W.L. Craig on whether numbers exist

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7 Responses to W.L. Craig on whether numbers exist

  1. Bryce says:

    Does he really go through all this just because he thinks a Bible verse contradicts Platonism? He says, “Christian theology requires us to say that everything that exists apart from God was created by God,” citing John 1:3– “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” And this seems to be his motivation for rejecting Platonism (or simply the reality of numbers). But if you say this verse contradicts Platonism (or the reality of numbers), you might as well say that Romans 3:23 contradicts Christ’s sinlessness (“all have sinned”). We have to acknowledge that when John, Paul, or any other writer of Scripture makes a universal claim, we can allow for exceptions without rejecting the inspiration of Scripture.

  2. Nathan says:

    I went to Talbot.

    Dr. Craig is one of the sharpest guys out there. Numbers…this affects his argument for the kalam w/ potential and actual infinites, I would think?


  3. Bryce says:

    True– maybe part of his motivation is the idea that there are no actual infinites. That would make more sense.

  4. jamesmcg says:

    Actually, Craig’s Kalam argument is his major motivation for why he questions whether numbers exist in any platonic sense or not. I haven’t read the above article, but he (and Paul Copan) make a similar argument against abstract objects in general in their book, Creation out of Nothing, chapter 5.

  5. I was so thrilled to see Craig answer my question! However, the main thing I had in mind was what sort of conceptualism is needed for a good conceptualist argument to get off the ground. The irony is that I submitted that question after posting my article on the conceptualist argument, only to see Craig overturn some of the arguments I use in the article! So the question now is whether a version of fictionalism cannot be joined with conceptualism. Otherwise the conceptualist argument still passes is null. I think there can be; the philosophical rudiments already being in place in several areas in current writing on the subject.

  6. jamesmcg says:

    Are Craig’s arguments against conceptualism that decisive? Can’t a conceptualist–a position that is centuries old–have something to say to Craig other than, “you win”? I’m not as convinced by Craig’s (or Copan’s) arguments against conceptualism. I also think that inviting a fictionalist approach to mathematics teeters towards doing the same for logic. One should still engage Craig’s arguments against conceptualism.

  7. No no, I’m afraid you misunderstood me, James. Craig wasn’t arguing against conceptualism. In fact, he even states his reply that he still may opt for version of conceptualism. Craig’s reply was on what his current views are on the ontological status of abstract objects. He answered this in part by evaluating what he (and many others) take to be the best argument for the existence of such entities. He then shows some favor for factionalism.

    My above comment was that if Craig (and a vast many others) is right, then where would this leave conceptualism in general and the conceptualist argument for God’s existence in particular? Either way I think both can be maintained. Check out Greg Welty’s, An Examination of Theistic Conceptual Realism as an Alternative to Theistic Activism (Oxford, 2000), where he argues that nominalism is true prior to creation and false sans creation. Like you, I don’t find factionalism as congenial as Craig.

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