Ontological Argument

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  • Ontological Argument
    • a priori
      • argument based on logic and reason
    • analytic
      • based upon definitions of words
        • characteristic is entailed in the definition
          • e.g. a tricycle has 3 wheels
    • reductio ad absurdum
      • God exists and it is absurd to think he doesn't
    • promotes biblical, traditional view of God
    • rational
    • proponents
      • St. Anslem
        • definition of God - 'that than which nothing greater can be conceived
          • if you believe in and accept the definition, then argument can work and make sense
          • if you do not believe in the definition, the argument will be rejected
          • even those who do not believe in God must have a definition of him to know that he does not exist
        • assumptions without proof
        • perfection and existence
          • existence is just as important as goodness and love
          • for something to be perfect it must exist
          • analogy of the painter
            • what exists and what can be seen is better than what simply remains in the mind
          • as God is so great and perfect, for him to be perfect he must exist
            • since no being has such qualities, only God exists
      • Rene Descartes
        • triangle
          • predicate of a triangle is that it has 3 sides
            • predicate of God is that he is perfect
              • for something to be perfect it must exist
          • just as we cannot imagine a triangle without 3 sides we cannot imagine an imperfect God
            • each cannot exist outside of its predicate
      • Alvin Plantinga
        • must be a number of possible worlds including our own
          • if God's existence is necessary, he must exist in all possible worlds, with all of his qualities
            • God is maximally great and maximally excellent therefore he can exist in every world with these qualities
              • criticisms
                • possibility not actuality of God existing
                • if there is maximum greatness there could be maximum evil
                  • God's omnipotence not exclusive
                    • a being as such with opposite intentions could exist


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