Criticisms of the OA

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Criticisms of the OA

1. Problems with the definition of God
2. Existence is not a predicate/perfection
3. Defining things into existence

Problems with the definition of God

All Ontological arguments move from the definition to existence.
Anselm's definition =  That than which nothing greater can be thought
Descartes' definition = The supremely perfect being
Both suggested once we understand the definition we must understand this entails existence
This is where Aquinas starts off.

Criticism 1
We don't all share the definition of God 
Response: It doesn't matter

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Criticisms of the OA

Criticism 2
We cannot know or understand the essence of God 
Human beings are limited, contingent, mortal beings.
God is infinite, limitless, eternal, and necessary.
We can utter a definition, though this is not the same as grasping its meaning, only God himself could do this.
Apophatic way - the via negativa

  • we can't say what God is, only what he isn't 
  • uncreated (not dependent)
  • infinite (not limited)
  • simple (non-physical, no parts)
  • immutable
  • perfect (doesn't lack any perfections) 
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Criticisms of the OA

Kant - Existence is not a predicate
'Capemican revolution' the mind doesn't encounter the world 'das Ding an sich' but instead orders and frames                                                                        (the thing in itself)
Inspired by Hume who woke him from his "dagmatic slumbers"
Gave the Ontonlogical argument its name
Ontos = being existence 
Kant's criticism needs explaining in two parts
- The Criticism
- The Implication 

1. The Criticism
Existence isn't a predicate and so not a perfectin (Russell would call it an existential qualifier)

The predicate is the quality of an object/subject of a sentence (describes it/increases our knowledge of it) 
Perfections are predicates. Perfections of God are predicates/descriptions (infinite, omnipotent 

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Criticisms of the OA

2 The Implication

God has all perfections 
Existence is a perfection          XXXXX
So God exists -----> D+A need this to be true by definition
But Kant says existence isn't a predicate so not a part of the definition

                                         IT IS SYNTHETIC  

If existence is not a perfection then the conclusion of the argument God exists cannot be analytical. 

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