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Is utopia or perfection an impossible to reach ideal?

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by Darc, Jul 29, 2017.

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  1. charlatan

    charlatan Community Member

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    Hey wolly! I think the point of the hypothetical is that if God COULD exist, then the concept of perfection isn't incoherent. It may not be realized in our world, though.

    I kind of put this to see if a Popperian analysis suggests an omniscient being is a logically incoherent idea. Of course, if the only sort of possibility one entertains is that it's possible in our world, vs logical possibility, one might not think there's any more to do.
     
  2. charlatan

    charlatan Community Member

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    Hmmm, both these are reasonable. As alternate views:

    - One could call something actual if it exists, vs just possibly existing. Let's say God exists, and without time in the equation. That's a notion of actuality that seems reasonable and is without perishability

    - I find the view of perishability being imperfect pretty interesting. Here's an extreme case: some theists say God is outside of time sans creation but enters time in creation, and indeed, that he can't leave once he's there. Now, suppose God created only time, and nothing else, so God exists in every moment of time, with nothing else existing in time.

    Is such becoming imperfect? Every moment of time is identical, has no flaws (unless its passing, even to an identical state, renders it imperfect still).
     
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  3. Ren

    Ren Pin's android and co-founder of Stoic Café

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    Definitely, but I think that's traditionally implied in the understanding of God, as the perfect synthesis of becoming and being, essence and existence. The thing is, this seems to suggest that a strong Utopia could not contain anything else than God.

    Maybe an alternative would be to embrace Pantheism and claim that we already live in the best possible world. But that also seems to come counter to the idea of Utopia as an ideal place, or something that we could work towards. In a sense, that would defeat the very concept of Utopia, since under this view Utopia would not be nowhere but everywhere.

    This is an interesting thought experiment, but it seems to me to rely on a lot of difficult assumptions. The existence of God, His non-timelessness, and the idea that time is something that can be created, on its own, like a tree or a computer. This seems to me like an illicit reification of time, but I'd have to think about this deeper to unpack a full argument to that end.
     
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  4. Hostarius

    Hostarius Apostate INFJ

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    On time, it would be worth investigating the notion of the 'arrow of time' in physics.

    Time is essentially a property of causality; therefore, no causality (in the above mentioned divine utopia) implies no time.
     
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  5. charlatan

    charlatan Community Member

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    @Ren -- so I'm only talking of the possible existence of God, which honestly seems to me way, way less controversial than the existence in our world. It certainly strikes me as a difficult assumption to argue God's existence is fundamentally impossible. Sure it's not a given that it's possible, but my goal is just to lay out what kinds of arguments might be worth considering! Since we're trying to find out if utopia is possible (and I mean in the sense of logically coherent, not in the sense of practical in our world), these considerations are relevant.

    The stuff about 'creating time' shouldn't be taken literally/it's kind of similar to how physicists might loosely speak of the universe beginning to exist, time and all.

    But more importantly, the stuff about God being outside time and entering time (in some sense) doesn't figure into the thought experiment -- it was just background as to how some theists think, and the crucial thing is having God in time, making decisions. It's fine to say God never is outside time for the purposes of the thought experiment. Maybe some would say a mind intrinsically involves a temporal aspect, so God, being the Ultimate Mind, intrinsically has a temporal aspect as well.

    There are two ways to go from here

    (1) Make God do stuff -- but ensure he doesn't give free will to other beings, so that he is the only one furthering the state of affairs moment to moment. What prevents this world from being utopia?

    (2) Even if God doesn't change how each moment of time looks, there's presumably still a kind of temporality because he has to choose in each moment whether to create new things or not. What this means is either way, there is a kind of cause and effect: you either cause there to be no change or cause there to be change. Your choice in the prior moment determines the state of affairs in subsequent ones.
    God is still responsible for the fact that there was no change. Another way of seeing this is there is the potential for causing change. That sounds like it could be well enough.

    In fact, the views that seem to REQUIRE change aren't cause-effect views in my understanding. They're passive perception views --- if we just perceive moments, we could say if nothing changed, we'd have no sense of there being differences moment to moment, so if time is grounded in perception, if there is no perception of differences, there is presumably no time. OTOH, if we bring in some kind of free will, where moment to moment, there is the potential to cause changes, that seems compatible with the existence of time whether or not we exercise the potential.

    Of course, I recognize this is all difficult territory, where we don't know how these ideas work very well --- each person is apt to reject the other's intuitions, but that's kind of the point. I'm not saying I'm persuaded by any of these, just that I think they do pose challenges, if one is maximally impractical and maximally working 'in principle,' to concluding utopia is intrinsically incoherent....particularly if we're talking in a world with becoming/time (rather than not realized in our world).



    The way less controversial answer is just say there's no time, and all that exists is God--and once again, this is just an alternate world, no claim about our own. That seems to be way easier to argue as a utopia, because we don't need to deal with hoary problems about becoming -- I appreciate/agree that poses a problem. Still, I wanted to see if I can offer a thought experiment for the becoming case too.
     
    #65 charlatan, Oct 19, 2018
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  6. Ren

    Ren Pin's android and co-founder of Stoic Café

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    I find your arguments interesting, but from the perspective of Utopia, my main issue with them is that they seem to be circular.

    What I mean is that in order to show that Utopia is possible, you begin by assuming the existence of a perfect being. That perfect being, in turn, is capable of producing and maintaining a perfect state of affairs, i.e. a Utopia. Sure, but you still have to presuppose the existence of a perfect being in order to give your account of that perfect world, which is ultimately merely the creation of that perfect being. The perfect world is implied in the perfect being, which is in turn presupposed by you. As a result, I fail to find your argument convincing, even though I do enjoy your description of what a God-created perfect world may look like. I think it is more interesting to wonder about Utopia sans the help of God, though I understand that you're only interested in possibility. To that extent, I agree with you.
     
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  7. charlatan

    charlatan Community Member

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    I honestly don't feel this is a response to what I'm getting at (in other words, I probably trivially agree with the very specific point you are making, but I'm not sure how relevant it is to my own), so let me try to clarify where I think things might be going off track:

    I read what you're saying here as basically saying 'Well, charlatan, assuming God is a huge amount of baggage. You're getting stuff for free by doing that, whereas I want you to do some actual work and show me how we can get a perfect world without a crutch."

    First of all, a lot of your views on the impossibility of utopia seem to hinge on becoming/temporality -- e.g. that things get perfected, they aren't perfect, and that becoming entails perishability. I think already, bringing up a timeless God is important at least to comment that, unless your notion of utopia specificially by definition is temporal, a timeless God world is a counterexample, unless you can show God is impossible.
    I think that was important to bring up, because I doubt it's obvious to everyone (certainly wasn't to me) that we're going for something other than a (in some sense) perfect world -- and certainly we can talk of perfect atemporal worlds.

    And this isn't just idle talk -- even from a physics point of view, it's not obvious that time is fundamental or anything, it may just be a useful concept but ultimately grounded in more fundamental things. I.e. at a very fundamental level, even OUR reality may not ultimately be temporal.

    From the tiny bit I know of him, now maybe Heidegger hates me, but hey.

    Second,

    I am not sure about that. What if it is trivially obvious that sans God, it's impossible --- i.e. what if the same charge you give to assuming God more or less trivializing the problem applies to this scenario?
    A world full of by definition imperfect beings -- can this even be perfect, by definition?

    If so, then I'd argue the parallel remarks apply to a world with God. For instance, on some theist views, God can create imperfect beings without being imperfect in turn, for he gives them a choice. These beings could screw up the world, as the theists say they did ours.
    And this view is important to address, as even if God does not create such beings, one could say he can at least possibly create them. Maybe this is already a flaw ,according to some intuitions.

    Basically, we're worrying about the possibility of a non-utopia (like our world, possibly) in a world with God. Now I personally am very skeptical of the idea of a God who permits free creatures to do evil, but that's again a point to make on the basis that, just as we constrain free creatures by the laws of physics, there's no reason we can't constrain them in such a way that, when they make the wrong decision (as it's no doubt possible for them to do, by definition of being imperfect), we stop that decision's negative consequences/make them impossible to be actualized.

    And again, if your notion of a human-based utopia isn't as trivially impossible as the possibility of a God-based one, then certainly we can't take points like the above for granted.

    Perhaps you're OK with this, though, as in, maybe you don't worry about the possibility of a non-utopia with God, all you're saying is assuming God exists makes it easy to get perfection in the world if he creates nothing else. Still, I don't see how a world with just humans, no God, is any less trivially doomed to no-utopia-dom.

    I mean, I think the best way out is supposing utopia contingently exists, and in this world, humans cannot think evil thoughts, just as they can't levitate in our world. Still, there are problems with this, as we're constraining the human so as to achieve perfect consequences, but if we treat the existence of humans who have the property that, in some possible worlds, they'd think evil, then perhaps the state of affairs is already imperfect by definition even if that never happens in our world.


    This leads to the final point, which is that even in a world with purely God, but where the world is temporal at a fundamental level, you raised the point that becoming => perishability.

    I think this is a huge issue to discuss EVEN IN the world with purely-God. There was the point raised that in a world with just God, perhaps there ain't cause and effect, for instance. And I made, in reaction, the point that at every moment, a free agent like God must choose what to cause or not in the next moment. In this sense, while there isn't CHANGE, moment to moment, there is the capacity to change, and I think it's unclear if, on a view that does not ground time in perception, this state of affairs rules out temporality.

    But let's say you're even on board with all that -- even so, you could argue that becoming entails perishability, even in the world with only God. that is, perhaps you could say God never gets that moment back.



    Basically what I'm saying is the discussion might only get started once we drop the God bomb (if not, that's something I'd like you to enlighten us on), and I'm not seeing it as obvious that, even WITH God in existence, the world has to be in a state of utopia. Is the existence of a perfect being incompatible with the existence of evil -- what if that just means the being isn't responsible for the evil?

    What if worlds cannot be perfect, only inhabitants of them can be? e.g. in virtue of your becoming-entails-perishability-- what if the world with becoming and only God in it is imperfect, even if God is intrinsically perfect (that doesn't have to entail he can make the states of affair apart from himself perfect--- God is omnipotent in the sense of being able to do what is logically possible, but if actuality is grounded in time, i.e. you think it's logically impossible a world exists without temporality, it could be that evil necessarily exists, as perishabiility does)?


    Last, but not least, why not take the bait and try to argue the concept of God is incoherent? It's a challenge, but it's out there.



    I think these lines are all worth pursuing, and if they're already obvious to you, is there anything that IS worth pursuing in this subject, or is it a pseudo-problem?
    like, I can agree getting God in the picture is a huge assumption, but I brought it up because it's unobvious to me that it isn't basically trivializing the problem to do without it. It almost seems there may be more problems to answer once you get God in the picture than not.

    To put it differently, I'd disagree with a take that said assuming God => assuming a perfect world. Rather, assuming God is a START in the direction, and then we can discuss the other issues. And it's also worth hitting if God is possible or not.
     
    #67 charlatan, Oct 22, 2018
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  8. charlatan

    charlatan Community Member

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    I'm confused, is this thread about utopia in our world, or about whether it's theoretically a coherent idea, or both?? Just noticed this

    I'm definitely only interested in possibility in all the above posts --- as for our world I just would go for something down to earth, like giving people the freedom to pursue happiness and ensuring nobody suffers at another's expense. maybe that can happen with some future technologies, maybe not. But, perhaps unlike you, I was very interested in nitpicking the purely theoretical issues that arise with EVEN a God-only world. This forays into metaphysical intuitions, and it's unlikely to lead to conclusion, but the whole point is to make interesting thought experiments.

    But basically, I got the strong sense you might also have missed the point of my post, because I already acknowledged with some heavy-hitting credentials, like atemporality + only-God, you get a relatively noncontroversial result...that is, teh thing I think is an end-of-discussion issue, where we get the result plausibly by definition, I acknowledged as much.... vs I was trying to get at your comments on perishability, and I was surprised you seemed to merge this issue/case with the other one/not really discuss if the described world is perfect or not, seemingly also giving it the treatment of "once you assume God, duh you get your result.". It was meant to be controversial and provoke discussion, since you seemed to be very into this idea of the temporal/changing nature relating to the impossibility of perfection.

    my thought on this is maybe the whole 'is existence a property' issue comes into play. Your thought about perishability seems awfully related to the idea that existence is a perfection --- indeed, on temporal accounts of existence, all that exists is often said to be in the present. That a state of affairs has passed out of being or rather CAN pass out of being if it is currently in being, despite containing all the supposed perfections, would seem on your account (or rather, my running-away-with in Ne-spirit of your account) to invalidate its perfection, just as the fact that God exists in a possible world but not in all possible worlds, including the actual world, invalidates his perfection to believers of the ontological argument.

    The difference, of course, is in my God-only world, God exists in every moment, but not every moment of God's existence is instantiated --- only the moment NOW is instantiated. So perhaps those moments are lacking, because they are only contingently, not necessarily, instantiated.

    On the other hand, perhaps it doesn't make sense to criticize them for being contingently instantiated, as perhaps the important thing is that every state affairs which is instantiated is necessarily all-good (ie instantiation is not itself a perfection on this view), because God (this is the typical concept at least) exists necessarily, and on at least some views (if God controls all that happens and if he cannot create evil self-consistently), this implies every moment necessarily is perfect.

    Anyhow, I apologize if this isn't the direction you wanted this to go lol, maybe you can let me know what your proof was supposed to accomplish in this thread, and I can comment more closely on that proposed aim.
     
    #68 charlatan, Oct 22, 2018
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  9. charlatan

    charlatan Community Member

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    Anyway here's a potential defeater to a God-only temporal world being perfect, even if God is perfect. Perhaps what it is for a being to be perfect is more along the lines of they have all the virtues -- the capacity to bring about any good, all powers, knowledge, etc.

    However, if pleasure were a good (please note this is not necessarily coupled with assuming it is the ONLY good), and more of it were better, and if there were no limit to increasing it (theoretically) from one mental state to the next, perhaps God cannot bring about THE perfect state of affairs, as there will always be a better one. God himself would be perfect, as a free agent being perfect might be defined in terms of their capabilities (ie incapable of negative things and capable of any positive thing).
    But the state of affairs wouldn't be, because at minimum perfection seems to require maximal goodness, vs in the world, there could always be a better state of affairs.
    Even if God instantiates all possible good mental states, you might get a regress, as you could always imagine a world where you replace one good mental state with a better mental state, leaving all others unchanged.
     
    #69 charlatan, Oct 22, 2018
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  10. charlatan

    charlatan Community Member

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    Oh and it occurs to me to note --- I get that you (@Ren) draw a distinction between a utopia and a perfect world, and that maybe God ain't relevant to a utopia by whatever definition you're using (e.g. if it is a human-won perfect world).
    This is just an issue of terminology, so we just need to book-keep. you can basically read my posts as not drawing such a distinction terminology-wise.

    I consider the question of whether there's a perfect world of some description interesting in a general sense -- whether we mean whatever you mean by utopia or something else --- I don't think the arguments I present here are either stronger or weaker than many others that would establish alternate conclusions,but that's really because I think this is pretty woolly territory. So I view this very much as a brainstorming exercise.


    From my POV, the point isn't to accept the God-argument so much as I don't view it as self-evident that it works and the point is to figure out if it even works ---- if it doesn't, if anything that would reveal something pretty wrong with the idea of a perfect world on a very fundamental level.
    That's what would be interesting to me to establish.

    Defeating a perfect world when God doesn't exist seems to me less interesting than defeating it when God exists.
     
    #70 charlatan, Oct 23, 2018
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  11. Ren

    Ren Pin's android and co-founder of Stoic Café

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    Charlie! You didn't make it easy for me with your 4 messages (damn Ne) :p but I will try to address some of your points.

    I think that originally, the thread was about Utopia in our world, not about whether a perfect world is a theoretically coherent idea. In fact, I even think that "Utopia" does not quite mean "perfect world". I think that it implies the agency of a free-willed being to realize it. But whether that's true or not, threads always tend to evolve in their own way, and I think that the approach you took is perfectly legitimate. I guess it wasn't immediately clear to me what you were aiming for, but it is now.

    I'm also interested in that, actually. I'm just wondering at the moment whether we might not as well create a new thread for it. Perhaps we don't have to.

    You're right, I think I may have performed some arbitrary merging. I remember answering your post whilst feeling quite fatigued, not long before going to bed. Maybe I should have waited until the day after. I'm sorry if I sounded dismissive of your argument in any way, it really was not my intention. I actually think that having a debate about the possible imperishability of becoming would be supremely interesting!

    I suppose that in a nutshell, I was arguing that if becoming implies change, then it cannot accommodate perfection, because if you bring change into a perfect state of affairs, then necessarily the state of affairs that obtains is no longer perfect. In other words, a perfect state of affairs cannot change in a way that preserves its perfection. But I think that I also proposed an argument against that view in one of the previous pages, I'll have to locate it at some point.

    What is it about this "world in which only the moment NOW of a perfect being is instantiated" that distinguishes it from just the timeless God? The continuous instantiation of the moment NOW of a perfect being sounds to me like timelessness, i.e. non-becoming. That is, Occam's razor would dispose of your conception. I think that's what my current issue is with your argument, but I am probably not seeing the full picture.

    So here your argument rests on the idea that the perfection of an agent differs from that of a state of affairs. But if there is only God in the world, how is there a difference anymore? It would seem that in such a world, the agent just is the state of affairs.

    PS. This took me forever to write, I do want to answer your messages though, so in the future try to maybe keep to no more than 2 messages in a row :p
     
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  12. charlatan

    charlatan Community Member

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    Yeah, so I agree that's exactly the point that's subtle, and could go either way, but basically, here's the idea. Say a world just has a perfect vase (assume such a thing even exists for sake of argument). It's not, presumably, a perfect world -- perhaps God could design a perfect vase, but I think one could reasonably argue a world with God is more perfect than a world with just a perfect vase.

    The point of this is the structure of what you're saying (which I agree is an important possible answer) seems to be that a perfect world may just be one in which every last thing is perfect at whatever it is supposed to be. This views perfection as a matter of flawlessnes -- it's less expansive, however, in the sense it doesn't cover all the perfections the world could have.

    The same idea could be led to show that, while a world may contain the perfect free agent (one who knows everything/thus acts knowingly, and one whose actions are always perfect), the world may not contain every perfection. And here, I'm INTIMATELY using your idea of becoming: notice if the world is temporal, and if we view the mind also as temporal (one mental state per moment of time or something like that), it may simply be that we can always increase the good properties existing in the world by increasing bliss.

    I'm saying perfect free agent instead of God, just because God has the connotation of the perfect Being, and I want to make things interesting -- to avoid charges that "well, instantiating God may mean making a perfect world by definition, because God has all the perfections" -- indeed, this argument could conceivably show God, if temporal, may not be the perfect being, because perhaps his bliss could always be greater moment to moment -- it does seem a plausible intuition, even if far from something we can prove or disprove, that bliss may not be something that has a cap.

    Just a brief note, though -- I think the best way of defeating this whole pleasure thing is that it could be argued all that's going on here is the argument that any finite good can always be increased, and that the finiteness marks an imperfection. So, the pleasure isn't actually a perfect good, only an imperfect good (this is why Buddhist philosophies resist it and E1-ish Christian philosophies focus on other virtues)

    It may be that god has every perfection because perfections can't be finite.

    (Can't resist saying God is usually portrayed as a E1, and this is why E1 differs from E7 -- both can idealize things, but 7's seeking pleasure is supposed to be more insatiable, vs the 1 has a kind of dry 'this is how it has to be, end of story' ie there's a terminus.)

    I definitely would've started off with this, and it still might be the way to go, but I kind of shook myself up a bit -- it seems like just the fact that God has a choice at every moment to change or not change the state of affairs may be enough. That is, does time have to involve change that is actualized, or merely the potential to change?
    In a sense, your making a fresh decision moment to moment would seem to mark a kind of change, even if that decision was to keep things the same. I mean, the same apart from moments passing -- that is, the propositions which are true of the world, apart from what time it is, don't differ moment to moment.

    To mark that God stayed doing nothing for say, 5 minutes differs from there simply being no time whatsoever may just be that it's a fact that, WERE I to have existed alongside God, I could have made coffee but couldn't have solved Fermat's Last Theorem. In other words, it's a fact I most naturally phrase in terms of how things could have been. There may be possible worlds facts true of the God-only-temporal world that differ from those of the atemporal one (I couldn't have made coffee sans time), even if the ACTUAL state of affairs is entirely the same in God-only-temporal and God-only-atemporal (i.e. God exists, that's it).
    E.g. God maybe could've created a sheep at 5:00, and then created a goose at 5:30 -- those are facts true of the world, even if God remains motionless, *practically* identical of the atemporal world.

    Of course, if God were traditionally mind-like, he could also have different mental states moment to moment corresponding to deciding moment to moment/his subject experience of making those choices. This would actually create change of a genuine sort that you want. however, it seems like one could do without this by making do with possible worlds facts about the temporal world.

    Also,do you think the fact that a being can change implies their perfection level changes? Or, could the change just involve making decisions, and thus just be various expressions of their perfection?

    For me, really the crucial issues in general when it comes to understanding a perfect being come down to whether there's any way a being possessing all good qualities could create anything apart from a copy of himself (e.g. is there such a thing as a perfect vase to create -- is anything concrete at all lacking in some way....and abstract objects exist necessarily so aren't created), if even the concept of a copy makes sense (I suppose a temporal God could create a temporal God_2 after 5 minutes, but this would have to presume that Gods don't necessarily exist. If they necessarily exist, God_2 would have to have existed from the outset, so that once again gives potentially nothing for a God to do).

    Also this last case might illustrate some interesting things about the natural of temporality with little change. God_1 and God_2 might make the same decisions to not change the world. However, it would still be a fact that God_1 could have created something God_2 didn't, moment to moment, even if they don't in actuality. Kind of similar flavor to the stuff about how God-temporal differs from God-atemporal, as side note.

    OK there may be something wrong with the idea of two Gods, and that's really Ne-boing, doesn't have to work or anything. Right now I don't see something too obviously wrong even though I'd usually shy away from it.
     
    #72 charlatan, Oct 24, 2018
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  13. Ren

    Ren Pin's android and co-founder of Stoic Café

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    I'm wondering whether God would have a sufficient reason to make a decision from moment to moment, "even if that decision was to keep things the same". Why would God be in a world and continually re-make the decision to keep things the same from moment to moment? The only explanation I could find for this would be that he would regularly ask himself: "Should I change this perfect state of affairs or not?" and then decide, every time, to not change the perfect state of affairs. That's the only reason I can identify for God re-making that decision at regular intervals, rather than just being content with the original decision.

    But this implies that at regular intervals, God asks himself whether he is still happy with the perfect situation, leading to a choice between changing it, or keeping it intact. But if God is perfect, he is all-knowing, and has divine foreknowledge. Thus, he never ends up having to ask himself the question about change or not-change. For this would suppose that God is not all-knowing, and does not have divine foreknowledge; and thus, that is is not perfect; and thus, that that world is not perfect, either.

    As for time involving merely the potential for change, rather than actualized change per se: sure, but then that means that the perfect state of affairs in question also has the potential to change, i.e. to become less perfect. And that in itself, is arguably an imperfection. What do you think?
     
    #73 Ren, Oct 27, 2018
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    Yeah I'd tend to think it is, too personally.. I think of course my sense of God's perfection is he can't be the cause of imperfection in the world, anything he'd do would have to be consistent with his perfection and so on.
    So this leads one back to the issue of does one think a perfect being can really create anything -- does it compromise him in some way? here I'm pretty much agnostic...I think the potential for change from perfect to imperfect, like you, is basically suggestive of imperfection to begin with.


    The way I think of God's choices is that there would only be choices if there were some decisions that were equally good. I.e. you can never make one inconsistent with perfection. However, perhaps there are different expressions of the perfection.
    So basically, it's not that God has to redeliberate the reasons. He'd already know all the good and bad reasons for doing things, so it's just a matter of doing them (and there are a few ways presumably consistent with his perfection-- at least for sake of argument let's run with that possibility). On a sort of traditional view of God, where he is the ground of all that exists, presumably as moment after moment passes, God is the one who brings stuff into being (or not) each moment.


    The making-of-choices is usually phrased in terms of possible worlds. That is, there are possible worlds where God did the same things up to so and so moment of time, but did something differently the next moment.
    Free choice and omniscience are usually reconciled like this: God's knowledge always reflects what the person actually does, i.e. the person doing it is the cause of God's knowledge, not the other way around.
    What this means is whether it be my choice or God's, the point is there are possible worlds where I did otherwise (and in such worlds, God's knowledge is otherwise than it is in our world as well).
    All weird, contentious territory, and of course even theologians differ on it.




    Now, suppose God cannot do anything -- that is, suppose the only decision consistent with God's perfection is to keep things status quo. Then, you can reasonably say there aren't even possible worlds where God created humans or sheep or chairs, even perfect chairs.
    Here I'd say there is no potential for change in the sense God sure as heck can't do it, and he's all that's there.

    I suppose it still seems like there's an even weaker way of characterizing temporality, though. Even if there's no possibility of change if everything were kept identical about the world, i.e. kept God in the picture, we could still ground the possibility of change in terms of possible versions of the world where God hadn't existed. I.e. there are possible worlds where the temporal properties are kept identical, Joe exists instead of God, and we can say Joe can make coffee in 5 minutes. This renders temporal properties not 'empty concepts.' They just don't have much to do in a world where there's just God and nothing else, at least on the view that God can't create stuff without violating perfection.

    Just as a note, syntactically we can certainly form sentences expressing facts about time and God in a world with time, doing nothing. The question is just if the syntax is empty formalism, or if temporal properties have any meaning. And I think the above is how to avoid their becoming empty -- again, through possible worlds stuff, but not versions where we kept God+temporal properties -- only kept temporal properties + replaced God.

    (In the extreme case, God exists in every possible world AND God can't create anything apart from himself -- that possibility probably can be ruled out because i think I exist and i think I'm not God ..... or do I.... :p )
     
    #74 charlatan, Oct 28, 2018
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    What would you consider a good indicator of a life free of suffering?
     
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