Authors Avatar by shaun_shah (student)


The most famous ontological argument is found in Anselm’s Proslogion , chapters 2 and 3, where Anselm offers a reduction ad absurdum argument (an argument whose aim is to show that a proposition is true because its denial entails a contradiction or some other absurdity). Anselm says we need to consider what God is. The answer Anselm comes up with is that God is ‘something than which nothing greater can be conceived’. This, he observes, is what ‘we believe’ God to be. This essay will demonstrate why this is and will also explain the ontological argument from Descartes too.

Anselm reasoned that something existing in reality is far greater than something that exists just in thought. If God were to only exist in our minds alone, people should be and are be capable to think of something else that is greater than God and then calling that thought, 'God'. (This is similar to the 'chicken and the egg theory' and can go on forever) It is greater for a thing to exist both in the mind and in reality than for it to exist only in the mind. A chocolate cake in the mind may be absolutely the most sublimely delicious thought or concept. But if it exists in reality as well, then it is greater than if it only exists in the mind. Anselm says that it can be thought that there is something which cannot be thought not to exist, and because God must be such a being if he is something than which nothing greater can be conceived. This is because something that cannot be thought not to exist would be greater than something which can be thought not to exist.

Join now!

The argument continues in Proslogion 3, and it is that it’s simply impossible for God not to exist. I can acknowledge that the existence of someone while agreeing that the person does not have to exist. In the same way, Anselm assumes that even if we know that God exists both in the intellect and outside it, it does not follow that there is no possibility of God not existing. And so he concludes that God has to exist and cannot fail to exist. This is known as necessary existence, anything which has to exist and cannot fail to exist is ...

This is a preview of the whole essay