This blog post opposes the PLA to unitarianism (the belief in only one divine person), which is mostly a parochial, intra-Christian objection that, if generalized over other religions, seems like it would mean tension between the PLA and monotheism (only one divine nature) instead.

Alternatively, McDonough[19] argues that the existence of God would render the PLA fallacious. It's an involved essay that I've only skimmed over so far; the bent of it seems to be that God could check our supposedly "private" states and so nullify the point of declaring them truly "private" for the sake of the PLA.

So the first basis for claiming tension seems to be that God's language would be private if there were only one God, "and anything that seemed right to God would be right, so there's no reason to talk about what's right" as such. So doesn't the PLA then also conflict with things like theological voluntarism and then human voluntarism about semantic normativity?

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    Perhaps the weak point of your references lies in their reasoning they all conceive the monotheistic oneness as another everyday personal entity who may have a thrown possibility of a posited 'private' language without the abstract set-theoretic containment while being-in-a-same-world-as-its-own-model. God if exists never needs to look into the created human minds since very likely the words of the nondual oneness's one univocal language becomes the objective private mental states as hinted in the beginning of Genesis, and this single immanent language is not private to the created at all... Commented Oct 9, 2023 at 19:37
  • @DoubleKnot if you post that as an answer, I'll accept it at once. It's along the lines of a reply I had in mind earlier today, even. Commented Oct 9, 2023 at 20:31
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    The above premise of my reasoning implies the existence of one true logic, and IIRC you just accepted an answer adhering to logical and conceptual pluralism days ago. For your consistency purpose perhaps I shouldn't. Maybe you'll get other answer(s) later... Commented Oct 9, 2023 at 20:49
  • @DoubleKnot true, but perhaps we can let humans have as many logics as they please while allowing some One True God to have just one? Ah, but I am no more a monotheist than a logical monist, I suppose, here, in the end. Yet also do I go back and forth about many thoughts that I have, including such as these (I was tempted to accept Speakpigeon's answer to that other question too, after all!). Commented Oct 9, 2023 at 20:52
  • No worry this is just a human site on earth, not study in heaven anyway... Commented Oct 9, 2023 at 20:55

1 Answer 1


The 'Private Language' argument is meant to show that language is intrinsically bound to social use: i.e., we only have words n order to coordinate with others through sound. Private language are impossible because we already coordinate with ourselves better than we would through words (we don't need to 'tell' the left hand what the right hand wants...).

If a God existed, a private language still would not make sense, because any God would understand us better than we could convey meaning to it through words. We wouldn't need to 'tell' a God anything, because a God would already know. We only need language with a God in the ritualistic sense of stating our thoughts aloud (in prayer or such) as a kind of compact between ourselves and that God. Saying it aloud doesn't inform a God of anything; it merely makes it concrete.

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    But would God's own language be private, relative to us? One might say that God would have no such language at all, although the magical thinkers among us have often tried to cast spells by speaking in "the divine language." At any rate, for reasons of neurodiversity, I'm not convinced that everyone does better to speak with themselves non-linguistically than otherwise. I myself would hardly understand myself if I did not put my impulses and thoughts into symbols (supposedly private or not). —Your reference to prayer is evocative, though. Commented Oct 9, 2023 at 22:43
  • @KristianBerry: The religious references to God having a language, generally stem from Genesis, where God ostensibly spoke a 'word' to create the universe. But I don't think that was ever meant to refer to actual language, but rather an act in which God's conception became reality (as though by imagining a ball I could cause a ball to appear materially before me). language also bridges the concept/object divide, but not in the direct way that God supposedly accomplished. Commented Oct 10, 2023 at 0:24
  • When I was a Christian, I was really into the account of Jesus as the living name of God, as if he as a person, and in the sum of his actions, was a truer name of God than any concatenation of sounds or squiggles. I also considered the whole of the world as something like the ultimate glyph, and this glyph's referent would be God. However, there are would-be sorcerers and wizards who historically took talk of a divine language more "literally," if you will, though this was not private (since the "wizards" wanted to "speak" in that language, to alter reality, too). Commented Oct 10, 2023 at 12:45

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