The Ontological Argument

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  • The Ontological Argument
    • St. Anselm's
      • Argued that the definition of God was that ''God is a being than which nothing can be conceived''
      • Anselm claimed that even a fool could understand his definition of God.
      • He argued that a thing is truly great if it exist in your imagination and in reality
      • Based on this, God must exist in reality because he is greatest conceivable being
    • Gaunilo's Criticisms
      • Gaunilo used Anselm's logic in his book 'On behalf of the fool' to argue that if he imagined the greatest island, it must exist.
      • Anselm responded to this criticism by arguing that an Island is contingent so therefore does not necessarily need to exist.
    • Key Info
      • a priori argument
      • deductive argument.
      • Contains the predicate God.
      • God's existence is a necessary truth not a contingent one.
    • Kant's Criticisms
      • Kant argues against Descartes belief that as the supreme being God must possess perfect predicates i.e. omnipotence, omniscience ...
      • He argues that given God such attributes does not mean he exists, in order for us to claim that he possess them is through experiencing them so therefore, knowing God's existence is by sense experience and not logic.
      • Kant claims that we can define a being but that does not necessarily mean that being exists in real life. For example a unicorn is a horse with a horn but unicorns do not exist. So, therefore God can be omnipotent benevolent and omniscient but not exist.


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