Friday, November 5, 2010

The Axiological-Ontological Argument

According to Leibniz, we live in the best possible world. Imagine some possible world w1 in which the cumulative best state of affairs is instantiated. This means that w1 is the best possible world, regardless of whether w1 is the actual world or not. Now consider the following argument:

1. The best possible world w1 is actually a possible world. (Premise)

2. Necessarily, w1 is possible if and only if a maximally great being exists in w1. (Premise)

3. Hence, a maximally great being possibly exists. (From 1 and 2)

4. Therefore, a maximally great being exists. (From 3 and S5)

(2) seems obviously and intuitively true to me, but I'm interested in how a proponent of the argument might argue for its veridicality. If the world would be a better place to live in if there were a God (a maximally great being), then the best possible world would have to have a God, would it not?


  1. Except, of course, that God isn't "in" the world ... not as "the world" is typically understood.

  2. A possible world in possible worlds semantics, roughly defined, just refers to the set of compossible propositions describing reality. God would be in the world in this sense, but not in the world in any sense that would deny His space-time transcendence. I'm guessing you have the latter in mind, right?

  3. I think that such a bifurcation is unnecessary. The distinction of God as ens necessarium exhibits God qua 'reality' such that the 'actual world' of numinal events/things is always inclusive of a god-nature. I am rather unsure, in light of deep philosophical speculation, how to even treat the classical separation of possible and actual worlds if the world is that which comes/is from/in God's nature to actualize.

    The question to ask is what is the nature of possible worlds? How are they grounded and how are they bounded? If they are grounded and bounded in and by God (as opposed to pre-existent necessary entities), then God qua reality is instantiated in what is/has been actualized.

    This may sound a little nominal or fuzzy, but that is only because it is a work in process for me. I am working the Liebniz/Spinoza line in the sand in order to erase it.