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The ontological argument for the existence of God views that logic is the reason behind how everyone understands of the existence of God. Based on this argument, the physical search for evidence about the existence pf God does not matter but pure thinking about this existence is just enough. In the philosophical arena this notion is regarded to as priori arguments. Philosophers have proved that there are some given claims which can be refute without even finding whether there is evidence of their existence or not. These philosophers used a triangle to demonstrate this phenomenon. They claim that we do not need to have enough knowledge or idea to understand the number of sides that a triangle has. If one came up with a notion that the triangle has four sides therefore, such a statement will never be true (Gale, 1991). The concept of ontological argument in the existence of God therefore is likened to the phenomenon of the triangle in that no one is really sure whether he really exists or not.
In order to prove that God really exists, there are some obvious things which need to be put into consideration. One of the aspects is getting to know whether there is the aspect of being ‘all powerful.’ This can easily be proved because part of the meaning of God is being ‘all powerful.’ To name an object which is not all powerful God would therefore mean giving an attribute that does not belong to it and can be likened to calling a three sided triangle a four sided triangle. God is also used to mean perfect and therefore the ontological views assert that any object which is termed as perfect contravenes the law of God (Gale, 1991).
Kant refutes the idea which was introduced by the ontological philosophers about the existence of God based on pure reason. His objection was based on the premise number three which was put forward by the ontologisms. This premise states that anything that is conceived in the mind of an individual and exists in the real world cannot be likened to anything which only exists in the mind alone (Kant, 1900). This premise has two aspects; one is that assuming an object to really exist makes things to be better than it would have otherwise be perceived. Secondly being in existence is a property in itself.
Kant’s argument is that the ontological argument suffers from error and logic because the idea of a being does not merely mean something which cannot be seen, but it also implies something which can be felt. He thus mentions that the attribute ‘God is omnipotent’ can be seen in two dimensions, one as content and the other as an object. This means God is there and can be seen by the acts and the nature which he rules over it. Kant in essence implies that the idea of being implies looking at a subject with all its predicates and not merely looking at a single part of the issue (Kant, 1900).
According to my views, deism is a more rational and logical view of the existence of God. This philosophical and religious belief explains that the universe and everything on it was created by a supreme being and that observation and reason can be utilized so as to proof this fact. Individuals with this belief further assert that there is no need for an organized religion or faith so as to understand the existence of the given being, but by making pure observation, the proof can be made. I agree with this notion because it is built on both the critical and constructive elements. The critical elements include the rejection of facts about religions which are written on books and rejection of miracles and prophesy which try and explain the existence of God because they could be false prophesies. The constructive elements include the idea that God governs and he is the one who created the Universe, that he behind the reasoning of every human being, that he is concerned about human beings behaving morally and that he is behind any issue that happens in the lives of people (Gale, 1991).
The pragmatic theory of knowledge states that some given findings and theories are very important in understanding certain values and goals while some other goals are not desirable and should not be allowed into the system of education. In essence this theory states that the final product of knowledge should be found by basing on the goals and norms which support the educational system. Pragmatic theory of knowledge often poses on the truth of a matter regardless of the situation. This truth is often found at the end of a phenomenon which is often determined by considering the claim that is given. So as to easily understand what pragmatic knowledge is all about, it is critical to understand that what is found to be true at the end should not be different from what was perceived (Habermas, 2003). This theory therefore is concerned with the uncovering of interests, goals, consequences and goals. This is not the case with rationalists, empiricists and historinicism.
A summary of the pragmatist theory of knowledge can be made by considering several aspects. One is that man is the main actor who exists in the socio-cultural and physical world. This existence is what constitutes to the priori of human knowledge and thus knowledge comes about as a result of living and acing in the environment. Pragmatic knowledge, once developed in an individual leads to a determinant which is determined internally. Pragmatist’s theory also states that the continuous interaction of knowledge and action leads to experience which later leads to actions which lead to success. Since this theory is based on factual, procedural and value knowledge, these three aspects of knowledge are interrelated in such a manner that they determine the existence of man (Habermas, 2003). Having one form of this knowledge will imply having another and therefore creation of an all rounded person.
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How was Pragmatism philosophically distinct from the "classical" theories of knowledge espoused by Descartes and Hume?
The classical ideas which were espoused by Descartes and Hume were different from the pragmatic view in several ways. Although the pragmatic views show that values and theories were very critical in any form of learning, Descartes and Hume had different ideas. First, they argued that other means apart from values and theories could be used to learn. Descartes especially claimed that the idea about the existence of God does not need any form of theory so as to learn about it. He mentioned that the most important aspect in understanding issues perceives them as a reality. He claimed that if something really expresses the existence of another issue, then the object should be taken with a lot of reality. Descartes did not however feel that there exists an innate of ideas in any argument (Rescher, 1995).
To support this idea, Hume asserted that ideas in individuals come as a result of impressions and not values just as the pragmatists explained. These expressions, as he put can be divided into two groups namely reflection which we gain from our own ideas that we explain and sensation which we often develop from external causes which are unknown to us. Any expression that we develop however often comes from ideas that we develop and for them to be considered real, we need to use some vivacity and force. Hume saw imagination as the main aspect which makes believe that reality really exists (Rescher, 1995). This imagination, as these two philosophers put, is what it makes the logical ideas to flow in the mind of people. Hume and Descartes further explained that we use our ideas so much in understanding things that we cannot see and we must realize that the already existing experiences which we have play a bigger role in understanding the general learning which takes place in us.
According to Socrates, the theory of knowledge is a recollection of all the ideas which we have encountered since the time we were young. Socrates asserted that even before we were born, we had the knowledge which we use while we are living. He further mentioned that there is nothing new that we are taught, instead we are always reminded the things we have ever encountered when we meet new things. So as to prove this, Socrates used the example of the soul as immortal, has been involved in several births and has encountered several new things in the world that it did not know before. An example that Socrates gave so as to proof this theory is that of Meno's Paradox which states that any person can never search for the things which he is familiar with, because he knows that there is no reason to search for it (Brickhouse and Smith, 2000).
To illustrate Meno’s paradox, Socrates demonstrated the geometrical proposition by use of an un-schooled servant. He draws a square and informs the boy to go ahead and construct twice as bigger as the square drawn. Although the boy has no idea initially, eventually he thinks that by extending the edges, the square can be made bigger. The final observation by Socrates is that the boy did not obtain his geometrical skills by learning but by a recollection of some other given real phenomenon (Brickhouse and Smith, 2000). Every time, Socrates asked him to come up with a concept, he taught about it before trying implying that knowledge is a matter of recollecting some given phenomena.
Why does Locke take the opposing view, asserting there are no innate ideas?
Locke in his work ‘An Essay Concerning Human Understanding,’ asserted that there are no innate ideas that an individual possesses since birth. His view is that a person acquires knowledge from perception which comes from the external surroundings and mostly from the experiences which an individual undergoes before developing a sense of what is learnt in the classroom (Brickhouse and Smith, 2000). In his defense, Locke first used the idea of consent. Those who were based on innate reasoning claimed that some ideas which were common in everybody, came from the inside part of individuals.
Locke however opposed this by mentioning that even though an idea could be accepted and very logical if seen, its innateness could not be easily proved. He gave an example of a triangle in which he mentioned that the fact that it has three sides does not need to be innate although it can easily be universally accepted. He argued that there are no ideas or notions which are universally accepted and if there were, then they would not need to be innate. According to Locke, children do not have any idea of what the truth is especially in identifying a phenomenon and classifying it into a given category. He therefore concluded that in children, such an idea cannot be innate in them (Jolley, 1999).
What are the things that Locke argues that we can really, truly know?
The things that Locke feels like we need to know include understanding that the moral rules in place nee to be straightforward even if it means not following what the conscience drives us to. He argues that we need not to follow the conscience because we come from different cultures which have totally different rules and backgrounds and one culture can never be the same as the other. Locke also advocated for everybody to know the extent of their freedom and the nature in which it needs to be taken (Jolley, 1999). He says that we need to know about freedom, the property rights and the law of nature so as to be able to live harmoniously with others.
A deductive logic is an argument which is based on the notion that it is impossible for certain premises to be true but at the same time it is possible for the conclusion to be false. In essence, deductive logic is that form of reasoning whereby some factors need to be eliminated so as to reach at some conclusion. It is true to conclude that a man who will faint when he sees some drop of blood is likely not to become an axe murder. This is a deductive form of reasoning. As is seen in this example, when the premises are found to be true, then the conclusion is almost very possible (Minto, 2006). If an argument is created in a deductive form, then it becomes true that the conclusion will follow. If the conclusion is rejected, then that will mean rejecting logic itself. In deductive logic therefore, it is true that certain factors need to be eliminated so as to arrive at the best conclusion.
Inductive logic on the other hand is a form of reasoning whereby the premises need to be supported so that the conclusion is found to be true. In this case if the premises are found to be true, then there it is highly probable that the conclusion is also true. Inferences and the premises therefore play a very critical role in determining the conclusion of the whole matter. Those who reason inductively often examine a situation and collect the relevant data so as to come up with a conclusion which is logical (Minto, 2006). An example of this form of reasoning is that it is true to say that a man who is wearing Gideon boots is more likely to be a dancer. The premises for such an argument indicate that it is most probable for the man to be a dancer although this can only be proved when he is really found dancing.
A fallacy is a false reasoning which often emerges from misconceptions of some given issues. Most arguments and reasoning which often elicit an emotional feeling and interlocutor in individuals or that which take advantage of the people’s relationships are often regarded to as fallacies. Arguments which are fallacious are often structured in a manner that they follow a rhetoric pattern and obscure the arguments which are logical in nature (Hansen and Pinto, 1995). This often makes the fallacies created when speaking and writing to be very difficult to diagnose. It is increasingly rare and valuable to identify fallacies when people make some statements, although it also very hard for people to avoid making such errors when they are talking.
The fallacy of Argumentum Ad Hominem is termed as an ‘argument against the person.’ It is an error in reasoning where a person argues in opposition of a claim or a position by attacking the person who makes such statements. The truth or the falsehood of the claim that is made does not depend on the individual who is making it. For example ‘Jone’s theory of electromagnetism cannot be trusted because he is an historian’. The truth or falsehood of this theory is based on who the person is i.e. since Jones is an historian, then it is difficult to trust his theory in the physics field (Hansen and Pinto, 1995).
The fallacy of arguing from authority is based on inductive induction, whereby a statement is thought to be correct by basing on whether the statement is made by a person or is retrieved from a source which is authoritative. A statement like ‘source A says that p is true’ is an example of such a fallacy. The fallacy in this case comes about because the truth of falsehood of the issue in question does not really involve the person or source. An example of such a fallacy is ‘the president has affirmed that the draft constitution is right and therefore should be approved’ (Hansen and Pinto, 1995).
The fallacy of begging the question is an erroneous statement which claims that the premises as well as the conclusion are true as long as there is a valid reason to prove it. An example of this form of fallacious statement is ‘Murder is wrong morally. Therefore, abortion is also wrong morally.’ This argument presumes that the premise is true only if the conclusion is true. This is because such a premise can be linked to the question or origin ‘is abortion immoral?’
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