Jakub Supeł


Sorted by New

Wiki Contributions


the existence of decision-making beings is the best thing ever

I didn't say it's the best thing ever. Why are you misrepresenting what I said?

Effects caused by natural laws aren't "caused by God". They are caused by natural laws. It's not the same thing. God did create natural laws, but they serve a number of good purposes as I began to outline above.

what caused the evils of the Thirty Year War?

Struggle for power between the Habsburgs and France?

Oh, an one more thing. My updated premise 2 is:

2'. Whenever John says that X, then X. ( ∀ X:proposition, says(John, X) ⇒ X )

Note that X here is not a statement (grammatically valid sentence?), but a proposition. John can express it however he likes: by means of written word, by means of a demonstration or example, by means of a telepathy, etc. There is no need, specifically, to convert a proposition to a string or vice versa; as long as (1) is true and we most likely understand what proposition John is trying to convey, we will most likely believe in the correct normative proposition (that, if expressed in a statement, requires an "ought").

"It's all for the best in the end" is not a good argument, no. Such things are justified because the kind of world that serves the purposes God had in mind when creating it (for example, world in which moral agents exist and in which their choices are meaningful, i.e. make a practical difference) requires regular and predictable natural laws, and these (again, in the presence of meaningfully moral agents) have the side-effect of causing suffering from time to time. People have the option of committing good or committing evil, and these options are open to them only because certain actions lead to consequences that are considered good or evil: for example, if I hit my brother with a stone, I know that he might die. Thus if I want to kill my brother, I have the option of hitting him with a stone. This is so because of the presence of natural laws that connect my action to the desired effect. These natural laws also imply that a stone might fall on my brother's head by accident, not thrown by anyone in particular, and he might die. 

A world with meaningfully moral agents is an immensely good world, much better than a world without free agents. It is good that a person has the power to decide on the path the world (or part of it) would take, for it confers on them a creative function, a good in itself. The so-called natural evils(*) are an unfortunate side effect of us being such agents.

(*) The expression natural evil doesn't really sit right with me, because the concept of evil presupposes an agent causing it. Nothing that is inert can be good or evil. It can cause happiness or suffering, but it's not good or evil, strictly speaking.

Of course the above account is not consistent with utilitarian ethics, but utilitarian ethics is rejected by the Bible anyway, so that's not a problem.


For more along these lines I recommend Richard Swinburne, The Existence of God.

Ugh, you are using the language of programming in an area where it doesn't fit. Can you explain what are these funny backslashes, % signs etc.? Why did you name a variable fmtstr instead of simply X?

Anyway - statements obviously exist, so if your theory doesn't allow for them, it's the problem with your theory and we can just ignore it. In my theory, every sentence that corresponds to a proposition (not all do of course), if that sentence is utterred by John, that proposition is true - that's what I mean by John being truthful. There is no additional axiom here, this is just premise 2, rephrased.

"we find out that we used the axiom true(QUOT[ought(X)]) ⇔ ought(X) from the schema. So in order to derive ought(X), we still had to use an axiom with "ought" in it."

But that "axiom", as you call it, is trivially true, as it follows from any sensible definition or understanding of "true". In particular, it follows from the axiom "true(QUOT[X]) ⇔ X", which doesn't have an ought in it.


Moreover, we don't even need the true predicate in this argument (we can formulate it in the spirit of the deflationary theory of truth):

2'. Whenever John says that X, then X. ( ∀ s:proposition, says(John, s) ⇒ s )

What about that thing where you can't derive an "ought" from an "is"? Just from the standpoint of pure logic, we can't derive anything about morality from axioms that don't mention morality. If you want to derive your morality from the existence of God, you still need to add an axiom: "that which God says is moral is moral".


The hypothesis that we can't derive an ougth from an is is not a proven theorem. In fact, it is easy to prove the opposite - we can derive an ought only from purely descriptive statements. Here is how we can do it:

  1. John says that I ought to clean my room.
  2. John always speaks the truth (i.e. never lies and is never mistaken).
  3. Therefore, I ought to clean my room.

Justifying the two premises is of course another matter, but the argument is logically valid and is not circular or anything like that.

God is not a human. Why would the moral duties of humans be applicable to God? 

Edit: unless you meant "God is evil by those moral standards that govern human behaviour". In which case I agree. It's not a very useful statement though. An omnipotent and omniscient being who is a creator of everything has more moral freedom to do to his creation as he pleases. For example, he gave us life (unlike our parents, he is the ultimate creator of it), so he also has the right to take it away.

One flaw with your argument though...

eventually you may see the private prison industry die

you seem to think it would be a good thing? Why?

Load More