Ontological Argument - Anselm

Anselm NEVER doubted the existence of God.

Anselm uses reasons, not experience, to reach his conclusion that God exist by defintion.

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  • Created by: Nyree
  • Created on: 13-01-12 20:58

Anselm's definition-

Anselm started his defintion by saying that God is a being that there is no being more perfect.

If God is the greatest think immagineable, he must exist --> If he did not, you could imagine something greater --> Soemthing which holds all hos qualities but which did actually exist.

Aneslm uses reasons not experience to reach his definition that God must exsist.

Step 1 --> God  is a being which nothing greater can be concieved.

Step 2--> Some thing that exsists is greater than something that just exists in thought.

Step 3 --> If there is no being greater than God, God must exist in reality as well as thought

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1) Never doubted the existence of God, though believed Anselms' answer is flawed. Experience shows us that things arent perfect --> everything has potetntial to improve.

2) Just because you can concieve something perfect in your mind it doesnt mean that it exists like Anselm says. --> eg. imagine the perfect island -> Island would be perfect and flawless -> Though just because you w can imagine it doesnt mean it exists.


Guaniliilo didnt take account of the difference3 between contingent and necessary existence --> Islands are contingent, God is necessary -> An island is limited, and can always be imagined as better and better.

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Anslem - Necessary existence

A God who cannot be thought of as not excisting is greater than a God who can be thought of as not exsisting

Anselms believed that it was necessaryfor God to exist according to his definition.

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God is the most perfect being possable and since existence is an aspect of perfection, God MUST exist.

Descartes believed that the statment that God exists as analytic, like a triangle has 3 sides.

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Kant said that ' To poist a triangle and yet to reject its 3 angles is self-contradictary but there is no contradiction in rejecting the triangle together with its 3 angles'.

Kant believed that if you had a belief in something then it is logical to think that its existence is necessary.

However if you didnt have that belief in the first place then it would be logical to reject its existence.

Kant believed that analytic statment could be used about God, however they cant proove his existence.

Pointed out that analytic staments could be made about ideas. -> eg. unicorns and saying it only has one horn.

Although the truth of the stament is 100% true it doesnt mean that unicorns exist. Like analytic statments could be made about God but it doesnt mean he exists.

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