Tag Archives: Synthetic propositions

Logical Gal and what is ‘necessarily true’

20 May

Have you ever heard of a proposition or definition of a term being ‘necessarily true‘?

That, my dear logical friend, is what we call an analytical definition.

True

Here are a few terms that HAVE to be this way in order to avoid a contradiction within themselves.

  • All bachelors are unmarried
  • All husbands are married
  • All squares are 4-sided figures

Immanuel Kant named the kind of proposition that does not have to be true  – SYNTHETIC.

His example was:  All husbands are unhappy

Unhappy husband

Jokes aside, by definition a husband doesn’t have to be unhappy!

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When I heard analytical propositions being discussed recently, I called to mind one of the arguments for the existence of God.  It’s referred to as the Ontological argument, or one about necessary being.

Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas was one of the earliest thinkers to talk about God ‘necessarily’ existing:

From a primer on Philosophy

Boiling it down he asserts that by definition (like our analytical statements), God is that supernatural being that HAS to exist.  It would be impossible for him NOT to exist, if He/It is God.  Imagine a being beyond which you cannot fathom, one that is:

  • all powerful
  • all good
  • all knowing
  • all loving
  • all giving
  • present everywhere at all times

That, my friends, is God by definition.  If he/it is not all those attributes, then we’re not talking about ‘God’.

Kinda blows your mind, doesn’t it!

Mind Boggling

This ‘ontological’ argument for God is one of 4 current ways of arguing for the existence of God.  We’ll look at the others later on this week!

 

But for now:  What OTHER proposition can you share that is by definition NECESSARY?