tiistai 1. tammikuuta 2013

Johann Joachim Lange: Humble and detailed research of the false and corruptive philosophy in Wolffian metaphysical system on God, the world, and the men; and particularly of the so-called pre-established harmony of interaction between soul and body: as also in the morals based on such system: together with a historical preface on that what happened with its author in Halle: among treatises of many important matters, and with short check on remarks concerning duplicated doubts on Wolffian philosophy - Infinite computer

We might state Lange's main criticism of Wolffian theology quite simply: God has very little to do in Wolff's system. True, Wolff does admit that God exists and even proves his existence, but Lange cannot even commend Wolff's proof, which he deems to be faulty. Indeed, Lange hits on a crucial defect. Wolff's principle of sufficient reason or ground states that all things should have some ground, that is, all physical things should derive from a previous cause and all conscious actions should be somehow motivated. From this principle Wolff suddenly moves to a stronger principle that all things should have a full ground, that is, they should be based on an ultimate ground that requires no further ground for its existence. Lange notes that Wolff's original principle of sufficient ground is consistent with an infinite causal series bringing about the current event, thus, making the leap to the stronger principle unjustified.

Even if Wolff does accept God, Lange continues, Wolff's deterministic world system leaves almost no room for divine push on events. Wolff does make a halfhearted attempt to explain the possibility of miracles: God can supernaturally affect world, if he then makes another miracle that corrects the world so that it will once again return to its deterministic course. In effect, miracles of Wolffian God can make nothing new happen, because their results are erased by the second miracle of restitution.

Lange is especially opposed to Wolff's notion of what God is like. Wolff defines God as an entity that can think of all infinitely multiple possible worlds. God is then meant to choose one of these possible worlds for actualization – thus, he does not truly create the world, Lange says, meaning perhaps that God does not design the world from scratch, but accepts the world from a ready-made brochure of possible worlds. Even this choice is less of an achievement than it seems, because God is essentially a passively cognizing entity without any spontaneous volitions. God is like a computer that has been programmed to choose the best possible world – God as perfectly good cannot really choose any other option. Hence, the supposed choice becomes a mere justification of the goodness of the actual world – creation is as deterministic as the world created.

An atheist would then have no difficulties in accepting Wolffian philosophy, Lange concludes, for the assumption of God is mere play of words. Indeed, Lange thinks, Wolff even defends atheists by saying that atheism is compatible with morality. We shall see next time in more detail what Lange has to say about Wolffian ethics.

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