God Exists as Metaphysical Proposition

From Robin George Collingwood,  An Essay on Metaphysics

Chapter XVIII “The Proposition ‘God Exists'”

p. 185. “In the last chapter but one I had occasion to comment on the way in which a ‘logical positivist’, wishing to recommend the doctrine that ‘metaphysical propositions’ not being verifiable by appeal to observed fact are pseudo-propositions and meaningless, quoted as examples propositions about God, such as the proposition ‘God exists’. To him the proposition ‘God exists’ would seem to mean that there is a being more or less like human beings in respect of his mental powers and dispositions, but having the mental powers of a human being greatly, perhaps infinitely, magnified“.

p. 186. “I have no fear of being contradicted when I say that the meaning I suppose to be attached by this author to the proposition ‘God exists’ is a meaning Christian theologians have never attached to it, and does not even remotely resemble the meaning which with some approach to unanimity they have expounded at considerable length.”

p. 187. “If the proposition that God exists is a metaphysical proposition it must be understood as carrying with it the metaphysical rubric; and as so understood what it asserts is that as a matter of historical fact a certain absolute presupposition, to be hereafter defined, is or has been made by natural science (the reader will bear in mind my limitation of the field) at a certain phase of its history. It further implies that owing to the presence of this presupposition that phase in the history of natural science has or had a unique character of its own, serving to the historical student as evidence that the presupposition is or was made. The question therefore arises: What difference does it make to the conduct of research in natural science whether scientists do or not do not presuppose the existence of God?”

Then Collingwood shows that the metaphysical proposition ‘God Exists’ has played the crucial role in the foundations of classical physics.

Made for the discussion on the everything list:


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