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Alan White

A Saint Proves in Two Ways that God Is Real and Must Be Real

Proof Type One:

I can think of God as best-that-can-be-thought. So God is in my mind as that. But if God is one who is not real, then I can still think of God as best-that-can-be-thought and who is real too, and that is a God as best-that-can-be-thought that beats out, as the right thought of God (by rules of truth), my thought of God as best-that-can-be-thought and who is not real. So if I think in truth that God is best-that-can-be-thought, then God as best-that-can-be-thought must be one who is real, or my thought of God is not the right thought of God as best-that-can-be-thought. So just to think of God (by the rules of truth) as best-that-can-be-thought means God must be one who is real.

Proof Type Two:

I can think of stuff that is real, but may not have been real--like me. If Mom and Dad had had a fight the night in some world much like where I was made to be born, but they did not make me to be born, then I would not have been born and would not be real. So some stuff like me does not have to be real, but just turned out to be real and did not in a strong way have to be real. And most all real stuff I can think of may not have been here as real in the same kind of way that I might not have been here. God is in my mind as best-that-can-be-thought. But if I think that God as best-that-can-be-thought is just real, but may have not been real just like me and most all stuff I can think of, then I can think of a God that is more than that (by rules of truth)--a God that as best-that-can-be-thought that must be real and could not have been not real. So if I think that God is best-that-can-be-thought and may not have been real, then that is not God as best-that-can-be-thought, for I can think of God as best-that-can-be-thought and could not have been not real. So just to think of God in the right way means God must be real in a strong way that I and most all stuff I can think of are not real in the same way. So God must be real, and may not be not real.


On the one hand, these are sort of cool. On the other hand, if students turned in the ones above that relate to my teaching specialties for their exam, they'd maybe get a B.

There is great value in explaining ideas/concepts/etc. in as simple a language as possible. But I remain skeptical that we can get much beyond a caricature of philosophical views if we have limitations of this sort.

Nicholas Denyer

If you get your monosyllables right, people do not notice, and simply respond to the content. I found this when I posted the following on Facebook:

We draw shapes to help us prove things true of shapes. But the things that we prove true of shapes are not quite true of the shapes that we draw. Thus, when we do proofs, we say that a square has four straight lines, all just the same in length, to be its sides; but the things that we draw, and call straight lines, are all in fact a bit blurred and bent, and so are not, to be strict, true straight lines, but just smears and stripes. So we must ask: since our proofs do not match the shapes that we draw, what use can it be to draw those shapes?

Ken A


Tim O'Keefe

I made up one of these for Epicurus, but it's a bit long for a comment--about 2 pages--so I'll just leave a link here in case anybody is curious:


The Nozick summary smuggles in critiques that don't apply or apply arguably at best. It should stress more that people have the right to keep what they earn and to gift anything that is theirs to anyone else. If someone is in need and wants someone else's stuff, they must persuade others to freely give it to them. They may not take it, except for stealing in dire circumstances of starvation, for instance, which Nozick explicitly allows in ASU. Of course, Nozick also knew that market societies tend to benefit very many people and very widely over the generations.

Catherine Wilson

Catherine Wilson
May 20 at 2:17 PM ·
Most of Kant in words of one syllable:
A cause can make you do a thing but it can’t make you bad. If you are bad, that is on you. There’s a test you can do just to check if it's fine. Don’t do that to him or her there if you don’t want him or her to do that to you some fine day. See how that works for all the big don'ts? Life may make you sore, but you can be brave and pure. You are free, ‘cos your self is not a thing in the world. You made up the world. You made up space and time and cause. Are you a ghost? A ghost plus a bod? You could be a ghost in a bod or just a bod or just a ghost, but you can’t know that. Is there a God? If it makes you be good, fine, you can think that. In fact, you should think that, so you don’t get too down when what’s going on makes you sore or sad. Chicks have no skills for most things and don’t think straight, but they can cook and are a help when you are sick. You can make a deal with them so life will go on and there will be more folks to be good down the line. Here’s what else. Folks are on the move; they go far and bring their smarts to all and some day world peace.

Steve George

Of Liberty and Necessity.

Free will could mean one of two things. It could mean that a free act of will has no cause in the world of mass, length, and time. Or, it could mean that the act of will is not tied down, not hemmed in. But if it is not caused, then it must come to pass by pure chance. And at least at the time when I, Hume, write this, we do not know one thing that takes place by pure chance. And, if in some way my act of will could be based on just a roll of the dice, in what sense would it in fact be "my" act of will at all? Thus we must take free will to mean a will that is not tied down or hemmed in too much. So free will must come down to this: if I can will as I want to will, and if I could have willed not in that way if I had wished to, then my will is as free as it could be, and as free as I could want it to be.

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