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

Explain how Descartes developed Anselm's argument that God's existence is necessary

Extracts from this document...


Explain how Descartes developed Anselm's argument that God's existence is necessary [25 marks] The ontological argument is concerned with the being or nature of God. Anselm's main argument that he put forth was that God's existence is necessary, he summarised it in four main points: God is the greatest possible being which can be conceived, God may exist in the mind alone or in reality as well, something which exists in reality and in the mind is greater than something that exists as an idea in the mind alone, and Therefore, God must exist in reality and in the mind.Anselms argument is a reply to the fool who says there is no God and this gives Anselm a starting point. ...read more.


Anything which has to exist and cannot fail to exist is said by philosophers exist by necessity. Most things that exist depend on something else for their existence, for example, your home only exists in reality because some built it, you cannot say your home had to exist, because it was up to the builder to decide whether to build it. This type of existence is identified as contingent existence. Contingent existence refers to something which depends on referring to something else to fully explain why it exists. In reference to the question, Descarte developed Anselm's argument, that God's existence is necessary. Descarte claim that God has placed in every person the idea of God. ...read more.


Part of God's essence is therefore existence. Descarte argues that God existing is as fundamental to the nature of God as the interior angles of the triangle. For Descarte, the essence of God is that God exists and existence is a predicate of God. As Anselms put forth the definition of predicate, in philosophical terms, to indicate an intrinsic property or quality of something, therefore the predicate of God is His existence. Descarte went on to further develop Anselm's argument that God's existence is necessary by using three simultaneous arguments, firstly, God is a supremely perfect being, secondly, a property perfect is existence, therefore God existences. Existence, so far as Descarte is concerned, is a perfection of God in the same way as a mountain and a valley going together. You cannot talk about God unless God exists because God is perfect and part of perfection is existence. ...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. Describe the main strengths and weaknesses of the cosmological argument for the existence of ...

    The human father, he explains...in generation is a tool of the sun...The series of causes from which the second way starts is a series whose existence is vouched for only by medieval astrology...The second starts from an archaic fiction."62 However, this claim is not very plausible.

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

    island' described to them, then to be told that it exists because of its perfection, is absurd. This is a criticism of the way in which Anselm moves from his definition of God to his suggestions of God's existence. However, this critic is invalid, as Anselm never compared anything so material.

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

    Hume wrote in 'Dialogues concerning Natural Religion' However much our concept of an object we may contain, we must go outside it to determine whether it exists. We cannot just define something into existence - even if it has all the perfections one can imagine.

  2. The Metamorphosis: Existence.

    Seeing himself as a gigantic specimen of vermin, he finds himself in a fundamental sense estranged from himself. No manner more drastic could illustrate the alienation of a consciousness from its own being than Gregor Samsa's startling awakening. He states, "What's happened to me?"

  1. Proof and Probability in Arguing for God's Existence.

    Sound use of evidence relies on drawing analogies with known cases of the same pattern. If I were to reason that I have always got to the bus stop in 5 minutes, so should be able to do so today, my reasoning would be sound if today were like all other days.

  2. Quoting from the text, explain in your own words Descartes' trademark argument for Gods ...

    The idea of God being infinite however cannot be gained though our senses. There is nothing from which we can get the idea of infinity thus it must be innate. It is only logical therefore for God to have left this idea imprinted on our brain.

  1. Assess whether Descartes succeeds in establishing the existence of God

    From here Descartes concludes that nothing contains equal perfection to God other God himself and therefore only He could be capable of the idea in Descartes? mind and as a result must exist in order for it to be there.

  2. Reductive physicalist accounts of the mind fail to fully explain the nature of mental ...

    To this we can say that surely there are surely some physiological pain behaviours that cannot be controlled by this ?super? race: such as sweating, contrary to what Putnam, wrongly, claims and an increase in heart rate. Moreover then, another attempt to discredit Logical Behaviourism has once again failed.

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