Friday, February 19, 2010

The Fourth Way in Syllogistic Form


Share/Bookmark

I. The Text (ST I.2.3c)

"The fourth way is taken from the gradation to be found in things. Among beings there are some more and some less good, true, noble and the like. But "more" and "less" are predicated of different things, according as they resemble in their different ways something which is the maximum, as a thing is said to be hotter according as it more nearly resembles that which is hottest; so that there is something which is truest, something best, something noblest and, consequently, something which is uttermost being; for those things that are greatest in truth are greatest in being, as it is written in Metaph. ii. Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus; as fire, which is the maximum heat, is the cause of all hot things. Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God."

II. The Argument in Syllogistic Format:

P1A: If a perfection, P, is predicated “more” or “less” of things (p), then P exists at its maximum (m).
P2A: Being, Truth, Goodness, etc. are perfections, P, that are predicated “more” or “less” of things (p).
CA: Therefore, Being, Truth, Goodness, etc., are perfections, P, that exist at their maximum (m). 

P1B: If a perfection, P, exists at its maximum (m), then P is the cause of all perfections in that genus (c).
P2B: Being, Truth, Goodness, etc., are perfections, P, that exist at their maximum (m).                          
CB: Therefore, there is a cause of Being, Truth, Goodness, etc.--this is what we call God (c).

III. The Argument in Symbolic Format:
P1A: p    ®    m
P2A: p
CA: \ m

P1B: m   ®    c
P2B: m
CB: \ c

IV. Legend
P1A:, P1B:, etc. = "Premise 1 of argument A," "Premise 1 of argument B," etc.
CA, CB = "Conclusion of argument A," "Conclusion of argument B," etc.
x = "It is true that x."
x ® y = "if x (is true), then (is true)."
\x = "Therefore, x (is true)."
p = "A perfection, P, is predicated “more” or “less” of things."
m = "P exists at its maximum."
c = "P is the cause of all perfections in that genus."

Post a Comment