FOM: Universal Existence -- reply to Ketland

Joe Shipman shipman at
Fri Oct 15 13:59:00 EDT 1999

Ketland writes:

> In contrast, natural languages contain terms (like ... "God", ....)
which designate nothing.

How do you know?

I am not being off-topic here.  The question of the existence of God has
foundational significance.  There has been a little bit of discussion of
this here over the last couple of years; oriented not towards
establishing the existence or nonexistence of God, but the foundational
implications of those alternatives.  (Though even the existence question
has been addressed by logicians AS logicians -- see Godel's ontological
proof, for example.)

You are of course free to assume the nonexistence of God as an axiom,
but I am not aware that this nonexistence has been so well-established
as to justify being casually asserted without comment, especially since
the question bears some relevance even to the specific issue you and
Kennedy are discussing (a justification for passing from a Universal to
an Existential can be made in certain contexts on the ground that many
sorts of existence [e.g. existence of infinite sets] are instantiated in
the Mind of God).

-- Joe Shipman

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