Overview of the Ontological Argument

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  • The Ontological Argument
    • Anselm's first ontological argument
      • The idea of God exists in our minds
      • Nothing greater than God can be concieved.
      • If God only existed in our minds He would not be as great as one who actually existed
      • Therefore, the idea of God - as a conception which cannot be bettered - must correspond to one in reality (i.e He actually exists)
    • Anselm's second ontological argument
      • Necessary existence is better than contingent existence.
      • God is that than which nothing greater can be conceived.
      • God has necessary existence.
      • God exists..
    • General Facts
      • St. Anselm (1033-1109)
      • Descartes
      • Existence is a predicate
      • A priori argument
    • Descartes' ontological argument.
      • Analogy of a triangle: existence is a predicate of the perfect being.
        • God poseses all perfections
        • Existence is a perfection
        • Therefore God exists.
    • Gaunilo vs. Anselm
      • Gaunilo of Marmoutiers
        • God is mysterious - we don't have an idea of him
        • Perfect Island analogy - Just because you can imagine something does not mean it must exist. You cannot move concept into reality.
          • Necessary existence is unintelligible.
      • Anselm's response to Gaunilo
        • The proof doesn't require complete understanding of God.
        • God is not just the greatest thing of a certain type or the greatest thing of all
        • God is not contingent so the island analogy doesn't work.
    • Strengths
      • It uses premises that the atheist is likely to accept
      • It is a priori, thus is not contingent upon empirical evidence which could be found to be false in the future.
      • The conclusion seems to follow from the premises.
    • Weaknesses.
      • Existence is not a predicate
      • God might exist but you can't prove it with logic.




very informative yet simply laid out and in a clear and concise way. love it. Thank You.

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