The Ontological Argument

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  • The Ontological Argument
    • a priori
    • god has to exist
    • studying the definition of God and proving God through his definition
    • Anselm's first argument
      • God is that which nothing greater can be thought of.
        • God is the greatest thing that can be thought of
        • God may exist in the mind and in reality as well
        • something that exists in the mind is greater than something which exists in the mind alone
        • so if there is no one greater than God, God must exist in reality as well as in thought
    • Gaunilo's criticism to Anselm's first argument
      • thought Anselm's argument was illogical
      • you cannot show the existence of something by defining it into existence
      • Perfect island criticism         1. imagine the most perfect island that exists in the mind         2. because its the most perfect it has to exist in the mind and in reality              3.therefore it must exist but such an island doesn't actually have to exist            4. so its absurd to say that just because you have an idea of something it must exist
    • Anselm's second argument
      • you cant compare God to an island as an Island is contingent whereas God is necessary
      • For a theist Anselms argument works beccause Anselm has built into his definition of God the fact that God must exist - Since if he didn't he would not be perfect and therefore would not be God.
    • it is not based on evidence and experience therefore its why some people find this argument weak
    • Kant's Criticisms
      • The two types statement argument
        • to reject the three sides of a triangle is contradictory, but there's no problem with rejecting the whole triangle
        • He applies this to God- if you accept God and then reject his necessary existence = contradiction, but if you reject the concept of God then no contradiction
      • Existence is not a predicate
        • Kant rejects the use of existence as a predicate i.e. he rejects existence as describing something that exists
        • when we add existence to a concept it doesn't add any more understanding or description to the idea
        • Kant's conclusion: if God's necessary existence is an anaylytic statement, then it is a definition that tells us nothing about whether he actually exists so the OA = pointless


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