existence is necessarily true and so I maintain that position.

    If "God *is*" seems insufficient for you, try asserting that "God is within" without first stating that "God is". Whether God is within or without is accidental beyond that point.

    A definition, with respect to my post (genus and differentia) is testable as a definition if subject and predicate are convertible so as to prove that the predicate is not accidental. The subject and predicate being one and the same "God exists" is a unique kind of definition, beyond convertible.

    To experience God is to consciously apprehend existence as a unitive, transcendent oneness, rather than as many different things with subordinate identities. No one thing exists on its own, a figure in a painting does not exist without a background; a background does not exist without a figure.



    Very interesting stuff! I like these thought forms, especially the "whether God is within or without is accidental beyond that point." That actually made me laugh!

    Anyways big cheers for starting such a cool topic Splendorsolis! : ]
    Post edited by AudaxPowder at 2012-05-14 21:10:42
  • I like the definition of God as light.

    But most mystical and mythical traditions of the world state that God is three fold, the Holy Affirming, the Holy Denying, and the Holy Redeeming, and these aspects can be seen in every happening in the Time.
  • This is going to sound ultra douchey, but I embrace my douchebaggery. I don't know how to define God or anything like that, so I tend to think of it in experiences. It's a connection we have to each other and the world around us.

    For me, God is:
    - A pretty girl in a sundress
    - A funny joke
    -An awesome meal
    -A perfect night out with friends
    -Etc.

    I don't mean this to dismiss the real question, but, for me "god" is that experience. . .
  • If i were to define the "God" thing...

    I'd say god is a simple idea for simple people...
  • "But wouldn't this be what Infinity is to the(our) finite stand point, wouldn't infinity in the essence of itself as The Infinite have no understanding of quantity in the sense that if it never ends(The Infinite is infinity) then how can you quantify it without relation? My thoughts are influenced by when I was working on Alan Watts "The Supreme Identity" and I'm still trying wrap my head around it(I'm picking it up again thanks to this thread)! When I initially said "The Infinite is god." I just want to clarify that that's not any personal specific belief, but I thought it would be a solid instigating/jumping off point! : P '


    If infinity can be defined then "The infinite is infinity" is tautological, like "The tree is a tree". There are two basic divisions of quantity: magnitude and multitude, which imply the relationship between continuity and discontinuity. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but "infinity is continuous (differentia) quantity (summum genus)", seems like it might be an adequate definition. The nature of infinity is not something I've personally spent a lot of time thinking about. Georg Cantor, the father of set theory has some interesting things to say about an infinity of infinities but this still relates to the nature of quantity categorically speaking. Cantor also drove himself insane if that says anything.

    Quantity is an important factor with respect to being so it's good that you bought it up. The relation of terms in a proposition is always expressed with respect to quantity: All A is B, All A is not B (No A is B), Some A is B, Some A is not B. Euler circle diagrams express these properties visually. Whether a thing is total or partial is quantitative. Quantity is invoked in the proposition that "existence exists" because it is in effect an "All A is B" proposition - There is necessarily no existence that does not exist. "Being", or "God" in this respect, is the Euler circle that encompasses the totality of all that exists.

    I'm a huge Alan Watts fan too by the way.
  • "If i were to define the "God" thing...

    I'd say god is a simple idea for simple people..."


    That's a pretty simple minded thing to say.

    I agree though that there are a lot of simpletons that harp on about God without any respect to existence. You can call the thing that I am talking about whatever you like, I am just pointing at it and saying that if anything is God, it's that, so that's what I'm calling it.

    I know it's not what you mean, but the first of Aquinas' "divine qualities" for his Quinque Viae is that God is simple.
    Post edited by Splendorsolis at 2012-05-15 06:26:32
  • "But most mystical and mythical traditions of the world state that God is three fold, the Holy Affirming, the Holy Denying, and the Holy Redeeming, and these aspects can be seen in every happening in the Time."


    This reminds me of the properties of logical opposition. Google "square of opposition".

    Implicit in any given true proposition are more propositions that are also true by formal relation. The opposite of a truth is also a truth, some things are affirmed to be unknown with the information in the proposition. Truth, truth by negation, and truth affirmed to be unknown.

    image
    Post edited by Splendorsolis at 2012-05-15 07:06:59
  • However, if you call it God, then for my strange definition to be incorrect, God would either a) not exist or b) exist subordinate to something which, keeping the several thousand years of discourse about God seems less than adequate.



    A and B are both possible. It's not that your definition is incorrect, it's that it's unverifiable.


  • But wouldn't this be what Infinity is to the(our) finite stand point, wouldn't infinity in the essence of itself as The Infinite have no understanding of quantity in the sense that if it never ends(The Infinite is infinity) then how can you quantify it without relation? My thoughts are influenced by when I was working on Alan Watts "The Supreme Identity" and I'm still trying wrap my head around it(I'm picking it up again thanks to this thread)! When I initially said "The Infinite is god." I just want to clarify that that's not any personal specific belief, but I thought it would be a solid instigating/jumping off point! : P



    When a thing exists as infinite in quantity, it has to be the "infinite". All things are a part of the infinite, and since the infinite is indivisible, all things are infinite as well.
  • fnordfnord
    Hrair
    maybe these concepts, beliefs, definitions, dogmas, etc cannot lead us to what god "is."

    sorta like cutting roast beef with a screwdriver, eh?

    god is experienced, not compartmentalized by our monkey brains.

    to me, god is absolute reality - the divine consciousness realized by BEING HERE NOW.
    sunt lacrimae rerum
  • I have a human brain, larger cortex than a monkey.
  • fnordfnord
    Hrair
    meh, we're 98.2% similar to bonobos and chimps. we're basically the same thing. point is, our effort to define god as a singular, objective and immutable object is silly. silly as monkey shit!
    sunt lacrimae rerum
  • fnordfnord
    Hrair
    (yes, i know the difference between apes and monkeys.)
    sunt lacrimae rerum
  • fnord said:

    meh, we're 98.2% similar to bonobos and chimps. we're basically the same thing. point is, our effort to define god as a singular, objective and immutable object is silly. silly as monkey shit!



    And we're 70% similar to slugs. The attempt is silly, but it's not because of our brains, it's because we have no method of verification. We can't test it, we can't repeat it, we can't know if it's true.

    Still fun to try.

  • "A and B are both possible. It's not that your definition is incorrect, it's that it's unverifiable."


    If you need to verify it then you don't understand. Existence and truth are the very standards of verification.

    A and B are logically impossible because there is no circumstance under which existence can not exist, or for existence to be subordinate, or the effect of some cause not already pre-existing.

    Call God anything you like, the name itself is only a symbol used to refer to some logical term. Call a wheel of cheese "God", but that will not satisfy most people. What I was trying to demonstrate is that there is a limit point; an extreme of logical terms; predicated of all other terms. This is "being" or "existence"; this I call God.

    I understand that confusion can arise when people have preconcieved notions of what God is, irrespective of reality. Rather than searching reality for God as to whether or not God can verifiably exist, I have searched the tree of logical reality for its essence and called it God, In effect, defining "God" into existence.

    Think of it like the analogy of the finger pointing at the moon. I am pointing at the moon as it exists and calling it "the moon", if you're looking at my finger for something called "the moon"; not the object in reality that I am calling "the moon" and requiring for me to verify it, It will be impossible for us to "come to terms" this way. Instead, look at where I am pointing and call it what you want, if you don't like the name "the moon", call it something else. The name is only for conventionality. As it so happens though, the object I am referring to fits many many descriptions of what various enlightened individuals have written about "the moon" throughout history.
  • "because there is no circumstance under which existence can not exist, or for existence to be subordinate"

    You haven't convinced me. Non-existence is possible, and existence could be subordinate to non-existence.
  • Or at least anti to existence. Think matter/anti-matter.
    Post edited by dhizzo at 2012-05-15 17:59:30


  • Sorry for that douche move, but some comedic relief ;)
  • "You haven't convinced me. Non-existence is possible, and existence could be subordinate to non-existence."


    "Or at least anti to existence. Think matter/anti-matter."


    Non-existence... Doesn't exist! Think about it...

    "Non existence (the existence of which) is possible" is a blatant logical contradiction.

    "Antimatter" is a name (symbol) for a thing (term) that is purported to exist in reality.

    Also, both matter and antimatter would pertain to substance, and substance is categorical.
  • "You haven't convinced me. Non-existence is possible, and existence could be subordinate to non-existence."


    "Or at least anti to existence. Think matter/anti-matter."


    Non-existence... Doesn't exist! Think about it...

    "Non existence (the existence of which) is possible" is a blatant logical contradiction.

    "Antimatter" is a name (symbol) for a thing (term) that is purported to exist in reality.

    Also, both matter and antimatter would pertain to substance, and substance is categorical.


    I was about to say the same thing, but not so eloquently. Even non-existence by definition has characteristics, therefore it rings of thingyness, and is a contradiction.

    Great post sir! You've got a very thorough and strong idea for the existence of god.

    Though, i think something should be said about god in relation to finiteness. Do you believe god exists as a "first mover" of sorts?
    Post edited by DrunkenAdama at 2012-05-15 21:13:40
    Fencesitter, eternal spoil sport.
  • Non-existence seems to have the rings of "thingyness", but it certainly could just be the absence of "thingyness".

    For instance, black seems to have the rings of a color but a more precise definition is that black is the absence of color.

    My point is that our mind tends to think of things that we are most comfortable. It is odd for us to wrap our heads around something simply being the absence of something, so we think of black as a color. We think of anti-matter in a similar fashion. The same could be true about non-existence.

    My point? I don't know, I'm stoned and I want tacos.
  • "Great post sir! You've got a very thorough and strong idea for the existence of god."


    Thank you :)

    I have a strong idea for the existence of existence, because it's self evident.

    What I can say about existence though is limited to my fledgeling understanding of logic. Like a person in a dark room trying to find his way around with a glow in the dark wristwatch. I can sort of make out the shape of the room but the finer details will take further investigation and clarification. I am grateful for this kind of discussion and having such great questions and critiques from people because it's this kind of dialectic that investigates and clarifies truth.

    "Though, i think something should be said about god in relation to finiteness. Do you believe god exists as a "first mover" of sorts?"


    I'm not sure to be honest. One of the criticisms of the "first mover" hypothesis is that it supposes that the first cause doesn't have a cause itself and therefore it seems like special pleading. I'm curious though as to how logic seems to limit itself to existence predicated upon itself, then emanates outward in generations of declensions. Maybe the same is somehow true of causality.

    image

    image

    image

    I'm not attached to this by any means, but I would say my line of thought falls within the Emanationist camp with the Platonists. A flowing forth, or pouring out of the first transcendent principle. This is how we do philosophy after all. Emanationism is distinct from creationism and materialism.
    Post edited by Splendorsolis at 2012-05-16 08:39:31
  • "Non-existence seems to have the rings of "thingyness", but it certainly could just be the absence of "thingyness".

    For instance, black seems to have the rings of a color but a more precise definition is that black is the absence of colour

    My point is that our mind tends to think of things that we are most comfortable. It is odd for us to wrap our heads around something simply being the absence of something, so we think of black as a color. We think of anti-matter in a similar fashion. The same could be true about non-existence."
    .

    Existence is the standard by which we measure the reality of everything. "Non-existence" is something we predicate of things which do not meet that standard. If we can prove that something does not exist, we are proving something about existence. Things that we can prove the non existence of are always categorematic "things"; existence itself is untouchable in this respect.

    "Thingyness" (whatever that may be) seems like it might pertain to substance or quality. Colour pertains to quality.

    Remember too that this is the practice of using language - symbols to address terms to describe reality. The language is not the reality; the map is not the territory. The name of the game is to draw consensus on a map that best describes the reality. We have to cross things off the map that we can verify are not there in reality. We don't cross off anything in reality itself except ourselves by using inaccurate maps.

    "My point? I don't know, I'm stoned and I want tacos."


    That is a good point.
    Post edited by Splendorsolis at 2012-05-16 08:05:18

  • Non-existence... Doesn't exist! Think about it...

    "Non existence (the existence of which) is possible" is a blatant logical contradiction.

    "Antimatter" is a name (symbol) for a thing (term) that is purported to exist in reality.

    Also, both matter and antimatter would pertain to substance, and substance is categorical.



    Nope, it's a definitional contradiction i.e. word games, read Quine. @bob_loblaw touched on it, non-existence exists as an empty set, which can't be mapped mathematically.

    Existence and Its Contrary
    The problem of non-referring names is an old puzzle in philosophy, which Quine captured eloquently when he wrote,
    "A curious thing about the ontological problem is its simplicity. It can be put into three Anglo-Saxon monosyllables: 'What is there?' It can be answered, moreover, in a word—'Everything'—and everyone will accept this answer as true."[16]
    More directly, the controversy goes,
    "How can we talk about Pegasus? To what does the word 'Pegasus' refer? If our answer is, 'Something,' then we seem to believe in mystical entities; if our answer is, 'nothing', then we seem to talk about nothing and what sense can be made of this? Certainly when we said that Pegasus was a mythological winged horse we make sense, and moreover we speak the truth! If we speak the truth, this must be truth about something. So we cannot be speaking of nothing."
    Quine resists the temptation to say that non-referring terms are meaningless for reasons made clear above. Instead he tells us that we must first determine whether our terms refer or not before we know the proper way to understand them. However, Czesław Lejewski criticizes this belief for reducing the matter to empirical discovery when it seems we should have a formal distinction between referring and non-referring terms or elements of our domain. Lejewski writes further,
    "This state of affairs does not seem to be very satisfactory. The idea that some of our rules of inference should depend on empirical information, which may not be forthcoming, is so foreign to the character of logical inquiry that a thorough re-examination of the two inferences [existential generalization and universal instantiation] may prove worth our while."
    Lejewski then goes on to offer a description of free logic, which he claims accommodates an answer to the problem.
    Lejewski also points out that free logic additionally can handle the problem of the empty set for statements like . Quine had considered the problem of the empty set unrealistic, which left Lejewski unsatisfied.[17]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willard...d_Its_Contrary
  • We need to move beyond labels. It's a hangup that keeps us in a rut...
    The need to define an invisible sky-god is human rooted...If you are talking about the judeo-xian god, call it Jehovah, or simply god...Naming it doesn't make it real. Naming it only lends the title creedence, not the entity, which I believe is a nonexistant thing invented out of need and fear by earlier man. The dinosaurs didn't need a god, and neither do I....
    I DO like the analogy above:
    "I'd say god is a simple idea for simple people... "
    It perfectly fits into the mindset of the desert dwellers that needed something to request favors from...like rain for crops...
    We in the green world of agriculture have taken control of our surroundings and know how to farm...so the imaginary guy in the sky is no longer needed...
    Labels define.
    How can you define the unknown?
    I long for the day when "god" is viewed as an archaic term, and as man awakens to his higher self, he no longer hungers for terms, and labels...
    Move beyond that old system and feel that energy flow thru you as you cascade along,
    in harmony with the world...in that instant you'll know the true power of the god within.

    I'm not trying to be flat out dissmissive of the topic, as I enjoy the "thought games"...considering other possibilities, but I do reject the "sentient all-father" model.
    I like the topics you guys put out there...Its great to hear so many opinions on these subjects...
    Eyes that have seen will know what I mean - Todd Rundgren
  • "Nope, it's a definitional contradiction i.e. word games, read Quine. @bob_loblaw touched on it, non-existence exists as an empty set, which can't be mapped mathematically. "


    If a contradiction in logic means nothing to you then rational discourse with you is going to be utterly fruitless. What about mathematical truths? Do you disregard them as "number games" and pretend that you're doing mathematics without them?

    I'm certainly no genius, but I'm happy to take any one philosopher to task with the legion of philosophers I have internalized and the truth that they collectively point towards.

    " It can be put into three Anglo-Saxon monosyllables: 'What is there?' It can be answered, moreover, in a word—'Everything'—and everyone will accept this answer as true."


    Of course this statement is true because it is internally consistent. Try making an absolute statement like this without invoking categorematic terms like substance and place. It's not the substance with respect to place that I'm interested in, it's the "is-ness" about it.

    Look at it this way, either Quine is correct, or I am, or we're both wrong. Whatever actually IS correct, is that which is true. That which is true is that which exists. If my position has strayed from that anchoring in any way shape or form then kindly allow me to apologize, disengage, and re-engage my position at that anchorage point.

    You are or course welcome to pretend that nothing exists and nothing is true, but if you wish to build your house of logic upon that swampy foundation, you do so at your own peril.
  • Philosophers don't get butt hurt.

    How are you so sure non-existence doesn't exist, except by definition, which I've already shown to be faulty.
  • In the 1930s and 1940s, discussions with Rudolf Carnap, Nelson Goodman and Alfred Tarski, among others, led Quine to doubt the tenability of the distinction between "analytic" statements — those true simply by the meanings of their words, such as "All bachelors are unmarried" — and "synthetic" statements, those true or false by virtue of facts about the world, such as "There is a cat on the mat." This distinction was central to logical positivism.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willard_Van_Orman_Quine#Rejection_of_the_analytic-synthetic_distinction
  • YOU
    Hrair
    @Splendorsolis

    You sound like you know a lot about philosophy. What would you say is the essential nature of insight?
  • I feel you cannot define God and any attempt to will just create some sort of word math that no one understands. That's because the language we're using right now isn't very effective in transmitting this sort of information. As great as this thread is, it proves my point.

    Besides, you can say "God is Love" and "God is everything" and that's awesome and the person hearing or reading that can fully understand the words, but nothing really beyond that. It's not their fault, it's the language.
    Post edited by Auspicious Banana at 2012-05-16 21:18:30
  • here is the answer:
    Eyes that have seen will know what I mean - Todd Rundgren

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