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  • Print publication year: 2003
  • Online publication date: July 2009

IV - Kurt Gödel's Ontologischer Beweis

Summary

INTRODUCTION

Texts and style. Photocopies of three handwritten pages titled “Güdel's Ontological Proof” (Appendix B) began to circulate in the early 1980s. The handwriting is Dana Scott's; the ideas are Kurt Güdel's. They agree with ideas conveyed in two pages of notes in Güdel's own hand dated 10 February (Appendix A). Scott's three pages, on which I concentrate here, contain a sketch of a theory of positive properties, individual essences, and necessary existence that culminates in a theorem that says that it is necessary that there is a being that has every positive property. The plan of the proof honors Leibniz. It goes through demonstrations of the possibility of such a being, and that such a being is either not possible or necessary. Its style is Spinozistic but formal: Axioms and definitions are set, and theorems are proved in a formal language that is free of amphibolies that bother classical proofs. Its logic is quantified modal, not simply quantificational as classical proofs, nor only sentential modal as Hartshorne's. As said, it does not merely postulate the possibility of its God-like being but demonstrates it with no suggestion that it is forthcoming given merely the conceivability of a being that has every positive property, and that this definition of God-likeness harbors no contradiction.

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