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

Describe the origins and nature of the Ontological argument for the existence of God.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Transfer-Encoding: chunked ´╗┐Describe the origins and nature of the Ontological argument for the existence of God. [35] The question of the existence of God is one of the most debated concepts for humanity. For centuries theologians and philosophers alike have put forward arguments, one of which is the ontological argument. This argument is debatably the most logical but also the most difficult to grasp; this is due to its nature as a priori deduction that does not require physical evidence. It is an argument of credo ut intelligam ? I believe in order to understand. In examining the ontological argument, a good place to start would be Anselm?s view on it. Anselm was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1033 ? 1109. He wrote the ontological argument in the second chapter of his Proslogion. It is worth noting that he was writing in order to assure theists of their faith, not to convince atheists. ...read more.

Middle

The painter can imagine what he wants to paint, but the painting does not truly exist until he paints it. In the same way, God cannot only exist in the mind. Furthermore, Anselm uses God?s perfection to prove his existence as part of the ontological argument. God is the ultimate perfect, and to be truly perfect he must exist in both mind and reality. He can?t be perfect if he does not exist. He effectively defines God into existence. If this was applied in the world this would be absurd, a criticism Gaunilo picked up on. Gaunilo was a theist, but critical of the ontological argument. He argued that he could just as easily imagine the perfect holiday island, but that does not mean it exists in reality. Anselm countered his argument by asserting that an island is subjective in its perfection, but God is not. ...read more.

Conclusion

These include Platinga and Malcom. Platinga argued the possible worlds theory: if there are any number of possible worlds, God must rationally exist on at least one of them. If God possess the qualities of maximum greatness and perfection on this world, he must logically possess these characteristics on all worlds. Our world is a possible world, so therefore God must exist. Malcom follows on and argues that God cannot be contingently existent (relying on something else), so he must be either necessary or impossible. We cannot say that God is totally impossible unless we have existed in all times and all places to verify that God is nowhere to be found. He is not impossible, therefore he must be necessary. If he is necessary, he exists. To conclude, the ontological argument ? when understood ? is a very logical argument that continues to be used by scholars today. It may not be the most effective for convincing the atheist, but it serves its primary purpose of assuring the theist of their faith. ...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. Examine the major features of the Ontological argument for the existence of God.

    Kant argued that we could reject the concept of an all-perfect being along with the idea of it possessing existence just as we can reject the concept of a triangle including the idea of its angles. Kant also rejected the idea of existence being a predicate that one can own.

  2. The Ontological Argument - Critique

    changes the way we perceive the book, our concept changes due to the nature of the predicate; however, if we were to say the hard back book exists, nothing changes, that is to say the concept of the book remains exactly the same, existence changes nothing of the nature of the object.

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

    It seems at most that one could say that if God does exist he will have necessary existence, but this doesn't prove the existence of God. The Cosmological argument for the existence of God claims that the universe can't account for its own existence and it can't keep itself in

  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. The Metamorphosis: Existence.

    (Kafka 35) Now that Gregor's final links to his humanity, and his last sense of hope for renewal, have been taken away, Gregor has nothing to live for and he finds it difficult to survive on his own when all of his reminders of the human world have vanished.

  2. Outline the Ontological argument for the existence of God. Comment on the claim that ...

    If I was to explain and describe the note in depth commenting on colours, texture, smells - would that mean that the note exists? Guanilo states that Anselm simply describes God - but when applied to other such analogies it is hard to see any logic.

  1. Utopia - The Impossibility of Perfection

    Yet despite its apparent seamlessness, this theory is doomed to fall apart when it is subjected to examination from the capitalistic perspective. When the fictional More, the representation of the author's other philosophical half, raises the question about the apparent lack of motivation for people to produce in a such

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

    This means that Descartes believes God to be a supremely perfect being holding all the perfections and explains if the notion of God did not include existence it would not be supremely perfect as it would be lacking a perfection and therefore he argues that this would be unintelligible and according to his nature God must exist.

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