FOM: Is God uncountable? Plato and Berkeley revisited JSHIPMAN at
Fri Dec 26 08:40:24 EST 1997

Occasionally on FOM "theology" is invoked as an example of the type of discourse
to be avoided (the implication being that a question is theological when there
is no hope of settling it).  I am reminded of Berkeley's criticism of Calculus,
addressed to the "infidel mathematician" Edmund Halley.  Berkeley was not simply
attacking the logically inconsistent use of infinitesimals, he was comparing the
standards of rigor in mathematics with those in theology.  Sol showed that
Cantor's strong Platonism followed from his theism and implied that it was
thereby discredited.  But this is begging the question.  Assume for the sake of
argument that "God exists".  One of the most firmly established propositions of
theology, asserted in almost all religious traditions, is that God is infinite.
One would presume God knows Th(N).  Therefore there is an objectively existing
Th(N) to be known (Berkeley again).  Turning this around, anti-Platonists who
say that some statements about integers are neither true nor false are making an
assertion with theological implications.  Question for theistic FOMers: can this
defense of Platonism re integers be extended further up the hierarchy?-J Shipman

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