Arguments against St. Anselm’s Ontological Argument for the Existence of God
St. Anselm begins with a definition of God, argues that an existent God is superior to a non-existent God and concludes that God must exist in reality, for his non-existence would contradict the definition of God itself.
The argument does not seem plausible to an unbiased person, even at the very first reading. It seems as if not all aspects of the question under scrutiny have been considered. The basic assumption, on which the entire argument stands, that God is a being than which none greater can be imagined can seem doubtful to a person who doubts the existence of God, for if one doubts that there is a being than which no greater can be conceived, then he may also be sceptical if any person has thoughts about the same being, whose existence itself is doubtful. The argument seems to “beg the question”. Moreover, St. Anselm’s idea of existence is not very clear. …show more content…
Anselm’s argument is based on the superiority of an existent God over a non-existent God. But as Kant argues, existence is more of a description of the real world, whether a thing exists in it or not, rather than the property of an object. Hence existence or non-existence should not count towards the perfection of any being, be it the greatest being. This implies that a non-existent God is equivalent to an existent God, which causes the ontological argument to fail.
It is controversial if existence is a general class that can be categorized into existence in the mind and existence in reality or if there are multiple levels of existence. It is also controversial that there are only two categories of existence, if at all it can be categorized. Hence, for a supreme being, for which, as suggested by Thomas Aquinas, it is not very clear whether humans can perceive all of its qualities, a conclusion that God does not solely exists in the mind, should not lead to a conclusion that it exists in