Ontological argument summary

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Ontological Argument summary
Key Concepts:
Attempts to prove the existence of God by reason alone
Is a priori ­ an argument that does not rely on the evidence of the senses, but on logical argument
Produces a conclusion which claims to be selfevidently true or logically necessary
Is deductive in that the argument contains the conclusion that it reaches (Strength of the argument, if this
were true, we could have proof)
Is analytic in that it is true by definition alone
Anselm Gaunilo Anselm responds to Gaunilo
Argument started from a theistic opposed Anselm's argument gave You cannot possibly compare God
stance, the argument is `faith an immediate response to his with an island
seeking' rather than an attempt to Prosologian with an argument he We know that islands have a
convert the atheist (Weakness) called `on behalf of the fool' beginning and a likely end because
The definition of God, `God is a As a human, we can't grasp the they are contingent
being than which nothing greater concept of greatness, not by An island does not have an
can be conceived' definition, only by word, it's external existence unlike God who
If you understand the definition of impossible for humans to think of a is unique, eternal and necessary
God and then you must know he fully perfect being Anselm will argue that we cannot
exists, you're a fool if you don't think Uses an island as an example, just think things into existence like
that God exists someone could make an island up, Gaunilo claims because it is not in
Something that really exists (in re) is stating that it's perfect yet it doesn't their nature to necessarily exist
bound to be greater than something mean it exists because they are contingent beings
that just exists in though (in intellect) Just because a person can think of Continues with an a priori
If there really is no being greater something doesn't mean it's real argument, if God exists only as a
than God, God cannot only exist as a contingent being, if God exists only
concept (in the mind) as a contingent being, so can
Therefore God exists both in mind therefore be imagined not to exist,
and reality than a greater being could be
imagined that cannot be conceived
General criticisms of Anselm not to exist
Is existence in reality greater than
just in the mind?
Anselm thought it was perfectly
acceptable to make assumptions
made on human reasoning, because
humans are made in God's image so
should trust their reasoning process
Other Christians believed our
reasoning was too weak and that
other methods should be used
Kant Descartes Aquinas
Supports reason based arguments, Aimed to doubt everything that Agrees with Anselm's conclusion
it was Kant that called it the could possibly, to see what it was he but doesn't like the way he arrives
`ontological argument' as he thought could not doubt at the argument
that the argument made an Doubts the truth about the Aquinas claims that we do not
illegitimate jump from ideas to empirical world, could be put there have an agreed definition of God.
reality (`ontos' meaning concerned by a mal genie (evil genius), that this He rejects Anselm's definition and
with being) world actually exists holds that many people have
We have no clear of a necessary Therefore he can't get his proof different ideas of God
being from the empirical world using its We cannot, therefore started from
His main point is that `God does not evidence, uses a priori proof an agree definition as we have no
exist' is not selfcontradictory, it is a The one thing he could not doubt way of knowing that this definition
statement which may be true or was that he exist, `I think therefore I is correct
false am'

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Existence is not a predicate', adds Descartes holds that just as we We can only reason to God from
no more information about cannot conceive of a triangle without the effects of God's action in the
something, there are no necessary it having three angles; just as we world, so any argument has to start
propositions about existence cannot think of God without from experience, a posteriori
Just because things have definition conceiving him as existing Aquinas does not consider that we
or are in…read more

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Dawkins Plantinga Plantinga
He describes it as `infantile' Argument based on modal logic Plantinga rejects this idea, God
Dawkins says that the fact the He claims there are many possible could exist without God's existence
`grand conclusion' that God exists worlds, God is a being of maximal being logically necessary
`could follow from such greatness who must exist in every Possible God is a logical necessity
logomachinist trickery offends me possible world and cannot not exist but not necessary that God's a
aesthetically' (as an…read more


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