What Is Anselm's Ontological Argument

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St. Anselm Ontological Argument for the Existence of God

There are various types of ontological arguments for the existence of God. The ontological argument was first formulate Descartes. Some contend, however, that there can be no dialectically effective ontological argument. In other words, the belief in God cannot, according to many, be established as reasonable. Never-the-less, arguments attempting to disprove the existence of God cannot be proved reasonable either. Because of this standoff, it is sometimes contended that ontological arguments are in fact completely worthless in their attempts to either prove or disprove the existence of God. Despite this criticism, however, these arguments are of considerable …show more content…

Kant contended that Anselm had simply defined God into existence. Kant argues, for example, that:

“’Being’ is obviously not a real predicate; that is, it is not a concept of something which could be added to the concept of a thing. It is merely the positing of a thing or of certain determinations, as existing in themselves” (Pojman 72).

Kant also argues that Anselm treats the concepts of “existence” and “being” as first order predicates (Pojman 73). Contentions such as this are only understandable upon closer examination of Anselm’s argument. Indeed, Anselm’s argument for the existence of God devotes considerable attention to definitions. In part, it explores the relevance and connotations of the term “existence”. Anselm’s argument presents the philosophical problem of whether:

“existence is a property and whether the notion of necessary existence is intelligible” (Pojman 70).

By far the most important aspect of Anselm’s argument, however, is its religious significance (Pojman 70). Anselm’s argument distinguishes itself from other traditional arguments in that it clearly delineates the properties which distinguish God, i.e. properties such as omnipotence, omniscience, and omnibenevolence (Pojman 70). To Anselm, just as Psalms 14:1 warns, ignoring the proof of God’s existence is an error which only a fool would make (Pojman …show more content…

In addition to Kant, Gaunilo was one of the staunchest critics of Anselm’s argument about the existence of God. Gaunilo lived during the same time period as Anselm and was one of the fist to launch objections to the argument. Gaunilo saw Anselm’s argument as little more than a magic trick which relied on slight of hand to fool the audience. He uses the example of an enticing island, the Isle of the Blest, to disprove Anselm’s argument. Instead of a greatest possible being Gaunilo inserts the concept of the island into Anselm’s argument. He points out that we can indeed conceive of this island as not existing and therefore Anselm’s argument is invalid. Other philosophers, however, disagree with Guanilo’s criticism. Pojman (72), for example, points out that while we can progressively conceive of a more and more wonderful island the properties of God have an “intrinsic maximum”. God’s properties are not like islands or even like numbers for which you could always conceive of a larger for numbers are infinite. Pojman’s (72) clarification that God’s properties are more like perfect knowledge lend even more weight to the argument that indeed God does exist.

I believe in the existence of God. I am a theist and do not need any extra proof then I already have. I personally think Anselm’s argument is a strong one. Of course, Anselm’s argument will problaby not convince an atheist. Anselm’s argument has strengthened

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