I will actually agree with Anselm on this argument, given his definition of God. Since he defines his notion of God to be that which a greater could not exist, it is impossible to prove that something greater exists, just by his definition of God. Bibliography: Cottingham, John. (1996).Western Philosophy: An Anthropology. Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell.
This definition is necessary in order to agree with Anselm’s premise that there exists things in reality which are greater than things that only reside in the understanding. Also, Anselm does not discuss what a perfect being is. He claims that God cannot be perfect if He exists only in the understanding, but what exactly does being perfect mean? Moreover, Anselm would then need to be able to provide evidence of how God would meet this description. Finally, Descartes proof resonates with me more because he acknowledges that humans are imperfect.
In conclusion, the modal ontological argument alone is not successful a proof of God’s existence. What it does, however, succeed in doing is greatly reduce the burden of proof on the behalf of the theist as they theist now merely has to prove that God is possible. This means that the other arguments for the existence of God now only have to show that God is possible in order to show he is actual. As such the Modal ontological argument is convincing at least when combined with other arguments for the existence of God.
One must definitely consider the epistemological questions, or the "How do we know what we know?" questions. One must also consider how God should be defined, especially since the definition and concept of God is so central to Anselm's point. I take the position that knowledge is belief that is reasonably and logically supported. Knowledge approaches truth, or the actuality, but is not necessarily true.
The best explanation to the existence of God through St. Aquinas’s argument is that God does not exist as the first efficient cause. The argument for God, as presented by St. Aquinas, attempts to show that the existence of the world and everything within it can only be explained if there is a God who is the first efficient cause. The argument states that it is impossible for any being to be the efficient cause of itself because then it would have to bring itself into being, and to bring itself into being, it would have to exist before it existed. If a being exists, it is because some being before it caused it to exist. Therefore, if no first cause exists, neither will any other being exist.
Thus, Anselm tends to base his argument on the definitions and terminology used. Anselm’s first form of the argument is that God is "that than which none greater can be conceived". Firstly, it must be emphasised that Anselm’s definition does not limit God to being the "greatest" but makes it known that nothing greater can be thought than God himself. Therefore, God should not in any way be linked to terms such as ‘omnipotent’ as terminology such as this limit him to what he really is. With this definition, he attempts to prove that not only does God exist in the mind but also in reality.
As I mentioned, Anselm believes that God is the greatest being we can possibly think of. He does this by first trying to prove the opposite of what he really wants to prove. For example, lets suppose God does not exist in reality. We then could think of something greater, a being that has all the same virtuous characteristics as we think God as having, but also being able to exist in reality. He then tries to prove that this supposition leads to a conclusion which cannot possibly be true.
To sum up, a perfect God exists. It can be seen that Descartes is only using the premise “all clear and distinct perceptions are true” as a reference for the proof, instead of the only reason for the argument. However, Descartes’s meditations fail to state the reasoning for some of his premises clearly, which makes some of the periodical conclusions hard to understand. For example, Descartes points out that “more reality in an infinite substance than in a finite one”, without showing why (Descartes 31). However, this kind of flaws does not change the fact that the meditations are using circular reference between the premises and conclusions, instead of circular reasoning.
In the mind of Anselm he had noticed that there needs to be something that follows from all of this: if a being is perfect by definition, then that being must exist. Anselm believed that if a perfect being did not exist, then it would not be perfect. In which it would be impossible for God not to exist, for if He did not exist, there would be no definition of a perfect being. God is a “necessary being.” The example of you and I as perfect beings is not conceivable because we are not necessary beings, in our past if there were any change, then we would not exist. God is however different, He had to exist.
The Ontological Argument for the Existence of God The ontological argument is an a priori argument. The arguments attempt to prove God's existence from the meaning of the word God. The ontological argument was introduced by Anselm of Canterbury in his book Proslogion. Anselm's classical argument was based on two principals and the two most involved in this is St Anselm of Canterbury as previously mentioned and Rene Descartes. The ontological argument argues that if you understand what it means to talk about God, you will see His existence is necessarily true.