A Most Unlikely God: A Philosophical Enquiry into the Nature by Barry Miller

By Barry Miller

The sequel to From lifestyles to God, this article bargains a portrait of God that contrasts sharply with that supplied by means of perfect-being theology. It exposes the absurdity of this view and indicates how greatly God differs from even the main exalted of his creatures.

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Extra resources for A Most Unlikely God: A Philosophical Enquiry into the Nature of God

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Such an entity might thus be said to be merely a possible Socrates, though a real entity nevertheless. If there were such an entity, it might provide the subject in which Socrates' existence would inhere. However much our robust sense of reality might rebel against a proposal of this kind, it is one that has enjoyed some currency, being described disapprovingly by Quine as 'the view that concrete individuals are of two kinds: those that are actualized and those which are possible but not actualized.

Certainly, if a were a piece of wood then it could lack redness only if it had some colour or colours other than redbe it brown, cream, fawn, or whatevernone of which could be dismissed as mere Cambridge properties. That does not settle the question, however, since the result would be very different if a were not a piece of wood but a piece of glass. Now, although glass is like wood in being something that could be red, it is also unlike wood in that its failure to be red does not mean that it is any colour at all: it may be quite colourless.

Central to our determining the peculiar character of Socrates' relation to his existence has been the recognition that he cannot be logically prior to his existence, and hence cannot be the subject in which his existence inheres. If Socrates really were something in which his existence inhered, then he would require some actuality in its own right, quite independently of his existence. Independently of his existence, however, Socrates has no actuality whatever, neither is he even conceivable. For just that reason, questions of his existence adding anything to him cannot ariselogically cannot arise.

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