The Ontological Argument

  • Created by: Charlie.R
  • Created on: 13-03-19 16:39
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  • The Ontological Argument
    • Versions
      • St Anselm of Canterbury
        • 1. Defined God as "that than which nothing greater can be conceived".
          • "Therefore, Lord, not only are you that than which nothing greater can be conceived, but you are also something greater than can be conceived."
            • 2. Things can exist either in the mind or reality.
              • 3. Even the atheist must have a definition of God even just to refute his existence therefore God exists in the mind.
                • 4. Things are better if they exist in the mind and in reality.
                  • 5 God is  "something-than-which-nothing-greater-can-be-conceived" but if he only existed in the mind we could conceive of things better than him.
                    • 6. This is a contradiction of terms.
                      • 7. Therefore, God must exist in reality and his existence is necessary.
      • Rene Descartes
        • Believed we are born with innate ideas of God.
        • Descartes definition of God as a 'supremely perfect being', is the basis of his argument.
          • Existence is a predicate of a supremely perfect being so God must exist to avoid being self-contradictory.
            • Trying to imagine God without the predicate of existence is illogical, like trying to imagine a triangle without three sides.
      • Alvin Platinga
        • Uses 'modal logic' which uses the concept of 'possible words'
          • Defines God as a 'maximally great being'
            • Such a being would have to exist necessarily not contingently.
              • Such a being in a possible wo in a possible world is either necessary or impossible
                • Existence is only impossible if it is self-contradictory.
                  • Such a being is not impossible in infinite possible worlds
                    • If it is possible in a possible world, it must be necessary in all in order to be maximally great
    • Opposition
      • Immanuel Kant
        • Anselm
          • Existence is not a predicate. Saying 'X exists' gives no information about X. But saying 'X is tall' and 'X is female' does.
            • A predicate must give information about X
              • If 'X exists' gives information about X
                • 'X doesn't exist' tells X lacks information
                  • But how can that which does not exist lack something?
        • Descartes
    • Ontology is the branch of philosophy which explores the whole concept of existence.
      • According to TOA, almost everything that exists does so contingently except for God whose existence is necessary.
    • A priori


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