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Beyond the Control of God?: Six Views on the Problem of God and Abstract Objects (Anglais) Broché – 27 mars 2014


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The question of God's relationship to abstract objects touches on a number of perennial concerns related to the nature of God. God is typically thought to be an independent and self-sufficient being. Further, God is typically thought to be supremely sovereign such that all reality distinct from God is dependent on God's creative and sustaining activity. However, the view that there are abstract objects seems to be a repudiation of this traditional understanding of God. Abstract objects are typically thought to exist necessarily and it is natural to think that if something exists necessarily, it does so because it is its nature to exist. Thus, abstract objects exist independently of God. Philosophers have called this the problem of God and abstract objects.

In this book, six contemporary solutions to the problem are set out and defended against objections. It will be valuable for all students or scholars who are interested in the concept and nature of God.



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8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
One of the most important books with respect to Theism and Metaphysics 17 mai 2014
Par Cornell - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This book is definitely needed, and this is because the relation between God and abstract objects is crucial to whether or not God creates everything or that there are some uncreated objects that exist in the nature of reality, and these are referred to as abstract objects (sets, propositions, properties, relations)

Each author presents an essay in which he argues for the relation between God and abstract objects, heck even atheist philosopher Graham Oppy jumps into the action, and I'm glad he did, because he is one of the best philosophers in modern times.

Here is the Inconsistent Triad as follows:

1) Abstract objects (AOs) exist
2) If AOs exist, then they are dependent on God.
3) If AOs exist, then they are independent of God.

One of these needs to be rejected because these present an obvious tension for anyone who affirms both God and AOs, for there seem to be extremely plausible intuitions in support of each claim.

William Lane Craig takes a nominalist stance and argues for fictionaism. This is the view that statements putatively involving either quantification over abstract objects or singular terms referring to such objects are false, or at least untrue.

Craig states that abstract objects are useful fictions, which is to say that even though no such objects exist, it is useful to talk as though they did.

I'm torn between two views here and I think I lean a bit more towards Modified Theistic activism, though I still think that Theistic conceptual realism is impressive as well.

Greg Welty argues that the Platonist tradition can accommodate AO's being necessarily dependent on God, in virtue of their being uncreated divine ideas that "play the role" of AOs with respect to all created reality. I like this view as well, especially his arguments for a conceptualist approach towards possible worlds and propositions in his chapter.

Paul Gould and Richard Brian Davis put forth a Modified Theistic Activism which aims to give an answer to the Bootstrapping worry that occurs between God and Abstract objects. (i.e, God has properties. If God is the creator of all things, then God is the creator of HIs properties. But God can't create properties unless He already has the property of being able to create a property. Thus, we are ensnared in a vicious explanatory circle. God causes His nature to exist -- a nature He must already possess to do the causing."

Gould and Davis argue that this can be successfully avoided if we endorse these two claims

[A] God's essential platonic properties exist a se (i.e, they are neither created nor sustained by God, yet they inhere in the divine substance); and

[B] Substances are Aristotelian.

Aristotelian substances ensures that the divine substance is a fundamental unity that is the final cause of its constitute metaphysical parts (including divine concepts and essential properties) -- which ensures God's ultimacy.

I find this to be very persuasive, and it makes more sense than Keith Yandell's propositionalism (which is Platonic Theism) and Craig's Nominalism (anti-realism). Remember Craig denies the fact that abstract objects exist, in the sense where he believes that only concrete objects exist.

Graham Oppy states that it really doesn't matter one way or another if abstract objects exist, and Scott Shalkowski agrees with William Lane Craig as he argues his case for the rejection of abstract objects.

All and all this is a great book!!!
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Extremely Important in the area of Theism and Philosophy (: 18 mai 2014
Par Pricilla L. Martinez - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This is an excellent work on the problem of Platonic Abstract Objects and God.

Two huge problems surfaces in connection to God and abstract Objects:
1. If they exist then they seem to exist necessarily thus co-eternally with God, but Christian Theology teaches that God is alone a se that is exists of Himself that is self-existent or independent.
2. Creation Ex-Nihilo
Some add
3. Divine Sovereignty
Though I do not see the last one as a problem as these Objects would be necessary thus it would be logically impossible for God to have created them temporarily, thus is like a squared circle and counts not against God's Sovereignty. Or the problem can be framed as Craig says:
1. God alone is uncreated.
2. Nothing is co-eternal with God.
3. Eternality implies Deity.

Thus Abtract Objects cannot fit those 3 categories.

Anyway the Book opens with an Introduction of the Problem of God and Abstract Objects by Paul M. Gould.

The main part of the book is Divided into 6 sections each of which led by a Scholar (or Scholars in the case of the Second Section) who gives their views and then is followed by the other Scholars in the book critiques followed again by a rebuttal of the author(s) of the section.

I will now note each section and some of my thoughts on it, keep in my I have no degrees in Philosophy and sometimes they didn't make themselves clear so may not have understood it all (though many of the Scholars misunderstood or did not understand one another either at times so not just me, will try my best).

1. God and Propositions by Keith Yandell.

Basically he defends Propositionalism according to which Abstract Objects provide no incompatibility with Christian Theism. He defends the view that one could reject God's Necessity in favor of Plain Theism that is God exists contingently while Abstract Objects exist necessarily, he tackles the Ontological Argument in an attempt to show that Abstract Objects are just as possible on the argument so either may be true, so that either God exists contingently while dependent on the abstract objects or the other way around through emanation (contents of God's thoughts), so that if God is Necessary so is the Abstract Object through emanation. The former view is that God is contingent but eternally existent in that God is dependent on the Abstract Objects who are necessary if they are necessary and necessarily entail that God exists say by a proposition (an Abstract Object) then God exists eternally. If the Abstract Object were not to exist neither would God or vice versa. Since God would have no choice of creating the Abstracta He must operate under Compatibilism not Libertarian Free Will.

I think his view is very weak, William Lane Craig's rebuttal on the Ontological Argument seemed sufficiently strong to me, God cannot be contingent as it is a lesser making property thus destroys the very definition of God. In the Second Option he holds to Compatibilism in which God is causally determined to emanate thus is theologically unacceptable (see Harry Frankfurt, Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility for a better take on God and Freedom).

Also as Scott A. Shalkowski says that essence is not even modal, being more fine-grained then necessary coextension, this to me sounds sufficient of a refutation.

2. Modified Theistic Activism by Paul M. Gould and Richard Brian Davis.

This view tries to be a hybrid of Conceptualism and Absolute Creationism. But seemed to me to be the most confusing (not just me Bill Craig was confused as well). It seems they hold that there are Abstract Objects which are essential platonic properties of God say propositions and concepts within the Divine Mind and others external which are constituents of God's nature which God creates such as properties and relations not exemplified by God (the word cause seems to me to be not temporal causation but nonetheless causal priority, God wills them but to will them one must have thoughts). I think the two decisive critiques were by Scott A. Shalkowski in which the thoughts we have are God's thoughts (even foolish ones so that God thinks foolish thoughts, Paul and Richard's response that they are mere approximations and partial graspings shows how weak their view is).

Graham Oppy provided another crtical critique differentiating tokenings, tokens, and propositions he shows that tokens and propositions need not be mind-dependent. Paul and Richard's response again was a failure they tried to say that if their were no concreta:
(T) The thought that Quine is wise is the same as (P) Quine is wise, this is foolish as they will always have different modal properties such as the second would be different with concreta and so using Leibniz Law of Indiscernible of Identicals they cannot be the same.

3. Theistic Conceptual Realism by Greg Welty

Basically these Objects are God's thoughts and though he calls it realism as others have shown it is actually anti-realism as these would be concrete objects (meaning they stand in causal relations not that they are necessarily physical).

Paul and Richard bring back the same argument used against Yandell namely on Greg's view God had no choice in these Abstract Objects existence. The critical blow I think was by William Lane Craig who challenges the view in comparison to his own and Scott's as well, Oppy also remarks at the fact we think God's thoughts after Him as being a major weakness.

4. Anti-Platonism by William Lane Craig

I think this was the best one of the six and rejects the notion that there really are abstract objects, he goes into the reason why people hold to it and so attacks it at its foundation. He holds to a sort of fictionalism in which the "statements putatively involving either quantification over abstract objects or singular terms referring to such objects are false, or at least untrue." So for example if I said 7>5 "is true" Craig says one can distinguish between a heavy and light reading so that the proposition '7>5 is true' is false or untrue if meant heavily the reason is that when we say 7>5 is true we are not commiting ourselves to a literal mathematical connotation like 7>5 that exists rather it is a useful fiction that helps us imagine something. 7>5 is true can be understood as true lightly however so that one is not commited to an Object or Objects out there called 7>5. This seems lost on Keith Yandell who seems to attack Bill on the statement not being true on Bill's view. He also distinguishes between a semantic ascent like 7>5 is true and says that this can be semantically descended to 7>5. He also views things such as a red fire truck as not commiting oneself, in heavy sense, to an abstract object of the property redness which is fictional, rather redness can simply be explained by normal scientific explanations.

I think all the critiques fail but Craig made me laugh throughout the book as Keith Yandell just assumed his view was false in his essay and Graham Oppy said it didn't deserve serious consideration to where Bill says "I'm not exactly feeling the love here!" Oppy also coined Bill's view Struthioism which he took from David Armstrong calling Michael Devitt's view Ostrich Nominalism (Struthio Camelus is the Ostrich's scientific name). Also Craig actually starts off with Scripture and the Church Fathers showing why holding the Abstract Objects as real is incompatible with Christian Theism. He was also criticized on whether the Good is real but anyone who knows Bill's work knows that Bill holds God is the Good thus is a Concrete not an Abstract Object.

5. God with or without Abstract Objects by Scott A. Shalkowski

Basically the same as Craig's the minor difference is that he seems to hold that statements such as '7>5 is true' is true in a semantic ascent but can be generalized or paragraphed as 7>5 in a semantic descent so that 7>5 is true it is not ontologically committing. However he holds that if Abstract Objects were real they would not be a problem I found Craig's argument against him as sufficient.

6. Abstract Objects? Who Cares! Graham Oppy
The title was just funny and he had a ton of bleeped out words. But anyway he basically holds to Yablo's Figuralism so is near exact as Craig's and Scott's, he holds that '7>5 is true' is true but not ontologically commiting as it is a figure of speech to say it is true (so no 7>5 does not exist somewhere). Anyway Gould/Davis and Welty seem to give a good critique against him on dependency not entailing contingency and vice versa and Welty kept catching him on his naturalistic assumptions. Bill Craig also gave a well timed and placed critique showing that if Abstract Objects were real naturalism could not account for them. He also made some corrections to Oppy. Oppy however took Gould/Davis and Welty to task for holding that we think God's thoughts even the bad ones.

Overall a very difficult book but well worth the buy to get in on the topic extremely useful and helpful on this problem invaluable.
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