Anslem's Ontological Argument

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St. Anslem, was a priest during the 11th century he was the first person known to have formed the Ontological argument as we know it; which can be found in the second chapter of his work, The Proslogion. The Ontological argument is not an argument designed to convert the atheist, but to reassure those who have faith or some belief in God, it was meant for the believer seeking understanding, in other words some logic behind their belief. Since only the “fool” knows but does not believe (Psalms 14:1, 53:1). The word, ‘Ontological’ comes from the prefix ‘ontology’ meaning ‘metaphysical science or study of being’. The argument is not a posteriori argument, thus not being based off experience or observations like The Teleological argument produced …show more content…
If one takes the first premise of any of the 3 different formulations of the argument to be true then the conclusion must be accepted because of it being a priori argument it is logically necessary. Being a priori argument that “proves” the existence of God through definitions makes the argument an analytic argument, relying on the meaning of the words used to determine it is validity. Hence, following a “rational” train of thought. St. Anslem’s argument is based on his proposed definition of God (Anslem believed that his definition was how everyone should define or think of God as), “a being than which no greater can be conceived”. Another key point to understand St. Anslem’s argument is, Anslem argued, that its always greater to exist in reality (in re) than just in the mind (in intellectu). Therefore, concluding that a being than which no greater can be conceived must be God…if there is a greater being than that being which was conceived, then that being must be God and the previously conceived one is not; and for “God to be the sum of all perfections” then he must exist in re because it is more perfect to exist than to not …show more content…
It is greater to exist in intelectu and in re than in intelectu alone
4. A being than which no greater can be conceived can’t exist just in intelectu, since a greater being could be conceived that exists both in re and in intelectu
5. Therefore God must exist in the intelectu and in re
Anslem then goes on to state that God does not rely on anything else for his existence, making him a necessary being, whose existence is solely based off his essence. In comparison to everything else which relies on other factors to exist, being contingent.
Summarized version of his second Ontological Argument by St. Anselm.
1. God, by definition, is the greatest possible being.
2. A being that does not exist in the real world is less great than a being that exists necessarily
3. Suppose that God (the greatest possible being) does not exist in the real world
4. If the greatest possible being does not exist in the real world, then He is not as great as the possible being who is just like him but who does exist in the real world
5. But the greatest possible being can’t be less great than some other possible being
6. Premise 3 is false. God does exist in the real world. He exists not contingently, but necessarily. It is impossible for God not to

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