Ontological argument

Anselms ontological argument

HideShow resource information
Preview of Ontological argument

First 428 words of the document:

Anselm's Ontological Argument
First Argument
God is by definition that than which nothing greater can be conceived as God is the greatest
that than can be imagined. Nothing else is greater than God.
It is one thing to exist in the mind alone and another to exist in the mind and reality so it is
better to exist in reality than the mind.
It is better still to exist in both reality and the mind rather than just in the mind alone.
If God was just an idea in people's head then the definition points to something greater, a
God that exist in both the mind and reality but as God is the greatest thing there cannot be
a greater thing ;therefore God must exist in both in reality and in the mind.
Second Argument
God is a being that nothing greater can be thought of.
Something that cannot be thought not to exist is greater than something which can be
thought not to exist.
Therefore it is impossible to think that this being cannot exist
This being is what Anselm called God.
God is a necessary being and so has to exist. God is the only necessary thing.
Descartes Ontological Argument
Background
Descartes believed that in every person God has placed the idea of God, like a slogan for an
advert, which would help us recognise God. He also believed that the truths of mathematics
cannot be doubted once they have been demonstrated and God also has this same rule. He
said that demonstrating God's existence was not about proving he exists but about showing
there is no need to doubt that God exists.
Triangles and his Ontological argument
In the laws of mathematics, there are some things that have an `immutable' nature. This
means that something is incapable of change. He uses the example of the triangle
and says that, a triangle has three sides with all the interior angles adding up to 180o.
The triangle has an immutable nature as even if someone didn't know what a triangle
was they would know that it has these two facts that could not change. God is also
like the triangle in the fact that he has an immutable nature, and part of this nature is
that he exists. This is because God is perfect and a predicate, or property, of

Other pages in this set

Page 2

Preview of page 2

Here's a taster:

A predicate of God is also existence therefore God must
exist and that is an immutable fact. By perfection Descartes meant something that is
not lacking in anything; for example if you can imagine the perfect car it is only an
idea, it won't be the perfect car unless it exists. When Descartes said this he was
developing Anselm's idea that God is a necessary being and so had to exist.…read more

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »See all resources »