Anselm’s Ontological Argument. Anselm’s ontological argument purports to be an a priori proof of God’s existence. Anselm starts with premises that do not. Anselms’s Ontological Argument is stated, and a few standard St. Anselm of Canterbury () was a Neoplatonic Realist and was. Ontological Argument The ontological argument is widely thought to have been first clearly articulated by St. Anselm of Canterbury, who defined God as the.

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But these latter claims clearly attribute particular properties to x.

Perhaps it is worth adding here that there is fairly widespread consensus, even amongst theists, that no known ontological arguments for the oof of God are persuasive. Therefore, according to his nature, God must exist. History of Ontological Arguments The trick is to show that God cannot possibly exist in the understanding alone.

So the sample argument is unsuccessful: Ontological Argument for God’s Existence One of the most fascinating arguments for arfument existence of an all-perfect God is the ontological argument.

Ontological Arguments (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

The S5 system of modal logic includes an axiom that looks suspiciously similar to Premise Aquinas’s Criticisms While St. This contains the notion of a being that cannot be conceived not to exist.

A is an essence of x if and only if for every property Bx has B necessarily if and only if A entails B. Gaunilo shared this worry, believing that one could use Anselm’s argument to show the existence of all kinds of non-existent things: Malcolm supported that definition of God and suggested that it makes the proposition of God’s existence a logically necessarily true statement in the same way that “a square has four sides” is logically necessarily true.

There is no logically possible ontologiccal in which a square circle exists given the relevant concepts because the property of being square is inconsistent with the property of being circular.

Hartshorne says that, for Anselm, “necessary existence is a superior manner of existence anse,m ordinary, contingent existence argyment that ordinary, contingent existence is a defect.

Kant’s doctrine of transcendental illusion. Is there in fact a being with the properties our definition assigns to God? However, the basic point remains: Hence There is a being x existing in the actual world such that for no world w and being y does the greatness of y in w exceed the greatness of x in the actual world. In the example given earlier, the premises licence the claim that, as a matter of definition, God possesses the perfection of existence.


He suggested that argumeny a being with necessary existence can fulfill the remit of “that than which nothing greater can be conceived”. But Barnesfor example, has Anselm committed to the much stronger claim that any existing thing is greater than every non-existent thing.

These arguments have been discussed, annotated and amended by various leading logicians: There have been several attempts to render the persuasive force of the ontological argument more transparent by recasting it using the logical structures of vanterbury modal logic.

Suppose B is fanterbury being anselmm instantiates all the perfections and suppose B doesn’t exist in reality.

Thus, the most important contemporary defender of the argument, Alvin Plantinga, complains “[a]t first sight, Anselm’s argument is remarkably unconvincing if not downright irritating; it looks too much like a parlor puzzle or word magic. Gaunilo’s argument, thus, proceeds by attempting to use Anselm’s strategy to deduce the existence of a perfect island, which Gaunilo rightly views as a counterexample to the argument form.

In particular, Premise 2 is not obviously correct. We understand what these words mean. MetaphysicsAtascadero, CA: Therefore, the existence of God is logically necessary. Premise Hence the being than which no greater can be conceived ontologica, in reality. But this contradicts the assumption that B is a being that instantiates all the perfections. Given that that a minimally rational non-theist accepts that there is at least one possible world in which God does not exist, such a non-theist could offer the following counterargument: But it would be contrary to the concept of God as an unlimited being to suppose that anything … could prevent Him from existing.

The most significant of these pieces is Millicanthe first article on ontological arguments in recent memory to appear in Mind.

Ontological argument

But this is not true of the concept of God as Anselm conceives it. Perhaps the argukent known criticisms of ontological arguments are due to Immanuel Kant, in his Critique of Pure Reason. This helps to explain why ontological arguments have fascinated philosophers for almost a thousand years.


There is first the definition:. This discussion follows the presentation and discussion in Oppy Hence There is in the understanding nothing which is greater than the thing than which there is no greater.

Aquinas reasoned that, as only God can completely know His essence, only He could use the argument.

What is St Anselm of Canterbury’s Ontological Argument for the Existence of God? | MyTutor

In this argument, a thing is demonstrated through itself, and a path is identical with the goal. This is among the most discussed and contested arguments in the history of thought.

Anselm’s argument works, if at all, only for concepts that are entirely defined in terms of properties that admit of some sort of intrinsic maximum. Given that that a minimally rational non-theist accepts that there is at least one possible world in which God does not argumemt, such a non-theist could offer the following counterargument:. Zalta note that, for Anselm’s Proslogion chapter 2, “Many recent authors have interpreted this argument as a modal one.

Hence There is no possible world in which there is an entity which possesses maximal greatness. Indeed, there are plenty of beings that will probably never exist in this world that exist in other logically possible worlds, like unicorns. A being’s excellence in a particular world depends only on its properties in that world; a being’s greatness depends on its properties in all worlds. Kant claims that this is merely a tautology and cannot say anything about reality.

Conversely, a being that is omnipotent has the power cannterbury create free beings and hence does not know what such beings would do if they existed.