Assess the Ontological Argument Essay

829 Words Jan 25th, 2013 4 Pages
08 Assess whether the ontological argument demonstrates the existence of God. (30 marks)

The ontological argument was first formulated by St. Anselm in the 11th century. It argues the existence of God from a deductive and a priori stance. God is a being than which none greater can be conceived. This is the response given by St Anselm to the fool in the psalm who believed there was no God. St Anselm the Archbishop of Canterbury and of the Benedictine Order explained that for God to exist in the mind he would not be the greatest being. However were God to exist in the mind and reality this would make a being ‘than which none greater can be conceived’, this means God must exist.

This demonstration for the existence of God was
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For instance, the analytic statement ‘a spinster is an unmarried woman’ is tautological and true by definition. But if you were to add the predicate existence it would have no direct effect on the statement, this means that existence cannot be a property of God.

David Hume also went on to support this idea, as we cannot prove that existence is even a positive attribute, we know that ‘evil’ exists yet could this ‘existence’ be the same as the ‘existence’ of God? They would argue that the ontological argument failed to understand and make existence a meaning of God.

However, there have been responses by other philosophers such as Frege who argues that existence is actually a first level predicate which is able to explain the second level predicate. For instance, the ‘greenness of the apple’ is known through our senses but by adding ‘the greenness exists’ we are able to understand that such a predicate exists in reality. This means that ‘God exists’ allows us to understand that such a being as powerful as God does exist in reality as well as the mind.

However from an empirical view, Thomas Aquinas would argue that the flaw in the ontological arguments attempt to demonstrate God’s existence stems from the fact that Anselm wanted to argue that God’s existence can be proven from ‘de dicto’ instead of what is ‘real’, and this caused the argument to be weak. On the other hand, some will still argue that St Anselm and the

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