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A Patch to the Possibility Part of Gödel’s Ontological Proof

Journal article
Authors Johan E. Gustafsson
Published in Analysis
ISSN 1936-0975
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science
Language en
Keywords Kurt Gödel; the ontological proof, axiology, logic of value, positivity
Subject categories Philosophy, Logic


Kurt Gödel’s version of the Ontological Proof derives rather than assumes the crucial (yet controversial) Possibility Claim, that is, the claim that it is possible that something God-like exists. Gödel’s derivation starts off with a proof of the Possible Instantiation of the Positive, that is, the principle that, if a property is positive, it is possible that there exists something that has that property. I argue that Gödel’s proof of this principle relies on some implausible axiological assumptions. Nevertheless, I present a proof of the Possible Instantiation of the Positive, which only relies on plausible axiological principles. Nonetheless, Gödel’s derivation of the Possibility Claim also needs a substantial axiological assumption, which is still open to doubt.

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