The fourth way, again, with a modal twist…

English: Cuadro octogonal de oposición modal

English: Cuadro octogonal de oposición modal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ask of an object o with property p, “Could o be more p (p+) or less p (p-)?” It seems that it could. As such, o(p) belongs on a continuum from _p to p_. It is the maximum p (p_) which unifies the instances of p (p∫), since each instance below p_ is judged as p relative to p_.

What accounts for the contingent diversity of p∫? On the one hand, p_ could not of its own produce such diversity, since p_ is only one, albeit maximal, instance of p. On the other hand, neither could any other case of p (p*) generate the continuity of p∫, since, again, each p* has the capacity to ground only its particular p*-state (not p*-ness, mind you!). In manifesting a p-state different from itself, p* would cease to exist


So it seems that something outside p∫ must ground the range of perfections found therein. This  absolute cause of all such perfections, we call God.

UPDATE, 31 March 2013:

I found the following at Brandon’s Siris blog (emphasis added):

The Fourth Way examines what follows from the fact that the ways actual things exist can be more and less actual. It concludes that there is an actually existing thing whose way of existing is most actual.

This ties in not only with the modal thrust of this post, but also with the theme I keep emphasizing about the contingent particularity of all existents’ attributes (scales of perfection, “physically given modes of being”, etc.).


About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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One Response to The fourth way, again, with a modal twist…

  1. Pingback: Trying to understand the Fourth Way to prove God’s existence… | FideCogitActio : omnis per gratiam

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