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"The ontological argument is a poiri proof and as such can not inform us about the real world" - Explain and assess this claim.

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"The ontological argument is a poiri proof and as such can not inform us about the real world." Explain and assess this claim (30 Marks) An argument that is a poiri is one which does not depend on experience for it to be true but is independent of experience, it is innate. These arguments differ from a posteriori arguments, because these use empirical evidence to prove a proposition. It comes from studying our surroundings and the way things work. Philosophers use both of these types of arguments to prove the existence of God, Aquinas' cosmological argument is a posteriori as it uses the concept of design in the universe to prove that their must be a God. However Anselms ontological argument is a poiri, as it does not give evidence for the existence of God, they use the meaning of the word God to prove that God exists. But many philosophers do not believe that a poiri arguments for the existence of God can work as they are based on thought rather than fact. ...read more.


Kant criticised the ontological argument in his book 'Critique of Pure Reason'. He focused on the concept of analytical and synthetic statements, he used these to argue against Anselm. Analytical statements are similar to a poiri arguments because propositions are true or false depending on the word used, e.g. a female swan is called a Penn. This statement can be proven because if you look it up in the dictionary it will confirm it. These statements tell us nothing new and give us no insight into the real world. However synthetic statements are similar to a posteriori arguments because they also look for empirical evidence for verification e.g. all lions are omnivores. This can only be verified by observation of lions and therefore gives us insight into the real world. To say that God is a necessary being is an analytical statement, it tells us nothing of the real world and focuses on concepts rather than evidence. Kant changes this statement to "If God exists his existence is necessary." ...read more.


Plantinga claimed that there is a possible world where there is a 'maximal being' or as Anselm would say 'that than which nothing greater can be conceived'. But a being that has maximal greatness would certainly have to be present in every world. 'Maximal excellence' works along side 'maximal greatness.' 'Maximal excellence' entails omnipotence and omniscience and omnibenevolence. If 'maximal excellence' and 'maximal greatness' are entwined then god must exist in our world. When you consider all of these arguments it is easy to see why some people may consider the argument and others reject it. The argument has flaws in the fact that it is based on theory rather than fact and that it takes a giant leap of faith. But it also can not be entirely disproved, for there will always be people who understand what is meant by the term God and their faith is innate. There will also always be those who do not believe in 'god' and for them a sense of God is not enough to prove that his existence is real or necessary. Amy Murphy R.E ; The Ontological Argument January 04 ...read more.

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