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Argument From the Fact of Existence

by Francois Tremblay



The Argument from the Fact of Existence has already been extensively discussed on Anton Thorn’s own account of it. The argument itself is very long and complex, and as such there is little need for me to expound on it. I will therefore only reproduce it and its variants as proposed by Thorn.

The short form of this argument is as such :

  • Premise 1: If the primacy of consciousness is invalid, then the claim that God exists is false.
  • Premise 2: The primacy of consciousness is invalid.
  • Conclusion: Therefore, the claim that God exists is false.

    This version is very simple but not very specific. So here is the long version.

    Premise 1: If the primacy of consciousness is invalid, then the claim that God exists is false.

    1. If the claim that God exists assumes the validity of the primacy of consciousness metaphysics, then the primacy of consciousness metaphysics must be valid in order for the claim that God exists to be true.
    2. The claim that God exists assumes the validity of the primacy of consciousness metaphysics.

      1. If the characterizations of God assume that a form of consciousness holds metaphysical primacy over existence in some capacity, then the idea of God necessarily implies dependence on the primacy of consciousness view of reality.
      2. The characterizations of God assume that a form of consciousness holds metaphysical primacy over existence in some capacity.


        1. God is described in terms of consciousness.

          1. God is a spirit.

          2. God is a ‘personal being’.

          3. God has no body.

          4. God has a mind.

          5. God has unlimited awareness.

          6. God has a will.

          7. God has thoughts.

          8. God authors judgments.

          9. God is a moral being.

          10. God plans the future.

          11. God can love.

          12. God can be angry.

          13. God experiences pleasure and emotion.


        2. The tasks ascribed to God assume the dependence of existence on a form of consciousness.


          1. If the tasks ascribed to God are actions of a form of consciousness which create existence and manipulate the identity of entities, then existence is thought to be dependent upon a form of consciousness – which means consciousness holds primacy over existence.
          2. The tasks ascribed to God are actions of a form of consciousness which create existence and manipulate the identity of entities.


            1. God is said to have created the universe (i.e., existence) through an act of will.

            2. God can change A into non-A (i.e., alter the identity of entities) through an act of will.

            3. God can make A perform the action of non-A (i.e., alter the causal nature of entities) through an act of will.

            4. A personal will (i.e., volition) is a form of consciousness. (Axiom of consciousness)

          3. Therefore, existence is thought to be dependent on a form of consciousness (“God’s will”) – which means consciousness holds primacy over existence.


        3. The characterizations of God make the idea of God incompatible with the primacy of existence metaphysics.


          1. If the characterizations of God describe God as a form of consciousness which holds metaphysical primacy over existence, then they are incompatible with the primacy of existence metaphysics.
          2. The characterizations of God describe God as a form of consciousness which holds metaphysical primacy over existence.

          3. According to the primacy of existence, existence exists independent of consciousness. (Objectivism: Rand, Peikoff, et al.)

          4. These characterizations of God do not hold that existence exists independent of consciousness, but that existence is dependent on a form of consciousness. (Inference from 1.II.B.3.b and 1.II.B.3.c.)

          5. Therefore, these characterizations are incompatible with the primacy of existence metaphysics.



      3. Therefore, the idea of God necessarily implies dependence on the primacy of consciousness view of reality.

    3. Therefore, the primacy of consciousness must be valid in order for the claim that God exists to be true.

    4. Therefore, if the primacy of consciousness is invalid, then the claim that God exists is not true. (Hypothetical obverse of Conclusion 1.III)

    Premise 2: The primacy of consciousness is invalid. (The primacy of existence is valid.)

    1. If the primacy of existence is valid, then the primacy of consciousness is invalid. 1. If the primacy of existence and the primacy of consciousness constitute exhaustive metaphysics and are contradictory to each other, then the primacy of consciousness is invalid if the primacy of existence is valid. 2. The primacy of existence and the primacy of consciousness constitute exhaustive metaphysics. 1. There are two fundamentals which a proper metaphysic must identify and distinguish in the foundation of a rational philosophy: that which exists (existence), and that by which one is aware of that which exists (consciousness). 2. There is no third alternative to this distinction. (Axioms of existence and consciousness) 3. The issue of metaphysical primacy states that, in any idea, doctrine or philosophy, one or the other (existence or consciousness) will hold metaphysical primacy over the other. 4. Therefore, the primacy of existence and the primacy of consciousness constitute exhaustive metaphysics. 3. The primacy of existence and the primacy of consciousness are in contradiction to each other. 1. The primacy of existence holds that existence exists independent of consciousness. 2. The primacy of consciousness holds that existence in some way is dependent on an act or form of consciousness. 3. Therefore, the primacy of existence is in contradiction to the primacy of consciousness. 4. Therefore, if the primacy of existence is valid, then the primacy of consciousness is invalid. 2. The primacy of existence is valid. 1. If existence holds metaphysical primacy, then the primacy of existence is valid. (Peikoff) 2. Existence holds metaphysical primacy. 1. If existence exists, existence holds metaphysical primacy. 2. Existence exists.. 3. Therefore, existence holds metaphysical primacy. 3. Therefore, the primacy of existence is valid. 3. Therefore, the primacy of consciousness is invalid.

    Conclusion: Therefore, the claim that God exists is false.

    This argument is similar to the line of evidence I present in my Materialist Apologetics. In essence, this universe is subjective to God’s will : and this demonstrates that God’s existence, and the existence of any god, implies the the primacy of consciousness. Since the primacy of consciousness is obviously false, it must be the case that no god can exist.

    Thorn also notes some general variants of this argument.

    Last updated: October 1, 2004