CRITICISMS OF THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT

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CRITICISMS OF THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT

BENEDICTINE MONK GAUNILO OF MARMOUTIERS - 'ON BEHALF OF THE FOOL'

'The fool might make this reply: This being is said to be in my understanding already, only because I understand what is said.' - Gaunilo, On Behalf of the Fool. 

'Now if someone should tell me that there is such an island, I should easily undersand his words, in which there is no difficulty. But suppose that he went on to say, as if by a logical inference: You can no longer doubt that this island which is more excellent than all the land exists somewhere, since you have no doubt that it is in your understanding' - Gaunilo, On Behalf of the Fool

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CRITICISMS OF THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT

ST THOMAS AQUINAS (1224-74)

'For the human mind does not have an intuition of the essence of God' - Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 1265-74

'To know that God exists in a general and indefinite way is implanted in us by nature'

A priori arguments ultimately fail. 

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CRITICISMS OF THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT

DAVID HUME (1711-76)

'To reflect on anything simply, and to reflect on it as existent, are nothing different from each other.' - David Hume, Treatise on Human Nature, 1739

IMMANUEL KANT (1724-1804) GERMAN PHILOSOPHER

'existence is not a predicate' 

'By whatever predicates we may conceive of a thing we do not make the least addition to the thing when we further declare that the thing is' - Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, 1781

'You have thereby posited the thing with all its predicates in the conception of the subject and assumed its actual existence'

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CRITICISMS OF THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT

NORMAN MALCOLM, AMERICAN PHILOSOPHER

'The doctrine that existence is a perfection is remarkably queer', 

'but what could it mean to say that it will be a better house if it exists than it does not' 

RICHARD DAWKINS (1941-) 

'Gasking didn't really prove that God does not exist. By the same token, Anselm didn't prove that he does.' - Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, 2006

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