Logic as an Argument for the existence of God

Dr. James Anderson of Reformed Theological Seminary, in company with a co-author Greg Welty, has composed one of the most readable versions of this rather recent (all things considered) argument for the existence of God. It can be found here: http://www.proginosko.com/docs/The_Lord_of_Non-Contradiction.pdf

The argument runs something like what follows:

  1. The laws of Logic exist
  2. the laws of logic are essentially thoughts
  3. thoughts always exist in a mind
  4. the laws of logic are necessary thoughts (which obtain in all logically possible worlds)
  5. the laws of logic must exist in a necessary mind (which exists in all logically possible worlds)
  6. A necessary mind is the mind of a maximally great being – a standard definition for God.
  7. Therefore, God exists.

This argument is especially clear and very candidly put forward in the paper. Of course, it has been criticized, and one of the persons who has earned the attention of Dr. Anderson in treating of the argument has been Ben Wallis.

Bracketing the discussion between Ben Wallis and Dr. Anderson, if I may, let me say that I am inclined to think that this is a good (sound) argument, and it invites Christians to reconsider something like the medieval doctrine of Exemplarism.

About tylerjourneaux

I am an aspiring Catholic theologian and philosopher, and I have a keen interest in apologetics. I am creating this blog both in order to practice and improve my writing and memory retention as I publish my thoughts, and in order to give evidence of my ability to understand and communicate thoughts on topics pertinent to Theology, Philosophy, philosophical theology, Catholic (Christian) Apologetics, philosophy of religion and textual criticism.
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5 Responses to Logic as an Argument for the existence of God

  1. Yousuf says:

    Hello Tyler

    Thank you for another topic concerning logic. The argument is also intriguing in
    that the existence of God is purported to follow from the existence of laws of logic.
    I should like to present an objection to the argument.

    The law of say, excluded middle, is an axiom in the sufficiently developed modern
    classical logic by Frege and Russell. This is not so in case of, say, intuitionisitic
    logic (by Brouwer), which is also a sufficiently developed formal system. The
    notion of a law (or rule), then, is internal to a system of logic (and not independent
    of it). But in the argument above, the existence of logical laws seem to be given a
    more robust reality. The existence of the law of excluded middle, for instance, seems
    to be thought as absolute (in the strongest sense). This is, I would argue, a rather
    dubious presumption.

  2. Yes, that is certainly one way to take issue with the argument. However, as I’m sure you read:
    “(Readers who believe that there are no genuine examples of laws of logic should stop
    reading now; this paper is not for you.)”

    That would mean you my friend. 😛

    Also, remember that for a Theist, at least if she is a metaphysical realist, the way we construe Logic is not merely “keeping the appearances” but is supposed to ultimately reflect some reality (in this case not physical reality, but metaphysical reality). Perhaps it would be worth while reflecting on the following thought: how precisely do Ptolemy and Carnap differ?

  3. Yousuf says:

    I had read that sentence more than once. It is not altogether clear to me. You see, from my perspective, laws of logic within their respective deductive systems are as genuine as they could be.

    In my previous post, I mentioned two sufficiently developed logical systems. These systems are purely logical in that they are uninterpreted systems. Even though both deductive systems are sufficiently devolved, the law of, say, excluded middle, is an axiom of one logic, while the same law is neither an axiom nor a theorem of the other logic. My position is that, in such situations, we are free to adopt any logic. The choice is purely practical in this case. I would say that the notion of truth does not apply to purely logical systems. In other words, the question of whether one logical system is true is not a proper question.

    But, it seems to be, that you think one logic is true in the strongest sense of the word? Could you explain why this is so and how are you to determine what logic is the true logic?

    • Logic can no more be true than an argument can be true. However, arguments can be sound, and similarly the Laws of Logic (not any particular logic, notice) are themselves possibly accurate or inaccurate. Hope that helps.

  4. Yousuf says:

    *sufficiently [developed]

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