St. Anslem: An Ontological Argument

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An ontological argument is a deductive argument with a priori premises. It was first offered by St. Anslem in the 11th century. St. Anslem was a Benedictine monk, priest and scholar. He was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to his death in 1109. (Lecture)
The ontological argument aims to prove the existence of God from a priori premises including the definition of God: a being than which no greater being can be conceived. A priori proposition is knowledge that is gained through deduction. According to the definition, God is known to be omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent. The argument above is an example of an ontological argument (Lecture). The argument above states that: the definition of God is a being that we, as humans, cannot conceive. God exists in the mind, but if we assume that God exists only in the mind and not in reality (this is known as Atheism) then we can conceive of a being that is just like God that would exist in reality. If we can conceive of a being that is just like God, it’ll exist in reality. If it exists in reality, then we can conceive of a being that is greater than God. This is a contradiction with the definition of God: a being that which no greater being can be conceived. Since the assumption of God exists only in the mind contradicts with the definition of
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This is due to it being invalid. This is proven with Gaunilo’s Perfect Island argument. Gaunilo states that, if we use the same concept as the ontological argument, we can prove that the perfect island exists. If the ontological argument was valid, then it would prove that all sorts of perfect things exist, such as the perfect wife, or the perfect mobile device (Himma). There’s obviously no perfect island. Thus, there’s something that isn’t right with the ontological argument (Mann 417). The ontological argument is analogous to the perfect island argument; therefore, it has to be invalid too

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