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

Ontological Argument

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

a) Explain the Ontological argument from Anselm, and Guinilo's objections to it. (33) Anselm largely bases his argument on a priori principles centered on the very essence of God. He argues for the existence of God with a definition from the bible, as "that than which nothing greater can be conceived". Anselm simply argues in 'The Proslogion' that there must be a God as everyone has an idea of him, therefore he argues that everyone can have a conception of God of "that than which nothing greater can be thought". Therefore God is not a fictional creation as otherwise we would have no concept of him and so he can exist both in thought and reality, he is a supremely perfect being and is not inferior to any thought or idea. There are two parts to Anselm's argument one proving Gods existence and the other proving Gods necessary existence. ...read more.

Middle

However one of Anselm's contemporaries Gaunilo, created an overload objection, where he came up with an alternate theory; where he states that if a person were to describe the ultimate island "it would necessarily exist because of its perfections". Gaunilo believed that Anselm's thought process was not logical due to his process of stating a definition of God to then using this to prove his existence. Gaunilo's example of an ideal and supreme island of a person's dreams does not mean that it has to exist in reality because of its complete perfection. However philosophers such as Plantinga view this is flawed as how can you compare a supreme and ultimate being-God to an island which has no intrinsic maximum and so can always be improved upon? Therefore this criticism is flawed as he is referring to an island which is contingent and so does not have necessary existence. b) ...read more.

Conclusion

Thus distinguishing between an analytic statement; necessity which is about logic i.e. math factual and therefore true and an synthetic statement; existence is about experience. Thus the conclusion is that its acceptable to believe that it is logical for Gods existence to be logical, however it is not imperative to believe and accept that there is a God and he exists. Another criticism is that of the definition of God as the "greatest and most perfect being "-can human beings truly understand and comprehend this concept? Also the thought process which Gaunilo undertakes comes under scrutiny, he moves from a thought of existence of an item to them stating the actual existence of that thing-surely this is not logical and casts dispersions on Gaunilo's argument. Russell uses the Sylogism "Men exist, Santa Clause is a man, therefore, Santa Clause exists" to argue against Anselm's use of 'exist' as a predicate and show that his argument is incorrect as it other wise wouldn't be able to justify such an illogical thing. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Existence of God 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 GCSE Existence of God essays

  1. Explain The Ontological Argument From Anselm And Gaunilo's Objections To It

    Gaunilo states that we are able to state anything can exist in our minds, but we cannot make the jump from Intellectu to Re.

  2. "The Ontological Argument fails to prove God's existence"

    The argument can also be challenged from another angle. The definition of God, as given by Anselm, is 'the greatest thing that can be conceived'. However, even this can be doubted - for can it not be said that two gods would be greater than one god? But this would mean that God is not the greatest conceivable thing.

  1. The Ontological Argument - Describe and explain the ontological argument for the existence ...

    Similarly, Kant said that the ontological argument was invalid because one cannot be going around making a list of attributes and adding existence to the attributes, in order to bring it into reality. Kant claimed that when we have specified something, we must go outside that specification to determine if that thing actually exists.

  2. Explain the Ontological argument.

    This argument demonstrates that things come into existence because an external object or thing has caused them to, in a succession of event. However, this succession of events cannot go back to the beginning of time, therefore there must have been a necessary being outside of time and place, that

  1. A Big Bang Cosmological Argument for God's Nonexistence

    This suggests that the paths will miss each other instead of converging at a point. This in turn suggests that the present expansion phase of the universe results from a 'bounce' that terminated a prior contracting phase of the universe.

  2. Explain the Ontological Argument from Anselm and Guanilo’s objections to it (33)

    help bring his existence about, or depend on anything else to survive. Anselm argues that for God to be necessary, there is no possibility of him not existing, and there is no alternative to his idea and definition of God.

  1. "The Ontological Argument is a logical sleight of hand." Discuss

    Maybe it is ludicrous even to attempt to define God, and if we cannot define God, we cannot realistically discuss the issue of God's possible existence. Ren´┐Ż Descartes' version of the ontological argument makes use of an analogy. Descartes uses the analogy of the triangle to illustrate God's necessary existence.

  2. "Modern visions of the Ontological Argument are more successful than early versions"

    Existence isn't a great-making property because it is not a property at all; it is rather a metaphysically necessary condition for the instantiation of any properties. So in summary, Kant argued that existence was not a predicate and that necessary existence does not work either.

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