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Ntech
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@Hahiha @Doombreed
Of our Knowledge of the Existence of a God
(John Locke, Concerning Human Understanding: Chapter X, pages 349 – 351)
(Articles I – VI, VIII)

I. We are capable of knowing certainly that there is a God. Though God has given us no innate ideas of Himself,; though He has stamped no original characters on our minds, wherein we may read His being; yet having furnished us with those faculties our minds are endowed with, He hath not left Himself without witness: since we have sense, perception, and reason, and cannot want a clear proof of Him, as long as we carry ourselves about us...

II. For man knows that he himself exists. I think it is beyond question, that man has a clear idea of his own being; he knows certainly that he exists, and that he is something. He that can doubt whether he be anything or no, I speak not to; no more than I would argue with pure nothing, or endeavor to convince a nonentity that it were something. If any one pretends to be so skeptical as to deny his own existence, (for really to doubt of it is manifestly impossible,) let him for me enjoy his beloved happiness of being nothing, until hunger or some other pain convince him of the contrary. This, then, I think I may take for a truth, which every one’s certain knowledge assures him of, beyond the liberty of doubting, viz. That he is something that actually exists. [Note well the meaning of “actually,” that is, something that is actual vs. that which does not exist.]

III. He knows also that nothing cannot produce a being; therefore something must have existed from eternity. In the next place, man knows, by an intuitive certainty, that bare nothing can no more produce any real being, than it can be equal to two right angles. If a man knows not that nonentity, or the absence of all being, cannot be equal to two right angles, it is impossible he should know any demonstration in Euclid. If, therefore, we know there is some real being, and that nonentity cannot produce any real being, it is an evident demonstration, that from eternity there has been something; since what was not from eternity had a beginning; and what had a beginning must be produced by something else.

IV. And that eternal Being must be most powerful. Next, it is evident, that what had its being and beginning from another, must also have all that which is in and belongs to its being from another too. All the powers it has must be owing to and received from the same source. This eternal source, then, of all being must also be the source and origin of all power; and so this eternal Being must also be the most powerful.

V. And most knowing. Again, a man finds in himself perception and knowledge. We have then got one step further; and we are certain now that there is not only some being, but some knowing, intelligent being in the world. There was a time, then, where was no knowing being and when knowledge began to be; or else there has been also a knowing being from eternity.

If it be said, there was a time when no being had any knowledge, when that eternal being was void of understanding; I reply, that then it was impossible there should ever have been any knowledge: it being as impossible that things wholly void of knowledge, and operating blindly, and without any perception, should produce a knowing being, as it is impossible that a triangle should make itself three angles bigger than two right ones. For it is as repugnant to the idea of senseless matter, that it should put into itself sense, perception, and knowledge, as it is repugnant to the idea of a triangle, that it should put into itself greater angles than two right ones.

VI. And therefore God. Thus, from the consideration of ourselves, and what we infallibly find in our own constitutions, our reason leads us to the knowledge of this certain and evident truth, – That there is an eternal, most powerful, and most knowing Being; which whether any one will please to call God, it matters not. The thing is evident; and from this idea duly considered, will easily be deduced all those other attributes, which we ought to ascribe to this eternal Being.

If, nevertheless, any one should be found so senselessly arrogant, as to suppose man alone knowing and wise, but yet the product of mere ignorance and chance; and that all the rest of the universe acted only by that blind haphazard; I shall leave him that very rational and emphatical rebuke of Tully (1. ii. De Leg.), to be considered at his leisure: “What can be more sillily arrogant and mis-becoming, than for a man to think that he has a mind and understanding in him, but yet in all the universe beside there is no such thing? Or that those things, which with the utmost stretch of his reason he can scarce comprehend, should be moved and managed without any reason at all?” Quid est enim verius, quam neminem esse oportere tam stulte arrogantem, ut in se mentem et rationem putet inesse, in caelo mundoque non putet? Aut ea quae vic summa ingenii [ingenī] ratione comprehendat, nulla ratione moveri puter?

From what has been said, it is plain to me we have a more certain knowledge of the existence of a God, than of anything our senses have not immediately discovered to us. Nay, I presume I may say, that we more certainly know that there is a God, than that there is anything else without us. When I say we know, I mean there is such a knowledge within our reach which we cannot miss, if we will but apply our minds to that…

VIII. Recapitulation – something from eternity. There is no truth more evident than that something must be from eternity. I never yet heard of any one so unreasonable, or that could suppose so manifest a contradiction, as a time wherein there was perfectly nothing. This being of all absurdities the greatest, to imagine that pure nothing, the perfect negation and absence of all beings [Id est, the complete absence of actualities], should ever produce any real existence. [Id est, actualities have potential, where there is no actualities there is no potential, nor can there ever be.]

Of God – His Existence
(Benedict de Spinoza, Ethics, Part I)

DEFINITIONS

1. BY CAUSE of itself, I understand that, [a Being] whose essence involves existence; or that, [a Being] whose nature cannot be conceived unless existing.

2. That thing is called FINITE in its own kind (in suo genere) which can be limited by another thing of the same nature. For example, a body is called finite, because we [may] always conceive another which is greater. So a thought is limited by another thought; but a body is not limited by a thought, not a thought by a body.

3. BY SUBSTANCE, I understand that which is in itself and is conceived through itself; in other words, that, the conception of which does not need the conception of another thing from which it must be formed.

4. BY ATTRIBUTE, I understand that which the intellect perceives of substance, as if constituting its essence [constituting the essence of a substance, not the intellect].

5. BY MODE, I understand the affections of substance, or that which is in another thing through which also it is conceived.

6. BY GOD, I understand Being absolutely infinite, that is to say, [a] substance consisting of infinite attributes, each one of which expresses eternal and infinite essence.

Explanation. I say absolutely infinite but not infinite in its own kind (in suo genere); for of whatever is infinite only in its own kind (in suo genere), we can deny infinite attributes; but to the essence of that which is absolutely infinite pertains whatever expresses essence and involves no negation.

7. That thing is called FREE which exists from the necessity of its own nature alone, and is determined to action by itself alone. That thing, on the other hand, is called necessary, or rather compelled, which by another is determined to existence and action in a fixed and prescribed manner.

8. BY ETERNITY, I understand existence itself, so far as it is conceived necessarily to follow from the definition alone of the eternal thing.

Explanation. For such existence, like the essence of the thing, is conceived as an eternal truth. It cannot therefore be explained by duration or time, even if the duration be conceived without beginning or end.

AXIOMS

1. Everything which is, is either in itself or in another.

2. That which cannot be conceived through another must be conceived through itself.

3. From a given determinate cause an effect necessarily follows; and, on the other hand, if no determinate cause be given, it is impossible that an effect can follow.

4. The knowledge (cognitio) of an effect depends upon and involves the knowledge of the cause.

5. Those things which have nothing mutually in common with one another cannot through one another be mutually understood, that is to say, the conception of the other. [A blind man cannot understand the sense of sight merely through the sense of hearing; nor can a deaf man understand the sense of hearing merely through the sense of sight.]

6. A true idea must agree with that of which it is the idea (*** suo ideato).

7. The essence of that thing which can be conceived as not existing does not involve existence.

PROPOSITIONS

PROPOSITION 1. Substance is by its nature prior to its affections.
DEMONSTRATION. This is evident from Definitions 3 and 5. [That is to say, nothing can have no affections.]

PROPOSITION 2. Two substances having different attributes have nothing in common with one another.
DEMONSTRATION. This is also evident from Definition 3. For each substance must be in itself and must be conceived through itself, that is to say, the conception of one does not involve the conception of the other. [That is to say, if two substances – which are wholly independent of each other – have different attributes, it is self evident that they share nothing in common – the opposite of proper – with each other.] Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 3. If two things have nothing in common with one another, one cannot be the cause of the other.
DEMONSTRATION. If they have nothing mutually common with one another, they cannot (Axiom 5) through one another be mutually understood, and therefore (Axiom 4) one cannot be the cause of the other. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 4.Two or more distinct things are distinguished from one another, either by the difference of the attributes of the substances, or by the difference of their affections.
DEMONSTRATION. Everything which is, is either in itself or in another (Axiom 1), that is to say (Definitions 3 & 5), outside the intellect there is nothing but substances and their affections. There is nothing therefore outside the intellect by which a number of things can be distinguished one from another, but substances or (which is the same thing by Definition 4) their attributes and their affections. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 5. In nature there cannot be two or more substances of the same nature or attribute.
DEMONSTRATION. If there were two or more distinct substances, they must be distinguished one from the other by difference of attributes or difference of affections (Proposition 4). If they are distinguished only by difference of attributes, it will be granted that there is but one substance of the same attribute. But if they are distinguished by difference of affections, since substance is prior by nature to its affections (Proposition 1), the affections therefore being placed on one side, and the substance being considered in itself, or, in other words, (Definition 3 and Axiom 6), truly considered, it cannot be conceived as distinguished from another substance, that is to say (Proposition 4), there cannot be two or more substances, but only one possessing the same nature or attribute. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 6.One substance cannot be produced by another substance.
DEMONSTRATION. There cannot in nature be two substances of the same attribute (Proposition 5), that is to say (Proposition 2), two which have anything in common with one another. And therefore (Proposition 3) one [substance] cannot be the cause of the other, that is to say, one [substance] cannot be produced by the other [substance]. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 7. It pertains to the nature of substance to exist.
DEMONSTRATION. There is nothing by which substance can be produced (Proposition 6). It will therefore be the cause of itself, that is to say (Definition 1), its essence necessarily involves existence, or in other words it pertains to its nature to exist. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 8. Every substance is necessarily infinite.
DEMONSTRATION. Substance which has only one attribute cannot exist except as one substance (Proposition 6), and to the nature of this one substance it pertains to exist (Proposition 7). It must therefore from its nature exist as finite or infinite. But it cannot exist as finite substance, for (Definition 2) it must (if finite) be limited by another substance of the same nature, which also must necessarily exist (Proposition 7), and therefore would be two substances of the same attribute, which is absurd (Proposition 5). It exists therefore as infinite substance. Q.E.D.

Scholium 1. Since finiteness is in truth partly negation, and infinitude absolute affirmation of existence of some kind, it follows from Proposition 7 alone that all substance must be infinite.

Scholium 2. I fully expect that those who judge things confusedly, and who have not been accustomed to cognise things through their first causes, will find it difficult to comprehend the demonstration of the 7th Proposition, since they do not distinguish between the modifications of substances and substances themselves, and are ignorant of the manner in which things are produced.
Hence it comes to pass that they erroneously ascribe to substances a beginning like that which they see belongs to natural things; for those who are ignorant of the true causes of things confound every thing, and without any mental repugnance represent trees speaking like men, or imagine that men are made out of stones as well as begotten from seed, and that all forms can be changed one into the other. So also those who confound human nature with the divine, readily attribute to God human affects, especially so long as they are ignorant of the manner in which affects are produced in the mind. But if men would attend to the nature of substance, they could not entertain a single doubt of the truth of Proposition 7; indeed this proposition would be considered by all to be axiomatic, and reckoned among common notions.
For by “substance” would be understood that which is in itself and is conceived through itself, or, in other words, that, the knowledge of which does not need the knowledge of another thing.
But by “modifications” would be understood those things which are in another thing – those things, the conception of which is formed from the conception of the thing in which they are. Hence we can have true ideas of non-existent modifications, since although they may not actually exist outside the intellect, their essence nevertheless is so comprehended in something else, that they may be conceived through it.
But the truth of substances is not outside the intellect unless in the substances themselves, because they are conceived through themselves.
If any one, therefore, were to say that he possessed a clear and distinct, that is to say, a true idea of substance, and that he nevertheless doubted whether such a substance exists, he would forsooth be in the same position as if he were to say that he had a true idea and nevertheless doubted whether or not it was false (as is evident to any one who pays a little attention).
Similarly, if any one were to affirm that substance is created, he would affirm at the same time that a false idea had become true, and this is a greater absurdity than can be conceived.
It is therefore necessary to admit that, the existence of substance, like its essence, is an eternal truth.
Hence a demonstration (which I have thought worth while to append) by a different method is possible, showing that there are not to substances possessing the same nature.
But in order to prove this methodically it is to be noted: 1. That the true definition of any one thing neither involves nor expresses anything except the nature of the thing defined. From which it follows, 2. That a definition does not involve or express any certain number of individuals, since it expresses nothing but the nature of the thing defined. For example, the definition of a triangle expresses nothing but the simple nature of a triangle, and not any certain number of triangles. 3. It is to be observed that of every existing thing there is some certain cause by reason of which it exists. 4. Finally, it is to be observed that this cause, by reason of which a thing exists, must either be contained in the nature itself and definition of the existing thing (simply because it pertains to the nature of the thing to exist), or it must exist outside the thing.
This being granted, it follows that if a certain number of individuals exist in nature, there must necessarily be a cause why those individuals, and neither more nor fewer, exist.
If, for example, there are twenty men in existence (whom, for the sake of greater clearness, I suppose existing at the same time, and that no others existed before them), it will not be sufficient, in order that we may give a reason why twenty men exist, to give a cause for human nature generally; but it will be necessary, in addition, to give a reason why neither more nor fewer than twenty exist, since, as we have already observed, under the third head, there must necessarily be a cause why each exists.
But this cause (as we have shown under the second and third heads) cannot be contained in human nature itself, since the true definition of a man does not involve the number twenty, and therefore (by the fourth head) the cause why these twenty men exist, and consequently the cause of why each exists, must necessarily lie outside each one; and therefore we must conclude generally that whenever it is possible for several individuals of the same nature to exist, there must necessarily be an external cause for their existence.
Since now it pertains to the nature of substance to exist (as we have shown in this Scholium), its definition must involve necessary existence, and consequently from its definition alone its existence must be concluded.
But from its definition (as we have already shown under the second and third heads) the existence of more substances than one cannot be deduced.
It follows, therefore, from this definition necessarily that there cannot be two substances possessing the same nature.

PROPOSITION 9. The more reality or being a thing possesses, the more attributes belong to it.
DEMONSTRATION. This is evident from Definition 4. [For as attributes constitute a thing’s essence to the intellect, the more “essence” a thing has, a corresponding number of attributes is perceived by the intellect.]

PROPOSITION 10. Each attribute of a substance must be conceived through itself.
DEMONSTRATION. For an attribute is that which the intellect perceives of substance, as if constituting its essence (Definition 4), and therefore (Definition 3) it must be conceived through itself. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 11. God, or substance consisting of infinite attributes, each one of which expresses eternal and infinite essence, necessarily exists.
DEMONSTRATION. If this be denied, conceive, if it is possible that God does not exist. Then it follows (Axiom 7) that His essence does not involve existence. But this (Proposition 7) is absurd. Therefore God necessarily exists. Q.E.D.

Another proof. For the existence or non-existence of everything there must be a reason or cause. For example, if a triangle exists, there must be a reason or cause why it exists; and if it does not exist, there must be a reason or cause which hinders its existence or which negates it.
But this reason or cause must either be contained in the nature of the thing or lie outside it. For example, the nature of the thing itself shows the reason why a square circle does not exist, the reason being that a square circle involves a contradiction. And the reason, on the other hand, why substance involves existence (see Proposition 7).
But the reason why a circle or triangle exists or does not exist is not drawn from their nature, but from the order of corporeal nature generally; for from that it must follow, either that a triangle necessarily exists, or that is impossible for it to exist. But this is self evident.
Therefore it follows that if there be no cause nor reason which hinders a thing from existing, it exists necessarily. If, therefore, there be no reason nor cause which hinders God from existence, or which negates His existence, we must conclude absolutely that He exists.
But if there be such a reason or cause, it must be either be in the nature itself of God or must lie outside it, that is to say, in another substance of another nature. For if the reason lay in a substance of the same nature, the existence of God would by this very fact admitted.
But substance possessing another nature could have nothing in common with God (Proposition 2), and therefore could not give Him existence nor negate it.
Since, therefore, the reason or cause which could negate the divine existence cannot be outside the divine nature, it will necessarily, supposing that the divine nature does not exist, be in His Nature itself, which would therefore involve a contradiction.
But to affirm this of the Being absolutely infinite and consummately perfect is absurd. Therefore neither in God nor outside God is there any cause or reason which can negate His existence, and therefore God necessarily exists. Q.E.D.

Another proof. Inability to exist is impotence, and, on the other hand, ability to exist is power, as is self-evident. If, therefore, there is nothing which necessarily exists excepting things finite, it follows that things finite are more powerful than the absolutely infinite Being, and this (as is self evident) is absurd; therefore either nothing exists or Being absolutely infinite also necessarily exists.
But we ourselves exist, either in ourselves or in something else which necessarily exists (Axiom 1 & Proposition 7). Therefore the Being absolutely infinite, that is to say (Definition 6), God, necessarily exists. Q.E.D.

Scholium. In this last demonstration I wished to prove the existence of God a posteriori, in order that the demonstration be the more easily understood, and not because the existence of God does not follow a priori from the same grounds.
For since ability to exist is power, it follows that the more reality belongs to the nature of anything, the greater is the power for existence it derives from itself; and it also follows, therefore, that the Being absolutely infinite, or God, has from Himself an absolutely infinite power of existence, and that He therefore necessarily exists.
Many persons, nevertheless, will perhaps not be able easily to see the force of this demonstration, because they have been accustomed to contemplate those things alone which flow from external causes, and they see also that those things which are quickly produced from these causes, that is to say, which easily exist, easily perish, whilst, on the other hand, they adjudge those things to be more difficult to produce, that is to say, not so easy to bring into existence, to which they conceive more properties pertain.
In order that these prejudices may be removed, I do not need here to show in what respect this saying, “What is quickly made perishes,” is true, nor to inquire whether, looking at the whole of nature, all things are or are not equally easy.
But this only it will be sufficient for me to observe, that I do not speak of things which are produced by external causes, but that I speak of substances alone which (Proposition 6) can be produced by no external cause.
For whatever perfection or reality those things may have which are produced by external causes, whether they consist of many parts or of few, they owe it all to the virtue of an external cause alone and not from their own.
On the other hand, whatever perfection substance has is due to no external cause.
Therefore its existence must follow from its nature alone, and is therefore nothing else than its essence.
Perfection consequently does not prevent the existence of a thing, but establishes it; imperfection, on the other hand, prevents existence, and so of no existence can we be more sure than of the existence of the Being absolutely infinite or perfect, that is to say, God.
For since His essence shuts out all imperfection and involves absolute perfection, for this very reason all cause of doubt concerning His existence is taken away, and the highest certainty concerning it is given, – a truth which I trust will be evident to any one who bestows only moderate attention.

  • 117 Replies
FishPreferred
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No. For a thing in motion is in motion when it is sustained in motion by the Sustaining Principle, yet since it does not exist the next second yet, if it doesn't exist in the next second, it is not a change from existence to non-existence, in the sense that its existence was not sustained to that point in time.
Ridiculous. In what conceivable way does going from existing to not existing not constitute a change? Are you trying to say that the universe with this thing is completely indistinguishable from the universe without it, or maybe that a thing no longer sustained has retroactively never existed?

Well then I shall restate myself. We do not exist tomorrow, nor do we exist the next second.
And I shall offer the following retort: We shall exist tomorrow, and we shall exist the next second. The ball is in your court.

You misunderstand actuality.
You misdefined actuality.

For if I exist next year (for instance) why am I still in my present state of existence [...]
Because next year isn't now. Really, it's not that difficult a concept to grasp.

[...] since next year's me is already actual?
No, that's just the present tense gimmick again.

Agency is existence, to be sustained is far from existing.
Equivocation is a fallacy. You didn't raise this objection when discussing the existence of ordinary things. You can't change the meaning of the term here just to avoid explaining how your impossible Principle can exist without contradicting itself, so explain.

You don't exist the next moment.
That's just your unsupportable assumption. But, by all means, do feel free to make some attempt to support it in any way at some time in the near or distant future.

IF (A) is potential, and (B) causes it to exist, then if (A) exists then (B) must exist.
IF (A) potentially exists, then (A) cannot actualize itself, nor the potential of its continued existence.
THEREFORE IF (A) continues to exist (B) sustains it AND (B) exists.
BECAUSE (A) cannot exist the next moment without (NON-A) actualizing it.
IF (A) is not potential, your entire argument immediately falls apart.
THEREFORE IF (U) continue to churn out ipse dixits, (I) will have to conclude that (U) have no interest in engaging in an actual discussion on this matter.

@Doombreed [proceeds to quote HahiHa]
Seriously, why do you keep doing that?

However, it must be acknowledged that a thing's continued existence is (in his definition) potential, [...]
No, because that has nothing to do with how he defined it.

[...] and that (from his proofs) a thing cannot actualize itself, therefore, if a thing continues to move from potence to actuality another actualized this movement.
No, that's a false dichotomy. Something you should be well aware of, since you're arguing for a thing existing without any cause at all.

Firstly, you may think what you may, but mere thought is not knowledge nor is it necessarily true.
Indeed, which is why I've been telling you to support those assertions you've been repeating over the last several months.

Secondly, you're taking their explanations to be the correct definition of what Aristotle said and meant, [...]
As are you. So, whose particular brand of Aristotle are you hopelessly indoctrinated into?

Thirdly, such unsubstantiated statements with lack of evidencing ground-material is unacceptable in a metaphysical debate.
Right, so how about you try not using them yourself?
Ntech
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@FishPreferred


Ridiculous. In what conceivable way does going from existing to not existing not constitute a change? Are you trying to say that the universe with this thing is completely indistinguishable from the universe without it, or maybe that a thing no longer sustained has retroactively never existed?

It does not change from actuality to potence, which would be change, but does not move from potence to actuality. For it is not actual before it is actualized, and the next moment its existence is potential.


And I shall offer the following retort: We shall exist tomorrow, and we shall exist the next second. The ball is in your court.

Yet we do not exist, you claim that we "shall," and that is merely an observation about the tendencies of causality/sustinance by the Sustaining Principle, not proving or disproving it.


That's just your unsupportable assumption. But, by all means, do feel free to make some attempt to support it in any way at some time in the near or distant future.

Because if you did, there would be two yous.


IF (A) is not potential, your entire argument immediately falls apart.

Yet a things continued existence, as it is not actual, is potential.


So, whose particular brand of Aristotle are you hopelessly indoctrinated into?

Thomistic thought, derived from Aristotelaic foundations, the continuity of which is self-evident.

FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
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It does not change from actuality to potence, which would be change, but does not move from potence to actuality. For it is not actual before it is actualized, and the next moment its existence is potential.
In other words, things are constantly changing by staying the same.
... Okay, sure, let's go with that.

A thing in motion can't just suddenly not be in motion, because that would mean a discontinuity in the state of the universe came from literally out of nowhere.

Yet we do not exist, you claim that we "shall," and that is merely an observation about the tendencies of causality/sustinance by the Sustaining Principle, not proving or disproving it.
No, it isn't. It's a simple statement about the future. It doesn't have to prove or disprove anything because your Sustaining Principle is untenable and unfounded, as we discussed.

Because if you did, there would be two yous.
1 No, there wouldn't.
2 That does nothing to validate your assertion, regardless.

Yet a things continued existence, as it is not actual, is potential.
No, it isn't. That is yet again the same unsupportable assumption.

Thomistic thought, derived from Aristotelaic foundations, [...]
Nope, that's only what the Establishment has deluded you into believing. Try again.

[...]the continuity of which is self-evident.
If so, you certainly haven't represented it at all accurately.
Ntech
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@FishPreferred


A thing in motion can't just suddenly not be in motion, because that would mean a discontinuity in the state of the universe came from literally out of nowhere.

True. Yet that thing is not in motion until actualized that moment, and is in movement only when it is moved -- it is actual only when actualized, and is not the next moment.


1 No, there wouldn't.

If both an unripe apple, and the ripe apple of the future, were actual, then there would be two apples.


2 That does nothing to validate your assertion, regardless.

You exist when you're being moved from potence to actuality, but when you're not moved, you don't exist.

No, it isn't. That is yet again the same unsupportable assumption.

Since it is possible for that thing to continue to exist ( in that it is possible for it to be actualized the next moment ) then that thing's existence is potential.

HahiHa
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HahiHa
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@Ntech I had replied to you, the post is at the end of last page if you want to address it.

Although I think I never actually asked explicitly, and you have not given a straight answer, so before anything else I'd like to ask: your arguments on motion, actuality and potentiality, are they based on Aristotle's metaphysics?

If yes (and especially since you previously put such an emphasis on providing "evidencing ground-material" for metaphorical debates) can you please disclose to everyone here which parts of his metaphysics you're basing yourself on and how it relates to your own arguments? That would be really helpful.

Ntech
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Ntech
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@Hahiha


Although I think I never actually asked explicitly, and you have not given a straight answer, so before anything else I'd like to ask: your arguments on motion, actuality and potentiality, are they based on Aristotle's metaphysics?

No, though it uses similar terminology.

I'll try to explain my view of existence.

Fistly, there is the actual and the potential (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potentiality_and_actuality)

What is actual is said to exist, as we are informed of their actuality by
our senses.

Now a thing cannot actualize itself, and a thing's continued existence is potential, for it's continued existence is not actual the moment it is actual, for the possibilities of it continuing to exist -- and not existing -- are not yet actualized.

Therefore, if a thing continues to move from potence to actuality, then another must constantly actualize (sustain) its movement/existence.

That thing is the Sustinant Principle.

HahiHa
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HahiHa
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Now I'm confused, because the wiki article you linked to is about Aristotle's metaphysics, yet you just said that was not the basis of your argument.

FishPreferred
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Archduke

Yet that thing is not in motion until actualized that moment, and is in movement only when it is moved -- it is actual only when actualized, and is not the next moment.
I accounted for how matter stays in motion independent of any external influence. Since you agree with the truth of this, it should be clear that objects do not need to be sustained.

If both an unripe apple, and the ripe apple of the future, were actual, then there would be two apples.
That apple grew from the actual pericarp layer of a plant ovary over several days, and remained actual throughout the entire process. Therefore, by your reasoning, there is a multitude - if not an infinite series - of unripe apples of the past leading up to the apple of the present, so if you have a problem with things existing in multiple instances, the blame lies entirely with your reasoning.

You exist when you're being moved from potence to actuality, but when you're not moved, you don't exist.
1 No.
2 That's the assertion you started with. It cannot validate itself.

Since it is possible for that thing to continue to exist ( in that it is possible for it to be actualized the next moment ) then that thing's existence is potential.
No, it isn't. That is yet again the exact same unsupportable assumption.

Are you just hoping that I'll eventually stop responding so you can pretend that you "won the argument"? If that is the case, I have some unfortunate news:
1 This is hilarious. It always brightens my day to see some guy on the internet trying to prove what more than a century of professional scholars have known to be unprovable.
2 Hitchens's razor.
3 Evading any discussion of your position is how you lose an argument. The only way, in fact, aside from presenting no position to argue.
HahiHa
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HahiHa
8,016 posts
Viceroy

Let me try to formulate what I think is the main issue here...

The potential of an object is in itself actual. For to have the potential to become something means being in a state that allows for this to happen. As such, an object's potential is part of its actual existence. Ergo, it cannot be a separate state to which the object would need to be "actualized"; ergo, a sustaining principle would be redundant.

Ntech
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Ntech
228 posts
Farmer

@Hahiha,

I use a method derived partly from Aristotelean method, perfected by Aquinas.

@FishPreferred


I accounted for how matter stays in motion independent of any external influence.

Matter, that is moved from potence to actuality, does have characteristics such as position in "space," yet movement through "space" does not constitute a existential event.


That apple grew from the actual pericarp layer of a plant ovary over several days, and remained actual throughout the entire process. Therefore, by your reasoning, there is a multitude - if not an infinite series - of unripe apples of the past leading up to the apple of the present, so if you have a problem with things existing in multiple instances, the blame lies entirely with your reasoning.

The apple that is not ripe, and the apple that is ripe -- a few months later -- are both the same being, but composed of matter (some of which is original) arranged in a different way. But for that apple to continue to exist to ripeness, something must have sustained its existence to that point.


1 No.
2 That's the assertion you started with. It cannot validate itself.

It is firstly self evident, secondly a fact:

You exist when you are actual, yet the next second you are not actual, and since you can be actual the next second, that potential must be actualized fro you to continue to exist. If you are not actualized the next second, that is not a change from existing (since you have not existed the next second) to nothing.


Are you just hoping that I'll eventually stop responding so you can pretend that you "won the argument"? If that is the case, I have some unfortunate news:
1 This is hilarious. It always brightens my day to see some guy on the internet trying to prove what more than a century of professional scholars have known to be unprovable.

I am trying to help you understand, and until you believe in God, I have been unsuccessful.

@Hahiha


The potential of an object is in itself actual. For to have the potential to become something means being in a state that allows for this to happen. As such, an object's potential is part of its actual existence. Ergo, it cannot be a separate state to which the object would need to be "actualized"; ergo, a sustaining principle would be redundant.

The potential of an object is not actual, it is potential. Potentiality is not a state of being, it is how we deem possibility.

The potential doesn't become something, but the actual actualize the potential -- the potential ripe apple, if actualized, is that apple -- but now ripe.

An object's potential is not part of its actual existence, else it would be actual. And as there are infinite potentials, there would exist infinite actualities were this so. Yet, only one unripe apple exists, and no squashed, smashed, dirty, painted, or chopped apples (which are potentials of it).

The sustaining principle actualizes the potentials of continued existence. In that continued existence, those objects that exist interact with each other, forming new potential existences (as well as sometimes taking away the potentials of another's existence).

HahiHa
online
HahiHa
8,016 posts
Viceroy

@Ntech

I use a method derived partly from Aristotelean method, perfected by Aquinas.

Could you elaborate? While you use similar terminology, your potentiality/actuality is different to the one Aristotle uses in his metaphysics, at least as far as my understanding goes. So I don't see the link between the two.

The potential of an object is not actual, it is potential. Potentiality is not a state of being, it is how we deem possibility.

An object necessarily has to possess an actual potential to become something, in order to achieve that something in the future. If it does not have potential now, that potential cannot be realized.

The potential doesn't become something, but the actual actualize the potential -- the potential ripe apple, if actualized, is that apple -- but now ripe.

No, the apple has the potential to ripen and become a ripe apple, because the apple exists before the ripe apple. What you say implies that a potential future state has to be actualized, meaning that it has to exist already. That makes no sense.

An object's potential is not part of its actual existence, else it would be actual. And as there are infinite potentials, there would exist infinite actualities were this so.

1. I am not saying that the potential object is actual, I am saying that the potential in itself is actual. The unripe apple has an actual potential to ripe, otherwise how could it ripe if it didn't have that potential?
2. On the contrary, considering the point above, it is your view of things that would necessarily imply an infinite amount of potential states to which a thing would have to be actualized. But in reality, the potential of an object - i.e. the ability to change - is in itself actual.
FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
3,144 posts
Archduke

Matter, that is moved from potence to actuality, does have characteristics such as position in "space," yet movement through "space" does not constitute a existential event.
So?

The apple that is not ripe, and the apple that is ripe -- a few months later -- are both the same being, but composed of matter (some of which is original) arranged in a different way.
So?

But for that apple to continue to exist to ripeness, something must have sustained its existence to that point.
Yeah: The tree, which supplies it with the material it needs to grow into a healthy apple, at which point it ripens and falls off.
Getting back to the topic, if the apple's future existence creates additional apples, it's past existence (which is necessarily actual) should logically do the same. Everything in existence should then be leaving a trail of existential debris wherever it goes, so why don't we see that happening? Is it time bandits? Langoliers? How do you explain this absence of past objects cluttering up the present?

It is firstly self evident, secondly a fact:
[...]
Wrong on both counts. It is not evident, and simply an unfounded assumption that you're desperately clinging to. But let's examine your reasoning, anyway:

You exist when you are actual, yet the next second you are not actual, and since you can be actual the next second, that potential must be actualized fro you to continue to exist. If you are not actualized the next second, that is not a change from existing (since you have not existed the next second) to nothing.
So if, for example, a fetus is produced in the womb, it would be entirely up to the Sustaining Principle whether that fetus continues to exist or not. In which case, a physical interaction of matter that appears to terminate the fetus is actually just the subsequent actualization by the Sustaining Principle of that possible future, instead of another where the fetus survives.
How does the Sustaining Principle pick one potential over another?

I am trying to help you understand, and until you believe in God, I have been unsuccessful.
Here's a tip that might be of use to you: If your last 10 repetitions of the same ipse dixit did not convince me, the next 10 repititions will most likely also not convince me. Maybe you should try a different approach.

The potential of an object is not actual, it is potential. Potentiality is not a state of being, it is how we deem possibility.
The potential doesn't become something, but the actual actualize the potential -- the potential ripe apple, if actualized, is that apple -- but now ripe.
It's the actual state of the apple that gives it that potential. Apples do not potentially become sapphires, helicopters, or plesiosaurs, because those transitions aren't made possible for apples by their chemical nature and the resources available to them. Therefore, having the potential to ripen is in fact a state of being.

An object's potential is not part of its actual existence, else it would be actual.
If a potential is not itself actual, no object would be able to possess that potential (as no such potential exists for the object to have). This would make the actualization of any potential contingent on actualizing its potential potential; an infinite continuum of causal events. This, as you may recall, is something that Thomas Aquinas deemed impossible.
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