Ontological Argument Quotes

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Clary: What are you doing here, anyway? Jace: 'Here' as in your bedroom or 'here' as in the great spiritual question of our purpose here on this planet? If you're asking whether it's all just a cosmic coincidence or there's a greater metaethical purpose to life, well, that's a puzzler for the ages. I mean, simple ontological reductionism is clearly a fallacious argument, but- Clary: I'm going to bed.
Cassandra Clare
I have never seen anyone die for the ontological argument.
Albert Camus (The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays)
One can ask why the I has to appear in the cogito {Descartes’ argument “I think therefore I am.}, since the cogito, if used rightly, is the awareness of pure consciousness, not directed at any fact or action. In fact the I is not necessary here, since it is never united directly to consciousness. One can even imagine a pure and self-aware consciousness which thinks of itself as impersonal spontaneity.
Jean-Paul Sartre
We can formulate Plantinga’s version of the ontological argument as follows: 1) It is possible that a maximally great being exists. 2) If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world. 3) If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world. 4) If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world. 5) If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists. 6) Therefore, a maximally great being exists.
William Lane Craig (Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics)
In a world divided between theistic enthusiasts and secularist depressives there is little patience for the atheist who nurtures a passionate hatred for God. The mixture of naturalism and blasphemy that characterizes the Sadean text occupies the space of our blindness, to which Bataille’s writings are not unreasonably assimilated. If there is contradiction here it is one that is coextensive with the unconscious; the consequence of a revolt incommensurate with the ontological weight of its object. That God has wrought such loathesomeness without even having existed only exacerbates the hatred pitched against him. An atheism that does not hunger for God’s blood is an inanity, and the anaemic feebleness of secular rationalism has so little appeal that it approximates to an argument for his existence. What is suggested by the Sadean furore is that anyone who does not exult at the thought of driving nails through the limbs of the Nazarene is something less than an atheist; merely a disappointed slave.
Nick Land (The Thirst for Annihilation: Georges Bataille and Virulent Nihilism (An Essay in Atheistic Religion))
Yet the most pervasive error one encounters in contemporary arguments about belief in God—especially, but not exclusively, on the atheist side—is the habit of conceiving of God simply as some very large object or agency within the universe, or perhaps alongside the universe, a being among other beings, who differs from all other beings in magnitude, power, and duration, but not ontologically, and who is related to the world more or less as a craftsman is related to an artifact.
David Bentley Hart (The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss)
If I ask myself how to judge that this question is more urgent than that, I reply that one judges by the actions it entails. I have never seen anyone die for the ontological argument. Galileo, who held a scientific truth of great importance, abjured it with the greatest ease as soon as it endangered his life. In a certain sense, he did right.
Albert Camus (The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays)
Never forget, an argument isn’t wrong by line 1,000. It is wrong by the end of line 1. It is wrong in the first, defining claim it makes.
Thomas Stark (Tractatus Logico-Mathematicus: How Mathematics Explains Reality (The Truth Series Book 14))
What one should add here is that self-consciousness is itself unconscious: we are not aware of the point of our self-consciousness. If ever there was a critic of the fetishizing effect of fascinating and dazzling "leitmotifs", it is Adorno: in his devastating analysis of Wagner, he tries to demonstrate how Wagnerian leitmotifs serve as fetishized elements of easy recognition and thus constitute a kind of inner-structural commodification of his music. It is then a supreme irony that traces of this same fetishizing procedure can be found in Adorno's own writings. Many of his provocative one-liners do effectively capture a profound insight or at least touch on a crucial point (for example: "Nothing is more true in pscyhoanalysis than its exaggeration"); however, more often than his partisans are ready to admit, Adorno gets caught up in his own game, infatuated with his own ability to produce dazzlingly "effective" paradoxical aphorisms at the expense of theoretical substance (recall the famous line from Dialectic of Englightment on how Hollywood's ideological maniuplation of social reality realized Kant's idea of the transcendental constitution of reality). In such cases where the dazzling "effect" of the unexpected short-circuit (here between Hollywood cinema and Kantian ontology) effectively overshadows the theoretical line of argumentation, the brilliant paradox works precisely in the same manner as the Wagnerian leitmotif: instead of serving as a nodal point in the complex network of structural mediation, it generates idiotic pleasure by focusing attention on itself. This unintended self-reflexivity is something of which Adorno undoubtedly was not aware: his critique of the Wagnerian leitmotif was an allegorical critique of his own writing. Is this not an exemplary case of his unconscious reflexivity of thinking? When criticizing his opponent Wagner, Adorno effectively deploys a critical allegory of his own writing - in Hegelese, the truth of his relation to the Other is a self-relation.
Slavoj Žižek (Living in the End Times)
As a result, the scientific revolution left philosophers (and society more generally) without a plausible moral ontology. While beliefs could be described as being "about" the physical world, in some sense, and desires could be "about" the passions, or some set of internal somatic states, it was no longer clear what moral judgments could be about. And no matter how much ingenuity has been deployed by moral realists, trying to show that evaluative judgments have some kind of empirical correlate, all of their labors seem only to reinforce the impression underlying John Mackie's judgment that values are "ontologically queer."62 (The arguments of moral realists often bring to mind Wittgenstein's remark that on hearing G. E. Moore's proof of an external world, he began to understand why skepticism was such a problem.)
Joseph Heath (Following the Rules: Practical Reasoning and Deontic Constraint)
And to the extent that it can train viewers to laugh at characters’ unending put-downs of one another, to view ridicule as both the mode of social intercourse and the ultimate art-form, television can reinforce its own queer ontology of appearance: the most frightening prospect, for the well-conditioned viewer, becomes leaving oneself open to others’ ridicule by betraying passé expressions of value, emotion, or vulnerability. Other people become judges; the crime is naïveté. The well-trained viewer becomes even more allergic to people. Lonelier. Joe B.’s exhaustive TV-training in how to worry about how he might come across, seem to watching eyes, makes genuine human encounters even scarier. But televisual irony has the solution: further viewing begins to seem almost like required research, lessons in the blank, bored, too-wise expression that Joe must learn how to wear for tomorrow’s excruciating ride on the brightly lit subway, where crowds of blank, bored-looking people have little to look at but each other.
David Foster Wallace (A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments)
In my experience, those who make the most theatrical display of demanding 'proof' of God are also those least willing to undertake the specific kinds of mental and spiritual discipline that all the great religious traditions say are required to find God. If one is left unsatisfied by the logical arguments for belief in God, and instead insists upon some 'experimental' or 'empirical' demonstration, then one ought to be willing to attempt the sort of investigations necessary to achieve any sort of real certainty regarding a reality that is nothing less than the infinite coincidence of absolute being, consciousness, and bliss. In short, one must pray: not fitfully, not simply in the manner of a suppliant seeking aid or of a penitent seeking absolution but also according to the disciplines of infused contemplation, with real constancy of will and a patient openness to grace, suffering states of both dereliction and ecstasy with the equanimity of faith, hoping but not presuming, so as to find whether the spiritual journey, when followed in earnest, can disclose its own truthfulness and conduct one into communion with a dimension of reality beyond the ontological indigence of the physical. No one is obliged to make such an effort; but, unless one does, any demands one might make for evidence of the reality of God can safely be dismissed as disingenuous, and any arguments against belief in God that one might have the temerity to make to others can safely be ignored as vacuous.
David Bentley Hart (The Experience of God : Being, Consciousness, Bliss)
The stoics divided philosophy into three branches: logic, physics, and ethics. Logic covered not only the rules of correct argumentation, but also grammar, linguistics, rhetorical theory, epistemology, and all the tools that might be needed to discover the truth of any matter. Physics was concerned with the nature of the world and the laws that govern it, and so included ontology and theology as well as what we would recognize as physics, astronomy, and cosmology. Ethics was concerned with how to achieve happiness, or how to live a fulfilled and flourishing life as a human being. A stoic sage was supposed to be fully expert in all three aspects.
Robin Waterfield (Meditations)
Without motion one would be alone.
Wald Wassermann
From the austere negations of the ancient Indian materialists, to the funereal perambulations of Schopenhauer, pessimism also has its own ontological argument: existence is that beyond which nothing worse can be conceived.
Eugene Thacker (Infinite Resignation: On Pessimism)
Later writers who took up the ontological argument again all fell, at least in principle, into Anselm’s error. Kant’s reasoning should be final. We will therefore briefly outline it. He says: The concept of an absolutely necessary being is a concept of pure reason, that is, a mere idea the objective reality of which is very far from being proved by the fact that reason requires it. … But the unconditioned necessity of judgments is not the same as an absolute necessity of things. The absolute necessity of the judgment is only a conditioned necessity of the thing, or of the predicate in the judgment.29
C.G. Jung (Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 6: Psychological Types)
The ontological argument is neither argument nor proof, but merely the psychological demonstration of the fact that there is a class of men for whom a definite idea has efficacy and reality—a reality that even rivals the world of perception. The sensualist brags about the undeniable certainty of his reality, and the idealist insists on his. Psychology has to resign itself to the existence of these two (or more) types, and must at all costs avoid thinking of one as a misconception of the other; and it should never seriously try to reduce one type to the other, as though everything “other” were merely a function of the one. This does not mean that the scientific axiom known as Occam’s razor—“explanatory principles should not be multiplied beyond the necessary”—should be abrogated. But the need for a plurality of psychological explanatory principles still remains. Aside from the arguments already adduced in favour of this, our eyes ought to have been opened by the remarkable fact that, notwithstanding the apparently final overthrow of the ontological proof by Kant, there are still not a few post-Kantian philosophers who have taken it up again. And we are today just as far or perhaps even further from an understanding of the pairs of opposites—idealism / realism, spiritualism / materialism, and all the subsidiary questions they raise—than were the men of the early Middle Ages, who at least had a common philosophy of life.
C.G. Jung (Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 6: Psychological Types)
This detailed reminder of Kant’s fundamental exposition seems to me necessary, because it is precisely here that we find the clearest division between esse in intellectu and esse in re. Hegel cast the reproach at Kant that one could not compare the concept of God with an imaginary hundred thalers. But, as Kant rightly pointed out, logic strips away all content, for it would no longer be logic if a content were to prevail. From the standpoint of logic, there is, as always, no tertium between the logical either-or. But between intellectus and res there is still anima, and this esse in anima makes the whole ontological argument superfluous. Kant himself, in his Critique of Practical Reason, made an attempt on a grand scale to evaluate the esse in anima in philosophical terms. There he introduces God as a postulate of practical reason resulting from the a priori recognition of “respect for moral law necessarily directed towards the highest good, and the consequent supposition of its objective reality.
C.G. Jung (Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 6: Psychological Types)
One of the neglected resources of the orthodox ontology (and of the related principles of orthodox epistemology) is the dictum finitum non capax infiniti ('the finite cannot grasp the infinite'). Older Reformed theology mediated long and hard on the inability of finite man to reach, to understand, and to have communion with an infinite God—and, as a result, many of the distinctions found in the orthodox system relate to the way in which this chasm is overcome by the acts of God in history. The distinction between the decree and its execution, the historical line of the covenant, and the revelation of God in Christ all describe the saving initiative of an infinite God grasping the finite. A sophisticated modern scholasticism can well afford to recognize the inability of fallen man to raise his level of perception beyond the phenomenal. This, indeed, is the problem underlying many of the philosophical arguments leveled against theology in our time. But recognizing this rift between noumenal and phenomenal, recognizing also that any claim on our part to rise beyond the world of perception would smack of Pelagianism, we can nevertheless refuse to fall into the trap of Brunner’s neo-orthodox approach where not only man but also God must oblige the great epistemological rift. For the infinite God who graciously grasps the finite, who comes to the finite creature with saving revelation of himself in Christ, has shattered the Kantian barrier from his side.
Richard A. Muller
The mathematical ontological arguments proceeds as follows: nothing can prevent nothing; nothing has no requirements; nothing, uniquely, endures forever; nothing is indestructible. A universe of nothings must exist. However, a universe of nothings with no properties is actually a universe of nothing at all, i.e. a universe of non-existence. Why, then, does anything exist? Why is there something (existence) rather than nothing at all (non-existence)? There is only one conceivable answer. A something can exist only when it is nothing. However, it is not nothing with no properties, but nothing with one essential property: its components balance to exactly nothing.
Mike Hockney (Science's War On Reason (The God Series Book 31))
The mathematical ontological arguments proceeds as follows: nothing can prevent nothing; nothing has no requirements; nothing, uniquely, endures forever; nothing is indestructible. A universe of nothings must exist. However, a universe of nothings with no properties is actually a universe of nothing at all, i.e. a universe of non-existence. Why, then, does anything exist? Why is there something (existence) rather than nothing at all (non-existence)? There is only one conceivable answer. A something can exist only when it is nothing. However, it is not nothing with no properties, but nothing with one essential property: its components balance to exactly nothing.
Mike Hockney (Science's War On Reason (The God Series Book 31))
The mathematical ontological arguments proceeds as follows: nothing can prevent nothing; nothing has no requirements; nothing, uniquely, endures forever; nothing is indestructible. A universe of nothings must exist. However, a universe of nothings with no properties is actually a universe of nothing at all, i.e. a universe of non-existence. Why, then, does anything exist? Why is there something (existence) rather than nothing at all (non-existence)? There is only one conceivable answer. A something can exist only when it is nothing. However, it is not nothing with no properties, but nothing with one essential property: its components balance to exactly nothing.
Mike Hockney (Science's War On Reason (The God Series Book 31))
Kant had disproved the ontological argument. Hume had shown that for any supposed miracle, the evidence that it had not happened was always greater than the evidence that it had. Darwin had shown the error in the ‘argument from design’.
Jonathan Sacks (The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning)
Anselm must have been out of his mind to think that the question ‘Does God exist?’ is a question about a predicate. His ontological argument, and Descartes’ ontological argument, and all of the other ontological arguments are worthless except for playing linguistic games. Let’s not play linguistic games. Let’s be reasonable. Let’s look to science. There was no need for Aquinas to make four cosmological arguments if he had one good one, which he didn’t. As for the teleological argument, listen. Order emerged from the chaos that followed the Big Bang because gravitational tug of wars gradually balanced, and Earth’s millions of animal and plant species seem to be perfectly designed for their environments because evolution occurred via mutation and natural selection. So the argument that there must exist a supreme orderer or a supreme designer is invalid.
Jim Riva (The Champion of Reason)
This one god could be of the deistic or pantheistic sort. Deism might be superior in explaining why God has seemingly left us to our own devices and pantheism could be the more logical option as it fits well with the ontological argument's 'maximally-great entity' and doesn't rely on unproven concepts about 'nothing' (as in 'creation out of nothing'). A mixture of the two, pandeism, could be the most likely God-concept of all.
Raphael Lataster (There Was No Jesus, There Is No God)
That Logic was invented by a philosopher is a significant fact. Many a profession could claim the indispensability of clear thinking for sound practice. So why was logic not invented by an admiral or a general, or by a physician or a physicist? Why indeed was logic not invented by a mathematician: why is Aristotle not the Gottlob Frege of the ancient world? Logos is nothing if not a corrective to common sense. Logos has an inherent obligation to surprise. It began with the brilliant speculations of the Pythagoreans-- the original neopythagoreans, as one wag has put it--with regard to a number theoretic ontology. Apart from the physicists, the great majority of influential practitioners of logos before Plato allowed logos to operate at two removes from common sense. The first was the remove at which speculative science itself would achieve a degree of theoretical maturity. But the second remove was from science itself. The first philosophers were unique among the practitioners of logos in that they created a crisis for logos. In the hands of the sophists, philosophy had become its own unique problem. It was unable to contain the unbridled argumentative and discursive fire-power of logos. In fact, philosophy has had this same sort of problem--the problem of trying to salvage itself from its excesses--off and on ever since. Thus, logic was invented by a philosopher because it was a philosopher who knew best the pathological problematic that philosophy had itself created. -Eds. Dov Gabbay & John Woods. (2004) John Woods & Andrew Irvine. "Aristotle's Early Logic." Handbook of the History of Logic, Volume 1: Greek and Indian Logic. PP. 27-100.
Dov M. Gabbay John Woods
2. The Ontological Argument Nothing greater than God can be conceived (this is stipulated as part of the definition of “God”). It is greater to exist than not to exist. If we conceive of God as not existing, then we can conceive of something greater than God (from 2). To conceive of God as not existing is not to conceive of God (from 1 and 3). It is inconceivable that God not exist (from 4). God exists. This argument, first articulated by Saint Anselm (1033–1109), the Archbishop of Canterbury, is unlike any other, proceeding purely on the conceptual level. Everyone agrees that the mere existence of a concept does not entail that there are examples of that concept; after all, we can know what a unicorn is and at the same time say, “Unicorns don’t exist.” The claim of The Ontological Argument is that the concept of God is the one exception to this generalization. The very concept of God, when defined correctly, entails that there is something that satisfies that concept. Although most people suspect that there is something wrong with this argument, it’s not so easy to figure out what it is. FLAW: It was Immanuel Kant who pinpointed the fallacy in The Ontological Argument—it is to treat “existence” as a property, like “being fat” or “having ten fingers.” The Ontological Argument relies on a bit of wordplay, assuming that “existence” is just another property, but logically it is completely different. If you really could treat “existence” as just part of the definition of the concept of God, then you could just as easily build it into the definition of any other concept. We could, with the wave of our verbal magic wand, define a trunicorn as “a horse that (a) has a single horn on its head, and (b) exists.” So, if you think about a trunicorn, you’re thinking about something that must, by definition, exist; therefore, trunicorns exist. This is clearly absurd: we could use this line of reasoning to prove that any figment of our imagination exists.
Rebecca Goldstein (36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction)
[O]ne could assume an incompatibility, at one and the same level of reference, between two philosophical propositions, both of which cannot be true in accordance with the principle of contradiction. Alternatively, one might perhaps suppose a complementarity - perhaps even an incommensurability - between two doctrines that relate to different levels of reference or discourse, and which are accordingly not mutually exclusive or contradictory."`- In fact, this is precisely one of the major points in Dolpopa's original presentation of self-emptiness and other-emptiness that was often overlooked by later proponents of other-emptiness as well as their opponents. Despite the claims of his opponents, Dolpopa's use of this distinction is epistemological in nature and not ontological or reifying. In his main work, A Mountain Dharma, The Ocean of Definitive Meaning,'`" he himself makes a clear distinction between a "philosophical system" (Skt. siddhanta, Tib. grub mtha') based on certain explanations and arguments and a "point of view" in the sense of an outlook (Skt. darsana, Tib. Ita ba). For him, the latter is understood in the broad sense of including what is directly experienced in meditative equipoise. This is what he calls "Great Madhyamaka" and "other-emptiness," the outlook of noble beings who see how things really are. As such, it is clearly contrasted with Madhyamaka as a mere philosophical system. 'T'hus, on these two levels, the entire perspective of mind and, consequently, the way of discourse are quite different.
Karl Brunnhölzl (The Center Of The Sunlit Sky: Madhyamaka In The Kagyu Tradition (Nitartha Institute))
The Ontological Argument shows us that in order for God to be maximally great, He must be morally perfect. Being all loving is a part of good morality, but before the creation of humans, God had no one to love, so how could He be loving? He couldn’t be. If He isn’t loving, He isn’t morally perfect, and if He isn’t morally perfect, He isn’t maximally great. How do we resolve this? The doctrine of The Trinity provides the answer. God needs to be a Trinity in order to be love. For love requires three things: 1; a lover 2; a beloved 3; a relationship between them.
Evan Minton (Inference To The One True God: Why I Believe In Jesus Instead Of Other Gods)
the ontological argument for the existence of God.
Lynn Thorndike (The History of Medieval Europe)
For my part, I prefer the ontological argument, the cosmological argument and the rest of the old stock-in-trade, to the sentimental illogicality that has sprung from Rousseau.
Bertrand Russell
In the light of natural ontology, it is not correct the argument that we do not know anything about our possible offsprings, for example, about the capacity they will have to overcome structural pain; because even we do not know, for example, whether they will enjoy traveling, working or studying classical languages, we do know they will be indigent, decadent, vacating beings who will start dying since birth, who will face and be characterized by systematic dysfunctions, who will have to constitute their own beings as beings-against-the-others – in the sense of dealing with aggressiveness and having to discharge it over others – who will lose those they love and be lost by those who love them, and time will take everything they manage to build,
His philosophy insists that ethics comes first, that “ethics precedes ontology”: the first thing we know is our own being, and the way that we know everything else is through the other person.
Jennifer Michael Hecht (Stay: A History of Suicide and the Arguments Against It)
Descartes’s argument turns out to be a reworking of Anselm’s Ontological Proof. When we doubt, the limitations and finite nature of the ego are revealed. Yet we could not arrive at the idea of “imperfection” if we did not have a prior conception of “perfection.” Like Anselm, Descartes concluded that a perfection that did not exist would be a contradiction in terms.
Karen Armstrong (A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam)
Also, I say that although things other than God are actually contingent as regards their actual existence, this is not true with regard to potential existence. Wherefore, those things which are said to be contingent with reference to actual existence are necessary with respect to potential existence. Thus, though "Man exists" is contingent, "It is possible for man to exist" is necessary, because it does not include a contradiction as regards existence. For, for something other than God to be possible, then, is necessary. Being is divided into what must exist and what can but need not be. And just as necessity is of the very essence or constitution of what must be, so possibility is of the very essence of what can but need not be. Therefore, let the former argument be couched in terms of possible being and the propositions will become necessary. Thus: It is possible that something other than God exist which neither exists of itself (for then it would not be possible being) nor exists by reason of nothing. Therefore, it can exist by reason of another. Either this other can both exist and act in virtue of itself and not in virtue of another, or it cannot do so. If it can, then it can be the first cause, and if it can exist, it does exist—as was proved above. If it cannot [both be and act independently of every other thing] and there is no infinite regress, then at some point we end up [with a first cause].
John Duns Scotus (A Treatise on God as First Principle)
There appears to be a fifth way, that of eminence. According to this I argue that it is incompatible with the idea of a most perfect being that anything should excel it in perfection (from the corollary to the fourth conclusion of the third chapter) . Now there is nothing incompatible about a finite thing being excelled in perfection; therefore, etc. The minor is proved from this, that to be infinite is not incompatible with being; but the infinite is greater than any finite being. Another formulation of the same is this. That to which intensive infinity is not repugnant is not all perfect unless it be infinite, for if it is finite, it can be surpassed, since infinity is not repugnant to it. But infinity is not repugnant to being, therefore the most perfect being is infinite. The minor of this proof, which was used in the previous argument, [1] cannot, it seems, be proven *a priori*. For, just as contradictories by their very nature contradict each other and their opposition cannot be made manifest by anything more evident, so also these terms [viz. "being" and "infinite"] by their very nature are not repugnant to each other. Neither does there seem to be any way of proving this except by explaining the meaning of the notions themselves. "Being" cannot be explained by anything better known than itself. "Infinite" we understand by means of finite. I explain "infinite" in a popular definition as follows: The infinite is that which exceeds the finite, not exactly by reason of any finite measure, but in excess of any measure that could be assigned.—[2] The following persuasive argument can be given for what we intend to prove. Just as everything is assumed to be possible if its impossibility is not apparent, so also all things are assumed to be compatible if their incompatibility is not manifest. Now there is no incompatibility apparent here, for it is not of the nature of being to be finite; nor does finite appear to be an attribute coextensive with being. But if they were mutually repugnant, it would be for one or the other of these reasons. The coextensive attributes which being possesses seem to be sufficiently evident.—[3] A third persuasive argument is this. Infinite in its own way is not opposed to quantity (that is, where parts are taken successively); therefore, neither is infinity, in its own way, opposed to entity (that is, where perfection exists simultaneously) .—[4] If the quantity characteristic of power is simply more perfect than that characteristic of mass, why is it possible to have an infinity [of parts] in mass and not an infinite power? And if an infinite power is possible, then it actually exists (from the fourth conclusion of the third chapter).—[5] The intellect, whose object is being, finds nothing repugnant about the notion of something infinite. Indeed, the infinite seems to be the most perfect thing we can know. Now if tonal discord so easily displeases the ear, it would be strange if some intellect did not clearly perceive the contradiction between infinite and its first object [viz. being] if such existed. For if the disagreeable becomes offensive as soon as it is perceived, why is it that no intellect naturally shrinks from infinite being as it would from something out of harmony with, and even destructive of, its first object?" —from_A Treatise on God as First Principle_, 4.63-4.64
John Duns Scotus,
This problem, of the relationship between the void and matter, or in philosophical parlance, on the ontological status of space, would reappear much later in the protracted debates between Isaac Newton – who would uphold Democritus’ idea of absolute space as a kind of receptacle for matter – and Leibniz, who thought of space as merely a relation between physical objects. The history of the debate is interesting in its own right because, until Einstein, the general opinion amongst philosophers and scientists was that Democritus and Newton were correct, whereas it now seems that Parmenides, Leibniz and Einstein have the better of the argument.
Philip Stokes (Philosophy 100 Essential Thinkers)