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Analyze the distinctive features of the Ontological Argument

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A) Analyze the distinctive features of the Ontological Argument for the existence of God (18) B) Discuss the view that the Ontological Argument is obviously incorrect as an argument (12) a) The Ontological Argument is an a priori argument which attempts to prove God's existence. Ontology literally means 'concerned with being'. It is also a reduction ad absurdum argument which shows that the existence of God could not be denied because to do so would involve adopting a nonsensical argument. This deductive type of argument attempts to show that the very being or concept of God implies his existence in reality. The Ontological Argument is one of five classical arguments for the existence of God. It moves from a definition of God as being "that than which nothing greater can be conceived" to a proof of God, using a priori logic. It was formulated primarily by St. Anselm (1033-1109), but remains a relevant philosophical discussion today.The argument states that firstly, nothing greater than God can be conceived and secondly, it is greater to exist than not to exist. Thirdly states that if we conceive of God as not existing, then we can conceive of something greater than God (God existing) and fourthly that to conceive of God as not existing is not to conceive of God. Fifthly states that it is inconceivable that God doesn't exist and lastly therefore God exists. ...read more.


However, one does not have to accept that there is a perfect being therefore one does not have to accept the existence of a perfect being. Kant distinguished between analytic and synthetic statements. Necessity is about logic, whereas existence is about experience. He also argued that adding reality to a concept does not make it any better , existence is not a predicate. Hume argued that the description of one can only contain every detail possible but we must go beyond the description itself to conclude whether it exists or not. A thing cannot be defined into existence- no matter how perfect it may be imagined to be. He stated that all the Ontological argument does is place God's existence in philosophically rational terms if he did exist. Since the argument has its defenders and criticisms modern philosophers like Norman Malcolm and Alvin Platinga reformulated the argument in an attempt to revive it. Malcolm agreed that existence should not be used as a predicate as Anselm did in his first attempt in the prosologion 2 but stated that in prosologion 3 Anselm does not treat existence as a predicate. Malcolm stresses that Anselm says that God must exist because the concept of God is the concept of a being whose existence is necessary. He further stated that either God has always existed or that he does not exist at all. ...read more.


The argument more or less claims that since God exists in our thoughts he must exist in reality as an even more perfect being. However, if so why are there no unicorns and fairies since they exist in our thoughts too.. All that can be concluded from this argument is that God exists in our imagining and is totally subjective since he will be a different concept for different people. The argument states that it is better to exist than not to exist however, is it actually better? Not all things which exist are good. It is not better that evil exists nor do everyone want to exist. The Argument also states that God is perfect therefore he has to exist however, the connection between existence and perfection is problematic because everything that exists is flawed. It is almost the reverse that is true: non existence is more perfect than actual existence. In conclusion, the Ontological argument is incorrect since it fails to prove God's existence. The argument has too many flaws even though it starts off with logical and acceptable premises. Not all can conceive of God, some may know the concept of God yet not believe God exists. Since we are imperfect we cannot expect God to exist because the definition we gave him requires his existence. We have no right to talk about perfection since none of us ever experienced supreme perfection so we cannot come to a conclusion that perfection requires existence. ...read more.

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