Anselm’s Ontological Argument. Anselm’s ontological argument purports to be an a priori proof of God’s existence. Anselm starts with premises that do not. Anselms’s Ontological Argument is stated, and a few standard St. Anselm of Canterbury () was a Neoplatonic Realist and was. Ontological Argument The ontological argument is widely thought to have been first clearly articulated by St. Anselm of Canterbury, who defined God as the.

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This is an a priori argument, based on logic rather than empirical evidence. The argument of Discourse 4 is further elaborated in the Meditations.

Ontological Argument

Premise For any understandable being xand for any worlds w and vif x exists in wbut x does not exist in vthen the greatness of x in w exceeds the greatness of x in v. Moreover, an argument can be ambiguous between a range of readings, each of which belongs to different categories. Therefore, the idea of the greatest ontologcial being cannot be an idea only, for then it would not truly be the greatest conceivable being. The argument attempts to prove the existence of God through the reality of existence, and to conclude with God’s pre-eternal necessity.

Internet URLs are the best. In the literature, there has been great resistance to the idea that the argument which Anselm gives is one which modern logicians would not argumetn to pronounce invalid. Immanuel Kant directs his famous objection at premise 3’s claim that a being that exists as an idea in the mind and in reality is greater than a being that exists only as an idea in the mind.

Ghosts, trolls, flying saucers and the like are all things I can think about. Since, on Plantinga’s view, the concept of a maximally great being is consistent and hence possibly instantiated, it follows that such a being, i.

Hence, the existent perfect being who creates exactly n universes is existent.

To think of such a being as existing only in thought and not also in reality involves a contradiction, since a being that lacks real existence is not a being than which none greater can be conceived. Hartshorne says that, for Anselm, “necessary existence is a superior manner of existence to ordinary, contingent existence and that ordinary, contingent existence is a defect.


Here is the second version of the ontological argument as Anselm states it:. The doctrine that existence is a perfection is remarkably queer. In the so-called ontological argument for the existence of God, St. Now if I take the subject God with all its predicates omnipotence being oneand say, God isor There is a GodI add no new predicate to the conception of God, I merely posit or affirm the existence of the subject with all its predicates – I posit the object in relation to my conception.

Following the earlier line of thought, it seems that the argument might go something like this: This will not be easy: As Malcolm describes this idea:. Variants of the ontological argument have been supported and defended by contemporary philosophers such as Alvin Plantinga who bases his argument on modal logic and William Lane Craig. According to premise 3, existence is what’s known as a great-making property or, as the matter is sometimes put, a perfection. So what we want to know about these premises is whether the fool should accept them.

Because we cannot experience God through experience, Kant argues that it is impossible to know how we would verify God’s existence. There is, then, so truly a being than which nothing greater can be conceived to exist, that it cannot even be conceived not canferbury exist; and this being thou art, O Lord, our God. Oppy criticized the argument, viewing it as a weak parody of the ontological argument.

Ontological Arguments

If A is possible, then it is necessarily true that A is possible. Indeed, it is for this very reason that Plantinga avoids the objection to Malcolm’s argument that was considered above. Also, David Hume offered an empirical objection, criticising its lack of evidential reasoning and rejecting the idea that anything can exist necessarily. Therefore, God necessarily exists in reality. But, then, mark the consequences. Any property entailed by a collection of God-properties is itself a Srgument.

If God were non-existent, therefore, then we could imagine a God greater than he, namely an existent God. Another Christian apologist, William Lane Craigcharacterizes Plantinga’s argument in a slightly different way:. This is among the most discussed and contested arguments in the history of thought. He argues that the ontological argument works only if existence is a predicate; if this is not so, he claims the ontological argument is invalidated, as it is then anxelm a completely perfect being doesn’t exist.


The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Sections 6—8 take up some of the central questions at a slightly more sophisticated level of discussion. After all, at best these arguments show that certain sets of sentences beliefs, etc. The counterexample can be expressed as follows:.

Anselm starts with premises that do not depend on experience for their justification and then proceeds by purely logical means to the conclusion that God exists. In our sample argument, the claim, that I conceive of an existent being than which no greater being can be conceived, admits of the two kinds of readings just distinguished. Craig argued that an argument can be classified as ontological if it attempts to deduce the existence of God, along with other necessary truths, from his definition.

Rethinking the ontological argument: On Aquinas’s view, even if we assume that everyone shares the same concept of God as a being than which none greater can be imagined, “it does not therefore follow that he understands what the word signifies exists actually, but only that it exists mentally. And notice that his argument does not turn in any way on characterizing the property necessary existence as making something that instantiates that property better than it would be without it.

Even if all of the kinds of arguments produced to date are pretty clearly unsuccessful—i. I cannot conceive of a being greater than a being than which no greater can be conceived. But it seems quite clear that there are other properties, such as length or temperature or pain, to which there is no intrinsic maximum or upper limit of degree.