ontological arguments

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  • Created on: 16-12-14 11:52

Arguments relating to the existence of God

ontological arguments

ontological arguments claim that we can deduce the existence of God from the concept of God, i.e. just by using reason alone we can conclude that God exists. Ontological arguments claim we can know synthetic propositions a priori, the ontological argument is also a deductive argument which means if the premises are true then the conclusion must also be true. A famous example of this would be:

Premise 1: socrates is a man

premise 2: all men are mortal

Conclusion: socrates is mortal

Anselm's ontological argument:

  1. by definition, God is a being greater than which cannot be conceived

  2. we can coherently conceive of such a being

  3. it is greater to exist in the mind than in reality

  4. therefore, God must exist.

(1)God is perfect, so there cannot be anything better than God. (3) makes sense as imagining an ice cream in your hand is not as great as having the ice cream there. On the basis of these premises being true, the conclusion must also be true.

Objection: Gaunilo argues the conclusion does not follow from the premises. We can imagine how great this being would be if they existed but this does not prove that


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