A Computationally-Discovered Simplification of the Ontological Argument

skunsss's picture
Posts: 1
Joined: 2008-10-10
User is offlineOffline
A Computationally-Discovered Simplification of the Ontological Argument

The authors investigated the ontological argument computationally. The premises and conclusion of the argument are represented in the syntax understood by the automated reasoning engine PROVER9. Using the logic of definite descriptions, the authors developed a valid representation of the argument that required three non-logical premises. PROVER9, however, discovered a simpler valid argument for God's existence from a single non-logical premise. Reducing the argument to one non-logical premise brings the investigation of the soundness of the argument into better focus. Also, the simpler representation of the argument brings out clearly how the ontological argument constitutes an early example of a ?diagonal argument? and, moreover, one used to establish a positive conclusion rather than a paradox.




Theists new argument- AI proofs  god existence   .   Any critics  ?

(Ps.Sorry for my bad English).



Zaq's picture
Posts: 269
Joined: 2008-12-24
User is offlineOffline
Anyone care to translate the

Anyone care to translate the argument back into english?

atheistRational VIP!
digitalbeachbum's picture
Posts: 3744
Joined: 2007-10-15
User is offlineOffline
LMAO.What a stupid


What a stupid assumption. Duh, geee, let's insert "god" in to an ATP and prove that god exists.

Well, which god? What about 'multiple gods'? What about 'no god'.

This isn't science, this is FAIL.




When I was reading the initial link, I immediately went to the section as follows:


Definition of "God"

We defined "God" ("g&quotEye-wink in our original paper as follows:

g   =df   ιxφ1

Since PROVER9 doesn't have primitive descriptions, we defined God as follows in PROVER9 syntax:



I then substituted "god" for [what ever the fuck I wanted] and WHAM...  instant success.

See, they created the outcome and then substituted their "belief for a big fart in the sky" as "g".






Bronze Member
Posts: 591
Joined: 2010-06-15
User is offlineOffline
Fortunately, the answer is in the paper

The authors of this are not actually trying to prove that God exists, they are just trying to simplify the argument.





It found a proof from Premise 2, the definition of God, and Description Theorem 2.

Premise 2 asserts:

if that than which nothing greater is conceivable fails to exist, something greater than it is conceivable.

Description Theorem 2, which asserts: 

if something is the F, then anything that is the F exemplifies F.

Finally, we defined ‘God’ ( g ) to be the conceivable thing such that nothing greater is conceivable:


Their conclusion is:

Consequently, though the simplified ontological argument is valid, Premise 2 is questionable and to the extent that it lacks independent justification, the simplified argument fails to demonstrate that God exists.

The use of computational techniques in systematic metaphysics has illuminated the relationship between Premise 2 of the ontological argument and the conclusion that God exists.




is an excellent summary of the history of this argument and also discusses various objections.


When I read

"However, as Bertrand Russell observed, it is much easier to be persuaded that ontological arguments are no good than it is to say exactly what is wrong with them. This helps to explain why ontological arguments have fascinated philosophers for almost a thousand years."


I felt a lot better about not working it out myself.

One knows that somewhere in the definitions or premises there is a problem, but it's hard to be arsed to work it out.