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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If it exists only ontolkgical the mind, then an even greater being must be possible—one which exists both in the mind and in reality. If any of the properties that are conceptually essential to the notion of God do not admit of an intrinsic maximum, then Anselm’s argument strategy will not work because, like Guanilo’s concept of a piland, the relevant concept of God is incoherent.

So, for example, there are review discussions of ontological arguments in: But, if the mere fact that I can produce from my thought the idea of something entails that everything that I clearly and distinctly perceive to belong danterbury that thing really does belong to it, is not this a possible basis for another argument to prove the existence of Canterburj All ontological arguments are either invalid or question-begging; moreover, in many cases, they have two closely related readings, one of which falls into each of the above categories.

Normally, existential claims don’t follow from conceptual claims. According to James Harris, this version is represented by Malcolm thus:. Of course, there will then be questions about ontolgoical the resulting arguments can possibly be valid—how could the commitments turn up in the conclusion if they are not there in the premises?

For any understandable being xand for any worlds w and vif x exists in wbut ontologicak does not exist in vthen the greatness of x in w exceeds the greatness of x in v.

Ontological Argument

Non-existence, Gasking asserts, would be the greatest handicap. According to Craig, premises 2 — 5 are relatively uncontroversial among philosophers, but “the epistemic entertainability of premise ontloogical or its denial does not guarantee its metaphysical possibility.

Nevertheless, the success of the argument doesn’t depend on our having a complete understanding of the concept of a being than which none greater can be conceived. Often, these operators have two readings, one of which can cancel ontological commitment, and the other of which cannot.


A being that exists as an idea in the mind and in reality is, other things being equal, greater than a being that exists only as an idea in the mind.

Anselm: Ontological Argument for the God’s Existence | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

If anwelm thing than which there is no greater does not exist in realitythen there is in the understanding something which is greater than that thing than which there is no greater. What follows is an attempt to clarify the argument as it is presented in Chapter II of the Proslogium.

But suppose for now that it is granted. If a property belongs to the set, then its negation does not belong to the set. In his ProslogionSt. There is room for argument about this. Then there would be three possible beings, namely, one which combines X and Yone which combines Y asnelm Zand one which combines Z and Xeach of which would be such that nothing … superior to it is logically possible.

The general point here, then, is this: Modal logic deals with the logic of possibility as well as canterbugy. This is a familiar distinction, even if the terms are not familiar.

Ontological Arguments

He suggested that people cannot know the nature of God and, therefore, cannot conceive of God in the way Anselm proposed. All theists—and no non-theists—should grant that the following argument is sound, given that the connectives are to be interpretted classically: More formally, the argument is this: Thus, according to this reasoning, it follows that B exists. As it stands, this is deeply problematic. Objections to Ontological Arguments Objections to ontological arguments take many forms.

If a property is positive, then it is consistent, i. So ontological arguments—whose conclusions are first-order existence claims—are doomed. However, it is unclear how that traditional characterisation should be improved upon. There is also a chain of papers in Analysis initiated by Matthews and Baker Existentialism, any of various philosophies, most influential in continental Europe from about to….

Web Design and Coding by Technokinetics. The ontological argument is clearly logically valid—that is to say, the conclusion necessarily follows provided that Premises 1 to 5 are true. This is among the most discussed and contested arguments in the history of thought.


Other parodies have been presented, including the devil corollarythe no devil corollary and the extreme no devil corollary. In the early eighteenth century, Gottfried Leibniz augmented Descartes’ ideas in an attempt to prove that a “supremely perfect” being is a coherent concept.

There is a definite connection between the notions of dependency and inferiority, and independence and superiority. A minimally rational non-theist would not accept both of these premises — they entail that God exists in every possible world whereas a minimally rational non-theists would insist that there is at least one possible world in which God does not exist.

Ontological argument

Hence There is in the understanding a unique thing than which there is no greater. Hence, it is false that God exists in the understanding but not in reality. It was not intended to be serious; rather, its purpose was to illustrate the problems Gasking saw in the ontological argument. A being that is loving is, other things being equal, better or greater than a being that is not.

Lack of moisture can prevent trees from existing in a certain region of the earth. But to the extent that existence doesn’t add to the greatness of a thing, the classic version of the ontological argument fails. In other words, we must be o to have the concept of, or entertain the idea of, a smallest really existing Martian without believing that there really are any smallest Martians.

A very similar argument can be given for the claim that an unlimited being exists in every logically possible world if it exists in some possible world W ; the details are left for the interested reader. Please try again later. This is an a priori argument, based on logic rather than empirical evidence. Second, notice that the argument for Premise 4 does not make any reference to the claim that all propositions bear their modal status necessarily.

Thus, a being than which nothing greater could be conceived, which Anselm defined as God, must exist in reality.