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

Give an account of the ontological argument for the existence of God

Extracts from this document...


A) Give an account of the ontological argument for the existence of God. 15 marks Ontological means "concerned with being." God's existence is one of the most common and significant questions asked by man though all time. The ontological argument is seen as a priori argument. A priori argument is bases on a general principle before any evidence is produced, it is based on logic. There are many philosophers who have tried to find out the truth about God's existence. One of the main philosophers who argues that God exists is Anslem. He says that God is described as "that than which nothing greater can be conceived." God exists in both the mind and in reality. This is a good part of the argument because if he exists in the mind, you can make improvements on him for when he exists in reality. God is described as having necessary existence, there is nothing else out in the world that could have created or destroyed him. If this was the case then it would mean that there is something more powerful out there than can destroy God and he would then be affected by time and space just like the rest of us. ...read more.


If God exists is logically necessary God does not exist would be self contradictory, there is a God because we need him./ However, he said that Gods existence might be factually necessary, it is not impossible for there to be no God. Because we haven't got any firm evidence, it is all down to interpretations. Alvin Plantinga said that there was a possibility of us experiencing other possible worlds. He says that the way in which our lives might turn out, could turn out a different way. The possibilities in our world are infinite. We could go to university, be unemployed win the lottery etc. Alvin Plantinga said that in every possible world, exists a being with maximal greatness. However, this being might not be God; it may be a singer or a football player. For it to be referred to as God, Alvin Plantinga refers to maximal excellence, because maximal excellence includes maximal greatness. Maximal excellence is simply someone being omnipotent, omniscience and having moral perfection. B) "The ontological argument is of little value in the attempt to0 prove the existence of God" Evaluate this contention. 10 marks There are many philosophers who raise issues and object to the other philosopher's ways that God does exist. ...read more.


He said that the only way people will believe in God is if they could actually see him, and deduce from seeing him that he caused them. He believes that it is a posterior argument. Gettlob Frege said that Gods existence is a second order predicate, and he objects Anslem's claim that it is a first order predicate. He says that it is a second order predicate because it is telling us something about the concept and it is expanding further than the first order predicate. Russell says that existence is not a predicate but a syllogism. He says that if you put the first and second order predicate together then you come up with the syllogism which gives you more information about the object. Finally David Hume says that nothing could ever be proven to exist through an apriori argument including God himself. You cannot define something into existence, even if it has all the perfections that we could ever imagine. You have to get outside the concept of something to say whether it fully exists or not. Overall, the ontological argument does not seem to be successful. This may be down to the fact that the definitions of God are very limited and we do not fully know the true meaning of him. We are very limited to out terms in the way in which we should imagine or be describing God. ...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 ...

    God now, this argument sets out to show that God is the originating course. It can be summarized as follows: 1.) Everything that has a beginning of existence must have a course 2)

  2. The Ontological Argument - Critique

    nothing of the properties of an object, an existing object can be said to be no greater than a non existing one; however, Kants premise is debatable, or at least is seems to defy reason, that a non existing object be no different from an existing one, in that one

  1. Outline the ontological argument. The ontological argument is based on the idea that the ...

    Suppose God only exists in one's understanding, God could then be greater by existing in reality, meaning a greater God is possible and exists in reality. However, if God is the greatest thing which can be though of then God must exist in the mind and in understanding.

  2. Examine the major features of the Ontological argument for the existence of God.

    The ontological argument does fail as a proof of God's existence for a number of reasons, for example, in the second for of the argument it does not come to a conclusion and therefore cannot be a proof. There have been advocates that have tried to defend the argument and

  1. Outline the Ontological argument for the existence of God. Comment on the claim that ...

    We can conclude that the greatest thing would be that God exists in BOTH mind and reality, thus, proving existence of God. In a reply to St Anselm's argument, philosopher Guanilo used the analogy of an Island. In this he states that: 'I can conceive of the most perfect island.'

  2. The Ontological Argument Will Never Be Any Use In Trying To Prove Gods Existence ...

    Now, this island has an "inestimable wealth" and is much more excellent that all other islands. If someone where to say that this island exists somewhere in the ocean, it would be easy to understand and possibly accept this. However, if the person were to say "since it is more

  1. Outline the Ontological Argument for the existence of God.

    a contingent being we could imagine greater, therefore God would not be that than which no greater can be conceived. A being which cannot be conceived not to exist must be greater than one that can be conceived not to exist.

  2. Give an account of the fundamental ideas of the Design argument for the existence ...

    He developed his watch analogy and decided that the world was similar to the watch, due to it being equally complex and because it demonstrated similar harmonious order to the universe. His explanation brought him to the conclusion that the universe is like one big complex machine that must have been created by an infinite being.

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