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Discuss whether the Ontological argument amounts to a proof (8 marks)

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Introduction

Discuss whether the Ontological argument amounts to a proof (8 marks) The main strength of the ontological argument is that it is a priori and therefore the conclusion is logically necessary leading it to be very good proof for the existence of God as many people accept it. Also the fact that the argument is deductive gives it great strength as if it is classed as valid then if provides a proof for both atheists and believers. This comes from the fact that the starting point is valid for both believers and atheists with the definition 'That than which nothing greater can be conceived.' Atheists do not accept this definition even thought they then deny such existence but they have to have such an understanding of God to then reject a belief in God. ...read more.

Middle

We cannot give a thing existence a priori to the definition of a perfect being. Aquinas also questioned this aspect of the argument. He was concerted about moving from definition of God to the existence of God. Aquinas also accused Anselm of making a definition of God which is not held by all believers which leads many believers not to accept the argument. For Aquinas, Gods existence in reality must be demonstrated in an a posterior way. This is what he did in the cosmological argument for the existence of God as he claims the empirical forms of data are the only reliable means of knowing anything about the universe and hence a move from a definition to reality if false. ...read more.

Conclusion

Anselm's argument is, by some, not classed as a deductive argument for three main reasons; existence is not a great making property, existence can never be an analytic proposition and it is impossible to define things into existence. From the points above I conclude that the ontological argument does not amount to a proof. The fact that there are so many criticisms for the definition of God, and this being the main aspect of the argument, leads to the argument failing. Kant's criticism of the argument is also a very strong and powerful one. For many theists I still believe the argument would fail but for some I think it would have more weight when seen along side the other argument for the existence of God. Hannah O'Shea-Herriot 1 ...read more.

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