The Ontological Argument

Key ideas surronding the Ontological Argument.

  • Created by: Bethany
  • Created on: 11-09-14 09:47
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  • The Ontological Argument
    • Anselm
      • God exists by definition
        • definition: "That than which nothing greater can be conceived"
          • God isn't that than which nothing greater can be conceived unless he exists. A god which exists is greater than a God that doesn't exist
      • Book = Proslogion 2, Proslogion 3 and Responsio
      • Anselm's second version
        • God's existence is necessary
    • Rejections to Anselm
      • Aquinas
        • Book = Summar Theologica
          • We don't know Gods essence so we don't know he's perfect, so we don't know he exists
      • Gaunilo
        • Book = 'On Behalf of the Fool'
          • Saying something exists doesn't mean it does. He uses the example of describing 'your perfect Island' as we can prove that this doesn't exist
            • Anselm responds in his book 'Responsio'
              • God cannot be compared to an Island as an island as God has 'all perfections' so the argument can ONLY apply to God.
    • Descartes
      • Book = Meditations
        • We cant conceive a triangle without having three sides, just as we can't conceive a mountain without a valley so we can't think of God without him existing
        • Whatever is the essence of something must be affirmed of it. God's essence is existence.
    • Rejections to Descartes
      • Kant
        • Book = The Critique of Pure Reason
          • Kant completely disagrees with using an a priori argument
          • 'Language can't prove existence'
          • 'Existence is not a predicate'
          • 'A miserable tautology'  (circular argument)
      • Russel
        • Article = 'On Denoting'
          • When we say 'cows exist' what we are really saying is the concept of a cow exists, and so existence can't be used as a predicate.
      • Hume
        • Whatever we conceive as existent, we can also conceive as non-existing.
          • We can only prove something a priori if its opposite implies a contradiction. We can conceive God as not existing, so nothing can be proved a priori.
    • Modern Phase
      • Malcolm
        • To come into existence would require God to have a beginning and an end. God therefore has either always existed or will never exist. (Necessary or impossible)
          • He can't be impossible, as the concept of God is not self contradicting, so God must necessarily exist.
      • Plantinga
        • islands are different to God as there could always be a more perfect island.
          • The idea of the greatest possible Island is incoherent.
            • God is maximally great and nothing greater is possible.
        • Plantinga uses modal logic to suggest God exists.
          • Modal logic means there is multiple worlds, and in each one something is slightly different
          • God must exist in one world and as he is infinite he must therefore exist in all the worlds.


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