Ontological Argument Criticisms

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  • Ontological Argument criticisms
    • Anselm
      • Response to Gaunilo- an island is contingent and God is necessary
        • You cannot compare an island, no matter how great, with God
          • A most perfect island is subjective and a greatest possible being is not
    • Gaunilo
      • Hearing about a person through gossip is unreliable and the person may have been trying to trick you
      • You cannot define things into existence. You cannot prove from what is said (de dicto) and what exists in reality (de re) you cannot imagine a unicorn and that being proof of its existence
      • Island- you cannot imagine things into existence. One can imagine the perfect island, since existing is reality is greater than existing in the mind, the most perfect island must exist in both to be perfect. Therefore the island exists
    • Descartes
      • God is "a supremely perfect being" is the the foundation of his argument
      • Necessary existence is a perfection and therefore , a supremely perfect being exists
      • If god did not exist physically, it would be self contradictoryto him being "a supremely perfect being"
      • Analogy of the triangle- without three sides it is illogical, as is imagining God without the premise the God exists
    • Kant
      • Existence is not a predicate, unicorn analogy
      • Existence is part of the concept of God (analytic statement) but doesn't prove he exists in reality
        • Propositions about existence are synthetic, therefore God's existence is synthetic and needs to be refined
    • Hartshorne
      • There could be a difference between describing the symptoms of an illness theory than the reality of having the illness
    • Malcolm
      • Necessary existence could be a predicate of God
      • God's existence if either impossible or necessary. If God were contingent then he would not be the greatest conceivable being. Anselm's second formulation
    • Gassendi
      • It is only relevant to discuss perfection of something if it exists. If God does not exist He is neither perfect nor imperfect as He does not exist


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