distinctive features of the ontological argument

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  • Created on: 03-06-15 13:39

The distinctive features of the Ontological Argument.

unlike the Cosmological and teleological argument, the Ontological (meaning 'concerned with being') argument is a priori. this means that it does not depned on experiene as a starting point. instead it seeks to argue from the concept of God to the existence of Gd, The argument is also analytic - the truth (or falsity) of an analytic statement is completely determined by the meanings of the words and symbols used to express it - and deductive in form, bevause the cnclusion necessarily follows from the premises.

The first, and best known OA, was proposed by St Anselm of Canterbury in the 11th century CE. In his Proslogion, St Anselm calims to derive the existence of God from the cooncept of a "being which no greater can be concieved". Anselm reasoned that, if such a being fails to exist, then a greater being - namely a 'being which no greater can be conceived and which exists' - can be concieved. But this would be absurd: nothing can be graeter than a being than which no greater can be concieved - God exists.

Rene Descartes developed Anselms argument. His definition, that God is a "supremely perfect being", is the basis of his argument. Descartes argument runs as follows.

1) i have an idea of a supremely perfect being.

2) existence is a predicate (quality) of a supremely perfect being.

3) a supremely perfect


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