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

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

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

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

    similar manner to Kant, Russel imagined that any object can be qualified with myriad terms, the black cow for instance can be qualified by stating that there are some black cows, however to say something exists, leaves no room for qualification; re affirming Kant's criticism, such notions do irrevocable damage

  2. Outline the teleological proof of the existence of God

    Darwin's theory also backs up Hume's earlier point about the rich diversity of life but also points out similarities that could be traced for many generations through the use of palaeobiology right back to single celled organisms. But this argument hits a brick wall because as Conway Morris said himself, "we don't understand what evolution (things like single celled organisms)

  1. Explain the various forms of the ontological argument

    This being would then be greater than God. God is therefore a necessary being. Descartes (1596-1650) built on Anselm's idea to produce his own, slightly clearer, version of the argument. Descartes states that just as we cannot conceive of a triangle without having three angles, so we cannot conceive of God without him existing.

  2. “The Ontological argument will never be of any use when trying to prove Gods ...

    It also gives God necessary existence as part of his perfection. This is because he is vital for our very existence, without Him we could not possibly be here. The second person who criticised the ontological argument was Kant who said it made an 'illegitimate jump from ideas to ontos (reality)

  1. Theories of Resurrection of the body are logically coherent - Discuss

    believed that the soul is eternal and can be seen to be 'imprisoned' in the body. Plato believed that the soul recalled knowledge from the realm of the Forms, and our duty in life is to become 'philosopher kings' and separate our soul - this follows his idea of escaping from the cave.

  2. The concept of disembodied existence is coherent - Discuss

    God certainly might have created a perfect duplicate of the original manuscript, but it would not be that one; its earliest moment of existence would have been after Augustine's death; it would never have known the impress of his hand; it would not have been a part of the furniture of the world when he was alive; and so on."

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