Philosophy _ Objections to Anselms ontological argument _ Guanillos island

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Student Name: Brian Lockyer

Student Number: LCKBRI001

Tutor: Leo Boonzaier

Assignment No: 1

Date: 30th March 2009

Plagiarism Declaration

1.        I know that plagiarism is wrong. Plagiarism is to use another’s work and pretend that it is one’s own.

2.        I have used the Harvard convention for citation and referencing. Each contribution to, and quotation in, this essay from the work(s) of other people has been attributed, and has been cited and referenced.

3.        This essay is my own work.

4.        I have not allowed, and will not allow, anyone to copy my work with the intention of passing it off as his or her own work.

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What is Gaunilo’s objection to Anselm’s argument?  Do you think that his “Greatest Island” argument raises serious problems for Anselm’s ontological argument, or can Anselm defend himself?  Explain fully.

Proving the existence of God is often considered to be the ultimate philosophical challenge; the continual questioning of the existence of a perfect being is a question that has plagued and intrigued philosophers for many centuries, some scoured for proof in the design of our universe, others utilized the obvious complexity of our world in a vague attempt to prove the existence; both these proofs and similar ones have relied on a posteriori observations of the world around us and make inductive leaps from the premises they present. The ontological argument, however, is a priori and can be interpreted differently depending on whether a realist or non-realist view of the argument is taken.  The argument is different in the way that it relies purely on thought thus it logically attempts to prove God’s existence via the use of reasoning and agreed definitions.

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Anselm, in the Ontological argument defines God as the being than which no greater can be conceived, stating that even a fool who denies the existence of God can have knowledge and an understanding of this definition and can still comprehend what God is thought to be, namely the being than which no greater can be conceived; after this definition of God is accepted, Anselm attempts to correlate existence with his definition of God. If we were to envisage a being than which no greater can be conceived, then this being would exist solely in our understanding; however ...

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