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Explain and illustrate two weaknesses of the ontological argument.

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Introduction

Explain and illustrate two weaknesses of the ontological argument. The ontological argument was put forth by eleventh century monk and philosopher Anselm of Canterbury. It was written at first as a prayer to strengthen the faith of believers but has transformed over time into a substantial argument for the existence of God. However there are many weaknesses with the argument. Anselm uses existence as a predicate which was criticised substantially in later eras. Immanuel Kant claims that the way in which existence is being used in the Ontological argument is wrong. In his ?Critique of Pure Reason?, he claims ?Existence is obviously not a real predicate.? What he meant by this claim was that to use existence as a predicate of God didn?t actually tell us anything new about him. Like saying that a predicate of God is all-powerful tells us something which is useful and expands our concept of God in some way. When we add the predicate of existence to God is doesn?t actually augment our understanding of God. ...read more.

Middle

Gottlob Frege another modern philosopher agrees with Kant and Russell. As Frege argues that exists merely indicates that there are some things in this world which it corresponds to, like saying monkeys exists is just saying that there are certain things called monkeys which this concept corresponds to, this is not saying that monkeys have a distinct property called existence like they tails for example, which is a distinct predicate of a monkey. This is a major weakness in the Ontological argument, as it requires the use of existence as a predicate and a possible perfection however it has been criticised and has been shown to be an odd way and a wrong way of using existence as a predicate of not just God but anything. So Anselm is in fact using the word ?existence? in a wrong way in the first place. Without the use of existence as a predicate the Ontological argument fails, as that is one of its foundations. Another weakness of the Ontological argument is the fact that Anselm jumps from a definition to existence, he defines God into existence which ...read more.

Conclusion

At most we can infer from this is that if God was to exist in reality he must necessarily exist and not in any other manner. As Kant believed nothing in the realms of definition can reach out and tell us what must exist in reality as they are distinct forms. This disproves the claim that God must necessarily exist just from the definition. This is another substantial weakness in the Ontological argument, as what it does is jump from definition to reality which has been disproved as a plausible way of arguing and can be seen as absurd in a way, as it puts the cart before the horse, as the definition comes before existence here which is an unheard of and almost ridiculous way of defining things. The aforementioned weaknesses of the Ontological argument have a considerable impact on the credibility of the argument, as Anselm uses a strange type of argument, by defining things into existence, which was criticised heavily by Kant, and also his use of existence as a predicate is also criticised profoundly. These two form the basis for his argument but also seem to be major weaknesses in his argument. ...read more.

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