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12 October 2007



Pathetic! Your commitment to Ockham's Razor blinds you to the most fundamental of metaphysical issues!

People like you with a cross to bear against religions are always missing the point! This argument can be used (and is used) to posit the most fundamental aspects of reality. Give a look at Plato, Aristotle, Leibniz, through to Armstrong and (arguably) Lewis; they posit the existence of 'universals', or 'properties'.

This is a very very tricky area to deal with, and you have dived into the dragon's den without a sword. The members of the Noumenal Realm, however, are constantly sharpening our dragon-slaying weapons, by contrast.

The reason people say that an x has an [X] (a universal) that makes it x (or to simplify it; all objects that share a predicate [say, red], leads us to say there is an element fundamental to our reality which makes sense of all these instantiations [this does not necessarily entail Platonism AT ALL]) is as an EXPLANATORY DEVICE.

As a non-philosopher, you have tackled the issue foolishly and brashly, your atheistic arrogance shall make you blush at the tribunal of explanandum.

You need to be sensitive to the fact that philosophers, particularly metaphysicians, are trying to explain the world by positing that things exist.

You are dealing with an issue far more general than morality. This question must be treated as isomorphic to a question such as "do numbers exist", or perhaps "are the natural numbers a genuine set?" (I may retract the latter claim as not isomorphic).

The issue here is about REALISM (X-universal exists to make sense of x-particular; so, the particular "Barnaby Dawson" makes sense insofar as the properties/universals that construe him obtain, so this may be [mathematician], [man], [properties of extension], [spatiotemporal position], or we may be NOMINALISTS, we say as there is only one Barnaby Dawson and there is no need to refer to things to which he instantiates, there are no universals.

Or, [Sinistre's favoured view], conceptualism.

Your effort to 'critique' this theological argument is poor; you have misapprorpiated the fundamental issues at hand and your lack of vision does not appreciate the true metaphysical issues at hand. You must abandon your prejudices and think openly about being qua being.

You need to be more charitable, and you need to be more sensitive to the wider questions. SO DECREES DESTRE!


You've got to love Destre! He's a nice guy when you get to know him :p

Okay, the point Destre was trying to make was that in certain circles of contemporary philosophy, there is a tendency to waive parsimony (what you might call 'Ockham's Razor) insofar as balancing between what is explained, and what is plausible.

Let me say this in another way. For philosophers to start from first principles and explain everything there is in the world, we need to start saying things exist.

We can talk about tables and chairs and other particulars, but there are candidates which are difficult to characterise through an ontology of particulars:

1. Propositions which do not refer to physical objects ('Honesty')
2. Classes - although there isn't really a metaphysical problem here
3. Universals (predications of objects)

1. and 3. are difficult to explain: it is intuitive to see every object by my street as a 'car', or better still 'vehicle' (with some exceptions - say, dead pigeons, skips etc.)

Philosophers are trying to posit the existence of universals INSOFAR as to explain as much as they can in the world: their problem is this:

i. The more universals, the less plausible they seem
ii. The less universals, the less that is explained

Destre is upset by the loaded nature you upset a theological argument without sensitivity to the context of this very sensitive balance that philosophers need to make.

Parsimony is a good thing to have, but it isn't the be all and end all - try not to be dogmatic about Ockham's Razor; for we may need to posit weird things to exist in order to explain the order of being.

Your objection, then, should be; how much does the positing of God explain?

Kant believes that there are three necessary postulates for morality: The existence of God, the immortality of the Soul, and Freewill. We assume them insofar as they explain, or justify moral conduct. It is all well and good to attack this Kantian view (although Michael wouldn't be happy!); but the project of denying the assertion of particular x, having an isomorphism to the truthmaker singleton [x], is a lot more difficult, and you will need a lot more tools to refute that view.

To quote Magister Pereira; "these are all very hard questions"

Sapere Aude,

Barnaby Dawson

Destre: This post seeks only to critique a common argument form used in theology (let us call it the order theoretic argument) and probably elsewhere too. This blog maintains that any order theoretic argument fails to prove its conclusion unless it justifies points 1,2 and 3. Nothing in this blog post referrences occham's razor.

Sinistre: This blog post is not attempting to provide an argument against the existence of God, a universal morality or a state of universal enlightenment. All this post attempts to do is show that there are hidden assumptions behind the order theoretic argument outlined at the start of the post.

I'm afraid my intentions in the post were very modest. You correctly get the impression that I do not believe in a god and perhaps that I think an atheistic position justified. However, I have not presented an argument for such a position. Until I do I think criticism of my reasoning (in coming to this position) is premature.


I have misinterpreted you. I do apologise. I clarify myself a little in this post; through addressing a seemingly irrelevant issue.

As a naturalist; we must be interested in using the vocabulary for one topic in translatable terms for another. For example; calculus can be used to measure movement from physical phenomena to more abstract, non-empirical mathematical phenomena. This is the motivation of my ill-directed attack. I do apologise, dear Barnaby.



Pastor Deacon

Heathen! It doesn't matter what you say as you will burn in helllllll!!!! In the eternal fires of damnation you scurvy athiest. The scurvy is oviousosly affecting your brain power. Eat from the lemon tree of gospel truth.

"Smitting the heathans with a rod of iron"
Buju Banton

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