Discovered a New Ontological Argument

I’m a parishioner of the Honolulu Diocese. I’m a big fan of St. Anselm and his Ontological Argument. I’ve been trying to figure out an original ontological argument for years that is different from that of Anselm, Descartes, and Spinoza. I finally did and posted it at the top of my website.
(To get to my website just type Michael Llenos at Twitter and my Twitter page has my website link. I’m the black and white picture of a guy wearing glasses.) What do you think? Please no Gaunilo responses… And don’t post it here please since it’s my copyright… I would love a theologian who is an expert on the Ontological Argument to look it over…

This forum is largely populated by laypeople (such as myself): insofar as I know there are no theologians who contribute.

You’re more likely to receive a more productive answer by contacting an appropriate staff member at a Catholic university.

3 Likes

Why don’t you just post your argument here? Who wants to go to a Twitter page and then find another link to your website. Are you just trying to get a traffic count on your accounts?

3 Likes

Thanks for the advice. I’ve been trying…

MasterHaster

Actually I’m worried about posting it anywhere besides my website. I mean if I post it here, I could lose my rights to the copyright because I have no ownership of this site. I’ve been working on this argument for years. It could very well be the next ontological argument. Why throw the ownership away? I do want sole credit for the argument…

1 Like

P.S. This website does not allow the direct posting of links.

Dear Michael,

I wanted to respectfully respond to your argument and critique it in hopes of making it stronger.

After reading your argument, I have a couple of concerns. The first is that the second question that you lay out, that God is either non-existent in the place where He is or is non-existent in the place where He is not can be problematic. I find a problem here because if God is non-existent, He cannot be non-existent in a place where He is because there is no place where He is. This may seem trivial, but this condition presupposes that He exists, overriding the prior question. Of course, the proper response to this concern will likely be that the condition is merely semantics and acknowledges this truth. That would be a fair response to which I would likely agree with because that is effectively your argument if it is true, but I wanted to at least bring up this as a concern.

I think that your argument fails in the latter concern, in which you suggest that God exists in all the places in which He is. This must be so because you draw this conclusion from the fact that God is non-existent in the place in which He is not. Even if this premise is true, the conclusion that He exists in the places where He is does not logically follow, resulting in an invalid argument. Additionally, once you arrive (based on elimination) that God must be non-existent in places in which He is not (due to the prior being laughably wrong), then you just end with God is non-existent in places in which He is not. This premise to your argument does not result in a logical inference that there are places in which God is or that God must exist in those places. I believe that further premises are needed for you to conclude that.

I will add that I am not a licensed theologian by any means. I am a theologian and a philosopher in that I have a degree in theology and philosophy and study theology and philosophy, but this qualification seems to be rather loose and not formally formal. I’ll also admit that I’m no where near an expert on the Ontological “Argument,” to which I’ll comment that St. Anselm’s famous “argument” is not really an argument for God’s existence and is actually more of a spiritual exercise, and that as an argument, I find it to be poor evidence for the existence of God. I tend to be more in the Aristotelian/Thomistic camp myself if I am being truthful.

I hope you find my comments helpful to some degree. Please know that I say all of this in love and none of my comments are to be taken personally against you but to benefit your argument. I’ll also try to provide you with some comfort regarding your copyright. If you have a copyright on your argument, then it does not matter if it is spread because it will always be traced back to you and it would be your intellectual property. In fact, if it were spread, it shows that perhaps you may be on to something. Here’s to wishing you success in your intellectual arguments!

Thanks for the copyright help. I didn’t know that. BTW thanks for not duplicating the argument here, but just in segments.

[You wrote:
. I find a problem here because if God is non-existent, He cannot be non-existent in a place where He is because there is no place where He is]

You are supposing the non-existent is not a place like some sort of limbo. If the non-existent hides itself for eternity from mankind, how do we know a place of the non-existent doesn’t exist? Plus, we know the non-existent exists since we know of the idea of the non-existent.

No worries. I’m not a copyright lawyer either, so I should add that as a disclaimer. But I imagine it works like any piece of literature. The government should always have documentation on when you received the copyright and what it entails. If the structure of your argument is copyrighted, there will at least be an actual record, so you could always theoretically be traced back as the originator. Someone could, I believe, take your argument, restructure it, and perhaps improve it/worsen it so that it becomes a new argument. But I your argument should always be yours if I’m not mistaken. Whoever helped you register your copyright should be able to provide the actual specifics though. Take his word 100% over mine.

Now back to the argument!

If the non-existent exists, then it is not non-existent. It is existent. For example, a unicorn is existent. It exists potentially but not actually. The fact that it exists potentially does mean that it exists. We could never think of a specific example of a non-existent thing because it cannot exist even potentially. If we can think of it, it is existent! Therefore, a non-existent thing does not exist.

Additionally, there can be no place where a non-existent thing exists because a non-existent thing cannot exist. If a non-existent thing exists, it is not non-existent but existent. If a non-existent thing does not exist, then there can be no place where a non-existent thing can exist precisely because that non-existent thing does not exist.

A non-existent thing cannot hide itself because the act of hiding implies some existence (because action requires actuality).

In regards to your first comment, I am 100% supposing the non-existent is not a place like some sort of limbo. Because if it were, it would potentially exist and therefore it would not be non-existent but existent. For the non-existent thing to not exist, it would need to lack actual existence (like you suggest) and potential existence, which is a kind of existence of existent things.

P.S. I love these kinds of discussions and I appreciate your dedication in thinking of a philosophical argument and sharing it for discussion and critique!

I wrote:
And if God is non-existent where he is not,
Then he is existent in all of those places where he is.
But you wrote:
Even if this premise is true, the conclusion that He exists in the places where He is does not logically follow, resulting in an invalid argument.

How do you know there are not places where God exists? Like three persons in one God? I mean if God wants to hide from humanity for all eternity, how would we know he is not there?

Plus, I think in logic one needs to judge by probability and not just possibility…

You are saying that a thing that does not exist and the non-existent are the same thing. But if God has an infinite mind (or if he is omniscient) shouldn’t all non-existent things or things that do not exist exist in his infinite mind like Plato’s Forms by analogy?

I am saying that just because God is non-existent where He is not, we cannot logically follow from this that God must be existent in all of the places where He is. There just isn’t enough room to make that jump yet. My complaint is not that God exists in places where He is but that you cannot derive that from God is non-existent where He is not.

A non-existent thing and a thing that does not exist are the same by definition. God does not conceive of things that do not exist because if He did, they would by definition, exist. It’s like God cannot conceive of a square circle because that is a logical impossibility. It goes against God’s nature. God’s infinitude cannot contradict infinitude. Truth cannot coincide with untruth, for example.

By the way, all I did was write the argument and put the copyright down on my website. I mean don’t I automatically own the copyright for inventing it?

Mounties,

Why are you putting limitations on God’s intellect? If God has an infinite mind then he has thought of everything. Not everything possible (which is a limitation) but everything existent and non-existent, visible and invisible.

No. I believe that you have to actually contact the government’s patent office to obtain an actual copyright for your writing. I would suggest maybe adding a specific date so that there would be some sort of tracking, but I don’t really possess the knowledge on how to advise you there.

I’m not limiting God to what He can do but affirming the perfection of His nature. If He could contradict His nature, it would imply a defect. For example, if God could do anything, then God could sin. And since no potentiality can exist with God, He either does sin or does not. If God sins, then He is not perfect and thus is limited. If God does not sin, then He is perfect.

God cannot contradict God as truth cannot contradict truth. If God can conceive of it, it exists. So if you are uncomfortable with saying that God could not conceive of something, then perhaps there exists nothing that is non-existent. Or perhaps God just doesn’t contradict His perfect nature. I think my Thomistic side is showing here :smiley:

Mountie

You wrote:
God cannot contradict God as truth cannot contradict truth. If God can conceive of it, it exists. So if you are uncomfortable with saying that God could not conceive of something, then perhaps there exists nothing that is non-existent. Or perhaps God just doesn’t contradict His perfect nature. I think my Thomistic side is showing.

Me. But that’s ridiculous! In the Bible, God spoke to Moses & Jesus and others. Does not God think what he speaks?

So if God says to Moses, don’t build an idol. Does that mean all idols came into existence again?

It’s like the argument saying, what comes out of the mouth is real. And someone speaks: So don’t eat a whale. So a whale came out of that person’s mouth.

That kind of argument is an apparant sophism.

I’ve read somewhere in a book about publishing that if you write it it is your copyright–at least if it’s on a space of the internet that has no publishing clause.

My response to Freddy’s post comment:
There is a difference between taking an argument seriously (for what it is), and making fun of it because it lies outside the scope of normal things to say.

Freddy typed:

I wrote: ‘God is either non-existent in the place where He is or is non-existent in the place where He is not’.

Freddy said: Someone please tell me that this is not meant to be taken seriously…

Now Me. Take my above statement & let me elaborate starting from an even more previous statement. “God is either existent or non-existent.” That’s possible and not ridiculous.

Let me also make more of an elaboration here: “If God is non-existent, he either doesn’t exist where he is (in space and time.)” Or “God doesn’t exist where he is not (in space and time.)” These are two opposing possibilities that are not ridiculous in any way. They compose a perfectly logical hypothetical syllogism. All I have to do is prove one to disprove the other. And both premises are similar to Descartes’ Ontological Argument: perfection includes existence. Meaning, one property makes necessary the existence of the other. What is God but a creature of space and time? If God exists or doesn’t exist, God does so in the place that he does so, or not in that place. E.g. God speaks to Job and Moses in a conversational manner from where he is. God may have made space and time but he also abides in space and time. But that’s if he exists. So does God non-exist in a place in space and time if he doesn’t exist? That’s a good question. So my hypothetical statement is valid concerning God if it is possible that he doesn’t exist.

But I also do something more for the equation and deduction. I change the conclusion of God from being non-existent to God being existent by concluding that he cannot be non-existent by adding the conclusions of the two premises based on his non-existence. So it is a logical deduction with a twist. Or killing two weeds with one stone. That’s why I believe my argument is more than a greater Ontological Argument.

Mountie

I did some editing to my argument. Is it still a priori?

The Word of God is God. God has always spoke. God is speaking. And God will always be speaking. God does not change nor does His Word.

All idols have always existed because their forms have always been in God. God has eternally spoke the words He spoke to Moses and He always eternally will. Idols did not come into existence when they were created. The concept of an idol has always existed just as long as the concept of human. As soon as God conceives of it, it exists. As soon as we conceive of something, it exists. Because they potentially exist. This does not mean that they actually exist. But they really exist in the potential since, which is real existence.

1 Like

‘God is either non-existent in the place where He is or is non-existent in the place where He is not’.

Someone please tell me that this is not meant to be taken seriously…

3 Likes

Wow. I don’t think I have ever read anything so incomprehensible. I challenge anyone to paraphrase what was written.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.