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Creating God from Nothing: Fallacy and Subterfuge in Ontological Arguments for the Existence of God

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Book Description

In his second philosophical inquiry, Keith Backman closely analyzes two versions of the Ontological Argument for the existence of God: the original argument as formulated by Anselm of Canterbury in the Eleventh Century, and the Twentieth Century variant proposed by Alvin Plantinga. He unearths and explores fallacies that have not been previously recognized in those arguments. One fallacy entails the improper treatment of characteristics featuring implicitly infinite magnitude as if they possessed a definite measure. Both philosophers indirectly propose that attributes of infinite magnitude should be manipulated, augmented, or aggregated so as to obtain an entity with a magnitude distinguishable from the infinitely great properties of its starting components. The author concisely and lucidly illustrates the error of this kind of reasoning, and its consequences. A second type of fallacy entails the subtle bundling of disparate appreciations of God's existential status, which the philosophers introduce as imaginary for descriptive purposes, but then treat as substantive for purposes of rational argument. In addition to being an explicit equivocation, this implicit reification has the effect of presuming the conclusion sought. Follow along with the author as he pinpoints exactly how and where the quasi-logical sleight-of-hand takes place.

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