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Explain the Ontological argument from Anslem and Gaunillo's objection 9s?

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Introduction

Katie O'Hara a. Explain the Ontological argument from Anslem and Gaunillo's objection9s? (33) Ontological arguments are arguments, for the conclusion that God exists, from premises which are supposed to derive from some source other than observation of the world -- e.g., from reason alone. In other words, ontological arguments are arguments from nothing but analytic, a priori and necessary premises to the conclusion that God exists. Ontology attempts to answer such questions like, "What is real?" Thus Anselm's ontological proof attempts to answer the question of whether or not God is real and exists. The argument was first formualted bt St Anslem of Cantebury in the eleventh century through "Proslogion" which is a short work that tries to demonstrate both the existence and the nature of God, and is now the main component of the ontological argument. through the examination of the definition of God (i.e., God is an omnibenevolent, omnipresent, and omniscient being) the proof of His existence follows. Perhaps the following quote from St. Anselm's presentation of the Ontological Argument best summarizes his position: ... Therefore, if "that than which a greater cannot be conceived" only stood in relation to the understanding, then "that than which a greater cannot be conceived" would be something than which a greater can be conceived. But this is certainly impossible. Therefore, something than which a greater cannot be conceived undoubtedly both stands in relation to the understanding and exists in reality. To paraphrase, the argument is this: God is by definition the greatest being possible. A being who fails to exist in the actual world (while existing in other possible worlds) is less perfect than a being who exists in all possible worlds. Hence, God exists, necessarily. Anselm began his dialectic argument (relating to the logical discussion of ideas and opinions) to define the God as 'something-than-which-nothing-greater-can-be-thought'. One way to interpret this phrase is to define "God" as maximal perfection, i.e. ...read more.

Middle

Then the original God would not be the greatest thinkable being, this new something else, that actually exists would be. This new God who actually exists would then be able to be seen, heard and touched by the individuals who believe he exists as the greatest thinkable being. Nevertheless, it is obviously impossible that the greatest being we can think of should not be the greatest being we could think. Therefore, the conclusion that God does not exist must be false. Anselm then believes that the opposite of this supposition must be true therefore, God exists. A perfect God must exist in reality. Otherwise, God would not be totally perfect. Existence is perfection. " For it is one thing for a thing to stand in relation to our understanding; it is another thing for us to understand that it really exists." Anselm's ontological argument attempts to prove that God exists, but does so a priori and not from a premise which can be demonstrated apaprt from faith. His fundamental premise is that God's nature is such that nothing greater that God can even be conceived. The proof extends from this assumption, stating that God exists not only in the mind, but also in reality, due to the very nature of "Godness." Also, God cannot be understood as not existing, since the existence of God is necessary. That this is not a proof of God's existence does not invalidate Anselm for a faith approach to an understanding of God, but it does leave the field open for further attempts to prove the existence of the Divine through rational means. b.) The Ontological argument can never overcome Kant's objections thst existence is not a prediate? (17) Immaunel Kant was a nineeth century philosopher who critised the ontological argument through the "Critque of Pure reason" (1781). Kant main objection to the ontological argument is the way which existence is treated as a predicate. ...read more.

Conclusion

he merely presumes that there is one and attempts to prove his existence. Therefore the ontological argument's definitions of God can only tell what God would be like if he existed, it cannot prove the existence of God like other arguments such as the cosmological argument do. The ontological argument takes a concept of the imagination and attempts to transpose it into reality. Hence Mackie statement; 'there is no contradiction in denying the reality of a conceptual being who has necessary existence.' He asserts that for God to be the greatest conceivable, as well as His other properties (omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, etc), He must also have the property of existence, otherwise He would not be the greatest conceivable. Kant's point is that existence cannot be a quality in the way other qualities are. A priori analytic judgments about God can be made (such as "God is omnipotent, etc"), but existence cannot be one of them since, as Kant has shown, judgments of existence are synthetic. And synthetic judgments can only be true or false through experience. Kant main objection is that existence is not as prediate like Anslem and may other theologians and philosophers suggested through the ontological argument. As Kant has shown, judgments of existence are synthetic. Since judgments of existence are synthetic, one cannot prove God's existence analytically as Anselm would have a fool think. Kant successfully diminshes the whole argument, and although the ontological argument may raise may unanswered questions and may cause problems for many people because of the methods and types of truth it uses it has still stood the test of time. No matter what criticisms are put against it, new scientific evidence or a new image of God cannot disprove it. The argument may not be successful in turning millions of people into devoted follows of the one God, but in the philosophy of religion it is one of the strongest arguments, if not the strongest, for the existence of God, if one believes in God. ...read more.

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