Furthering this line of inquiry into god(s) existence as it has been discussed within my section of Problem of God, the question which all other discourse relies upon is whether or not god(s) exist at all. To tackle this, my class has had readings from two saints, the Proslogion of St. Anselm and St.Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica. From the Proslogion, I gleamed circular reasoning. St.Anselm’s argument to prove his God’s existence begins with the caveat that a person must believe in a god figure(s) to even comprehend his argument. Therefore, he is only affirming his God’s existence to those who already believe and reducing his argument to a simple exercise in attempting logic. St. Anselm explains the existence of God as obvious because of the characteristic so tightly bound to being godly, perfection. St. Anselm reasons that perfection is absolutely indicative of true existence. The argument falls apart given a person who does not believe or, if a person does decide to agree with St. Anselm that God exists, the argument can be challenged because of what my
In the world today many people have a hard time keeping their mind open being able to think new thoughts that they would have never even considered before. There are many arguments based on the existence or nonexistence of God. Saint Anselm (1033-1109) was a Benedictine monk, Christian philosopher, and scholar who is recognized for many intellectual accomplishments, including his application of reason in exploring the mysteries of faith and for his definition of theology as "faith seeking understanding (Saint Aselm College)." Saint Anselm is one of the most influential speakers on the argument on whether God does exist.
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. This entire concept is known as the Ontological Argument.
One of St. Anselm’s theological topics deals with the Ontological Argument in which discusses the idea of existence. He gives a definition of God as “that than which nothing greater can be conceived” (69). His idea being that God is the ultimate being or “the greatest possible being” (68). He says there is nothing anyone can possibly imagine that could be better than Him. This argument gives God the highest human qualities possible. He is omnipotent as well as omniscient. Anselm suggests that there is no one or nothing in this world that is greater than God is (69). This perfection that God possesses leads into the fact that He must exist. He is trying to create the idea that God exists and nothing can be better than he can be. However, one must ask where Anselm gets his proof. What evidence does he have to back up his argument?
Descartes would agree with Anselm’s conclusion that God exists but he would likely attack Anselm’s method of reaching this conclusion with the Fool. The arguments share a major commonality in their reliance upon the human mind in proving God’s existence. In both arguments, God’s existence becomes evident when reflecting on an idea of God. In both cases, possessing an idea of God is enough to prove God’s existence. These similarities, however, are not be enough to protect Anselm from Descartes’ hypothetical criticism of the method by which Anselm gets the Fool to admit that God exists. Descartes’ would take issue with the role that the mind plays in Anselm’s argument. In Descartes’ argument, the mind plays a necessarily passive role in understanding
In Chapter 2 of the Proslogion, Anselm presents his famous ontological argument for the existence of God. This argument can be formally summarized into five premises. The first premise that Anselm presents is “you exist, as we believe.”(Proslogion, Ch.2) Meaning that God exist as an idea of the mind, and the human idea of God is that there is no greater being that exist. Anselm than presents his second premise that an idea that is in the mind and also exist in reality, is greater than an idea that only exist in the mind. Something that can be imagined and tangible is considered perfection. The third premise states that since God only exist in the mind, than it is capable for humans to think of something greater. However, Anselm’s
God is an infinite substance whereas he is only a finite substance. Since the idea of God cannot have originated in himself, he concludes that God must be the cause of this idea and must therefore necessarily exist.
The Ontological Argument, which argues from a definition of God’s being to his existence, is the first type of argument we are going to examine. Since this argument was founded by Saint Anslem, we will be examining his writings. Saint Anslem starts by defining God as an all-perfect being, or rather as a being containing all conceivable perfections. Now if in addition of possessing all conceivable perfections t...
Many philosophers, including Elliott Sober, have criticized Anselm for his reply to Gaunilo, as well as Gaunilo's attempt to show the Ontological Argument is not deductively valid. Gaunilo says that there must be something wrong with the argument, but he does not point out where the mistake is. It is necessary to do so because Anselm's argument does look valid. Indeed, Anselm says that the Ontological Argument is deductively valid because of the difference between God and an island. "This seems implausible, since deductive validity doesn't depend on an argument's subject matter, only on its form, and the two arguments have the same logical form" (87).
Anselm’s argument for the existence of God is quite simple. He first proclaims that humans can grasp in their mind “something than which nothing greater can be thought” (Anselm 7). This “something” is an all-perfect God. Then, Anselm states that, if the all-perfect God existed only in thought, then something greater than the the all-perfect God can be conceived, namely, an all-perfect God that exists in reality. And