<!DOCTYPE html><HTML lang="en"> <head><meta charset="utf-8"> <title>Wikipedia - Gdel's ontological proof (Theo Todman's Book Collection - Paper Abstracts) </title> <link href="../../TheosStyle.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"><link rel="shortcut icon" href="../../TT_ICO.png" /></head> <BODY> <CENTER> <div id="header"><HR><h1>Theo Todman's Web Page - Paper Abstracts</h1><HR></div><A name="Top"></A> <TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=950> <tr><th><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_16/PaperSummary_16501.htm">Gdel's ontological proof</A></th></tr> <tr><th><A HREF = "../../Authors/W/Author_Wikipedia.htm">Wikipedia</a></th></tr> <tr><th>Source: Wikipedia</th></tr> <tr><th>Paper - Abstract</th></tr> </TABLE> </CENTER> <P><CENTER><TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=600><tr><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_16/PaperSummary_16501.htm">Paper Summary</A></td><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_16/PapersToNotes_16501.htm">Notes Citing this Paper</A></td><td><A HREF="#ColourConventions">Text Colour-Conventions</a></td></tr></TABLE></CENTER></P> <hr><P><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><U>Author s Introduction</U><FONT COLOR = "800080"><ol type="1"><li>Gdel's ontological proof is a formal argument for God's existence by the mathematician Kurt Gdel. It is in a line of development that goes back to Anselm of Canterbury. St. Anselm's ontological argument, in its most succinct form, is as follows: "God, by definition, is that for which no greater can be conceived. God exists in the understanding. If God exists in the understanding, we could imagine Him to be greater by existing in reality. Therefore, God must exist." A more elaborate version was given by Gottfried Leibniz; this is the version that Gdel studied and attempted to clarify with his ontological argument.</li><li>The first version of the ontological proof in Gdel's papers is dated "around 1941". Gdel is not known to have told anyone about his work on the proof until 1970, when he thought he was dying. In February, he allowed Dana Scott to copy out a version of the proof, which circulated privately. In August 1970, Gdel told Oskar Morgenstern that he was "satisfied" with the proof, but Morgenstern recorded in his diary entry for 29 August 1970, that Gdel would not publish because he was afraid that others might think "that he actually believes in God, whereas he is only engaged in a logical investigation (that is, in showing that such a proof with classical assumptions (completeness, etc.) correspondingly axiomatized, is possible). Gdel died January, 14 1978. Another version, slightly different from Scott's, was found in his papers. It was finally published, together with Scott's version, in 1987.</li><li>Morgenstern's diary is an important and usually reliable source for Gdel's later years, but the implication of the August 1970 diary entry that Gdel did not believe in God  is not consistent with the other evidence. In letters to his mother, who was not a churchgoer and had raised Kurt and his brother as freethinkers, Gdel argued at length for a belief in an <a name="1"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_9/Notes_978.htm">afterlife</A><SUP>1</SUP>. He did the same in an interview with a skeptical Hao Wang, who said: "I expressed my doubts as G spoke [...] Gdel smiled as he replied to my questions, obviously aware that his answers were not convincing me." Wang reports that Gdel's wife, Adele, two days after Gdel's death, told Wang that "Gdel, although he did not go to church, was religious and read the Bible in bed every Sunday morning." In an unmailed answer to a questionnaire, Gdel described his religion as "baptized Lutheran (but not member of any religious congregation). My belief is theistic, not pantheistic, following Leibniz rather than Spinoza." </li><li>Gdel left a fourteen-point outline of his philosophical beliefs in his papers. Points relevant to the ontological proof include:- <ul type="disc"><li>4. There are other worlds and rational beings of a different and higher kind.</li><li>5. The world in which we live is not the only one in which we shall live or have lived.</li><li>13. There is a scientific (exact) philosophy and theology, which deals with concepts of the highest abstractness; and this is also most highly fruitful for science.</li><li>14. Religions are, for the most part, bad but religion is not. </li></ul></li></ol></FONT><BR><U>Contents</U><FONT COLOR = "800080"><ol type="1"><li>The proof</li><li><a name="2"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_1/Notes_121.htm">Modal logic</A><SUP>2</SUP></li><li>Axioms</li><li>Criticisms</li><li>Derivation</li><li>See also</li><li>Notes</li><li>References</li><li>External links</li></ol></FONT><hr><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><B>Comment: </B><BR><BR>See <a name="W218W"></a><A HREF = "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6del's_ontological_proof" TARGET = "_top">Link</A>.<BR><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><HR></P><a name="ColourConventions"></a><p><b>Text Colour Conventions (see <A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1025.htm">disclaimer</a>)</b></p><OL TYPE="1"><LI><FONT COLOR = "0000FF">Blue</FONT>: Text by me; &copy; Theo Todman, 2018</li><LI><FONT COLOR = "800080">Mauve</FONT>: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); &copy; the author(s)</li></OL> <BR><HR><BR><CENTER> <TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=950> <TR><TD WIDTH="30%">&copy; Theo Todman, June 2007 - August 2018.</TD> <TD WIDTH="40%">Please address any comments on this page to <A HREF="mailto:theo@theotodman.com">theo@theotodman.com</A>.</TD> <TD WIDTH="30%">File output: <time datetime="2018-08-03T00:15" pubdate>03/08/2018 00:15:52</time> <br><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1010.htm">Website Maintenance Dashboard</A></TD></TR> <TD WIDTH="30%"><A HREF="#Top">Return to Top of this Page</A></TD> <TD WIDTH="40%"><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1140.htm">Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page</A></TD> <TD WIDTH="30%"><A HREF="../../index.htm">Return to Theo Todman's Home Page</A></TD> </TR></TABLE></CENTER><HR> </BODY> </HTML>