Essay On The Ontological Argument

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What is the most convincing form of the ontological argument? Is it convincing, or does it still have problems? If it has problems, what are they?
For the purpose of this essay an argument shall be considered convincing if it would make a reasonable person with no prior opinion on the matter believe it. Further, this essay must establish a definition of ontological so as to differentiate between ontological and other forms of argument for the existence of God. As such, this essay will consider an argument to be “ontological” if the proponents the argument consider it that . However, one potential exception to this rule must be made for Leftow’s modal argument which must be considered an ontological argument despite Leftow consciously avoiding this term. This is because it is similar enough to other modal forms of ontological arguments like Plantinga’s.
Having established the parameters for this essay, I will first assess the plausibility of Anselm’s version of the ontological argument. However, I will argue that this version of the ontological argument is ultimately foiled by both Gaunilo and Kant. This essay will then argue that the modal ontological argument is the most convincing before concluding that while it alone is not convincing, the fact that it merely requires the possibility of God’s existence rather than the actuality of it, means that it makes the existence of God far easier to accept.
Anselm’s ontological argument can be viewed as a proof by contradiction - taking God to refer to Anselm’s “being than which nothing greater can be conceived” :
(1) God exists in the understanding but not in reality. – premise
(2) Existence in reality is greater than existence in the understanding alone. – premise
(3) God's existence...

... middle of paper ... could be the Judeo-Christian God but is not necessarily. Leftow argues that the ontological argument can be used to show the existence of a LUE , which is the “lowest common denominator” of the potential parodies; such that the LUE is still compatible with the Judeo-Christian God. As such it is impossible to run a parody argument against the LUE.
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.
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