Below is the best information and knowledge about the author of the ontological argument compiled and compiled by the aldenlibrary.org team, along with other related topics such as:: Ontology, Arguments for the existence of God, Ontology example, What is an argument, Quine ontology, Moral argument, Posteriori, The first God.
Image for keyword: the author of the ontological argument
The most popular articles about the author of the ontological argument
Ontological argument – Wikipedia
Evaluate 3 ⭐ (14463 Ratings)
Top rated: 3 ⭐
Lowest rating: 1 ⭐
Summary: Articles about Ontological argument – Wikipedia An ontological argument is a philosophical argument, made from an ontological basis, that is advanced in support of the existence of God.
Match the search results: Sadra put forward a new argument, known as Seddiqin Argument or Argument of the Righteous. The argument attempts to prove the existence of God through the reality of existence, and to conclude with God’s pre-eternal necessity. In this argument, a thing is demonstrated through itself, and a path is i…
ontological argument | philosophy – Encyclopedia Britannica
Evaluate 4 ⭐ (21949 Ratings)
Top rated: 4 ⭐
Lowest rating: 2 ⭐
Summary: Articles about ontological argument | philosophy – Encyclopedia Britannica ontological argument, Argument that proceeds from the idea of God to the reality of God. It was first clearly formulated by St. Anselm in his Proslogion …
Match the search results: ontological argument, Argument that proceeds from the idea of God to the reality of God. It was first clearly formulated by St. Anselm in his Proslogion (1077–78); a later famous version is given by René Descartes. Anselm began with the concept of God as that than which nothing greater can be conce…
Anselm: Ontological Argument for the God’s Existence
Evaluate 4 ⭐ (20759 Ratings)
Top rated: 4 ⭐
Lowest rating: 2 ⭐
Summary: Articles about Anselm: Ontological Argument for the God’s Existence Anselm: Ontological Argument for God’s Existence … One of the most fascinating arguments for the existence of an all-perfect God is the ontological argument.
Match the search results: Even if, however, we assume that Anselm’s second version of the argument can be defended against such objections, there is a further problem: it isn’t very convincing because it is so difficult to tell whether the argument is sound. Thus, the most important contemporary defender of the a…
Summary: Articles about The Ontological Argument This argument is the primary locus for such philosophical problems as whether existence is a property and whether or not the notion of necessary existence is …
Match the search results:
This argument or proof does not
establish the actual existence of a supernatural deity. It attempts
to define a being into existence and that is not rationally legitimate.
While the argument can not be used to convert
a non-believer to a believer, t…
The Ontological Argument (New Studies in the Philosophy of …
Evaluate 4 ⭐ (28973 Ratings)
Top rated: 4 ⭐
Lowest rating: 2 ⭐
Summary: Articles about The Ontological Argument (New Studies in the Philosophy of … The ontological argument for the existence of God is the subject of the aptly title book by Jonathan Barnes The Ontological Argument.
Match the search results: Discover more of the author’s books, see similar authors, read author blogs and more
The ontological argument from St. Anselm to contemporary …
Evaluate 3 ⭐ (11070 Ratings)
Top rated: 3 ⭐
Lowest rating: 1 ⭐
Summary: Articles about The ontological argument from St. Anselm to contemporary … The ontological argument from St. Anselm to contemporary philosophers; [Plantinga, … Book recommendations, author interviews, editors’ picks, and more.
Match the search results: Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet, or computer – no Kindle device required. Learn more
St. Anselm’s Ontological Argument for God’s Existence – Study …
Evaluate 4 ⭐ (28891 Ratings)
Top rated: 4 ⭐
Lowest rating: 2 ⭐
Summary: Articles about St. Anselm’s Ontological Argument for God’s Existence – Study … For this, we can thank the 11th century Saint Anselm of Canterbury. He’s the author of the ontological argument. This very famous philosophical …
Match the search results: In order to understand the ontological argument a bit better, let’s take a look at an argument against it. The most famous is the perfect island argument.
History of the Ontological Argument for the existence of God
Evaluate 4 ⭐ (22811 Ratings)
Top rated: 4 ⭐
Lowest rating: 2 ⭐
Summary: Articles about History of the Ontological Argument for the existence of God A selection of primary authors on the Ontological Argument for the existence of God, with a Bibliography of the recent studies.
Match the search results: CONCLUSION. Of the alternative non-modal translations of our ontological argument, the best are the arguments from 3A and 3B. The premises
of the argument from 3B enjoy some credibility, but the argument is invalid. The argument from 3A is valid, but 3A derives its credibility entirely from the
Bibliography on the Ontological Argument: Medieval Authors
Evaluate 3 ⭐ (7204 Ratings)
Top rated: 3 ⭐
Lowest rating: 1 ⭐
Summary: Articles about Bibliography on the Ontological Argument: Medieval Authors References are to the most important works where ontological argument is discussed. P Anselm of Canterbury [Anselmus Cantuariensis, Doctor …
Match the search results: These claims only apply to Anselm’s actual argument, not to other Ontological Arguments, no matter how distinguished the pedigree,
no matter how careful the formalization. Other Ontological Arguments only interest me insofar as they shed light on, or claim to accurately represent, Anselm’s
How can we know the existence of God: Anselm and Aquinas?
Evaluate 3 ⭐ (19200 Ratings)
Top rated: 3 ⭐
Lowest rating: 1 ⭐
Summary: Articles about How can we know the existence of God: Anselm and Aquinas? The former holds, as exemplified in his ontological proof, … late 5th century by an anonymous author who wrote under the name Dionysius the Areopagite, …
Match the search results: The nub of the second section is Anselm’s strong conviction about the power of reason, as expressed in his ontological argument, to directly know the existence of God. However, the objections raised against Anselm by Gaunilo expose the flaws in Anselm’s over-confidence in human reason. I…
The Ontological Argument for the Existence of God – 1000 …
Evaluate 4 ⭐ (37150 Ratings)
Top rated: 4 ⭐
Lowest rating: 2 ⭐
Summary: Articles about The Ontological Argument for the Existence of God – 1000 … Author: Andrew Chapman Category: Philosophy of Religion Word Count: 1000 1. God’s Greatness The Abrahamic conception of God is that he’s …
Match the search results: Of course, Gaunilo and Kant have not had the last word in this debate. Powerful arguments have been mounted in response to Gaunilo’s and Kant’s criticisms of the Ontological Argument. Additionally, increasingly complex versions of the Ontological Argument have been developed and debated. One thing t…
C’Zar Bernstein, Giving the Ontological Argument Its Due
Evaluate 4 ⭐ (33237 Ratings)
Top rated: 4 ⭐
Lowest rating: 2 ⭐
Summary: Articles about C’Zar Bernstein, Giving the Ontological Argument Its Due In this paper, I shall present and defend an ontological argument for the existence of God … If you are the author and have permission from the publisher, …
Match the search results:
How can I increase my downloads?
Summary: Articles about The Ontological Argument – ResearchGate Download Citation | The Ontological Argument | The term “ontological … In book: The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Religion (pp.80-115). Authors:.
Match the search results: To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the author.
Summary: Articles about (PDF) Godelian ontological arguments – ResearchGate PDF | Ontological arguments are arguments, for the conclusion that God exists, … Authors: Graham Oppy at Monash University (Australia). Graham Oppy.
Match the search results: Discover the world's research
Multi-read content the author of the ontological argument
Anselm: Ontological argument for God Survive
One of the most compelling arguments for the existence of a perfect God is the ontological argument. Although there are several different versions of the argument, they all aim to show that denying that the greatest being exists is contradictory. Hence, according to this general line of reasoning, it is a necessary fact that such a unity exists; and this being isgod of western traditionalism. This article explains and discusses classical and contemporary versions of the ontological argument.
Most arguments for the existence of God are based on at least one empirical premise. For example, a “refined” version ofdesign argumentdependent on empirical evidence of intelligent design; in particular, it underscores the empirical claim that life could not have evolved as a nomadic problem, that is, a legal problem, had some fundamental properties of the universe differed slightly from its nature. Likewise, cosmological arguments depend on specific empirical claims to explain the occurrence of empirical events.
In contrast, ontological arguments are conceptual in the sense that they go something like this: Just as the propositions constituting the concept of bachelor imply that every bachelor is male, the propositions constituting the concept of bachelor imply God , by ontological argument God exists. There is of course this difference: while the bachelor concept clearly contains the statement that bachelors are unmarried, the God concept contains no statements explicitly asserting the existence of a bachelor. Nevertheless, the basic idea remains the same: ontological arguments attempt to show that we can infer the existence of God from the definition of God.
Introduction: The non-empirical nature of ontological arguments
Classical version of the ontological argument
The argument is described
criticism of Aquinas
Kant’s Criticism: Is Dasein Perfection?
Anselm’s second edition of the ontological argument
Method versions of arguments
References and further reading
1. Introduction: The non-empirical nature of ontological arguments
It’s worth reflecting for a moment on how remarkable (and beautiful!) it is to deduce the existence of God from the mere definition of God. Usually, existing claims do not follow conceptual claims. If I want to prove that there are bachelors, unicorns or viruses, just thinking about the concepts is not enough. I had to go out into the world and do some kind of empirical investigation with my senses. If I want to prove that bachelors, unicorns or viruses don’t exist, I have to do the same. In general, positive and negative existential statements can only be determined using empirical methods.
However, there is a class of exceptions. We can prove some negative existence claims simply by thinking about the content of the term. For example, we can state that there is no circle in the world without going out and looking at each rock to see if there is a square circle. We can do this by simply consulting the definition and noting that it contradicts itself. Thus the mere ideas imply that there is no entity that is both square and circular.
The ontological argument is therefore unique among such arguments in that it aims to establish the real (as opposed to abstract) existence of an entity. Indeed, if ontological arguments are successful, then to assume that God does not exist is as contradictory as to assume that there are squares or female bachelors. In the following paragraphs we will evaluate a number of different attempts at developing this incredible strategy.
2. Classic version of the ontological argument
a. The argument is described
St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury (1033-1109), was the originator of the ontological argument he describes inproslogiumas follows:
[Even a] fool when he hears of… a being of whom nothing greater can be thought… understands what he hears, and what he understands is in his understanding… And surely nothing greater can be thought that cannot exist alone in knowledge. Suppose it exists only in knowledge: then it can be conceived as existing in reality; what is greater… So if that about which greater cannot be thought exists alone in knowledge, then the being itself, nothing greater to be thought, can become, be one out of which the greater can be formed. But obviously this is not possible. There is no doubt, therefore, that there is an entity of which nothing greater can be thought, existing in both mind and reality.
The reasoning at this difficult point is aptly summed up in standard form:
It is a conceptual truth (or, in other words, true by definition) that God is an entity no greater than can imagine (that is, the greatest creature imaginable. Okay).
God exists as an idea in the mind.
An entity exists as an idea in mind, and in reality other things equal to or greater than an entity exist only as an idea in mind.
So if God only exists as an idea in the mind, then we can imagine something greater than God (that is, the greatest being that can exist).
But we cannot conceive of anything greater than God (for it is contradictory to suppose that we can conceive of a greater being than the greatest imaginable).
So God exists.
Intuitively, one might think that the argument is supported by two ideas. The first thing expressed by premise 2 is that we have a unified conception of a single entity that creates all perfections. In other words, premise 2 asserts that we have a consistent notion of an organism capable of producing all the qualities that make a greater being, other things being more equal than if talents were not “wonderful” qualities created). Premise 3 asserts that existence is a perfect or wonderful quality.
Accordingly, the very concept of an entity creating all perfection implies that it exists. Accept I thinkCLEARis an entity that creates and presupposes all perfectionCLEARdoesn’t (actually) exist. Since premise 3 asserts that existence is a perfection, it followsCLEARlacks perfection. However, this contradicts the assumption thatCLEARis an entity that creates all perfections. Based on this reasoning, the following resultsCLEARexist.
b. Gaunilo’s criticism
Gunilo of Marmoutier, a monk and contemporary of Anselm, is responsible for one of the main criticisms of Anselm’s argument. It is reasonable to fear that Anselm’s argument will be unduly shifted from the existence of an idea to the existence of something corresponding to the idea. Sometimes, on the other hand, Anselm simply defines everything as being – and that doesn’t work.
Gaunilo shares this concern and believes that one can use Anselm’s argument to show the existence of all things that do not exist:
Now if someone were to tell me that there is … an island [on which nothing greater can form], I would easily understand his words, in which there is no difficulty. But suppose he went on to say, as if by logical deduction: “You cannot doubt that this island is more wonderful than any country that exists anywhere, for you do not doubt that it is within your comprehension. And since it is more wonderful not only to exist in the mind, but to exist both in the mind and in reality, it must exist for that reason. Because if it didn’t exist, any country that actually exists would be better than it; and so the island you describe as more excellent could not have been better”.
So Gaunilo continues to argue by trying to infer the existence of a perfect island using Anselm’s strategy, which Gaunilo rightly sees as an example of the opposite of the argument form. The opposite example can be expressed as follows:
It is a conceptual truth that Piland is an island that no one can imagine (it is the largest island imaginable).
A heap exists as an idea in the mind.
A heap exists as an idea in the mind and is actually larger than a heap that only exists as an idea in the mind.
So if a piland only exists as a mental image, then we can imagine an island larger than a piland (i.e. the largest island that can exist).
But we cannot imagine an island larger than a piland.
Therefore, a Piland exists.
Note, however, that premise 1 of Gaunilo’s argument is incoherent. The point here is that the qualities that make an island great are not the sort of qualities that conceptually assume maximum qualities. No matter how large a particular island is in some respect, it is always conceivable that an island is larger than that island in that respect. For example, if one thinks that fruit abundance is a great asset to an island, no matter how large a particular island is, one will always be able to imagine a larger island because there is no intrinsic maximum for fruit abundance. For this reason the term Piland is contradictory.
However, this does not apply to the concept of God as conceived by Anselm. Attributes such as knowledge, power, and moral goodness, including the notion of a great supreme being, actually have intrinsic maximum values. For example, perfect knowledge requires knowing all and only true statements; It is the concept that can not know more. Likewise, perfect power means being able to do whatever it can; Conceptually, there could not be a single organism that could do more.
So the point here: Anselm’s argument only works at all for fully attribute-determined concepts that assume some kind of intrinsic maxima. Like CD Broad makes this important point:
[The concept of the greatest possible possibility imaginable assumes that] every positive quality must be present as much as possible. Well, that would be meaningless unless there are anyintrinsicthe maximum or upper limit, in degrees, of the possible magnitude of each probable positive property. At a certain magnitude, this condition is met. For example, it is logically impossible for any suitable fraction to exceed 1/1; and again, according to a given definition of “angle”, there can be no angle that is more than four right angles. But it seems pretty clear that there are other properties like length, temperature or pain sensation for which there is no intrinsic maximum or upper limit on size.
If some property that is conceptually essential to the concept of God does not assume an intrinsic maximum, then Anselm’s argumentation strategy will not work because, like Guanilo’s Piland concept, related concepts of God are incoherent. But to the extent that the great qualities involved are limited to omnipotence, omniscience, and moral perfection (allowing for the intrinsic maximum), Anselm’s notion of a great being could at best be avoided, Broad and Guanilo’s fear.
c. criticism of Aquinas
While Saint Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274) believed that the existence of God was self-evident, he rejected the idea that it could be inferred from statements about the concept of God. Aquinas logically argues that “not everyone who hears this word ‘God’ understands that it means something no greater than can be imagined, since some have believed that God is a body”. The idea here is that since different people have different conceptions of God, this argument, if anything, only serves to convince people to define God in the same way.
The problem with this critique is that the ontological argument can be repeated without defining God. To see this, simply remove premise 1 and replace each instance of “God” with “An Unmalleable Being”. The conclusion would then be that there is a being that no greater could have imagined – and of course it is perfectly natural to give that god the name.
However, Aquinas had a second problem with ontological thinking. According to Thomas, even if we assume that everyone has the same conception of God as an entity that no one can imagine, “not understanding what the word means means that it actually exists, only that it exists mentally. ”
A natural interpretation of this somewhat ambiguous passage is that Aquinas rejects premise 2 of Anselm’s argument on the grounds that while we can practice the words “an inconceivable being,” in our minds we have no idea what is going on. That phrase actually makes sense. From this perspective, God is unlike any other reality we know; While we can easily understand concepts of finite things, the concept of infinite magnitude makes finite human understanding finite. Of course, we can try to relate the expression “a being that no greater man can imagine” to more familiar finite terms, but these finite terms have hitherto been limited, cannot fully describe God, it is fair to say that they not help us to make us an accurate picture of God.
However, the success of the debate does not depend on our fully understanding the concept of an entity from which nothing greater can be thought. For example, consider that while we don’t have a complete understanding (whatever that means) of the concept of a natural number, of which no greater number can be imagined, we do understand it enough to see that a number doesn’t exist. In Anselm’s view, there is no more complete understanding of the concept of a supreme being than this in order to argue successfully. When the concept is coherent, a minimal understanding of the concept is enough to make an argument.
i.e. Kant’s Criticism: Is Dasein Perfection?
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) made his famous objection to premise 3, that an entity’s claim to exist as an idea in mind and in reality is greater than an entity that exists only as an idea in mind. According to premise 3, existence is what is called a great advantage or, as it is sometimes called, a perfection. Premise 3 therefore requires that (1) existence is an attribute; and (2) immediate existence makes one thing better, others more equal than others.
Kant rejects premise 3 on the grounds that formally, existence does not function as a predicate. As Kant puts it:
Existence is obviously not a real predicate, that is, a notion of something added to the notion of something else. It’s just the position of a thing or a specific number in it. Logically, it is only a judgment copy. Suggestions,Almighty, contains two concepts, has a specific object or content; out ofTo be, is not a complementary predicate, but merely denotes the relation of the predicate to the subject. If I now take the subject (God) with all its predicates (all powerful is one) and say:god is, orthere is a god, I do not add any new predicates to the concept of God, I only define or assert the existence of the subject with all its predicates – I put the object in relation to my imagination.
So what is wrong with the first version of the ontological argument is that it treats the notion of existence as the wrong kind of logic. For logical reasons, terms are defined exclusively by logical predicates. Since existence is not a logical predicate, it does not belong to the concept of God; rather, it asserts that the existence of something satisfies the predicate that defines the concept of God.
Although Kant’s criticism is expressed (somewhat unclearly) in terms of the logic of predicates and congruences, it also offers a logical metaphysical point of view. Existence is not a property (in other words, red is a property of the apple). Instead, it is a requirement for property initialization in the following sense: It is not possible for a non-existent thing to initialize a property, since there is nothing to which a property can be bound. There is nothing without qualities. To say thatxinitialize a propertyPtherefore it can be assumedxexist. Therefore, according to this argument, existence is not a wonderfully created good because it is not a property at all; rather, it is a metaphysically necessary condition for the production of any property.
But even if we concede that existence is an asset, it doesn’t seem like the kind of ownership that makes something better by having it. Norman Malcolm formulated the argument as follows:
The teaching that existence is a perfection is strange. It makes sense and is correct to say that my future house will be better if it is insulated than if it is not; but what could it mean to say that it would be a better house if it existed than if it didn’t? My future child will be a better person when honest than when not honest; but who can understand the saying that he would be a better man if he existed than if he did not exist? Or who understands the saying that God is more perfect when he exists than when he doesn’t exist? It might be said with some intelligibility that it would be better (for oneself or for mankind) if God existed than if he did not exist – but that is another matter.
The idea here is that existence is very different from the quality of love. A loved one is something else equal, better or greater than an unloved being. But it seems very strange to think that an existing loving entity is anything else equal, better or greater than a loving entity that does not exist. But to the extent that existence does not add to the greatness of a thing, the classic version of the ontological argument has failed.
3. Anselm’s second edition of the ontological argument
As it turns out, there are two different versions of the ontological argument inseminar leader. The second version is not based on the highly problematic claim that existence is a property, and thus avoids many of the objections to the classical version. Here is the second version of the ontological argument, as Anselm puts it:
God is that, nothing greater can be thought… And [God] certainly exists to the point where it is inconceivable not to exist. For it is possible to conceive an organism that cannot be conceived as non-existent; and that is greater than what can be imagined as non-existent. So if nothing greater can be thought, can be thought that it does not exist, then nothing greater can be thought. But that is an unbridgeable contradiction. Hence there is such a real entity that nothing greater can be thought to exist, that it cannot even be thought not to exist; and that is the art of the Lord, Lord our God.
This version of the argument is based on two important statements. As before, the argument involves the premise that God is an entity from which a greater being could not have been conceived. But this version of the argument, unlike the first, is not based on the claim that existence is a perfection; instead it relies on the statement thatnecessaryExistence is a perfection. This second statement asserts that an organism whose existence isnecessarygreater than an entity whose existence is unnecessary. In other words, the second important assertion is an entity whose non-existence islogically impossiblegreater than an entity whose non-existence is logically possible.
More formally, the argument is:
By definition, God is an entity that no one can imagine.
This one being
Existence in reality is greater than an entity that does not exist
So if God exists as an idea in the mind, but does not necessarily exist in reality, then by definition we can imagine something greater than God.
But we cannot imagine anything greater than God.
So if God exists as an idea in the mind, then God necessarily also exists in reality.
God exists in the mind as an idea.
Therefore, God necessarily exists in reality.
This second version seems less affected by Kantian criticism than the first. First, necessary existence, as opposed to mere existence, is clearly a property. For example, notice that the statement thatxnecessarily exist, resulting in a claim assigning certain propertiesx. For example whenxnecessarily exists, its existence does not depend on the existence of any living thing (unlike random humans, whose existence depends at least on the existence of their father or mother). And this seems to include thatxhas its own reason for being. But later statements explicitly prescribe properties specific tox.
And only a specific property claim can lead to a specific property claim. while I explainxobvious existence entailsxhave at least one property, that doesn’t help. We cannot correctly deduce any of these attribute claimsPrivateproperty toxfrom both statements thatxexist or claimxhave at least one property; actually say soxhas at least one attribute that has no specific attribute other than the statement thatxexist. This distinguishes the statement thatxconsists of the statement thatxnecessarily exist and therefore seem to imply that the latter, and only the latter, have an attribute.
Moreover, one could rightly argue that necessary existence is a great good. To say that an entity must necessarily exist is to say that it continues in every logically possible world; such a being is not only indestructible in this world, so to speak, but indestructible in every logically possible world – and at first glance that sounds like a great enrichment. . As Malcolm puts it:
If a housewife has extremely fragile dishes, then the dishes are inferior to other similar sets of dishes in all respects, except that they are not fragile. Those in the first group depend on their continued existence through gentle treatment; those of the second movement are not. There is a clear connection between the concept of dependence and inferiority and independence and superiority. To say that something does not depend on something higher than anything depends on anything in any way is quite consistent with everyday usage of the more advanced terms “and higher.”
However, things are not as straightforward as Malcolm thinks. Other things being equal, a dish set that is indestructible in this world may be larger than a dish set that is indestructible in this world. But it’s hard to see how trans-worldly indestructible adds to the greatness of an indestructible dinnerware set in this world. In our opinion, adding the trans-worldly indestructible to a truly indestructible dinnerware set just doesn’t add value. There’s just nothing that an indestructible harness can do in all worldsin this worldYou can’t do that with a dinnerware set that’s indestructible in this world but not in any other world.
And the same seems to apply to God. Suppose an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipotent, eternal (and therefore indivisible) God exists in this world but not in any other world. It is confusing to claim that such a god lacks due respect. The indestructibility of God in this world means that God exists forever in all logically possible worlds that resemble this world in certain salient aspects. It is simply not clear how existence in other worlds unlike this one makes God greater and therefore more worshipable. In our view, necessary existence adds nothing of value to eternal existence. If this is true, then the second version of Anselm’s argument also fails.
4. Method versions of arguments
But even if we assume that the second version of Anselm’s argument can be defended against such objections, there is another problem: it is not very convincing because it is difficult to know whether the formulation of this argument is correct or not is not. Thus, the argument’s foremost contemporary defender, Alvin Plantinga, complains, “[a]at first glance, Anselm’s argument is clearly unconvincing, if not highly convincing. it looks too much like living room puzzle or word magic. As a result, the ontological argument, despite its enduring importance, has brought very few people to theism.
There have been some attempts to make the ontological argument’s persuasiveness more transparent by repeating it using the logical constructs of contemporary modal logic. An influential person attempts to ground an ontological argument in his conception of God as an infinite being. As Malcolm describes this idea:
God is often viewed as oneinfiniteGift. He is conceived as a creaturecan notlimited, that is, as an absolutely unlimited being… If God is conceived as an absolutely unlimited being, then He must be conceived as infinite in both His existence and His work. According to this view, it would be unreasonable to say that He is dependent on anything in order to appear or continue to exist. As Spinoza remarked, it is also unreasonable to say that something is possibleimpedeHe’s from the present. A lack of moisture can prevent plants from surviving in certain areas of the earth. But it would contradict the concept of God as infinite to think that anything… could prevent him from existing.
Therefore, God’s unlimited character requires that His existence be distinct from ours: while our existence is causally dependent on the existence of other beings (e.g., our parents), God’s existence is not causally dependent on the existence of any other human being momentarily.
Furthermore, according to Malcolm, the existence of an infinite being is either logically necessary or logically impossible. Here is his argument for this important statement. Or an unlimited existence in the worldWor it does not exist in the worldW; there’s no other possibility. When an unlimited being does not exist inW, its non-existence cannot be explained by reference to any causal feature ofW; So there is no random function ofWthat explains why this being does not exist. Suppose everyonerelief, an infinite entity existing in another worldW’. If so, then it must be some random featurefofW’that explains why it exists in this world. But this implies the existence of an infinite being withinWcan be explained by the absencefinW; and this contradicts the claim that its non-existence inWcannot be explained by reference to any random feature. So if God doesn’t exist inW, then God does not exist in any logically possible world.
A similar argument can be made for the claim that an infinite entity exists in every logically possible world if it exists in a possible world.W; The details are left to the interested reader. There are only two possibilitiesWand the one requires the impossibility of an infinite being and the other the necessity of an infinite being, from which it follows that the existence of an infinite being is either logically necessary or logically impossible.
All that remains to complete Malcolm’s elegant version of the proof is the premise that the existence of an infinite being is not logically impossible – and this seems sufficient. The existence of an infinite being is logically impossible only if the notion of an infinite being contradicts itself. Since we have no reason to follow Malcolm’s view that the existence of an infinite being is contradictory, it follows that an infinite being, i. H. God exists. Here the argument is reduced to its basic elements:
God as a conceptual matter (i.e., a matter of definition) is an infinite being.
The existence of an unlimited being is either logically necessary or logically impossible.
The existence of an unlimited being is not logically impossible.
The existence of God is therefore logically necessary.
Note that Malcolm’s version of the argument does not make the claim that necessary existence is a great advantage. Instead, as we saw above, Malcolm attempts to argue that there are only two possibilities for an infinite being to exist: it is either necessary or impossible. And note that his argument is in no way intended to describe the necessary existence of an asset in such a way that it is better to create something that produces that property than it would be without it. Therefore, Malcolm’s version of the argument is not susceptible to criticism of Anselm’s contention that existence must be a perfection.
But while Malcolm’s version of the argument is considerably easier to understand than Anselm’s, it is also prone to objection. In particular, premise 2 is clearly false. To assert that a being has no limitsCLEARexist in some worldsWobviously requires itB alwaysexists inW(That’s itCLEARThe existence of “is eternal or eternal in”W), but that is not clearCLEARnecessarily be present (i.e.CLEARexists in every logically possible world). In defense of this next statement, one must argue that the concept of a random eternal entity is inherently contradictory.
Likewise the assertion that a being is unlimitedCLEARdoes not exist in itWobviously requires itB neverexists inW(meaning it is always true inWthatCLEARdoes not exist), but that is not clearCLEARdoes not necessarily exist (i.e.CLEARexist in an unreasonable world that may have orCLEARThe existence of “logical” is impossible. In fact, there are many creatures that would probably never exist in this world but exist in other logically possible worlds, like unicorns. Because of this, Prime 2 of the Malcolm version is questionable.
Perhaps the most influential influence on contemporary modality arguments is Plantinga’s version. Plantinga begins by defining two attributes, the maximum greatness attribute and the maximum excellence property, as follows:
A sentient being
in a W world if and only if it is omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect in W; and
A sentient being
in a W-world if and only if it is extremely excellent in every possible world.
Hence maximum greatness requires existence in every possible world: since a being of maximum greatness at W is omnipotent in all possible worlds, and non-existent beings cannot be omnipotent, this leads to the existence of a maximally great being in every logically possible world.
Accordingly, the trick is to show that an extremely large entity exists in some world W, since this immediately follows the statement that such an entity exists in all worlds, including our worlds. But be aware that claiming that a great Supreme Being exists in a particular world is logically equivalent to claiming that the notion of a great Supreme Being is not self-contradictory; for the only things that do not exist in any possible world are things conceptually defined according to opposite properties. Logically, there is no world in which a square circle (with related concepts) can exist because the property of the square does not coincide with the property of the circle.
Since, from Plantinga’s point of view, the concept of a supremely sublime entity is consistent and therefore can be created, it follows that such a being, i.e. God, exists in all possible worlds. Here is a schematic representation of the argument:
The concept of a maximally large being is self-consistent.
If 1, then there is at least one logically possible world in which an extremely large being exists.
Therefore, there is at least one logically possible world in which an extremely large being exists.
If a maximally large entity exists in a logically possible world, then it exists in every logically possible world.
Thus, in every logically possible world, there exists a maximally large entity (i.e., God).
It is sometimes argued that Plantinga’s premise 4 is an example of the controversial general mode principle. The S5 modal logic contains an axiom that looks suspiciously like option 4:
AxS5: If A is possible, then A must be possible.
According to James Sennett, the basic intuition of AxS5 is that “all propositions necessarily carry their modal state”. However, according to this criticism, Plantinga’s version is not convincing because it is based on a controversial modal-logical principle.
To see that this criticism is unfounded, two remarks suffice. First, note that the following statements are not logically equivalent:
PL4 If “A most wonderful being can exist” then “A most wonderful being exists” is necessarily true.
PL4 * If “a most wonderful being can exist” then it must be true that “the most wonderful being that exists” is quite possible.
Of course, PL4 Plantingas Premise 4 is slightly revised, while PL4* is simply a simplified version of AxS5. While PL4 implies PL4* (because if A is true in all worlds, it can happen in all worlds), PL4* does not imply PL4; for PL4 obviously makes a much stronger statement than for PL4*.
Second, note that the argument for Alternative 4 does not refer to the assertion that all clauses necessarily carry their modal state. Plantinga simply builds necessary existence into the concept of maximum greatness. Because, by definition, an extremely wonderful beingWis omnipotent in all possible worlds and is a being that does not exist in any particular worldW’cannot be omnipotentW’, simply follows, without the aid of anything like the controversial S5 axiom, that a maximally large being exists in every logically possible world.
In fact, Plantinga avoids countering Malcolm’s argument examined above for this reason. Since the concept of maximum size, as opposed to the concept of an infinite entity as defined by Malcolm, is conceived in the sense that, quite frankly, there is existence in all logically possible worlds (and therefore exists in every logically possible world continues). no need to worry whether maximum size as opposed to unlimited requires something more powerful than eternal existence or not.
IVIs the concept of a great supreme being consistent?
As can be clearly seen, each version of the ontological argument rests on the assumption that the concept of God as described in the argument is self-consistent. Both versions of Anselm’s argument are based on the assertion that the idea of God (i.e. an unformable being) “exists as an idea in knowledge”. Similarly, Plantinga’s version is based on the more explicit assertion that the concept of maximum size is self-consistent.
But many philosophers question the basic assumption, as Leibniz describes it, “that the idea of the greatest or most perfect being is possible and in no way contradictory”. That’s the problem when C.D. Express broadly:
For example, suppose there are only three positive attributesX,Y, andZ; that any two of them are compatible with each other; but the presence of two excludes the other. Then there will bethreeOrganisms that can, namely a combined organismXandY, A combinationYandZand a station wagonZandX, logically, each thing would have nothing… superior to it. Because the only entity type that would . . . surpass all of these characteristics would be the one with all three characteristics,X,Y, andZ; and hypothetically this combination is logically impossible… It is clear that the proposition [i.e. H. “an organism which could not be larger than imaginable” unless all the positive properties are compatible”] is as meaningless a sentence as the sentence “the largest possible integer.”
So if the classical theistic conception of a perfect God requires two great qualities that are logically incompatible, then the conception is incoherent.
It is important to note here that all versions of the ontological argument assume that God is simultaneously omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect. As we have seen, Plantinga clearly defines maximum excellence in these terms. Although Anselm does not explicitly address the problem, it is clear (1) that he is attempting to show the existence of the God of classicism; and (2) great qualities including omnipotence, omniscience, and moral perfection.
There are some valid arguments that even this restricted set of properties is logically inconsistent. For example, moral perfection is said to include being both perfectly benevolent and perfectly just. But these two qualities seem to contradict each other. Being perfect simply means always giving something to everyoneexactlywhat she deserves. But being totally merciful means punishing at least some people less than they deserve. If so, then a being cannot be perfectly just and perfectly merciful. So if moral perfection requires being perfectly just and benevolent seems logical, then the concept of moral perfection is irrelevant.
The question of God’s providence can also be seen as a denial that omniscience, omnipotence, and moral perfection form a coherent unity. Roughly speaking, the problem ofdivine foreknowledgeis as follows. If God is omniscient, then God knows what everyone is going to do in every momentt. To say that one personPto have free will means to say that there is at least one momenttin whichPnot A but could have done it differently than A. But if a personPwho makes A attable to do anything other than A int, then it follows after thatPIt is possible for an omniscient God to have a false belief – and that is clearly not possible.
Therefore, according to this line of analysis, it is logically impossible for a being to simultaneously create omnipotence and omnipotence. Omnipotence requires power to create free beings, but omnipotence precludes the possibility of such beings’ existence. An omniscient being therefore lacks the ability to create free beings and is therefore not omnipotent. In contrast, an omnipotent being has the power to create free beings and therefore has no idea what those beings would do if they existed. The argument therefore concludes that the Almighty and the Almighty are logically incompatible. If this is true, all instances of the ontology argument will fail.
5. References and further reading
Basic Articles by Anselm
, translated by S.W. Deane, 2
Ed. (La Salle, IL: Open Court Publishing Co., 1962)
Thomas Aquinas, St.,
(1a Q2), “Is God’s existence self-existent (Thomas More Publishing, 1981)
(London: MacMillan Publishing Co., 1972)
religious studies, philosophy and psychiatry
(New York: Rouledge
Findlay, J.N., “The Existence of God Is Necessarily Impossible,” from Flew, Antony and MacIntyre, Alasdair,
New essays on philosophical theology
(New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., 1955)
About the nature and existence of God
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991)
The logic of perfection
(LaSalle, IL: Open Court, 1962)
Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich
Lectures on the history of philosophy
, by E.S. Haldane and F.H. Samson (London, Kegan Paul, 1896)
Critique of Pure Reason
, translated by J.M.D. Meiklejohn (New York: Colonial Press, 1900)
Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm
New essays on the human mind
, by A.G. Translated by Langley (Chicago, IL: Open Court Publishing, 1896).
Malcolm, Norman, “Anselm’s Ontological Argument”,
, Book. 69, No. 1 (1960), 41-62
Miller, Ed L.
God and reason
Ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1995)
Pike, Nelson, Divine Wisdom and Voluntary Action.
, Book. 74 (1965)
God, Freedom and Evil
(New York: Harper and Row, 1974)
Ontological argument from St. Anselm to contemporary philosophers
(Garden City, New York: Double Day, 1965)
philosophy of religion
(London: Mayfield Publishing Co., 2001)
Rowe, William, “Modal Versions of the Ontological Argument”, in Pojman, Louis (ed.),
Join George and John as they discuss different Philosophical theories. In this video they will be debating the Ontological Argument. Is the very concept of God enough to prove His existence. Does it logically follow that a Perfect Being (or that than which nothing greater can exist) must have necessary existence. Watch as our two favorite Philosophers debate and focus on the works of Anselm, Descartes and Kant to determine if the Ontological Argument is sufficient to prove the existence of God.
Check out our book…
Does God Exist a Philosophical Inquiry: This books offers an in-depth analysis of The Problem of Evil and the Three main arguments for the existence of God. The Ontological Argument, The Teleological Argument and The Cosmological Argument. Available Worldwide on Amazon…
This script is part of…
– The Philosophy Vibe – “Philosophy of Religion Part I” eBook, available on Amazon:
– The Philosophy Vibe Paperback Anthology Vol 1 ‘The Philosophy of Religion’: