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Philosophy _ Objections to Anselms ontological argument _ Guanillos island

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PHILOSOPHY PHI1024F COVER SHEET Student Name: Brian Lockyer Student Number: LCKBRI001 Tutor: Leo Boonzaier Assignment No: 1 Date: 30th March 2009 Plagiarism Declaration 1. I know that plagiarism is wrong. Plagiarism is to use another's work and pretend that it is one's own. 2. I have used the Harvard convention for citation and referencing. Each contribution to, and quotation in, this essay from the work(s) of other people has been attributed, and has been cited and referenced. 3. This essay is my own work. 4. I have not allowed, and will not allow, anyone to copy my work with the intention of passing it off as his or her own work. Signature ______________________________ What is Gaunilo's objection to Anselm's argument? Do you think that his "Greatest Island" argument raises serious problems for Anselm's ontological argument, or can Anselm defend himself? Explain fully. Proving the existence of God is often considered to be the ultimate philosophical challenge; the continual questioning of the existence of a perfect being is a question that has plagued and intrigued philosophers for many centuries, some scoured for proof in the design of our universe, others utilized the obvious complexity of our world in a vague attempt to prove the existence; both these proofs and similar ones have relied on a posteriori observations of the world around us and make inductive leaps from the premises they present. ...read more.


But surely this cannot be." Anselm's ontological argument is an a priori deductive argument that relies on logic and analytical processes to attempt to justify the existence of God, Anselm's argument is structured in a way that once we accept that God is the being than which no greater can be conceived we are forced into accepting Anselm's conclusion. This is a deviation away from other existence arguments, which are based on inductive a posteriori observations. Due to the fact that the ontological argument is a priori deductive we are left in a situation where we cannot deny its conclusion, instead a full analysis of the argument is necessary in order for one to criticize the argument. It has been suggested that Anselm's argument was most likely envisaged for theists. This prompts many questions about the true nature and intentions of Anselm's argument as if Anselm primarily wishes to understand God rather than prove his existence then the argument can offer no proof for the existence of God to the atheist. Therefore it can be said that the Ontological argument does not prove God's existence and it leaves the non-believer unconvinced. Gaunilo, was heavily critical of the ontological argument; in his perfect island argument he makes use of the exact same logic as Anselm's formulation to envisage and create his own argument but instead of arguing for the existence of God he applies Anselm's logic for the existence of a perfect island. ...read more.


Guanilo, through his formulation of the 'perfect island' heavily criticizes the logic and reasoning behind Anselm's argument by emphasizing the fact that objects cannot be 'defined' into existence, as this is extremely illogical. Anselm however, objects by stating that the proof does not necessitate a complete understanding of God, but merely that we understand that whatever else he may be, God is the being than which no greater being can be conceived. He goes on to say that God, unlike a perfect island cannot be attributed or compared to the greatest thing of a certain type, or even the greatest thing of all, but as the ultimate being than which nothing greater can be conceived. This final idea can be related to only one thing; and that thing, quite obviously is not the perfect island. However, despite the alterations made by Anselm to his argument there still remains a highly noticeable fault within the traditional Ontological proofs for God's existence, a fault that will always be a hindrance to the philosophical proof for the existence of God. The fact that one may conceive of a necessarily existing being does not provide the slightest evidence that there is actually such a being in existence. Therefore, by analyzing both Anselm's argument and the objections to his argument it is evident that the logic behind the ontological argument is irrefutable and does not verify with reality. ...read more.

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