ap_plantingas_god (1)

Plantinga’s God

or How to Fuck Up Terms

Only a fool or a liar will tell you he can make your crops grow using words alone. I don’t know which one Plantinga is – probably both. His avowed project is to revive the art of those itinerant mediaeval necromancers (They called themselves "monks" or "theologians") who mumbo-jumboed a little lingo latino from their palimpsest and conjured up god right in front of the toothless masses.

In The Nature of Necessity, a book that can most charitably be described as a waste of good paper, Plantinga promises us that he’s going to pull a few latino phrases from his Book of Necromancy and make god appear right before our eyes. Yessirree! He’s going to do this, he says, by jerry rigging the axioms of quantified modal logic to make them prove what apparently Anselm had proved all along using the language of conceivability (cogitare). His scheme might have come as a surprise to the inventors of quantificational and modal logic, who from all appearances set out to investigate logic as a pure object of research without hidden agendas. But Xtians are like cockroaches. Just when you think you’re rid of them, you tear open the baseboard and the house is crawling with them.  All Plantinga has to do, he tells us, is replace "conceivable" by "possible" and we can all go down by the river and get our clothes muddy.

Plantinga commits three cardinal sins which have bedeviled philosophers ever since Constantine the Great and which the mediaeval schoolmen turned into a surefire way of getting free food from the local peasants. There are probably a lot more than three cardinal philosophers’ sins, but these three are whoppers. First, he decides what he wants to prove before he begins his philosophizing thereby nixing any chance for objective research. Secondly, he tries to prove things about the real world by using the fabulous constructs of his own imagination. Thirdly, where the logic does not fit his proof, he obfuscates the logic to hide his failure. Once apprised of such a "proof" most reasonable men would be tempted to exclaim, "Fuck you, asshole!" Indeed Hobbes could be heard intoning, "Isto coitus a tergo necesse est," or something like that. Diderot would have certainly exclaimed, "Foutez-moi la paix!" But I’m a nice guy, so I’ll take a moment to examine the "proof."

Plantinga warms us up by wondering whether the ontological proof might in fact be circular or not. That’s a good thing to worry about since most of Descartes’ buddies’ objections came down to detecting circularity in his version of the proof. The circularity problem comes down to whether "exists" is already part of the meaning of "greatest" or "conceivably greatest" or "possibly greatest," or whether, if it isn’t obviously part of the meaning of those terms, the ontological necromancer defines those terms such that, as he uses them, "exists" is part of their meaning. If so, then concluding that god exists because he/she/it is the greatest, or the conceivably greatest or the possibly greatest, is not a proof. It is simply unpacking the meaning of the terms "greatest" etc. Most people would consider this circular, but then again Plantinga isn’t most people. Plantinga tries to show that it is not circular by contrasting it with a proof for the existence of god which, though valid in his view, is indeed circular even if benignly so. Contrasting these proofs, Plantinga tells us, will help us understand how the ontological proof is not circular. The "benignly circular" proof is:

(1) Either 7 + 5 = 13 or god exists,

(2) 7 + 5 ≠ 13.


(3) god exists.

Well, gosh darn that Plantinga. He done gone and proved that god exists and so fast too. I suppose all those Xtians can now go out in the desert and eat locusts or whatever it is they do. Plantinga likes this proof. He says, "This argument is valid. Since I accept its conclusion and therefore its first premiss, I believe it to be sound as well." (p.217) I suppose Plantinga stuck it in for all those nubile altar boys who were told to skim the chapter in order to prepare for their test in apologetics. They can tuck away in their little brains that they saw a proof for the existence of god somewhere, "and it looked pretty good too." Unfortunately, it’s not pretty good. It sucks. In case you need help,

(1a) Either 7 + 5 = 13 or it is not the case that god exists,

(2a) 7 + 5 ≠ 13,


(3a) It is not the case that god exists,

is equally valid. The fact is (1) may not be true in case both halves of the disjunction are false.

But Plantinga’s real point, or so he says, is that there is a difference between the "benign" circularity of this "proof" and the non-circularity of the ontological proof. But if there is a difference in this respect between the two proofs, I don’t see it. In both cases, if you accept the first step of the proof, you have already accepted the conclusion. And in either case there is no reason to accept the first step. This is Aquinas’ objection to the Anselm proof when he distinguishes between existence in fact (in rerum natura) and existence in thought (in apprehension intellectus). It is apparently echoed by Caterus who distinguishes between formal and objective reality.

But there is a stronger objection to the first step of the ontological proof that goes much deeper than Aquinas’ distinction. Namely the critical terms in the first step of the proof are meaningless, or rather, as they are used in the proof, they are just garbled word play. These terms are "greatest," "existence," and "possible" ("Conceivable" is also meaningless, but Plantinga’s contribution to this whole mess is to replace "conceivable (quod non posit cogitari non esse)" with "possible"). These are three examples of a philosophical error I call, Fucked Up Terms.

I’m not going to waste my time reconstructing Plantinga’s proof. After all, we're not dealing with Spinoza here. Just a minor academic hack. By way of reference you can look at the last chapter of The Nature of Necessity. All these ontological proofs are pretty much the same, so you can also consult the Anselm or Cartesian version. The only change Plantinga makes is to replace "conceivable" with "possible." He also replaces "greatest" with "maximally greatest."  The only reason for the latter is to give the impression that Plantinga is contributing something to the argument. It also serves to throw sand in the faces of the rubes while he’s taking their money.

Most people stop at the objection that the ontological proof doesn’t prove what it sets out to prove. Whatever. In fact a proof has to actually be composed of meaningful sentences if it is to prove anything. For example,

(4) Joe nine blingling,

(5) Brunck the turtles,


(6) Brunck Joe blingling the turtles nine,

is not a proof in English. In the same way, Plantinga shows only a tenuous grasp of the English language.

Greatest: Most instantiations of "x is great" don’t mean anything. For example:

(7) This stone is great.

(8) Square roots are great.

(9) Standing is great.

(7)-(9) are meaningful pretty much only as an English specific (Germans don’t say "Gross!" They say "Toll!"), almost slang shorthand for "I approve…" or "This will do" or "These serve the purpose we have in mind." Without a surrounding context that specifies some purpose or other way in which the speaker of (7)-(9) approves of what he is talking about, those sentences don’t really make any sense. Quite often we supply the context. Consider,

Sarah: "Chocolate donuts are great!"

Mom: "I’m glad you like them, honey."

In this case Mom is supplying the context. She understands Sarah to really mean that chocolate donuts taste great. And most of the time she would be right. But what if she said,

Mom: "I used my fancy cake sugar on them,"

and Sarah answered,

Sarah: "Oh, I don’t like to eat them. They taste terrible"

Mom would be justified in asking Sarah what she meant. Perhaps Sarah meant they were good for teasing the cat or playing hockey. But what if Sarah denied all of those and she could not tell Mom how the chocolate donuts are great? For Sarah they don’t taste good, they serve no purpose and she doesn’t even want to be near them. But they are great. Mom would be justified in rejecting her exclamation as childish blather. It is meaningless. Consider,

Sarah: "Chocolate donuts are very!"

Mom: They’re very what dear?

Sarah: Nothing. They’re just very.

Dad: Stop bothering your mother and take out the garbage.

The grammar of "great" is largely the same as the grammar of "very." Their function can loosely be described as adverbial. They do not modify subject terms or referring terms. They modify other modifiers. So,

(10) Red.

is not a meaningful sentence. But,

(11) This ball is red,

is meaningful (assuming the index term, "this," is properly meaningful on the occasion the sentence is uttered). In the same way,

(12) This ball is very,


(13) This ball is great,

are not meaningful, while,

(14) This ball is very red,


(15) This ball is a great red.

are meaningful (assuming some other contextual caveats). Many terms, including a number of terms beloved to philosophers, are really this sort of second-order modifier, although, in the conversational usage they often masquerade as first-order modifiers. Philosophers run into trouble when they try to use these terms by themselves without specifying a first order modifier that they qualify. These terms include "very," "great," "good" and "much." So,

(16) Jenna is a good cocksucker,

contains a disguised adverbial usage of "good." It is equivalent to,

(17) Jenna sucks cock well,


(18) Jenna is good at sucking cock.

The same can be said about,

(19) Jenna is a great cocksucker,

(20) Jenna sucks cock great,


(21) Jenna is great at sucking cock.

(I kind of prefer, "Jenna sucks cock greatly" which has a certain indefinable Biblical resonance.)

Just as "great" is a second order modifier so are "greater" and "greatest," which can be phrased as "more great" and "most great." In other words, you cannot say that something is the greatest meaningfully without specifying in what way or in what respect it is the greatest. We often say, "Harry is the greatest," but we tend to use that in a context where Harry has just done something particularly nice for us. What we really mean is that no one else, in our opinion, could have acted better than Harry in a similar situation. In other words we have specified the way in which Harry is the greatest. Now the Xtian cockroaches tell us that they consider god to be the greatest in every way. That’s just heaping one absurdity on another. Let’s return to Sarah (Notice how the nonsense talk of the schoolmen seems to fit best in the mouths of blabbering toddlers? I guess that’s what Jesus meant when he said we should be like little children):

Sarah: Kitties are the greatest!

Mom (absentmindedly): In what way?

Sarah: In every way!

But smart-aleck older brother, Tom, is sitting at the table and he decides to make Sarah miserable.

Tom: Kitties are not the greatest in every way. You’re speaking like a little kid.

Sarah: Yes, they are. They’re the greatest in every, every way!

Tom: So they’re the greatest for cuddling?

Sarah: Yes!

Tom: And they’re the greatest for looking cute while they eat milk?

Sarah: Of course!

Tom: Are they the greatest for pulling the plough?

Sarah: Don’t be stupid.

Tom: You said they were the greatest in every way. Are they the greatest for scaring away burglars?

Sarah (stubbornly): Sure.

Tom: Are they the greatest for eating? Have you ever tasted a kitty?

Mom: Stop teasing your sister.

Tom: OK. They’re also the greatest at being sweet and kind, right?

Sarah: Why not?

Tom: But of course they’re the greatest for catching and killing mice, right?

Sarah: I guess so.

Tom: But you like mice too.

Sarah: Yes, I do!

Tom: Then, if kitties are the greatest at being sweet and kind they should be the greatest at sparing mice and letting them go. But you just said they were the greatest at catching and killing mice? Which is it? They can’t be both. By the way is there a difference between being the greatest in every way and being the greatest in every, every way?

Sarah: I hate you! I hate you!

(Plantinga would of course say something like sparing mice is a de dicto property and killing them is a de re property.) Clearly, saying that god is the greatest in every respect just leads to absurd consequences (god is good to eat), contradictions (god is the greatest at catching and killing mice and god is the greatest at sparing mice) and disagreement. Tom did a splendid job in demonstrating absurdity and contradiction. Let’s take a look at disagreement. On the whole I think it’s greater to have a cunt than not to have a cunt (I’m not sure whether this should apply to myself or not). So, as the entity than which nothing is greater, god has a cunt. (Some people think it is a good thing to have a penis, so god also has a penis.) Now what kind of cunt does god have? Is it better to have a bigger cunt or a smaller cunt? This is a problem that has bedeviled cunt connoisseurs through the ages. Some invoke the McDonald’s principle and say that bigger is always better. Others value pleasure-giving friction and hold that the smaller, tighter cunt is on the whole preferable. Which is it? Does god have the biggest cunt possible or the smallest cunt possible? Perhaps Plantinga would say god has exactly the right size cunt for every situation. So when Jones wants to fuck god, god’s cunt will immediately mutate into the best size for pleasuring Jones (somewhat like those purple women on Star Trek). But is this the best size cunt for Mrs. Jones, since she doesn’t think Jones should be fucking anybody much less god? This is where the disagreement comes in. The best size cunt for Jones is not the best size cunt for Mrs. Jones in exactly the same situation. god can’t have both the best size cunt for Jones and not the best size cunt for Jones or she (Heh, heh!) would violate a law of logic.

Existence: This term is fucked up in more ways than we can count and the consequences of its misuse extend far beyond trivialities like the ontological proof. The concept of existence extends into almost every corner of what Descartes called First Philosophy. Still a pervasive error accounts for much misunderstanding and outright falsehood when philosophers deal with existence. This error can be summed up in the following way:  You cannot say of a thing or of a class of things simply that it exists or they exist. You need to explain in what sense it exists or they exist, i.e. what meaning "exists" has in your utterance. To see this, let’s return to little Sarah. Her eccentric Uncle Ben has just come in from the kitchen after a hard day planting rice.

Ben: That Doo-li drives me crazy!

Mom: Who?

Ben: Doo-li. Doo-li drives me crazy.

Mom: Did he do something to you?

Ben: No.

Mom: Well, what did he say to you that made you so mad?

Ben: Nothing.

Mom: Well, why don’t you go talk to him and try to work things out? Where is he?

Ben: Doo-li ain’t nowhere.

Sarah: Mom, Doo-li’s not a person.

Mom: Oh, is Doo-li one of the animals?

Ben: No. Doo-li ain’t a he.

Mom: What is it then? Is it that new fertilizer you bought?

Ben: No.

Tom: Mom, don’t you understand? Doo-li doesn’t exist.

Ben: Doo-li exists all right.

Tom: Well then what is it? Is it animal, vegetable or mineral?

Ben: Yes.

Tom: Yes, what? Is Doo-li animal, or is it vegetable or is it mineral?

Ben: No.

Tom: Is Doo-li an animal?

Ben: I said no.

Tom: Is it a vegetable?

Ben: No.

Tom: So, it’s a mineral?

Ben: No.

Tom: Then what is it if it isn’t animal, vegetable or mineral?

Ben: I said, "Yes."

Sarah: How big is Doo-li?

Ben: Doo-li ain’t big.

Sarah: So it’s small.

Ben: Doo-li ain’t small.

Tom: How many inches wide is Doo-li?

Ben: None.

Mom: What color is Doo-li?

Ben: None.

Mom: So, Doo-li’s not colored?

Ben: Yes.

Mom: Yes, it’s not colored?

Ben: No.

Mom: Ben, is Doo-li colored or not colored?

Ben: No.

Tom: See, I told you, mom, Doo-li doesn’t exist.

Ben: Doo-li does too exist!

Mom: Well, where is Doo-li, then?

Ben: Doo-li ain’t nowhere.

Mom: Did Doo-li die?

Ben: No.

Mom: So Doo-li’s alive?

Ben: No.

Mom: Is Doo-li on earth?

Ben: No.

Tom: May be it’s out in the universe somewhere.

Ben: No.

Sarah: Is Doo-li a ghost or a fairy?

Ben: No.

Tom: Maybe Doo-li’s a number or something like a number.

Ben: No.

Mom: Or an abstraction like virtue.

Ben: No.

Mom: Ben, stop talking nonsense. Tell us one thing, just one little thing about Doo-li.

Ben: There ain’t nothing to say. Except maybe…

Tom: What?

Ben: Doo-li exists all right.

Uncle Ben may be a little tetched in the head (either that or he’s been reading too much John of the Cross), but what he says is not really so different from the beliefs and comments of generations of philosopher and Xtian theologians. But, thanks to Ben, we should begin to grasp exactly how "existence" is a fucked up term. Three points emerge. First, it is meaningful in several contexts to assert that a thing exists or a class of things exist (or to doubt whether, or to find out if a thing exists or a class of things exist). These are contexts where we know what the answer to our question would look like, positive or negative (although this may not clearly apply to classes of things). In the case of a particular thing the most common sort of answer would result from going and finding it, holding it up before our eyes or putting it in a box. We could also use indirect methods. We could look up birth records or find reliable testimony. We could find traces of its passage or we could deduce its existence from certain facts we know about other things that we have held up before our eyes. Kant generalized this approach when he said that "exist" was equivalent to "be an object of a possible perception." Things get a little more complicated when we deal with entire classes of things. People who believe in fairies might also believe that fairies are invisible, but they have to provide some sort of context, that is they have to explain what it means for fairies to exist and how that differs from what it means for cats and dogs to exist. If they don’t they would end up sounding like Uncle Ben. Secondly, "exists" is truly fucked up. But it is not an adverb disguised as an adjective. It is a genuine predicate (This doesn’t really contradict Kant), or more accurately an abbreviated predicate. When we predicate existence of a thing we usually mean that it is located in space and time or is (or was) an object of possible experience etc. For example, if we want to investigate whether the mysterious Woman in Red existed, we would know what we had to do. We would have to research all the documents relating to Dillinger, perhaps look at hotel and residence records from Chicago at the time and do all the other things that historians and detectives are trained to do. We would know that, if she did exist, her remains are buried somewhere or her ashes have been scattered to the universe. If she didn’t exist, then there were errors in some eyewitness accounts. However, since "exists" is just an abbreviation, to use the term without an understanding of what it abbreviates (For example, "to exist" could be an abbreviation for "to be located at time, t, and place, p, with extension, e, and mass m") is to talk gibberish. It would be kind of like saying "viz." without putting it in a sentence or other context of understanding. If you say for a thing, a, "a exists" or "a is" or "a is instantiated" and refuse to provide a context of understanding, you are like the person who denies the Law of Non-Contradiction. You can say it until you are blue in the face, but no one will understand you. The purveyors of the ontological proof (and unfortunately philosophers in other contexts too numerous to imagine) do just that. They say of something, namely god, "god is" or "god exists" or, like Plantinga (’cause he’s a 20th century fox, you know), "god is instantiated", and refuse to provide a context of understanding. In fact they exclude that possibility by insisting that "god exists" as they use it is not an abbreviation for anything. That would be just like saying "god viz. take it or leave it." Finally, there is a relation between the term "exists" and the term "all" which is another innocent looking philosophical term of art. This relation is at the root of some of the peculiarities of the predicate calculus. On the one hand, proper use of existential quantification should preclude the very formulation absurdities like the ontological proof in a symbolic quantified language. (The godly (and this is pretty much Plantinga’s scheme using modal operators) could try to reintroduce "exists" as a predicate and come up with sentences like, "Something exists such that it exists," but the predicate "exists" in this case, namely its second occurrence in the sentence, is not contextually defined in any legitimate formal system and so proofs using the predicate "exists" are not logical proofs, that is they are not generated by an axiomatic system.) On the other, the set theoretical paradoxes discovered by Russell are tied up with the meaning of the term "all" or "everything." This complex issue is largely unrelated to the ontological poof, so I won’t say any more about it here.

Possibility: "Possible" and "necessary" are also cases of words with perfectly comprehensible meanings – meanings that have been fucked up by attempts at specialized philosophical definitions. Moreover, in most instances "possible" and "necessary" are not strict contradictories, although those same fucked up philosophical usages define them as strict contradictories. For that reason we should first take a look at "possible" by itself.

"Possible" is something we say about situations, or, to use a philosophical term of art, states of affairs, Sachverhalten. We do not usually apply "possible" by itself to propositions or particulars. We say that propositions are "possibly true" and if we shorten that to say that a proposition is possible, we really mean either that it is possibly true, and also, if we are a grammarian or a logician, that it is well formed. Concerning objects we ordinarily say that they possibly exist or could exist (See above).

Of course, possibly true propositions and possible states of affairs do have a relation. Let the variable, p, range over propositions and the variable, s, range over states of affairs. By appending the same subscript to a p and to an s, we will mean that that p and that s are in the relation that p is true if and only if s. So pn is true if and only if sn for any value of n. Accordingly, if some sm is possible then the corresponding pm will have at least one of several properties. The first is,

(22) pm is true and pm does not contradict a law of logic.

In this case we say that sm obtains and also that sm is possible. sm is a possible state of affairs. pm is also possibly true. Note, for  the possible truth of any p I substitute that p does not contradict a law of logic. This substitution is not hard and fast. In some contexts we might be inclined to add that p (or the obtaining of s) also does not contradict other scientific laws as in "It is impossible for the apple to fall up." Indeed Plantinga talks about "broadly logical possibility," whatever that means. It will become clear, however, that the concept of possibility is pretty meaningless unless "s is possible" is understood as no more than a shorthand for "p (or s) does not contradict some law or other." Next,

(23) pm is false and pm does not contradict a law of logic.

In this case we say that sm does not obtain and also that sm is possible. In cases where some pm is undecidable, there is vagueness since undecidability can mean many different things. For the sort of undecidability exemplified by Goldbach’s Conjecture, we are inclined to say that the state of affairs that would obtain if Goldbach’s Conjecture were true is possible. However, we would not assert that that state of affairs obtains or that it does not obtain. Next,

(24) pm is a law of logic.

In that case, we say that ¬sm (where ¬sm means "It is not the case that sm") is not possible. If,

(25) pm contradicts a law of logic.

Then we say that sm is not possible. The unambiguous contradictory of "possible" is "not possible." So, what about necessity? The situation is not entirely clear since the etymology of "necessary" points to force or compulsion as in the Latin "ne cedo" or the Greek goddess Άναγκη. Of course, "necessary" can be defined as the contradictory of "possible" as it is in modal logics. We should be aware, nevertheless that necessity has a rather picaresque life of its own in philosophy in a way that is not entirely related to the logic of possibility. The goal of philosophy, it is often asserted, is the discovery or proof of necessary truths by which philosophers usually mean one or both of two things. Either these necessary truths have something to do with god and religion; or else necessary or philosophical truths are distinct from the propositions of the sciences. In the latter instance necessary truths are supposed to be different from and somehow more compelling than the propositions of the sciences. In fact, for some the necessary truths of philosophy are the bedrock on which the sciences are built, lending thereby some of their lustre to otherwise dubitable empirical assertions. One should keep an eye on this background when thinking about modal logics in general and whether there is something more to them than simply clarifying a bit of natural language grammar. However, that topic goes far beyond the ontological proof.

Let’s look at some cases where we are wont to use "possible." Let us say that in a murder case all the evidence points to the conclusion that the butler killed the count. But the clever detective has an insight and says,

(26) It is possible that the countess killed the count.

Of course, he does not just mean that the proposition,

(27) The countess killed the count.

does not contradict a logical law, though if (26) is to be true, then (27) must not contradict a logical law. The detective also means that (26) does not contradict any natural laws or any other facts of the case. But let us assume that the countess has a good alibi. Say,

(28) The countess was in Switzerland when the count was murdered.

In that case (26) contradicts both (28) and a purported natural law that a person cannot be in two paces at the same time. In this situation, "It is possible that the countess killed the count" is equivalent to "(27) does not contradict S," where "S" stands for a set of propositions that include laws of logic, natural laws accepted by the parties to the case and a set of propositions that can be described as the facts of the case. (26) is a shorthand, as the detective would agree unless he had been studying too much philosophy. The point is "possible" does have a clear meaning when it is a shorthand; it gets fucked up when philosophers try to give it a meaning of its own that is different from and somehow says more than its function as a shorthand.

We also speak about possible existence in perfectly meaningful ways. We say, for example, that it is possible that fairies exist or that dark matter exists. The former is roughly a shorthand for,

(29) The proposition, "Fairies exist" does not contradict the laws of logic or any natural laws that we accept.

We are not even obliged to define what we mean by fairies existing.

How does our usage relate to the possible worlds semantics of the logic of necessity and possibility? Clearly, if these uses of "possible" are valid, they must not be contradicted by a theorem of a modal logic and their meaning must be consistent with a semantic interpretation of a modal logic. The purpose of a modal logic and its semantics is to devise an extensional definition of "possible" and "not possible."  One consequence of this it shows a picture of how the world is structured if the axioms of the modal logic are valid. A formal semantics for a modal logic, properly constructed, does just that and it is compatible with "possible" and "possibly true" being shorthand for non-modal expressions, just as long as those non-modal expressions do not contradict a theorem of the axiomatic modal system. Plantinga’s bullshit semantics, however, goes much further. By mixing in assertions of what is possible and what is necessary that are not derived either from the laws of a modal or non-modal logic or from natural laws or "the facts of the case" in case-specific situations, Plantinga really mixes in intensional definitions into what is supposed to be a purely extensional project. In his usage there is really no need for a modal logic because he simply throws overboard the extensional definition of "possible" and the exemplary clarity of such a definition. Plantinga’s "possible" is just as vague as Anselm’s (or Descartes’) "conceivable."

Let’s plug in the non-fucked up versions of "great," "exists" and "possible" to see what we get. Plantinga’s final formulation (42), which, for some ostensible military reason he calls "victorious" (Plantinga’s conclusions are most compatible not with Calvinism but with papism), is,

(42) There is a possible world in which unsurpassable greatness is exemplified.

"Exemplified" means "exists;" "unsurpassable greatness" is for our purposes equivalent to "greatest;" and possible worlds are just a way of picturing possibility, in most cases but not this one (remember Plantinga opts for bullshit semantics) by extensional means. So (42) is just another way of saying,

(42a) A greatest entity possibly exists,

which is the first step of the ontological proof. Before plugging in the meanings for which the relevant terms are a shorthand, let’s unpack the proposition. First, there is an embedded proposition:

(42-1) A greatest entity exists.

Then there is the modal operator:

(42b) It is possible that (42-1) is true.

(42b) is de dicto but that is irrelevant in this case. What (42b) really says is:

(43b) The following proposition does not contradict a logical law: Something has either the largest cunt or the smallest cunt or a just right cunt, depending on whom you ask, and it has mass and extension at some point, p, and time, t, or, failing that, some other equivalent property which I have yet to specify.

The de re version would be something like:

(43c) Something has either the largest cunt or the smallest cunt or a just right cunt, depending on whom you ask, and it has mass and extension at some point, p, and time, t, or, failing that, some other equivalent property which I have yet to specify and this situation doesn’t contradict any laws.

How victorious can you get?