The Ontological Argument

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  • Created by: Nikki
  • Created on: 01-01-13 15:20
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  • Ontological argument
    • A priori argument
    • 2 main contributors
      • Anselm
        • 'that than which nothing greater can be conceived'
        • God exists in the mind because everyone, even non-belivers have a concept of him.
        • He must also exist in reality because he is 'than than which...'
          • God exists in the mind because everyone, even non-belivers have a concept of him.
        • Argues that Gods existence  is necessary
          • Anselm believes we know three reasons that make God necessary
            • 1. it can be conceived that something exists that cannot be thought not to exist
            • 2.God must be such a thing
            • 3.Because something that can be thought not to exist would be inferior to that which cannot
        • Gaunilo: Opposed anselms argument
          • If someone described to you the 'most perfect island', lost somewhere and untouched by man and then state it exists because of its perfection you'd be a fool to believe him.
            • Not valid criticism
              • wrong context
              • Doesn't mention 'that than which nothing greater...'
              • Islands do not have an intrinsic maximum,  they can always be bettered
        • Proslogion 2
      • Descartes
        • Developed Anselms argument
          • God is 'a supremely perfect being'
          • God exists because existence is a predicate of a perfect being so God must exist to avoid being self-contradictory
            • God without the predicate of existence is illogical
              • Like a triangle without 3 sides
        • Kant: Oppsosed Descartes
          • Denying Gods existence is tantamount to denying that triangles have 3 sides, which is contradictory
            • Kant says that  dismissing a predicate AND its subject leaves you with no contradiction
          • Seconds objection; 'existence is not a predicate'
            • Saying it exists tells us nothing about it
              • if 'x exists' tells us nothing about a property x has, 'x does not exist' denies that it has that property
  • 'that than which nothing greater can be conceived'

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