Essay about Anselm's Cosmological Argument

715 Words Nov 26th, 2012 3 Pages
Anselm seeks to explain the existence of a greatest being, i.e. God. He approaches this task not via our experience of the universe, but rather attempts to explain it solely based upon reason. Anselm attempts to prove the existence of God by providing us with a logical explanation, based upon our understanding, definition, and necessity of God.
It is inconceivable for God not to exist. There is a certain nature through which everything that is exists, Anselm explains, is caused to exist by something. Everything that is, exists by virtue of something, and nothing is able to exist through nothing. The underlying assumption here is that things do not exist through themselves for there is no need for their being. Leading to conclude that it
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Building upon this premise, Anselm goes on to explain that it is because of this particular “power or property” that each of these beings is able to exist. Thereby concluding that these beings exist by virtue of one greater power, without which they cannot exist. Once again we are back to the same argument that only one being can exist, for plurality does not explain itself.
Lastly, a third alternative proposed by Anselm deals with beings existing mutually through one another. He argues that such thought is contrary to reason. For, it is irrational that “anything should exist through a being on which it confers existence.” In other words, there cannot be a being that is a giver and a taker. That, which exists by its own virtue and is yet dependent on itself for existence.
Taking all of the arguments and points stated above, Anselm concludes that there can only be one greatest being, i.e. God, and it is through him that everything that is exists. If everything that is, exists by virtue of something, and nothing is able to exist through nothing, then God simply cannot be conceived not to exist. God is that, “which alone exists in the greatest and highest degree of all” and nothing greater can be conceived. For, everything that exists, exists through this greatest being, but it alone exists

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