The Ontological Argument For The Existence Of God Essay

The Ontological Argument For The Existence Of God Essay

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One of the most intriguing and admittedly baffling arguments for the existence of God is the ontological argument. It was developed by St Anselm in the 11th century, and the reason said argument is considered unique is because it is an a priori argument rather than an a posteriori argument , which most other arguments for the existence of God tend to take form. It attempts to prove the existence of God, not through any physical evidence, but rather by claiming that the very definition of God is proof enough of his existence; that he is an underlying truth in much the same way mathematical truths are inherently known.
As a simplified version of Anselm 's ontological argument, the argument mentioned in the question is noticeably flawed, and I will make reference to Gaunilo 's refutation, Kant 's argument as well as some of my own examples. In order to properly analyse the argument, it must first be broken down to its structure as so:
P1: God is the greatest conceivable being.
P2: Greatness includes existence.
C1: Therefore God exists.
The first premise states that God is the greatest conceivable being as according to the Abrahamic definition of God, he is omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent. This is a combination of the third and ninth premises in Anselm 's ontological argument which claim that "God exists in the understanding" and that it is conceivable to imagine a being that possesses God 's properties plus existence. According to Anselm, it would be illogical to assume that God would be any less than the greatest conceivable being or for another being to take such a position. But how does one quantify greatness? If one assumes God is the most powerful, most knowledgeable and most benevolent being in existence, that...


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... the ontological argument; when one claims that God exists by virtue of his omnipotence, all they are validating is the existence of a concept of God rather than proving that such a God is likely to exist in reality.
While the ontological argument proves an interesting a priori argument for the existence of God, it is far from flawless. Kant 's refutation seems to provide a reasonable counter-argument to Anselm 's ontological argument as the concept of a definition proving its own existence seems farcical, and if structured too simplistically can appear to beg the question. The argument mentioned in the question does not appear to be very specific with how it defines "greatness" which could be a source of confusion, however it is difficult to argue against the first premise when one considers God in the Abrahamic sense as omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent.

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