Explain the Ontological Argument
The Ontological argument uses deductive reasoning to prove the existence of God. The Ontological argument is before experience – a priori. This is opposed to a posteriori which is after an experience. This means that the Ontological argument is objective. All Ontological arguments have a series of premises and a conclusion that, if the premises are true, must also be true as well. An example of a deductive, a priori reasoning is 2+2=4. This does not need evidence to know it is true. The scholars mentioned will be using this method prove God’s existence.
Saint Anselm is one of the first philosophers to use deductive reasoning. He had two main ideas. The first was found in the Proslogion 2. Anselm used the famous saying God is, “that which nothing greater can be conceived (TWNGCBC).” This is another way of saying that God is the greatest being to exist. Anselm’s premises are: God exists in the mind – we can think of a God so God exists mentally. It is greater to exist in mind and reality together than in mind alone. Therefore, then God, TWNGCBC, must also exist in mind and reality. Anselm strengthens his argument by giving God the predicate of existence. A predicate is a characteristic or a quality belonging to someone/thing. This means for God to be God, God must have existence because existence is perfect.
Anselm has another deductive argument found in the Proslogion 3. In this argument, Anselm is using a negative choice of words where he states that “God is the being that nothing greater can be thought of.” Anselm linked this to the idea of necessary existence. This is the idea that brought itself into existence and is not time bound. The opposite of this would be contingency (a child depends on parents to exist). If God had a creator, then there would be something greater than God that exists but that is impossible. Also, anything that must exist no matter what (necessary) is greater that can be thought of to not exist (i.e. anything contingent.) Therefore, God is a necessary being that exists.