Spinoza's godsbewijs ziet Rebecca Goldstein toch maar mooi als het beste

36 Arguments for the Existence of God Recent verscheen een nieuw boek van Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, de auteur van Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave us Modernity. Het nieuwe boek, ter promotie waarvan ze een grote tour aan 't maken is, is getiteld:

36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction

Het werk is opgezet als een novelle, maar uiteraard weer met een duidelijk serieuze strekking. Met haar talentvolle combinatie van fictie en filosofie gaat ze diep in op het deze jaren weer zo actueel geworden debat tussen geloof en rede. Zie hier (waar ik deze informatie uit heb) en vooral hier over dit boek. Op deze laatste site is een video-interview te vinden dat haar partner Steven Pinker met haar over dit boek heeft.

Rebecca Newberger Goldstein. Foto door Steven PinkerHet boek heeft een appendix, waarin de 36 argumenten worden beschreven en becommentarieerd. Op de site van edge.org is deze appendix te vinden. Aan het eind van dit blog neem ik de titels van de 36 argumenten voor het bestaan van God op. Hier neem ik nu eerst haar interessante reconstructie van en commentaar op Spinoza's Godsbewijs over - het voorlaatste in de reeks. Ze heeft er de meeste waardering voor:

35. The Argument from the Intelligibility of the World (Spinoza's God)
1. All facts must have explanations.

2. The fact that there is a universe at all — and that it is this universe, with just these laws of nature — has an explanation (from 1).

3.There must, in principle, be a Theory of Everything that explains why just this universe, with these laws of nature, exists (from 2. Note that this premise should not be interpreted as entailing that we have the capacity to come up with a Theory of Everything; it may elude the cognitive abilities we have.)

4. If The Theory of Everything explains everything, it explains why it is the Theory of Everything.

5. The only way that the Theory of Everything could explain why it is the Theory of Everything is if it is itself necessarily true (i.e. true in all possible worlds).

6. The Theory of Everything is necessarily true (from 4 & 5).

7. The universe, understood in terms of the Theory of Everything, exists necessarily and explains itself (from 6).

8. That which exists necessarily and explains itself is God (a definition of "God").

9. The universe is God (from 7 & 8).

10. God exists.

 

Whenever Einstein was asked whether he believed in God, he responded that he believed in "Spinoza's God." This argument presents Spinoza's God. It is one of the most elegant and subtle arguments for God's existence, demonstrating where one ends up if one rigorously eschews the Fallacy of Invoking One Mystery to Pseudo-Explain Another: one ends up with the universe, and nothing but the universe: a universe which itself provides all the answers to all the questions one can pose about it. A major problem with the argument, however, in addition to the flaws discussed below, is that it is not at all clear that it is God whose existence is being proved. Spinoza's conclusion is that the universe that is described by the laws of nature simply is God. Perhaps the conclusion should, rather, be that the universe is different from what it appears to be — no matter how arbitrary and chaotic it may appear, it is in fact perfectly lawful and necessary, and therefore worthy of our awe. But is its awe-inspiring lawfulness reason enough to regard it as God? Spinoza's God is sharply at variance with all other divine conceptions. The argument has only one substantive premise, its first one, which, though unproved, is not unreasonable; it is, in fact, the claim that the universe itself is thoroughly reasonable. Though this first premise can't be proved, it is the guiding faith of many physicists (including Einstein). It is the claim that everything must have an explanation; even the laws of nature, in terms of which processes are explained, must have an explanation. In other words, there has to be an explanation for why it is these laws of nature rather than some other, which is another way of asking for why it is this world rather than some other.

FLAW: The first premise can be challenged. Our world could conceivably be one in which randomness and contingency have free reign, no matter what the intuitions of some scientists are. Maybe some things just are ("stuff happens"), including the fundamental laws of nature. Philosophers sometimes call this just- is-ness "contingency" and, if the fundamental laws of nature are contingent, then even if everything that happens in the world is explainable by those laws, the laws themselves couldn't be explained. There is a sense in which this argument recalls The Argument from the Improbable Self. Both demand explanations for just this-ness, whether of just this universe or just this me.

The Argument from the Intelligibility of the Universe fleshes out the consequences of the powerful first premise, but some might regard the argument as a reductio ad absurdum of that premise.

COMMENT: Spinoza's argument, if sound, invalidates all the other arguments, the ones that try to establish the existence of a more traditional God—that is, a God who stands distinct from the world described by the laws of nature, as well as distinct from the world of human meaning, purpose, and morality. Spinoza's argument claims that any transcendent God, standing outside of that for which he is invoked as explanation, is invalidated by the first powerful premise, that all things are part of the same explanatory fabric. The mere coherence of The Argument from The Intelligibility of The Universe, therefore, is sufficient to reveal the invalidity of the other theistic arguments. This is why Spinoza, although he offered a proof of what he called "God," is often regarded as the most effective of all atheists.

                                                 * * *

De opsomming van alle argumenten:

1. The Cosmological Argument
2. The Ontological Argument
3. The Argument from Design
A. The Classical Teleological Argument
B. The Argument from Irreducible Complexity
C. The Argument from the Paucity of Benign Mutations
D. The New Argument from The Original Replicator
4. The Argument from The Big Bang
5. The Arguments from the Fine-Tuning of Physical Constants
6. The Argument from the Beauty of Physical Laws
7. The Argument from Cosmic Coincidences
8. The Argument from Personal Coincidences
9. The Argument from Answered Prayers
10. The Argument from A Wonderful Life
11. The Argument from Miracles
12. The Argument from The Hard Problem of Consciousness
13. The Argument from The Improbable Self
14. The Argument from Survival after Death
15. The Argument from the Inconceivability of Personal Annihilation
16. The Argument from Moral Truth
17. The Argument from Altruism
18. The Argument from Free Will
19. The Argument from Personal Purpose
20. The Argument from the Intolerability of Insignificance
21. The Argument from the Consensus of Humanity
22. The Argument from the Consensus of Mystics
23. The Argument from Holy Books
24. The Argument from Perfect Justice
25. The Argument from Suffering
26. The Argument from the Survival of The Jews
27. The Argument from The Upward Curve of History
28. The Argument from Prodigious Genius
29. The Argument from Human Knowledge of Infinity
30. The Argument from Mathematical Reality
31.The Argument from Decision Theory (Pascal's Wager)
32. The Argument from Pragmatism (William James's Leap of Faith)
33. The Argument from the Unreasonableness of Reason
34. The Argument from Sublimity
35. The Argument from the Intelligibility of the World (Spinoza's God)
36. The Argument from The Abundance of Arguments

Voor de details: zie Edge.com

                    Rebecca Goldstein in haar werkkamer (videostill)

http://www.rebeccagoldstein.com/ 

Bespreking getiteld The Faith-Reason Problem

Toevoeging video (ca 52") van 11 febr. 2010 van een toespraak van Rebecca Goldstein op 28 januari 2010 @Google over dit boek.

 

  

Reacties

Deze kwam ik tegen in "De omgevallen boekenkast" van Hans van Straten, (Arbeiderspers, 1987) pag. 30. Ik citeer: Spinoza's godsbewijs. Het ligt in de aard van een substantie te bestaan. Elke substantie is noodzakelijk oneindig. Hoe meer werkelijkheid of zijn een of ander ding heeft, des te meer attributen komen het toe. God, of de substantie, bestaande uit een oneindig aantal attributen, van welke elk een eeuwig en oneindig wezen uitdrukt, bestaat noodzakelijk. Want stel dat God niet bestond, dan zou zijn wezen het niet bestaan in zich sluiten, hetgeen ongerijmd is. Er is geen speld tussen te krijgen, alleen: waarom is substantie = God? Maar misschien is dat een domme vraag, zoals een bezoeker van de amerikaanse sterrenwacht waar men de planeet Pluto had ontdekt, wilde weten hoe men wist dat die planeet Pluto heette.