ontological argument

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  • Created by: holly
  • Created on: 06-01-12 11:26

Ontological argument

anselms first ontological argument

argument summarised as follows:

  1. god is the greatest possible being which can be conceived of

  2. god may exist either in mind alone or in reality as well

  3. something which exists in reality and in the mind is greater than something that exists as an idea in the mind alone

  4. therefore god must exist in reality and in the mind

(must learn off by heart)

  • this is the structured reply to someone who says there is no god

  • for this person to say there is no god there has to be an idea of god In that persons mind

  • definition in mind is 'greatest possible being' that can be thought of

  • greater to exist in reality than in the mind alone

  • what matters for anselm is that what exists in realit as well as in the mind is greater than something that is only an idea in the mind

  • anselms argument depends on the asusmption that existence in reality and in the mind is greater than existence in mind alone

  • this special quality to anselm is existence

  • anselm claimes that existence is a predicate of god (ie: a property or a quality) god being the greatest possible being has to exists

  • god must have his property of existence

  • because god is the greatest being that can be thought of part of being is that you exist. So god must exists. Gods existence is thus analytic

anselms second ontological argument

argument summarised as follows:

  1. god is being nothing greateer than which can be thought of

  2. something which cannot be though not to exist is greater than anything

  3. therefore if it is impossible ot think that this being cannot exist

  4. and this being is what we call god

  • the interesting thing about this argument was that it claimed to show that the non existence of god was impossible owing to the fact that any aseertion of non existence of god must be self contradictory

  • if god has to exist then it is called 'necessary existence'

  • most things depend on something else for their existence eg: your home only exists because someone built it so this called 'contingent existence'

gaunilos response

gaunilos argues that anselm's conclusion, that god cannot fail to exist is unintelligible it cannot show that god necessairly exists

  1. gossip-the fool could have in mind all sorts of things that do not exist in reality example of someone bearing about a person from gossip but this is unreliable and the person and event in question were made up to trick you

  2. defining things into existence- gaunilo argues that you cannot demonstrate the existence of something


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