Explain two versions of the ontological argument for the existence of God

Authors Avatar by ba4933herefordacuk (student)

Explain two versions of the ontological argument for the existence of God

Ontological Arguments are based on ontology which is the study of the nature of being. They attempt to prove the existence of God on an entirely logical basis using 'a priori' (without empirical evidence) reasoning and deduction (reasoning by logical premises to reach a conclusion).

In Anselm's ontological argument he begins with a definition of the God before going on to argue that existence is a predicate (quality) of God.

He defines God as 'a being that which nothing greater can be conceived'. In this context 'greater' is synonymous with 'perfect' and conceived refers to anything that can be thought of. As a consequence of defining God in this way, Anselm argued that in order to refute this statement God must be thought of. He referenced Psalm 14 which reads 'The fool in his heart says 'there is no God'. For someone to argue that an entity doesn't exist, they must have a concept of that entity otherwise there would be nothing to refute.

Join now!

     As the definition states God must be perfect, and existence is a perfection which an entirely perfect entity must possess, then God must have the perfection of existence. In other words, God must exist in re (in reality) not just in the mind (in intellectu) or else he would not be perfect.

In Anselm's second form of his argument he argues that God not only exists but he is a necessary being (self-causing) and by extension cannot not exist. He makes the point that if God existed in intellectu alone as a contingent being, then we could conceive ...

This is a preview of the whole essay