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The Ontological Argument

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Amanda De Valliere

on 11 October 2013

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Transcript of The Ontological Argument

The Ontological Argument

Key Words
Anselm Version 1
'That then which nothing greater can exist'
The predicate is contained in the subject.
Anselm Version 2
Contingent and necessary beings...
Rene Descartes (1596- 1650)
A key figure in the scientific revolution.
Onto is a greek word meaning beginning.
A Priori
A proposition based on a definition and the use of logic alone.
A Predicate
Its is an attribute or characteristic which tells us something about a subject.
Its starting point is valid for theists and atheists.
Atheists understand the term God even if they don't believe in him.
It continues to stimulate philosophical arguments.
God is either necessary or impossible ( because he cannot have come into existence or he could be a limited being.
God is not impossible as he isn't logically absurd.
Therefor God is necessary.
God is maximally great and excellent.
There exists a maximally great being in a possible world.
If it exists in a maximally great world and not our world it wouldn't be excellent.
So God must exist both in possible world as well as ours.
Not coherent.
Existence cannot be a predicate.
We can't define things into existence.
Gaunilo of Marmoutier
A fellow monk of Anselm.
He argued on behalf of the 'fool'.
He accused Anselm of trying to define God into existence.
God is beyond our understanding.
If we could understand him, he wouldn't be God.
He believed that the word 'exists' cannot be used as a description.
A predicate is a definition of something and existence is not a definition.
Kant said that we should establish Gods existence before we can say what God is like.
Anslem believed that even the atheist has an idea of God even if they attempt to dismiss it.
Therefore God exists in the mind.
Mind and Reality
Anselm believed that what exists in reality is greater than what exists only in mind.
So the greatest being conceivable must exist in reality as well as in the mind.
Gods existence can be shown by analyzing the word.
Existence is a perfection you can have or lack.
God has to exist as it is a predicate of a perfect being.
Reductio ad absurdum
To reduce the argument is absurd.
Anselm attempts to show the argument is true by showing that the opposite cannot be true.
Which is greater?
Things can be contingent or necessary.
God is a being greater than which cannot be conceived.
A necessary being is greater than a contingent.
If god was a contingent being we could think of a greater being.
But this isn't possible as he is the greatest being.
So God must be a necessary being who exists.
Another form
He believed that the definition of God is 'a supremely perfect being'.
This is the basis of his argument.
Developed version
Existence is a necessary part of the meaning of God. In the same way 3 sides are necessary for a triangle.
A supremely perfect being has all perfections.
Existence is a perfection.
Therefore, God, as a supremely perfect being, exists.
Based on Jim Harvey's speech structures
Something that has a beginning and an end.
A being which relies on nothing else.
Sophie Roberts
Amanda De Valliere
Full transcript