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Encyclopedia > Anselm's argument
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See also: Ontology

An ontological argument for the existence of God is one that attempts the method of a priori proof, which utilizes intuition and reason alone.[1] In the context of the Abrahamic religions, it was first proposed by the medieval philosopher Anselm of Canterbury in his Proslogion, and important variations have been developed by philosophers such as René Descartes, Gottfried Leibniz, Norman Malcolm, Charles Hartshorne, Alvin Plantinga, and Kurt Gödel. A modal logic version of the argument was devised by mathematician Kurt Gödel. The ontological argument has been a controversial topic in philosophy. Many philosophers, including David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Gottlob Frege, and Gaunilo of Marmoutiers, have openly criticized the argument. Image File history File links Unbalanced_scales. ... // In philosophy, ontology (from the Greek , genitive : of being (part. ... This article is about the philosophical meaning of ontology. ... Arguments for and against the existence of God have been proposed by philosophers, theologians, and others. ... The terms a priori and a posteriori are used in philosophy to distinguish between two different types of propositional knowledge. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Saint Anselm of Canterbury (1033 or 1034 – April 21, 1109) was an Italian medieval philosopher and theologian, who held the office of Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109. ... Prosolgion (1077-1078) is an exercise in faith seeking understanding by Saint Anselm of Canterbury (1033 or 1034 – April 21, 1109), a widely influential medieval philosopher and theologian, held the office of Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109. ... René Descartes (French IPA: ) (March 31, 1596 – February 11, 1650), also known as Renatus Cartesius (latinized form), was a highly influential French philosopher, mathematician, scientist, and writer. ... It has been suggested that this article be split into multiple articles. ... Norman Malcolm (1911 – 1990) is an American philosopher. ... Charles Hartshorne (June 5, 1897 – October 9, 2000) was a prominent philosopher who concentrated primarily on the philosophy of religion and metaphysics. ... Alvin Cornelius Plantinga (born 15 November 1932 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, of Frisian ancestry) is a contemporary American philosopher known for his work in epistemology, metaphysics, and the philosophy of religion. ... [...]I dont believe in natural science. ... In philosophical logic, a modal logic is any logic for handling modalities: concepts like possibility, impossibility, and necessity. ... [...]I dont believe in natural science. ... see also: David Hume of Godscroft David Hume (April 26, 1711 – August 25, 1776)[1] was a Scottish philosopher, economist, and historian. ... “Kant” redirects here. ... Friedrich Ludwig Gottlob Frege (8 November 1848, Wismar – 26 July 1925, IPA: ) was a German mathematician who became a logician and philosopher. ... Gaunilo (or Gaunilon) of Marmoutiers was an 11th-century Benedictine monk, a contemporary of St. ...


The argument works by examining the concept of God, and arguing that it implies the actual existence of God; that is, if we can conceive of God, then God exists — it is thus self-contradictory to state that God does not exist.


The argument's different versions arise mainly from using different concepts of God as the starting point. For example, Anselm starts with the notion of God as a being than which no greater can be conceived, while Descartes starts with the notion of God as being maximally perfect (as having all perfections).

Contents

Anselm's argument

Anselm of Canterbury was the first to attempt an ontological argument for God's existence.

The ontological argument was first proposed by Anselm of Canterbury (10331109) in Chapter 2 of the Proslogion.[2] While Anselm did not propose an ontological system, he was very much concerned with the nature of being. He stated that there are necessary beings — things that cannot not exist — and contingent beings — things that may exist but whose existence is not needed. Image File history File links Anselm_of_Canterbury. ... Image File history File links Anselm_of_Canterbury. ... Saint Anselm of Canterbury (1033 or 1034 – April 21, 1109) was an Italian medieval philosopher and theologian, who held the office of Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109. ... Saint Anselm of Canterbury (1033 or 1034 – April 21, 1109) was an Italian medieval philosopher and theologian, who held the office of Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109. ... Events Benedict IX becomes pope. ... Events Battle of Naklo Battle of Hundsfeld Fulk of Jerusalem becomes count of Anjou Alfonso I of Aragon marries Urraca of Castile Crusaders capture Tripoli Anselm of Laon becomes chancellor of Laon Births July 25 - Afonso, first king of Portugal Deaths Alfonso VI of Castile Anselm of Canterbury, philosopher and... Prosolgion (1077-1078) is an exercise in faith seeking understanding by Saint Anselm of Canterbury (1033 or 1034 – April 21, 1109), a widely influential medieval philosopher and theologian, held the office of Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109. ... // In philosophy, ontology (from the Greek , genitive : of being (part. ...


Anselm presents the ontological argument as part of a prayer directed to God. He starts with a definition of God, or a necessary assumption about the nature of God, or perhaps both.

"Now we believe that [the Lord] is something than which nothing greater can be imagined."

Then Anselm asks: does God exist?

"Then is there no such nature, since the fool has said in his heart: God is not?"

To answer this, first he tries to show that God exists 'in the understanding':

"But certainly this same fool, when he hears this very thing that I am saying — something than which nothing greater can be imagined — understands what he hears; and what he understands is in his understanding, even if he does not understand that it is. For it is one thing for a thing to be in the understanding and another to understand that a thing is."

Anselm goes on to justify his assumption, using the analogy of a painter:

"For when a painter imagines beforehand what he is going to make, he has in his understanding what he has not yet made but he does not yet understand that it is. But when he has already painted it, he both has in his understanding what he has already painted and understands that it is.
"Therefore even the fool is bound to agree that there is at least in the understanding something than which nothing greater can be imagined, because when he hears this he understands it, and whatever is understood is in the understanding."

Now Anselm introduces another assumption (some authors have argued that this assumption introduces a new version of the argument):

"And certainly that than which a greater cannot be imagined cannot be in the understanding alone. For if it is at least in the understanding alone, it can be imagined to be in reality too, which is greater."
"Therefore if that than which a greater cannot be imagined is in the understanding alone, that very thing than which a greater cannot be imagined is something than which a greater can be imagined. But certainly this cannot be."

Anselm has thus found a contradiction, and from that contradiction, he draws his conclusion:

"There exists, therefore, beyond doubt something than which a greater cannot be imagined, both in the understanding and in reality."

A modern description of the argument

Anselm's Argument may be summarized thus:

  1. God is, by definition, a being greater than which nothing can be conceived (imagined).
  2. Existence in reality is greater than existence in the mind.
  3. God must exist in reality; if God did not, then God would not be that than which nothing greater can be conceived (imagined).

This is a shorter modern version of the argument. Anselm framed the argument as a reductio ad absurdum wherein he tried to show that the assumption that God does not exist leads to a logical contradiction. The following steps more closely follow Anselm's line of reasoning: This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...

  1. God is the entity greater than which no entity can be conceived.
  2. The concept of God exists in human understanding.
  3. God does not exist in reality (assumed in order to refute).
  4. The concept of God existing in reality exists in human understanding.
  5. If an entity exists in reality and in human understanding, this entity is greater than it would have been if it existed only in human understanding (a statement of existence as a perfection).
  6. From 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 an entity can be conceived that is greater than God, the entity greater than which no thing can be conceived (logical self-contradiction).
  7. Assumption 3 is wrong, therefore, God exists in reality (assuming 1, 2, 4, and 5 are accepted as true).

Anselm's second argument

Anselm in his Proslogion 3 made another a priori argument for God, this time based on the idea of necessary existence. He claimed that if God is that which nothing greater can be conceived, it is better to be necessary than contingent. Therefore, God must be necessary. To sum it up:

  1. God is that entity compared to which nothing greater can be conceived.
  2. It is greater to be necessary than not.
  3. God must be necessary.
  4. God necessarily exists.

Descartes' ontological arguments

French thinker René Descartes composed several arguments that could be termed ontological.

René Descartes (15961650) composed a number of ontological arguments that differed from Anselm's formulation in important ways. Generally speaking, it is less a formal argument than a natural intuition. René Descartes, painting by Frans Hals, ca. ... René Descartes, painting by Frans Hals, ca. ... René Descartes (French IPA: ) (March 31, 1596 – February 11, 1650), also known as Renatus Cartesius (latinized form), was a highly influential French philosopher, mathematician, scientist, and writer. ... René Descartes (French IPA: ) (March 31, 1596 – February 11, 1650), also known as Renatus Cartesius (latinized form), was a highly influential French philosopher, mathematician, scientist, and writer. ... Events February 5 - 26 catholics crucified in Nagasaki, Japan. ... Year 1650 (MDCL) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 10-day slower Julian calendar). ...


Descartes wrote in the Fifth Meditation:[3] The title page of the Meditations Meditations on First Philosophy (subtitled In which the existence of God and the real distinction of mind and body, are demonstrated) is a philosophical treatise written by René Descartes first published in Latin in 1641 . ...

But if the mere fact that I can produce from my thought the idea of something entails that everything which I clearly and distinctly perceive to belong to that thing really does belong to it, is not this a possible basis for another argument to prove the existence of God? Certainly, the idea of God, or a supremely perfect being, is one that I find within me just as surely as the idea of any shape or number. And my understanding that it belongs to his nature that he always exists is no less clear and distinct than is the case when I prove of any shape or number that some property belongs to its nature (AT 7:65; CSM 2:45).

The intuition above can be formally described as follows:

  1. Whatever I clearly and distinctly perceive to be contained in the idea of something is true of that thing.
  2. I clearly and distinctly perceive that necessary existence is contained in the idea of God.
  3. Therefore, God exists.

Another formulation of his argument from his Third Meditation is as follows:

  1. I exist.
  2. I have an idea of a supremely perfect being, i.e. a being having all perfections.
  3. As an imperfect being I would be unable to create such a concept through my own thoughts.
  4. The concept must have come from God.
  5. To be a perfect being God must exist.
  6. God exists.

In another, less formal statement of his argument, he draws an analogy between belief in the existence of God and the geometric demonstration:

Whatever method of proof I use, I am always brought back to the fact that it is only what I clearly and distinctly perceive that completely convinces me. Some of the things I clearly and distinctly perceive are obvious to everyone, while others are discovered only by those who look more closely and investigate more carefully; but once they have been discovered, the latter are judged to be just as certain as the former. In the case of a right-angled triangle, for example, the fact that the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the square on the other two sides is not so readily apparent as the fact that the hypotenuse subtends the largest angle; but once one has seen it, one believes it just as strongly. But as regards God, if I were not overwhelmed by philosophical prejudices, and if the images of things perceived by the senses did not besiege my thought on every side, I would certainly acknowledge him sooner and more easily than anything else. For what is more manifest than the fact that the supreme being exists, or that God, to whose essence alone existence belongs, exists? (AT 7:68–69; CSM 2:47)

Criticisms and Objections

The ontological argument received much criticism at its time and was rejected by St. Thomas Aquinas,[4] and therefore by much of orthodox Christian theology.[5] It has also received its share of criticism from non-Christians; Bertrand Russell noted of the argument: "it is easier to feel convinced that it must be fallacious than to find out precisely where the fallacy lies."[6] The first objections were in the form of parodies, such as Gaunilo's island, but some believe Immanuel Kant to have finally settled the matter with his famous rejection of existence as a property.[7] Others believe that existence is indeed a property, and that if the proof is fallacious, the fallacy must lie elsewhere. Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225 - March 7, 1274) was a Catholic philosopher and theologian in the scholastic tradition, who gave birth to the Thomistic school of philosophy, which was long the primary philosophical approach of the Roman Catholic Church. ... “Kant” redirects here. ... The word property, in philosophy, mathematics, and logic, refers to an attribute of an object; thus a red object is said to have the property of redness. ...


General objection

David Hume did not believe an ontological argument was possible.

David Hume claimed that nothing could ever be proven to exist through an a priori, rational argument by arguing as follows:[8] Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (825x1000, 91 KB) Found at Web Gallery of Art File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): David Hume Empiricism Allan Ramsay (1713-1784) Category talk:Philosophers User:Primalchaos... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (825x1000, 91 KB) Found at Web Gallery of Art File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): David Hume Empiricism Allan Ramsay (1713-1784) Category talk:Philosophers User:Primalchaos... see also: David Hume of Godscroft David Hume (April 26, 1711 – August 25, 1776)[1] was a Scottish philosopher, economist, and historian. ... see also: David Hume of Godscroft David Hume (April 26, 1711 – August 25, 1776)[1] was a Scottish philosopher, economist, and historian. ...

  1. The only way to prove anything a priori is through an opposite contradiction. For example, I am a married bachelor.
  2. The resulting contradiction makes something inconceivable. Obviously it is impossible to have a married bachelor.
  3. It is possible to comprehend anything not existing. Thus it is not inconceivable to imagine anything not existing.
  4. Nothing can be proven to exist a priori, including God.

Gaunilo's island

One of the earliest recorded objections to Anselm's argument was raised by one of Anselm's contemporaries, Gaunilo of Marmoutiers. Gaunilo invited his readers to think of the greatest, or most perfect, conceivable island. As a matter of fact, it is likely that no such island actually exists. However, his argument would then say that we aren't thinking of the greatest conceivable island, because the greatest conceivable island would exist, as well as having all those other desirable properties. Note that this is merely a direct application of Anselm's own premise that existence is a perfection (point 5 in the previous section). Since we can conceive of this greatest or most perfect conceivable island, then it must exist. While this argument seems absurd, Gaunilo claims that it is no more so than Anselm's. Gaunilo (or Gaunilon) of Marmoutiers was an 11th-century Benedictine monk, a contemporary of St. ...


Such objections are known as "Overload Objections"; they don't claim to show where or how the ontological argument goes wrong, they simply argue that if it is sound, then so are many other arguments of the same logical form that we don't want to accept, arguments that would overload the world with an indefinitely large number of necessarily existing perfect islands, perfect pizzas, perfect pencils, etc.[9]


Some may question the validity of these overload objections, as it is people's ideas of the purported entities that are being perfected, e.g. my perfect island has more sunlight than your perfect island. But this is impossible with God. Divine simplicity would indicate that God admits of no divisions, or differences. He is seen as the perfect perfection of everything and so any idea of variation is rejected. Thus, the analogy of a perfect island does not conceptualize quite like God does. In still more words, the island would conceptualize as God. In theology, the doctrine of divine simplicity says that God is without parts. ...


Necessary nonexistence

Another rationale is attributed to Melbourne philosopher Douglas Gasking (1911–1994),[10] one component of his proof of the nonexistence of God:

  1. The creation of the world is the most marvelous achievement imaginable.
  2. The merit of an achievement is the product of (a) its intrinsic quality, and (b) the ability of its creator.
  3. The greater the disability (or handicap) of the creator, the more impressive the achievement.
  4. The most formidable handicap for a creator would be non-existence.
  5. Therefore if we suppose that the universe is the product of an existent creator we can conceive a greater being — namely, one who created everything while not existing.
  6. Therefore, God does not exist.

The third premise might seem odd; the intuition is that we are generally more impressed by, for example, a four year old child composing a marvelous symphony than the same composition of a professional. In fact, Graham Oppy, an expert on the ontological argument, who isn't particularly impressed with this parody, does not object to (3).Writing in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy he is mainly concerned with the first premise, asking "what reason is there to believe that the creation of the world is 'the most marvellous achievement imaginable.'"[1] Gasking was apparently thinking of the "world" or "universe" as the same as "everything." Professor Graham Oppy (born October 6, 1960 ) is an Australian philosopher and Associate Dean of Research at Monash University. ...


If one is willing to accept the first premise and put aside the fact that the notion of a non-existent creator is quite hard to conceive of (as Oppy points out), one has no choice but to deny the fourth premise. Thus, the philosophical point of this parody is to highlight problems when existence is taken as property: "whereas Anselm illicitly supposed that existence is a perfection, [Gasking] is illicitly invoking the inverse principle that non-existence is a perfection."[10]


Existence as a property

Another traditional criticism of the argument (first found in Pierre Gassendi's Objections to Descartes' Meditations, and later modified by Kant) is that existence is not a perfection, because existence is not a property as such, and that referring to it as a property confuses the distinction between a concept of something and the thing itself. The argument is that anything that has the property of being non-existent could not possibly have any other properties, being non-existent, and thus not having color, location, or any other property. One cannot, the argument says, speak meaningfully of the non-existent apple that one is holding, saying that it is red, crisp, weighs a certain amount, is in one's right hand, and does not exist.[citation needed] Pierre Gassendi (January 22, 1592 – October 24, 1655) was a French philosopher, scientist and mathematician, best known for attempting to reconcile Epicurean atomism with Christianity and for publishing the first official observations of the Transit of Mercury in 1631. ... René Descartes René Descartes (IPA: , March 31, 1596 – February 11, 1650), also known as Cartesius, worked as a philosopher and mathematician. ... The title page of the Meditations Meditations on First Philosophy (subtitled In which the existence of God and the real distinction of mind and body, are demonstrated) is a philosophical treatise written by René Descartes first published in Latin in 1641 . ...


It wasn't until Frege's development of first-order logic that a more formal treatment of existence could be given with the introduction of quantification. Friedrich Ludwig Gottlob Frege Friedrich Ludwig Gottlob Frege (November 8, 1848 - July 26, 1925) was a German mathematician, logician, and philosopher who is regarded as a founder of both modern mathematical logic and analytic philosophy. ... First-order logic (FOL) is a universal language in symbolic science, and is in use everyday by mathematicians, philosophers, linguists, computer scientists and practitioners of artificial intelligence. ... In language and logic, quantification is a construct that specifies the extent of validity of a predicate, that is the extent to which a predicate holds over a range of things. ...


This objection centers around the belief that existence is not a predicate. A predicate is a quality, so it would be right to conclude God is great (since greatness is a predicate) but not right to conclude God is. This has come about because of the use of 'is' by Anselm. Anselm uses 'is' in the same way both for the predicate (God is great) as for the existential (God is), i.e. you can't define God into existence.


For example, in the simple equation 3x = 9 the answer is x = 3; however, x does not exist. x has the quality (the predicate) of 3 but this does not mean that there is an actual "x."


Another way to make this objection, first put forward by Descartes' critic Pierre Gassendi and later developed by Immanuel Kant, was to argue that existence is not a quality of things at the same level of other qualities, such as the shape or the size of an object. If you think of a certain object conceptually, and if you think of the object existing, the two would essentially be the same as the idea behind the two remains unaltered as no other essential qualities are imposed on said object. The only difference between the two is that when an object exists, it merely shows that it corresponds to something that exists in the material world, without adding any other essential qualities to the object in question. René Descartes René Descartes (IPA: , March 31, 1596 – February 11, 1650), also known as Cartesius, worked as a philosopher and mathematician. ... Pierre Gassendi (January 22, 1592 – October 24, 1655) was a French philosopher, scientist and mathematician, best known for attempting to reconcile Epicurean atomism with Christianity and for publishing the first official observations of the Transit of Mercury in 1631. ... “Kant” redirects here. ...


In short, to think of a thing that exists and to think of that thing if it did not exist, is to in effect think of the same idea; existence does not do anything to change the idea in question.


Revisionists

Obviously Anselm thought this argument was valid and persuasive, and it still has occasional defenders, but many, perhaps most, contemporary philosophers believe that the ontological argument, as Anselm articulated it, does not stand up to strict logical scrutiny.[1] Others, like Gottfried Leibniz, Norman Malcolm, Charles Hartshorne, Kurt Gödel and Alvin Plantinga, have reformulated the argument in an attempt to revive it. It has been suggested that this article be split into multiple articles. ... Norman Malcolm (1911 – 1990) is an American philosopher. ... Charles Hartshorne (June 5, 1897 – October 9, 2000) was a prominent philosopher who concentrated primarily on the philosophy of religion and metaphysics. ... [...]I dont believe in natural science. ... Alvin Cornelius Plantinga (born 15 November 1932 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, of Frisian ancestry) is a contemporary American philosopher known for his work in epistemology, metaphysics, and the philosophy of religion. ...


Plantinga's modal form and contemporary discussion

Alvin Plantinga has given another descriptive, initial version of the argument, one where the conclusion follows from the premises, assuming axiom S5 of modal logic. A version of his argument is as follows[11]: Alvin Cornelius Plantinga (born 15 November 1932 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, of Frisian ancestry) is a contemporary American philosopher known for his work in epistemology, metaphysics, and the philosophy of religion. ... Axiom S5 is the distinctive axiom of the S5 system of modal logic and says that if possibly necessarily p, then necessarily p. ...

  1. It is proposed that a being has maximal excellence in a given possible world W if and only if it is omnipotent, omniscient and wholly good in W; and
  2. It is proposed that a being has maximal greatness if it has maximal excellence in every possible world.
  3. Maximal greatness is possibly exemplified. That is, it is possible that there be a being that has maximal greatness. (Premise)
  4. Therefore, possibly it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists
  5. Therefore, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists. (By S5)
  6. Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.

This argument has two controversial premises: The axiom S5 and the "possibility premise" that a maximally great being is possible. The more controversial of these two is the "possibility premise" since S5 is widely (though not universally) accepted. One objection by Richard M. Gale, professor of philosophy at University of Pittsburgh, is that the "possibility premise" begs the question, because one only has the epistemic right to accept it if one understands the nested modal operators, and if one understands them then one understands that "possibly necessarily" is basically the same as "necessarily".[12] Plantinga replies to this objection as follows: "Once you see how the argument works, you may think that asserting or believing the premise is tantamount to asserting or believing the conclusion; the canny atheist will say that he does not believe it is possible that there be a maximally great being. But would not a similar criticism hold of any valid argument? Take any valid argument: once you see how it works, you may think that asserting or believing the premise is tantamount to asserting or believing the conclusion." To deny premise (3) amounts to asserting that it is logically impossible that there is a being the exemplifies maximal greatness — thus the argument appears to demonstrate that either the existence of God is logically impossible or it is logically necessary.[13] Axiom S5 is the distinctive axiom of the S5 system of modal logic and says that if possibly necessarily p, then necessarily p. ... Axiom S5 is the distinctive axiom of the S5 system of modal logic and says that if possibly necessarily p, then necessarily p. ... The University of Pittsburgh, commonly referred to as Pitt, is a state-related, doctoral/research university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. ... Begging the question, in modern popular usage, is often used synonymously for raising the question. However the original meaning is quite different: it described a type of logical fallacy (also called petitio principii) in which the evidence given for a proposition as much needs to be proved as the proposition...


There are, nonetheless, other approaches to the possibility premise. Leibniz thought that the possibility premise followed from the claim that "positive qualities" could not logically conflict with one another, and hence the notion of a being that had all the positive qualities had to be coherent. Gödel's ontological proof uses similar ideas. Gödels ontological proof is a formalization of Saint Anselms ontological argument for Gods existence by the mathematician Kurt Gödel. ...


A very different approach has recently been attempted by Alexander R. Pruss of Georgetown University.[14] He starts with the 8th–9th century AD Indian philosopher Samkara's dictum that if something is impossible, then we cannot have a perception (even a non-veridical one) that it is the case. Contraposing, it follows that if we have a perception that p, then even though it might not be the case that p, it is at least the case that possibly p. If mystics in fact perceive the existence of a maximally great being, it follows that the existence of a maximally great being is at least possible. And that is all that is needed to get the modal ontological argument off the ground. One difficulty in this argument is that one might misinterpret the content of one's experience, and hence the mystic might be incorrect even in a cautious description of an experience as an experience "as of a maximally great being." Another problem arises from being able to imagine a universe that is uncreated, eternal and godless (i.e devoid of a maximally great being), which, if imagined, must be possible, ergo breaking the necessity of said maximally great being. Georgetown University, incorporated as the The President and Directors of the College of Georgetown, is a private university in the United States, located in Georgetown, a historic neighborhood of Washington, D.C. With roots extending back to March 25, 1634 and founded in its current form on January 23, 1789... Shankara can refer to: Shiva, the Hindu god Adi Shankara, Hindu philosopher of around 800 CE This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...


Interestingly, Plantinga himself does not think the modal ontological argument is always a good proof of the existence of God. It depends on what his interlocutor thinks of the possibility premise. Nonetheless, Plantinga has suggested that because we do not have any evidence against the possibility premise, it might be reasonable to suppose it has probability 1/2. It follows from this that the existence of God can at the outset be held to have probability 1/2, though further evidence may increase or decrease this. Even though the possibility God does not exist is just as likely by this reasoning, Plantinga's point is to establish that even if one can't prove the existence of God, the argument is still victorious in the sense of justifying that belief in God is at least rational. Rational may be: the adjective for the state of rationality acting according to the philosophical principles of rationalism a mathematical term for certain numbers; the rational numbers the software company Rational Software; now owned by IBM, and formerly Rational Software Corporation This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid...


Notes

  1. ^ a b c Oppy, Graham "Ontological Arguments". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Ed. Edward N. Zalta. ISSN 1095-5054. 
  2. ^ Anselm of Canterbury; trans by Jonathan Barnes. Anselm's Proslogium or Discourse on the Existence of God, Chapter 2. David Banach's homepage at Saint Anselm College. Retrieved on December 27, 2006.
  3. ^ Descartes, René. "Meditation V: On the Essence of Material Objects and More on God's Existence", Meditations on First Philosophy. 
  4. ^ Blackburn, Simon "Ontological argument". Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-283134-8. 
  5. ^ Toner, P.J. "The Existence of God". The Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved on 2007-01-19. 
  6. ^ Russell, Bertrand (1972). History of Western Philosophy. Touchstone, p. 586. ISBN 0-671-20158-1. 
  7. ^ Kant, Immanuel (1781/1787). Critique of Pure Reason, A 592-602/B 620-630. 
  8. ^ Holt, Tim. The Ontological Argument: Hume on a priori Existential Proofs.
  9. ^ Cottingham, John (1986). Descartes. Blackwell Publishing, p. 62. ISBN 0631150463.  In the context of Descartes' formulation and offering other examples, Cottingham defines the term "overload objection" as used in the current article.
  10. ^ a b Grey, William (2000). "Gasking's Proof". Analysis 60 (4): 368–70. 
  11. ^ PLANTINGA, ALVIN (1998). God, arguments for the existence of. In E. Craig (Ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. London: Routledge. Retrieved March 03, 2007, from [1] he attributes this to Charles Hartshorne
  12. ^ Gale, Richard (1993). On the Nature and Existence of God. Cambridge University Press, p. 227. ISBN 0521457238.  "While it seems clear [the possibility premise] begs the question, there remains the larger question if it is true." That is, if the argument doesn't try to prove the existence of God, but is used to justify that religious belief is "epistemically permissible", then the discussion is more complicated.
  13. ^ R.E.P. op. cit
  14. ^ Pruss, Alexander R. (2001). "Samkara’s Principle and Two Ontomystical Arguments". International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 49: 111–120. 

Professor Graham Oppy (born October 6, 1960 ) is an Australian philosopher and Associate Dean of Research at Monash University. ... ISSN, or International Standard Serial Number, is the unique eight-digit number applied to a periodical publication including electronic serials. ... Jonathan Barnes (born 1942) is a British philosopher, translator and historian of ancient philosophy. ... Saint Anselm College is a private, Roman Catholic, coeducational liberal arts college. ... December 27 is the 361st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (362nd in leap years). ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... René Descartes (French IPA: ) (March 31, 1596 – February 11, 1650), also known as Renatus Cartesius (latinized form), was a highly influential French philosopher, mathematician, scientist, and writer. ... The title page of the Meditations Meditations on First Philosophy (subtitled In which the existence of God and the real distinction of mind and body, are demonstrated) is a philosophical treatise written by René Descartes first published in Latin in 1641 . ... Simon Blackburn (born 1944) is a British academic philosopher also known for his efforts to popularise philosophy. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... January 19 is the 19th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS, (18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970), was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician and advocate for social reform. ... Bertrand Russells A History of Western Philosophy : And Its Connection with Political and Social Circumstances from the Earliest Times to the Present Day has the ambitious goal of tracing Western philosophy from the earliest times to Russells modern day, which was the nineteen sixties. ... A touchstone is a small tablet of dark stone such as fieldstone or slate, used for probing of precious metal alloys. ... “Kant” redirects here. ... Title page of the 1781 edition. ... Charles Hartshorne (June 5, 1897 – October 9, 2000) was a prominent philosopher who concentrated primarily on the philosophy of religion and metaphysics. ...

Bibliography

  • Hartshore, Charles, The Logic of Perfection (LaSalle, IL: Open Court, 1962)
  • Jori, Alberto, 'Die Paradoxien des menschlichen Selbstbewusstseins und die notwendige Existenz Gottes — Zu 'Cogitatio' und 'Intellectus' im Streit zwischen Anselm und Gaunilo', in: C. Viola and J. Kormos (ed.), Rationality from Saint Augustine to Saint Anselm. Proceedings of the International Anselm Conference — Piliscsaba (Hungary) 20–23 June 2002 (Piliscsaba 2005), pp. 197–210.
  • Malcolm, Norman, "Anselm's Ontological Arguments" Philosophical Review, vol. 69, no. 1 (1960), 41–62

{reprinted in: "The Existence of God (Problems of Philosophy)" edited John Hick published Macmillan 1964 ISBN 0020854501 and also in : Knowledge and Certainty: Essays and Lectures by Norman Malcolm published Cornell University Press (Dec 1975) ISBN 0801491541.} Alberto Jori (1965, Mantova/Italy) is an Italian Neo-Aristotelian philosopher. ...

  • Plantinga, Alvin, The Ontological Argument from St. Anselm to Contemporary Philosophers (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1965)
  • Plantinga, Alvin. God, Freedom and Evil. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1977) pp.85–112

See also

Arguments for and against the existence of God have been proposed by philosophers, theologians, and others. ... Arguments for and against the existence of God have been proposed by philosophers, theologians, and others. ... The cosmological argument is a metaphysical argument for the existence of God, traditionally known as an argument from universal causation, an argument from first cause, and also as an uncaused cause argument. ... A teleological argument (or a design argument) is an argument for the existence of God or a creator based on perceived evidence of order, purpose, design and/or direction in nature. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Gödels ontological proof is a formalization of Saint Anselms ontological argument for Gods existence by the mathematician Kurt Gödel. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... Pascals Wager (or Pascals Gambit) is the application by the French philosopher, Blaise Pascal, of decision theory to the belief in God. ...

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