• 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

    predicate - One must decide for oneself which is the correct sense of existence, as there can be no a posteriori rationale to persuade. Russel sought to confirm Kant's theory on the nature of existence, with regard to subject predicate relations, and did so through analysis of language; in a

  2. Outline the teleological proof of the existence of God

    Richard Dawkins, a professor of biology at Oxford supports Darwin's theory of natural selection and says that we are no more than a product of everlasting evolving genes that blindly (hence the name of his book 'The Blind Watchmaker') mutate to survive.

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

    For Russell the lack of evidence in the universe to suggest life after death, or even bodily resurrection makes it illogical and incoherent to speak of life after death. Conversely, Dawkins who could also be described as an evolutionist takes a materialist approach suggesting that reproduction is the cause of recollection.

  2. Explain the various forms of the ontological argument

    He says that, whatever belongs to the essential nature of something cannot be denied to it. God's essence includes existence; therefore God must exist. After criticism made against Anselm's version of this argument, which I will discuss in part b, Descartes builds on his first set of premises.

  1. The concept of disembodied existence is coherent - Discuss

    These two worlds, however, interact frequently. If you heard a gun shot outside now, then the thought 'a gun has fired' or 'a car has backfired' will interrupt your reading of this essay. The physical world therefore instructs the mental world - our experience rearranges our mental apparatus.

  2. Outline the ontological argument as presented by Anselm and Descartes.

    He was educated at a Jesuit collage when Religion and science were in conflict. Descartes was somewhat a radical of his time, as he thought and tried to demonstrate that you can have both science and religion. He believed that we can arrive at sure knowledge by reason and need not rely on our senses.

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