anselm's ontological argument sparknotes
This second version appears to be less vulnerable to Kantian criticisms than the first. Suppose that an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent, eternal (and hence, so to speak, indestructible), personal God exists in this world but not in some other worlds. 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. In the proof of God's existence we are using clear and distinct perceptions that we are attending to, and so we cannot doubt their truth. There is simply nothing that a set of dishes that is indestructible in every possible world can do in this world that can’t be done by a set of dishes that is indestructible in this world but not in every other world. Kant’s objection is how existence is not a predicate (Mike, screen 25). We cannot soundly infer any claims that attribute particular properties to x from either the claim that x exists or the claim that x has at least one property; indeed, the claim that x has at least one property no more expresses a particular property than the claim that x exists. Those of the first set are dependent for their continued existence on gentle handling; those of the second set are not. Premise 3 thus entails that (1) existence is a property; and (2) instantiating existence makes a thing better, other things being equal, than it would have been otherwise. The existence of an unlimited being is either logically necessary or logically impossible. The structure of the Ontological Argument can be outlined as follows (The argument is based on Anselm 's Proslogion 2): 1. It is not even logically coherent to say "God does not have existence." Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) directs his famous objection at premise 3’s claim that a being that exists as an idea in the mind and in reality is greater than a being that exists only as an idea in the mind. Descartes, however, has not made this foolish mistake. I.19–30: The Nature of God and the Validation of Clear and Distinct Perceptions, I.31–51: Sources of Error, Free Will, and Basic Ontology, I.52–59: Substances, Modes, Principle Attributes, II.1–3: The Existence and nature of Material Bodies, IV.188–207: Physiology, Psychology, and Mind-Body Interaction. 2. Then there would be three possible beings, namely, one which combines X and Y, one which combines Y and Z, and one which combines Z and X, each of which would be such that nothing … superior to it is logically possible. Nicolas Malebranche, Baruch Spinoza, and G.W. But it would be contrary to the concept of God as an unlimited being to suppose that anything … could prevent Him from existing. To see this, simply delete premise 1 and replace each instance of “God” with “A being than which none greater can be conceived.” The conclusion, then, will be that a being than which none greater can be conceived exists – and it is, of course, quite natural to name this being God. We can do so merely by consulting the definition and seeing that it is self-contradictory. There is, of course, this difference: whereas the concept of a bachelor explicitly contains the proposition that bachelors are unmarried, the concept of God does not explicitly contain any proposition asserting the existence of such a being. No more complete understanding of the concept of a maximally great being than this is required, on Anselm’s view, to successfully make the argument. Summary St. Anselm’s Ontological Argument Saint Anselm, a Christian philosopher and theologian, is most known for his ontological argument over God’s existence. If 1, then there is at least one logically possible world in which a maximally great being exists. Argument: Saint Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury (1033-1109), is the creator of the ontological argument. 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.” As a result, despite its enduring importance, the ontological argument has brought few people to theism. Kant’s objection is how existence is not a predicate (Mike, screen 25). From our perspective, necessary existence adds nothing in value to eternal existence. 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. The reason that the ontological argument cannot work is because it treats the existential verb (i.e. For this reason, Premise 2 of Malcolm’s version is questionable. Aquinas argued, plausibly enough, that “not everyone who hears this word ‘God’ understands it to signify something than which nothing greater can be thought, seeing that some have believed God to be a body.” The idea here is that, since different people have different concepts of God, this argument works, if at all, only to convince those who define the notion of God in the same way. There is, then, so truly a being than which nothing greater can be conceived to exist, that it cannot even be conceived not to exist; and this being thou art, O Lord, our God. Aquinas reasoned that, as only God can completely know His essence, only He could use the argument. But it is very hard to see how transworld indestructibility adds anything to the greatness of a set of dishes that is indestructible in this world. The ontological argument is particularly faulty. Thus, Malcolm’s version of the argument is not vulnerable to the criticisms of Anselm’s claim that necessary existence is a perfection. The existence of an unlimited being is not logically impossible. Accordingly, what goes wrong with the first version of the ontological argument is that the notion of existence is being treated as the wrong logical type. We then offer a detailed preparatory study of the basic concepts involved in Anselm’s argument. St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) was a Neoplatonic Realist and was often called "the second Augustine." However, in our opinion, much of this literature ignores or misrepresents the elegant simplicity of the original argument. Thus, if God exists in the mind as an idea, then God necessarily exists in reality. For example, if x necessarily exists, then its existence does not depend on the existence of any being (unlike contingent human beings whose existence depends, at the very least, on the existence of their parents). In the Proslogion St. Anselm presents a philosophical argument for the existence of God. The ontological argument would be meaningful only to someone who understands the essence of God completely. Anselm’s Ontological argument expresses accusations that are simply in his favor or his outlook on God. Likewise, perfect power means being able to do everything that it is possible to do; it is conceptually impossible for a being to be able to do more than this. undertaking it is to deduce God’s existence from the very definition of God. U. S. A. Thus, if God doesn’t exist at W, then God doesn’t exist in any logically possible world. Unfortunately, as appealing as this picture of explanation is, ontological arguments involve a severe logical fallacy. Roughly put, the problem of divine foreknowledge is as follows. Since the notion of maximal greatness, in contrast to the notion of an unlimited being as Malcolm defines it, is conceived in terms that straightforwardly entail existence in every logically possible world (and hence eternal existence in every logically possible world), there are no worries about whether maximal greatness, in contrast to unlimitedness, entails something stronger than eternal existence. He begins in Chapter I by honoring God and acknowledging his greatness in order to lay a foundation of his beliefs. Here is his argument for this important claim. Everything has been explained. The argument in this difficult passage can accurately be summarized in standard form: Intuitively, one can think of the argument as being powered by two ideas. If God is omniscient, then God knows what every person will do at every moment t. To say that a person p has free will is to say that there is at least one moment t at which p does A but could have done other than A. One might say, with some intelligibility, that it would be better (for oneself or for mankind) if God exists than if He does not-but that is a different matter. To understand why a self-causing thing is necessary to bring explanation to a satisfying end, consider what would happen if there were no such self-causing thing (which, unfortunately, there probably is not): in order to explain any fact, you would have to appeal to another fact, and then, to explain that fact, to another, and, for that one, to another, and infinitely on. Leibniz all have their own versions of the ontological argument. Some commentators deny that St. Anselm tried to putforward any proofs of the existence of God. Commentators deny that St. Anselm intended to prove God 's existence does creep! 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