The ontological argument
The existence of God
· The ontological argument is a deductive proof (made by reasoning and do not need experience but analysis to reach a logical conclusion)
· A deductive argument is a statement that can’t be wrong e.g. 2+2=4. The proof is said to be logically necessary because it would be absurd for a alternative conclusion.
· This then means that the ontological argument is a priori argument because it tries to prove the existence of God from the understanding of the attributes God has.
Anselm’s version of the ontological argument
· Anselm’s proslogion (his book) wasn’t actually an argument to convert atheists.
· It was more of a prayer to God showing his faith and trying to gain a greater understanding of God.
· Anselm’s version of the argument is in two parts but some argue Anselm didn’t see it this way.
The first version
· Anselm defined God as “that than which nothing greater can be thought”
· It’s from this definition that the argument is formed.
· God is the greatest being that can be thought of, he can’t be improved.
· ‘The fool says in his heart “There is no God”’
· Anselm argued that this was absurd as the atheist (the fool) if they actually understand the definition that God is the greatest thing you can conceive then you can’t reject the concept of God.
· But the fool understands God exists but chooses not to believe God exists.
· Anselm said the fool is wrong to say this as anyone who understands what it means to say God, must have knowledge of God.
· If God is than which nothing greater can be conceived and God exists in the mind then a greater being could exist in reality as well.
· Therefore God must exist.
The use of reduction…