A Rationalist's Argument for God 

Click here to edit subtitle

THE LOGIC OF GOD by Andrew Dorman (c) 2013, first given in different form at Kutztown University in 2007

Atheists typically claim that God is illogical. Many atheists, in fact, use this claim to discredit God. But I will demonstrate here that this claim may be more of a negative reflection on logic itself, at least according to how it's commonly understood.

What we traditionally consider as logic was predominantly formulated by a man: Aristotle, the ancient Greek philosopher. The most fundamental of these laws is that which is known as the Principle of Non-Contradiction, which stated plainly is this: "Nothing can both be and not be at the same time and in the same respect."

The principle of non-contradiction is the most basic because even if one tried to refute it, by doing so, one would still be making a definite statement that would necessarily rule out its contradictory.

Evidentally, then, the principle of non-contradiction is basic to any definitive claim -- regardless of what the claim may be. Aristotle himself said about the principle's importance (from his _Metaphysics_): "Some indeed demand that even this shall be demonstrated, but ... if there are things of which one should not demand demonstration, these persons could not say what principle they maintain to be more self-evident than the present one."

Well, i would like to bring to the table a more "self-evident" principle, and I believe by the end of the video you'll agree with me on its fundamentality.

As we've seen, at present, logic accepts time as part of its foundation. Recall, this occurred when Aristotle specified in his most basic of laws: "in the same time and in the same respect." However, logic is supposed to be objective and absolute, yet time appears to be relative even within the confines of our physical world. Furthermore, time may only apply to physical worlds per se -- as time is interrelated with space.

Yet logic, in order to be purely objective, is supposed to account for ANY or ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS, including any non-physical possibility, if such is the case. Even Aristotle would've considered this basic to the study.

The reason why Aristotle, when he formulated these laws, didn't presuppose any world beyond the physical is likely because ancient Greece was, generally, a physicalist culture. At that time, for instance, our very being was considered to consist only of four humours, all of which were physical in nature -- blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile. Neither was it surprising when Empedocles considered transcendent experiences such as love and hate as fluids, for instance....

So, Aristotle's logic is only fundamental in consideration of reality being related to time. Interestingly, though, in this manner, the Principle of NC doesn't even apply to human intentionality, as one's intentions, motivations, and purposes aren't necessarily related to time directly. This is best realized in the notion of having 'mixed feelings' at the same time and in the same reflect, for instance. How ironic it is that logic is so limited, though, when we consider that intentionality (or, at least, consciousness) is the only thing we not only have first-hand experience of, but the only thing we can truly be certain of, as well (as in being self-validating).

In other words, the most universal example of non-physicality in existence are our own thoughts -- of which we experience only the content of in space-time, not the thought itself. If you don't agree with me, look at your own thoughts if you can (regardless of what you believe, or don't believe). Your experience, minus the content, would be rather undescribable.

The interesting thing here is that God, likewise, implies more of a mind than a body -- in fact, if we consider the attributes commonly assigned to God, all-knowing, all-good, and all-powerful, then God would be pure intentionality.

So, continuing on, the question to ask in regards to what is most fundamental in reality, is this: What does a contradiction consist of, then, if it, in itself, is not most basic? Well, if we examine contradictions, we notice they involve statements, and by definition, consist of propositions. Propositions, in turn, consist of terms. So what elements then make terms inconsistent, one may ask? Opposition.

Thus a more fundamental principle than contradiction would involve opposition of terms: what Aristotle labeled 'contraries' -- i.e., what's typically regarded as opposites (e.g., pleasure / pain). They're features same in kind, but diametrically opposed.

Not surprisingly, however, Aristotle even incorporated time into his evaulation of contrary terms. He did so by distinguishing correlations from all other forms of contrariety by crediting only them as being interdependent, whereas all other contraries are not. Correlations, btw, are two-placed predicates in which one is term mirrors the other, typically joined by the predicate "of.' When we look at correlations, in fact, we can see what Aristotle meant by their uniqueness -- for example, "double-half": If x is "double" of y, then y is "half" of x. Likewise, "parent-offspring": If x is the "parent" of y, then y is the "offspring" of x. All correlations, in fact, relate to the external world, and thus, are necessarily interdependent at the same time _and_ in the same respect.

Yet, all contraries are interdependent conceptually, at least -- that is to say, in a timeless fashion. Aristotle seems to have misunderstood "interdependency," especially when he said contrary "pairs of opposition" are not _in any way_ interdependent. Consider the example of day-night. If for 24-7 all we had was an unchanging mode of daylight, then we would not conceive of the idea of "daytime". In fact, we probably wouldn't distinguish it as anything at all -- as there would be nothing to distinguish it from.

Hypothetically, Aristotle may have proposed the distinction because he believed all things consist of contraries  (i.e., things may turn into their opposites). So if correlations weren't to be distinguished from other contraries conceptually, then that would imply that all of reality is relative. That idea may have been inconceivable back in Aristotle's day, but hardly is it so in this day-in-age. In fact, it appears that everything in the physical world is relative, including space-time. The only that fundamentally remains constant in reality is the opposite of constancy itself, in fact: change.

Overall, then, all opposites, in any conceptual sense, stand as the necessary condition of the other. Contraries aren't potentially their opposites, they _are_ their opposites. This is so because each concept is linked entirely with its opposite. Opposites are only perceived as "two" when judged in relation to space-time. Only when they're associated with content do they become disjointed. A label excludes its opposite, but the actuality referred to would not. 

In fact, it's the unity of opposites that reflects why the reality behind Aristotle's laws are true. Such unity would be at the core limits of reality itself. This is due to the linked nature of a given statement's terms to their opposites. As stated, we can conceive of two opposites such as "he is big," and "he is not big," for instance -- we can even imagine them both being true, albeit at different times and different respects, but if it wasn't for the linked nature of opposition, say "big" and "small," as they are linked by definition, we wouldn't be able to know either. Furthermore, without any such linkage between terms, we wouldn't be able to make sense of our perceptions. For instance, without contrariety, one could no longer assert "He's not big," for example, because that statement wouldn't mean he's any smaller necessarily. One may just as well conclude that he's too skinny, or old, or hungry, or warm, or sinister, or walking, etc. Bigness would no longer imply a size extreme.

Expanded universally, knowledge itself would be impossible without such unity. What would result if there were no unity between opposites?: only non sequiturs. Thus, even the idea of a contradiction would prove impossible. This is why the unity of opposition is more prior. Whereas the principle of non-contradiction is "basic to any definitive claim," the unity of opposition is basic to any form of opposition whatsoever.

So, essentially, the unity of opposition should be the core priniciple itself, rather than the law of non-contradiction, which would be its lesser. It's just that opposition is necessarily prior to any contradiction, as we've shown.

In conclusion, then, Aristotle's logic has been shown here to be unsuited to report, as he intended, on absolute truths, but better suited for merely contingent ones. Yet logic should define objectivity purely. The thing to remember here is that logic endeavors to evoke the core concepts of reality itself, not merely that of our external world. Fortunately, we've proven here a more fundamental principle than that which was previously laid out for us. This principle -- the unity of opposition -- not only is more basic, its domain may even include God or Gods, if need be. But, most of all, it provides greater legitimacy to the laws that Aristotle himself has formulated.

I'll be discussing more on this in the future,
Feel free to comment and subscribe to my channel.

Members Area

Recent Photos