Ontological Argument

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  • Created by: Maegan
  • Created on: 04-06-13 16:53

Paragraph 1 (intro)

Argument - attempts to prove God - reason alone

A priori - starts on definition of God > reality

Analytic - true by definition alone

Deductive - conclusion reached - God exists - only one possible that can be deduced from its premises 

God - existence is logically necessary

Existence - contingent - depends on God to exist 

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Paragraph 2 - Anselm (1)

  • Prayed for single short proof - demonstrate everything about God including nature & existence
  • Believed God - true by logical necessity
  • Prove God - analysis of terms & meanings - avoid obstructions from natural world
  • Prove God - reductio ad absurdum - aims to demonstrate truth of something by reducing to absurdity - opposite of what you are trying to prove
  • For Anselm - opposite of conclusion = God does not exist - absurd
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Paragraph 2 - Anselm (2)

  • Defined God - TTWNGCBC - no greater being could exist
  • Believer & non believer intuitively know concept of God
  • TTWNGCBC - possesses all perfections
  • Existence = perfection
  • 2 types of existence: existence in re (reality) / intellectu (mind)
  • Mind & reality > mind alone - something greater could be thought of?
  • Therefore - God exists in mind & reality
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Paragraph 3 - Descartes (1)

  • Reformulated ontological proof - terms of necessary existence
  • Rationalist - prove God - unaided human reason - discounting evidence from sensus
  • Basing argument on reason alone = a priori
  • Doubting his knowledge - proved his existence 
  • "I think therefore I am"
  • Created an argument for the perfect being
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Paragraph 3 - Descartes (argument)

  • He exists
  • In mind - concept of PB
  • Concept of PB - come from PB itself - could not conjure up concept on his own
  • PB exists in order to be perfect
  • Idea of God as supremely PB
  • Such supremely PB must have perfection of existence
  • Impossible to think of God as not existing
  • Therefore God exists 
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Paragraph 4 - Pantinga

  • Modern form of argument
  • Imagine - number alternative worlds, including own
  • Whatever world, God exists
  • God exists in all possible worlds - maximially great
  • If God possesses all attributes of God (3 O's) in all possible worlds - maximally excellent
  • God's existence is necessary - must exist in all and have all characteristics in them due to God being maximally great & excellent
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AO2 Strengths

Anselm

  • Logical - conclusion deduced - only possible one
  • Such great being - God - perhaps beyond proof of empiracle evidence? This would mean argument correct

Descartes

  • Logic - rationalist - reason alone - initially seems argument is correct
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AO2 Weaknesses (1)

Aquinas -> Gaunilo

  • 'Perfect island' claim
  • Logic of argument - applied to other things than God -> leads to invalid conclusion
  • Replaced God with island - to conceive of island & all its perfections - does not guarantee existence - argument incorrect

Anselm replied:

  • Only applies to God not any other contingent being
  • Misunderstood argument
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AO2 Weaknesses (2)

Descartes -> Kant

  • Existance - not predicate - not quality/characteristic
  • 'Exists' does not add to our understanding - must establish existence of something before we can say what it is like
  • By defining God into existence & claiming existence is attribute - incorrect - Gods existence must be established before definition can be made

Moore

  • Backed up Kant
  • Existence cannot be grammatically used as predicate
  • 'Some tame tigers' does not add to understanding - 'God exists' - not make argument correct - existence not predicate
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My conclusion

Argument does not work

Aquinas

  • Acknowledges God exists as necessary being
  • God cannot be proven by human intellect/reason alone
  • Anselm made a transitional error - definition > reality - cannot define something into existence 

Also

  • arguments cannot be based on reason alone - lack of empirical evidence of the universe 
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