• 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. 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. "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. T H E D E S I G N A R ...

    not just any DNA but DNA whose coded characteristics spell out specific instructions for building willow trees that will shed a new generation of downy seeds. These fluffy specks are literally, spreading instructions for making themselves. They are there because their ancestors succeeded in doing the same.

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

    Thus, maximal greatness entails existence in every possible world: since a being that is maximally great at W is omnipotent at every possible world and non-existent beings can't be omnipotent, it follows that a maximally great being exists in every logically possible world.

  1. Explain the Ontological argument.

    The first way is based in motion. In order words things move due to an applied external force, for example a hand pushes the cue, which moves the snooker ball. According to Aquinas infinite regress does not exist, eventually it comes back to the first cause, God.

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

    He states that like a triangle must have three sides, so God must exist. It is impossible to imagine a triangle with less or more than three sides, and it is illogical to think of God without thinking that he exists.

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

    However, Gaunilo, a contemporary of Anselm and a fellow Catholic, argued that Anselm's ontological argument is invalid, because an argument of the same form could have true premises and a false conclusion therefore, he introduced perfect island argument which is perfectly parallel to ontological argument.one must imagine what characteristics would constitute `the greatest conceivable island.'

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

    finite size (which there would be if the universe were flat or hyperbolic), then there must be an infinite number of points constitutive of the singularity. These points exist instantaneously (at the first instant of time) and then explode in an infinitely extended big bang.

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