The Ontological Argument for the Existence of God

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  • A Priori- does not rely on experience/prior to experience. 
  • Deductive- follows logically from agreed premises to reach a conclusion.
  • Analytic- statement is true/false by defiinition of the words. 

Anselm's First Form 

  • Existence is a perfection, something which you can have or lack. 
  • The predicate is contained within the subject- God's existence can be shown to be self- evident by analysing the word God.
  • Thereford, in 'God exists' the subject is 'God', the predicate is 'exists'.

Definition of God 

The argument relies on analysing a definition, thus the defintion of God is vital:

'A being than which nothing greater can be concieved.'

  • Premise 1- We have an idea of God.
  • Premise 2- Our idea is of something greater than anything else we could think of.
  • Premise 3- Either this something exists just in our mind (in itellectu) or it exists in reality as well (in re). 
  • Premise 4- If it only exists in itellectu, it cannot be thought of as 'something greater than anything else we could think of'.

Conclusion- Therefore we must think of God as existing: therefore God exists. 

It is self- contradictory to be able to concieve of something greater than anything else we could think of and yet deny that that soemthing exists. 

Anselm's Second Form

Anselm developed his argument to show that it was impossible to concieve of God as not existing. He is arguing that God has Necessary Existence. It is greater to have necessary existence as opposed to contingent existence because contingent existence relies on another to bring it into existence. This being is therefore limited and cannot then be God because God is 'A being than which nothing greater can be concieved.'

  • Premise 1- God is the greatest possible being (nothing greater can be…

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