Spinoza’s method of proving one substance relies upon his definitions and reason. I take further issue with this method because God cannot be proven through reason alone. Through this same reasoning Spinoza gives life too much meaning. In his argument, he claims that since God is the only substance all things flow from God. Meaning that everything in existence is a part of
Anselm’s argument deals with his definition of what God is while Descartes uses the idea that every idea has a cause. This is an important difference because Anselm is able to jump directly to his conclusion, and Descartes still has more work to do to prove his argument. Descartes is then faced with a predicament of establishing who or what created this idea of God. Lastly, another difference is that Descartes discusses finite and infinite substances. According to Descartes, infinite substances are more real than finite substances, and with this fact along with his causality assertion, he is then able to reach the conclusion that God exists.
There are several versions of the ontological argument for the existence of God, which is to say that several versions exist. The reason I add the redundancy about the existence of the versions of the arguments is to call attention to the fact that it is a great debate in philosophy what one means by existence and what one can and cannot say of something regarding its existence. Typically, the particular arguments called ontological arguments for the existence of God have been attacked because the argument is said to claim more about existence than can be proved about existence. An ontological argument for the existence of God typically attempts to prove the existence of God a priori, that is independent of experience via reason. Unlike the cosmological and teleological arguments which all make some first appeal to what one can observe in nature, the ontological argument begins with a definition of God and deduces conclusions which follow from the definition.
Varying Arguments for the Existence of God Many philosophers and theologians have provided varying arguments for the existence of God. These arguments are either a priori, understood independent of worldly experience and observation (Ontological Argument), or a posteriori, dependent on experience and based on observations of how the world is (Cosmological and Teleological Arguments). This paper will focus on the Cosmological Argument, and show that its underlying principle, the Principle of Sufficient Reason, fails to establish it as a sound argument for the existence of God. To accomplish this, I will, first, define the Cosmological Argument and the Principle of Sufficient Reason; then explain the argument, and how it is based on the Principle of Sufficient Reason; and finally, show that there is not enough evidence to prove that the Principle of Sufficient Reason is true, which in turn leads to the flaw in the Cosmological Argument. First, what are the Cosmological Argument and the Principle of Sufficient Reason?
The term ‘greater’ requires a comparison between itself and one or more things, which could pose a problem for Anselm’s argument; however Professor Thorp states that the only difference between these two things is that one exists in the mind, while the other exists in the mind and in reality. If we understand that a God that exists in the mind and in reality is greater than one that merely exists in the mind then we must understand that God exists. We need to examine this, however, much more closely to discover the problem with this statement; and I will do so using an example given to us by Professor Thorp. During the discussion of the Ontological argument, the professor asked us whether we would prefer ‘a real beer’ on a hot day, or ‘an imaginary beer’. The real one is preferable and it is greater than the imaginary one.
In some ways the arguments for the existence of God combat each other, in asking which one is more convincing. There are two types of arguments, there are empirical arguments along with a rationalistic argument. Anselm, Paley, and Aquinas are the three significant leaders in the philosophy world for finding an argument for the existence of God. The question that is being posed is which is more convincing, Anselm’s rationalistic proof, or the empirical arguments? First let us see a summary of what each argument entails.
Spinoza rejects these claims by Descartes within the single substance doctrine.”the thing extended and the thinking thing are either attributes of god or affections (modes) of the attributes of god” (ethics 1 pg 8) in this quote from the ethics Spinoza explains that mind and body are simply just properties of the same substance and are therefore unified under the single substance doctrine. overall, Spinoza and Cartesianism differ on the foundational premise of monism versus dualism. In the Post Cartesian era, Benedict de Spinoza offered up a new spin on rationalist philosophy and is considered the father of metaphysical intellect. HIs contribution to philosophy not only questioned Cartesianism, but also basic theology as a whole. HIs single substance theory marked the stark divergence from Cartesianism and a new branch of monistic philosophical thought.
Descartes proceeds to investigate the idea of an infinite being, or God, and how he came to acquire such an idea with more objective reality than he himself has. By ruling out the possibility of this idea being invented or adventitious, Descartes concludes that the idea must be innate. Therefore, God necessarily exists and is responsible for his perception of a thing beyond a finite being. Descartes affirms that he is certain that he is a thinking thing. His reasoning, however, seems to be a circular argument.
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Anslem is a philosopher who used the ontological way of thinking to explain God's existence. The ontological thought process shows the existence and being of a thing. Anselm's argument is that God is "this being that so truly exists that it cannot be even thought not to exist" (p. 860). The thoughts and ideas that are in your mind correspond to what exists. However, if you think about things that don't exist it is not as good.