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

Outline the ontological argument and explain how it proves the existence of God and God(TM)s existence can never be proved by logic, discuss.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Philosophy-The ontological argument Chris Hadden Outline the ontological argument and explain how it proves the existence of God (25 marks) The ontological argument is an argument to understand the existence of God and comes from the unique viewpoint that it already fully recognises the existence of God prior to the argument. The argument in itself is designed to prove this. This argument comes mainly from the work of the philosopher Anselm, who was a Christian and served as Archbishop of Canterbury. His belief was never questioned he simply sought a way in which to categorically prove God's existence. This deductive argument was also put forward by others such as Descartes and Malcolm. Anselm, in his first form argued that even the staunchest atheist should be able to accept a definition of God as he saw this definition as a priori knowledge. If God is definable as perfection or good in all ways then even non believers can imagine an entity with these qualities. The second step was to accept Anselm's claim that anything conceivable in the imagination is better in reality, for example to imagine winning the lotto jackpot would be good but to actually experience it would be far better. Only experience can bring realisation, with which emotions can be imagined better. ...read more.

Middle

Modern philosophers have had different takes on the argument. Malcolm for instance argued for instance that the existence of God was either necessary or impossible and that as it is clear that his existence is not impossible so it therefore must be necessary. Plantinga again thought along similar asking assessors of his argument to imagine a different world totally independent of ours and asked them whether on that world it would be impossible for God to exist and if God exists he must have always existed on that world without cause or influence. This is again using deductive reasoning. Then he asked them to apply this argument to our own world and claimed this proved the existence of God, as his existence is not impossible. God's existence can never be proved by logic, discuss. (10 marks) The ontological argument is focussed entirely that God does exist without doubt, and this is one of the most vital flaws to the argument. The argument cuts corners where it over relies on pure logic in order to prove its own argument rather than following a purely logical path or a purely reasoned one. The mix of the two is engineered to fit with the bias of the argument. The argument for example jumps from claiming that anything is better in reality than in the imagination to claiming this proves the existence of God. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also if God is perfect in all ways how can he be comprehended or described by humans? But this could also be used as an argument for a strength of the argument, as recognition of our finite knowledge would explain the difference between our type of existence and his. As outlined by Malcolm it is illogical to deny that God must either exist or not exist. If God exists then by definition he must always have existed and is therefore necessary rather than contingent, if he does not exist he will never exist and has never existed so therefore his existence becomes impossible. Malcolm said that as it would be wrong to say God is impossible he must be necessary. This seems a very reasonable point. But it is argued that there is an alternative that is not explored by Malcolm, what if God just "might" exist. Malcolm ignores this as a possibility, claiming that existence or non-existence are the only options. Weighed up the ontological argument does have its strengths but equally des have weaknesses. Its employment of logic works highly effectively logically explaining the existence of God. But definitions and assumptions of God can be argued which significantly weakens the argument. Overall it must be said that the bias of the argument is obvious and influences the argument so much that at times it makes unreasonable assumptions thus weakening its argument. ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Examine the strengths and weaknesses of the design argument for the existence of God.

    4 star(s)

    Dawkins believes that DNA was a major discovery in the discrediting of religious faith as it provides and explanation for the existence of humanity; there is no need to assume the existence of God to account for human life. Dawkins assumes that the universe is a 'brute fact', but his is an assumption that cannot be proven true.

  2. Describe the main strengths and weaknesses of the cosmological argument for the existence of ...

    This would be good reason to think the past could not be infinite, except that it is false to think that an infinite amount of time could not have passed. It only seems impossible if you think of an infinite amount of time passing from the beginning until now.27 But

  1. The Ontological Argument - Critique

    to true knowledge - he thus came to a formation of the ontological argument. Descartes version remains similar to Anselm's, as all ontological arguments do, however his definitions differ somewhat; Descartes defines God not as that than which no greater can be conceived, but rather as a supremely perfect being,

  2. Does the ontological argument work?

    then we would have to accept that God is necessary to exist, but as we don't have this knowledge we have to just use synthetic arguments.

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

    triangle together with its three angles' But Descartes reply is to agree this is true when it concerns a triangle, but false when it comes to God. Descartes argues that for God existence is part of essence. However Kant objects even further by claiming that Descartes treats existence like a property.

  2. The Goodness of God

    The difficulty of seeing God as omnibenevolent can also be seen in Exodus 20, where some of the commands God lay down seems to be immoral. For example, in verse 5 God describes himself as "for I the Lord your God am a jealous God."

  1. Philosophers have proved conclusively that religious language is meaningful. Discuss

    Logical positivists only accepted two forms of verifiable language; analytical propositions ( a priori), knowledge is gained through logical reasoning. These definitions are true by definition, e.g. ?all bachelors are unmarried?. We know this to be true because bachelor means that a man is unmarried.

  2. Assess whether the cosmological argument proves the existence of God.

    to exist, the conclusion like a syllogism, is inferred from the premises: the universe must have had a cause for its existence, so far it has retained the form and structure of a syllogism. However it then goes on to assert: that the cause of the universe is the one

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