Faculty Mentor

George Wrisley

Proposal Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

2-11-2019 9:10 AM

End Date

2-11-2019 10:10 AM

Location

Nesbitt 3213

Abstract

The existence of God and the scholarly debates concerning it have dominated Western philosophy for roughly a millennia and a half with no verifiable conclusions being reached. Rather than throwing another “logical” justification for the existence of higher powers into the ring, the research and analysis I have undertaken concerns itself with the premise that there is no logical argument for the existence of God that will satisfy the debate. This dismissal is accompanied by an in-depth deconstruction of the work of Kurt Gödel, a logician and mathematician credited with the publication of the Incompleteness Theorems. The use of the First Incompleteness Theorem (in summary, the First Incomplete Theorem states that no consistent system of axioms is capable of proving all those axioms true) will be utilized in the critique of scholarly arguments for the existence of God; namely, those of Saint Anselm, Rene Descartes, William Craig Lane, and Alvin Plantinga. I argue that Gödel’s theorem, despite being purely mathematical and logical in nature, can be re-interpreted and co-opted into theological discussions while maintaining its intellectual integrity. The application of this theorem to religious philosophy will then be used to dismiss logical attempts at justification of the existence of God. It must be made clear that this dismissal of the logical existence of God is not a dismissal of the possible dismissal of God; rather, this rejection of logic and acceptance of the absurd, as philosopher Soren Kierkegaard would argue as well, is necessary for faith in God.

LogicOfExistence.docx (37 kB)
Research paper concerning Kurt Godel and theology

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Nov 2nd, 9:10 AM Nov 2nd, 10:10 AM

The Logic of Being: An Evaluation of Arguments for God's Existence

Nesbitt 3213

The existence of God and the scholarly debates concerning it have dominated Western philosophy for roughly a millennia and a half with no verifiable conclusions being reached. Rather than throwing another “logical” justification for the existence of higher powers into the ring, the research and analysis I have undertaken concerns itself with the premise that there is no logical argument for the existence of God that will satisfy the debate. This dismissal is accompanied by an in-depth deconstruction of the work of Kurt Gödel, a logician and mathematician credited with the publication of the Incompleteness Theorems. The use of the First Incompleteness Theorem (in summary, the First Incomplete Theorem states that no consistent system of axioms is capable of proving all those axioms true) will be utilized in the critique of scholarly arguments for the existence of God; namely, those of Saint Anselm, Rene Descartes, William Craig Lane, and Alvin Plantinga. I argue that Gödel’s theorem, despite being purely mathematical and logical in nature, can be re-interpreted and co-opted into theological discussions while maintaining its intellectual integrity. The application of this theorem to religious philosophy will then be used to dismiss logical attempts at justification of the existence of God. It must be made clear that this dismissal of the logical existence of God is not a dismissal of the possible dismissal of God; rather, this rejection of logic and acceptance of the absurd, as philosopher Soren Kierkegaard would argue as well, is necessary for faith in God.