• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

“The Ontological argument will never be of any use when trying to prove Gods existence”. Discuss. (17 marks).

Extracts from this document...


"The Ontological argument will never be of any use when trying to prove Gods existence". Discuss. (17 marks). Many people the ontological argument is a pointless and weak attempt at proving the existence of God. They argue it has to many problems and unanswered questions to be of any use to us today. However, some find it a very encouraging and up-building theory, which strengthens their belief that there is a God for us to worship, and share a loving relationship with. The question all of us are concerned with however, is 'can we use the ontological argument to prove Gods existence today?' To decide whether it will be of any use, we need to look at its problems and its strengths to see if we can logically come to the same conclusion Anselm and Descartes arrived at. Using an A priori argument, monk Gaunilo came up with the first reply to Anselm's theory. He said that we 'cannot define something into existence' using the metaphor of an island, which he said if it was perfect then this island had to exist. ...read more.


This is using an analytical argument to come to a conclusion after looking at the terms used. However one of the biggest problems he proposed is that we can't prove he actually exists using the theory formed by Descartes. He agreed that IF he did exist, just like the triangle needs three sides and angles, then God would exist perfectly. However this does not mean He does actually exist, we can never rid the above statement of its 'IF'. If we cannot get rid of the if then we are not proving anything. Vardy uses the example of a unicorn saying that if unicorns did exist then they would have to have horns but this does not mean they do actually exist. The second problem, and the one with the most destructive impact, was the idea that we cannot say that existence is a characteristic of perfection. The idea of perfection does not add anything to the nature of God, just like my previous comparison to �100. The fact that the perfect �100 is sitting in front of me, does not make it a more perfect �100 than one that wasn't. ...read more.


If the argument tries to prove that God exists, has necessary existence and is perfect as an objective proof to an atheist, which is what Descartes was trying to do, then it fails. However if it tries to strengthen the faith in God and His 'otherness' to an existing believer, which as Anselm said was the only reason he wrote the argument, then it completely succeeds. We can therefore conclude that it is wrong to say the ontological argument 'will never be of use' because to some people it helps them become closer to God and their religion as it proves to them that He does exist for them. Like most philosophical arguments, it depends on your beliefs as to whether the argument is successful, so if you already believe in the Christian perfect idea of God then this strengthens your belief in him. The argument does not however reach our initial goal to prove the existence of God to everyone and change the way our society behaves and lives, because without objective proof for everyone then many will still ponder on the vital question 'does God really exist?'. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Philosophy essays

  1. The Ontological Argument - Critique

    Existence is a perfection. Therefore God exists. Descartes offered an analogy, with regards to his argument, in that Gods relationship with existence can be thought of as a Triangles relationship with its angles; that is to say, just as a triangle cannot be thought of as such if it does not possess 3 sides, neither can God

  2. Analyze the distinctive features of the Ontological Argument

    He agreed with Anselm's statement that God is the greatest thing we can think of but he opposed the conclusion that Anselm's statement proves God's existence because one can't think nor argue something into existence. Syllogisms may seem to prove something but they do not.

  1. Compare and contrast the contributions of Descartes and Humes on the issue of the ...

    The miracles argument claims that God is the explanation for the events that oppose the laws of nature and is used to support Christianity. Hume offers four factors in 'An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding' that count against the creditability of most miracle testimonies: * Witness of miracle typically lack integrity .

  2. Outline the ontological argument and explain how it proves the existence of God and ...

    This difference is important as in Anselm's second form he argues that if God is unsurpassable in all ways then he must be necessary by definition and therefore God exists, necessarily. Anselm claims that the definition of God recognised by all would include existence and so God must exist as the concept of God includes existence.

  1. Explain how Descartes developed Anselm's argument that God's existence is necessary

    Anselm's second argument concludes that God has to exist and cannot fail to exist, in philosophical terms this is called necessary existence.

  2. Utopia - The Impossibility of Perfection

    else is this, I ask, but first making them thieves and then punishing them for it?" (More 14) What, then, is the root of all these evils? According to Hythloday, the economic system is built upon the fundamental principle of private ownership.

  1. Outline the Ontological Argument for the existence of God.

    He argues that for the statement to be analytical like the argument takes it to be it can only be true because of the meaning given to the words, however if the statement is synthetic the argument would not work because the existence of God is not contained in the definition of God.

  2. The design arguments prove Gods existence. Assess this view.

    Numerous predicament arise on further inspection of this argument, first of all, it follows on an assumption that everything in the universe does and has a purpose, but what is the purpose of the universe or humans; it is quite unreasonable to compare the target of an arrow to that

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work