Sunday, April 3, 2016

Kant's Argument from Morality for the Existence of the God

Kant's argument from morality grounds itself in the existence of morality. Morality exists if and only if at least one person exists, a person either being an agent or a being that must behave as if it were an agent; since only an end in itself can ground morality, and all other ends are merely instrumental ends for the good of a person, personhood is the only possible ground of morality. Consequently, a person should respect other persons in the same way they respect themselves, qua personhood; this it the categorical imperative, which is the fundamental theorem of morality. Since I am a person, morality exists. Given the categorical imperative, persons should be morally perfect; if obligation implies possibility, then persons can become morally perfect. However, if, as according to Kant, it is impossible to attain perfection given a finite lifespan, persons must be immortal. This requires them to have an eternally morally perfect judge to verify their perfection; this judge must therefore also be omniscient. Consequently, this judge must be omnipotent, and therefore unique.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The God

An anselmian argument establishes the existence of an omnipotent being. A lockean argument establishes that there can be at most one omnipotent being. A kantian argument establishes the moral perfection of the omnipotent being.

The anselmian argument restricts "greatness" to "power". This allows for the argument to be sound, not merely valid. The first premise is the consistency premise: the concept of an omnipotent being is logically consistent. The second premise is the possibility premise: if a concept is logically consistent, it refers to, at least, a possible object. The third premise is the actualization premise: an actualizing thing is necessarily more powerful than a merely possible thing. The conclusion is that an omnipotent being exists.

The lockean argument is as follows. If there exists at least two omnipotent beings, then either their wills are always in agreement or they come into conflict. If they are always in agreement, there is no meaningful sense in which they are different wills; what defines as agent, as an individual, is what it wills. If they come into conflict, then one of them loses and is therefore non-omnipotent. Therefore, there can be at most one omnipotent being. Thus, combined with the anselmian argument, there exists one and only one omnipotent being.

The kantian argument begins with the existence of at least one person; a person is a being which either is an agent or must behave as if it were. Persons are all bound by the categorical imperative, consequently, universal respect for personhood forms the ground of ethics. Cosquently, all persons should be morally perfect. Obligation implies possibility, therefore, moral perfection for persons is possible. However, it is impossible given a finite lifespan; therefore the soul is immortal. For non-eternally morally perfect persons, there must exist a judge which is distinct from itself which judges whether or not it achieves perfection. Therefore, this being must be omniscient. Since ignorance is evil, omniscience implies omnibenevolence.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

My Theodicy Continued

In order for God, the omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent creator and sustainer of the world, to create a world in which finite agency, and therefore, humanity can exist, God had to create a world in which God's consciousness could only grow so big. That is, at a certain point, God's consciousness had to fracture into multiple gods which are possibly overlapping, simply infinite parts of the originally transfinite consciousness of God. This continues until the infinite parts of God's consciousness have to fracture into infinite sets of finite parts of God's consciousness. Finite agents, finite parts of God's consciousness, are persons.

I also believe that a person can grow into a god.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Humanity and Personhood

When does a human being begin having rights and responsibilities? That is, when does a member of the species [i]homo sapiens[/i] become a person? This is asking about the relationship between a biological concept and an ethical concept. I'll leave defining the concept of a human being to the biologists, but will explore the concept of being a person below.

First of all, by "person" I mean "a being that either is or must act if it is a moral agent". A moral agent is a being with free will. Free will is being able to influence the probabilities of events while not being under the influence of external factors; that is the negative definition. Positively, having free will is giving the moral law to oneself. Free will also means rational autonomy, which is having a will which is under the influence of only itself and its rationality. To contrast, a moral patient is a being which can suffer.

Now, basic to the original question: when does a human being become a person? I would argue that a human being becomes a person when it is capable of reflecting on its moral agency. That is, when a human realizes that it is a person is when it is a person. This requires a human to develop a level of consciousness which allows it to think its own agency; that is, when a human cannot but believe is has free will is when it qualifies as a person.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

On the Finiteness of the Physical

What is the essential difference between physical and non-physical actuality? Non-physical actuality can be infinite; physical actuality must be finite. Why must physical actuality be finite?

First of all, there are two of Zeno's Paradoxes: the Dichotomy and the Achilles, both of which are critiques of continuous motion in infinite space and time. Ultimately, this is seemingly best understood as the paradox of Zeno's Maze.

(Image from MathPages.)

If space, time, and motion (mass and energy) are all infinitely divisible then one can construct an infinite sequence of mirrors, the separation between which decreases geometrically, such that, if the first mirror is 1 unit from the second, the second is 1/2 unit from the third, the third is 1/4 unit from the fourth, etc..Therefore, after a finite amount of time, a point-particle goes a finite distance, and therefore must exit the maze; but the maze is infinite, therefore there is no last mirror, which means that it cannot exit the maze. This is a contradiction; therefore, space, time, and motion (mass and energy) must be only finitely divisible.

Next, there is Hilbert's Paradox of the Grand Hotel. If you have an infinite number of rooms in a hotel, you can always accommodate one more room of guests by moving each room to the next. Or, you can accommodate countably infinitely more guests by moving room one to room two, room two to room four, room three to room six, etc.. There more paradoxes of physical infinitude like this, all of which we owe to Hilbert.

Interestingly, there is an argument against the possibility of finitely-divisible, such that, if within each instant there is no motion, then there can be no motion regardless of how many more you add to it. In order for motion to be possible within an instant, space, time, energy, and mass must interrelate in such a way as to create motion in spacetime. That is, they must be relative to each other.

Zeno's last famous paradox considers the implications of a finite upper limit on velocity and is also ultimately an argument for the relativity of motion in spacetime. Clocks that are in motion relative to each other run slower or faster than clocks which are not in motion relative to each other. Does this require that the past, present, and future are all on the same ontological footing?

I do not believe that they are: the past is fixed, the present fixes, and the future can be fixed. That is, the future is a field of probability, possible futures with various probabilities; the present is the eternally changing Now, the flux of physical actuality (actualization); and the past is the eternally expanding sequence of events that have transpired.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Return to Logic: the Case for Paraconsistent Logic

Standard logic is explosive, that is, anything follows from a true contradiction. This is a semantic consequence of the fact that standard logic does not admit of true contradictions. However, if a logic admits of true contradictions and therefore does not have explosiveness as a semantic consequence, one can avoid explosiveness and have a paraconsistent logic. The question remains: Is there a true contradiction?

There is. Each person is an individual, that is, is unique, particularly in their perspective. However, the very fact that this is true for every person creates a paradox: in our uniqueness, we are all the same. This is a paradox, a contradiction, but is it true? Can two persons share a perspective? If so, then differences could only come through the constitution of the persons. Is every person internally unique? Even if two persons start out as internally exactly similar and share a perspective, is it inevitable that one of them will change, thus making them both unique?

All that aside, it remains the case that if this contradiction is true, then the justification for explosiveness fails, thus making the logic paraconsistent. This means that not anything follows from a contradiction, so some standard theorems also fail; one of those that fails is "P -> (~P -> Q)".

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Meta-Ethics 2: Formulations of the Categorical Imperative

Ones intention should be to conform to the moral law, otherwise known as the categorical imperative (CI). It is the most basic principle against which all actions are judged on an ethical basis. An agent is obligated to follow the moral law, which is to say that should be rationally autonomous, which requires that it has free will; however, a person is a being which must operate under the presumption that it has free will: persons are also bound by the moral law.

The Humanity Formulation of the CI or "to treat other person as end-in-themselves, not merely as a means to your own ends" is logically equivalent to three other statements. Kant's original formulation of the CI is "Act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time consistently will that it become <i>a universal law of nature for all persons</i>" is is the first; it sees persons as potential legislators of universal laws. Laws of nature must be consistent, so in order to graduate from potential legislator to actual legislator, a person must will only what is right.

The Autonomy Formulation of the CI or "the Idea of the will of every rational being as a will that legislates universal law" obligates persons to act as though they were actual legislators of universal law. It sees persons as citizens, that is, persons with the right of franchise which is the right to vote. Voting is a fundamental right of all persons, but one should only vote for what is ethically right. To do otherwise is to vote for an exception for some person, which creates a legal privilege not an ethical right.

"To act as though one were a subject in the Kingdom of Ends" is another formulation of the categorical imperative; unlike the the Autonomy Formulation, the Kingdom of Ends Formulation focuses on persons not as citizens, but as subjects in the Kingdom of Ends. It introduces a social aspect to the CI; if a legislator makes an exception for him- or herself, then it is, by definition, a legal privilege, not an ethical right. This highlights the distinction between law and ethics; neither law nor ethics logically implies the other one, but they are deontologically related: law should enforce only ethical actions.