Last updated: February 28, 2019
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Onthological Argument Essay, Research Paper

The Ontological Argument

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( a ) Give an history of the Ontological Argument for the being of God?

The Ontological statement is a group of different philosophers statements for the being of God. & # 8220 ; Ontological & # 8221 ; literally means speaking about being and so in this instance, that being is the being or being of God. The chief constituent of the Ontological statement can be found in the Anselm s & # 8220 ; Proslogion & # 8221 ; which is a short work that tries to show both the being and the nature of God. His chief purpose in composing the Proslogion is non to straight turn out the being of God but to moreover, to demo the relationship between religion and ground. Anselm wanted to understand the object of the belief. He is besides non seeking to support his belief against the atheist and neither is he seeking to convert the atheist that God exists. The ontological statement differs from other statements in favor of God as it is an a priori deductive statement, a priori significance that can come to a decision by the usage of ground and non proof. A deductive statement means that if the premises that are put into the statement are true, so the decision must be true. Therefore, Anselm tends to establish his statement on the definitions and nomenclature used.

Anselm s first signifier of the statement is that God is & # 8220 ; that than which none greater can be conceived & # 8221 ; . First, it must be emphasised that Anselm s definition does non restrict God to being the & # 8220 ; greatest & # 8221 ; but makes it known that nil greater can be thought than God himself. Therefore, God should non in any manner be linked to footings such every bit omnipotent as nomenclature such as this bound him to what he truly is. With this definition, he attempts to turn out that non merely does God be in the head but besides in world. Anselm uses the illustration of & # 8220 ; the sap & # 8221 ; to turn out his point on God s being. He says that when & # 8220 ; the sap & # 8221 ; says that & # 8220 ; There is no God & # 8221 ; in Psalms, he must therefore understand what he hears, and what he understands in his mind by the term & # 8220 ; God & # 8221 ; . Therefore, if he knows what God is, God must be as it is impossible to cognize what something is if it does non be.

In chapter three in the Proslogion, Anselm contributes his 2nd signifier to the statement. This signifier of the statement is that of necessary being. He says that & # 8220 ; that than which can be thought non to be is non every bit great as that which can non be thought non to exist. & # 8221 ; Therefore, to state that God can be thought non to be if the definition of God is & # 8220 ; that than which none greater can be conceived & # 8221 ; contradicts the old statement and this indicates that God needfully exists.

( B ) Examine the responses of assorted bookmans to this statement

Assorted philosophers did inquiry Anselm s statement in favor of the being of God. One of these philosophers was Gaunilon, Anselm s modern-day who argued against Anselm s first signifier of his statement. Gaunilon said that Anselm s sense and concluding would convey about a pathetic decision if it was applied to any other field other than the being of God. He attempts to put up an statement which is parallel to Anselm s ontological statement by utilizing the illustration of a perfect island. Gaunilon utilizing the thought of this perfect island came to the decision that for it to be a perfect island, it must be both in head and world. This decision is pathetic. Therefore, Anselm argued back at Guanilon by stating that that & # 8220 ; the most perfect island & # 8221 ; is portion of the & # 8220 ; contingent universe & # 8221 ; so can non digest the same logical thinking as is used for the most & # 8220 ; perfect imaginable being & # 8221 ; . This indicates that Anselm is warranting why his rule does non use to the & # 8220 ; perfect island & # 8221 ; illustration and he seems to be foregrounding the importance of the thought of his 2nd signifier of the statement which is that of & # 8220 ; necessary being & # 8221 ; He is emphasizing the point that God is alone and that the logical thinking of the ontological statement applies merely to the most imaginable perfect being which has necessary being.

Descartes moderated the ontological statement and said that & # 8220 ; a supremely perfect being & # 8221 ; must be as being is a specifying predicate. He attempts to turn out this construct by seeking to portray it by utilizing an illustration of a trigon. He says that & # 8220 ; being can no more be separated from the kernel of God than the fact that its three angles equal two right angles can be separated from the kernel of the trigon & # 8221 ; . Descartes is fundamentally stating that by definition, a trigon must hold three angles and in the same manner, he is stating that that being must be a predicate that is included in the shaping qualities that God holds.

The Cartesian version of the ontological statement was so challenged by Immanuel Kant. Kant wholly disagreed with the construct tha

T being as a predicate, nevertheless he fleeting allow this base on balls and accepted the fact that being is a predicate in order to turn out another point. Kant disputes Descartes theory that God exists on the footing that “it does non follow that the topics combined with their predicates exist because the topics are linked to their predicates.” Therefore, he says that if it person knows that a trigon exists, so that same trigon must hold three angles as this is one of the trigon s specifying predicates. He so tries to follow up on this impression by utilizing the same theory but now associating it to the perfect supreme being. He says that if person knows that there is a perfect supreme being, so that supreme being must be as being in this instance is the specifying predicate. By utilizing this theory, Immanuel Kant has clearly demolished Descartes statement of the being of both the “perfect supreme being” and the “triangle” .

Kant does in fact, disagree with Descartes impression that being is a predicate of God. He rejects this thought of an object that needfully exists as he says that it is non possible to qualitatively compare whether being in world is greater than being in the head or non and hence, possible and necessary being can non be compared either as one can non state that either necessary or possible being exists more than the other. With these statements, Kant seems to hold successfully demolished Anselm s chief statement.

Norman Malcolm, a 20th century philosopher besides attempted to beef up the Ontological statement. Malcolm was really careful in his effort to turn out that God existed. His statement was based on two statements. The first was what if God exists, so his being is necessary. The 2nd statement argues that if God does non be, his being is impossible. However, since we can non state that God s being is impossible, his being is hence necessary.

Davis weakens this statement by reasoning that the usage of the word impossible is non used in a consistent mode throughout the statement. The word impossible in the 2nd statement means that it can non go on whereas the usage of the word in the decision which is drawn up from the two premises means that God s being can non be held without contradiction. As Malcolm changes the significance of this word right in the center of his statement, the two significances of the word contradict one another and since the 2nd premiss is wrong, the decision that God s being is necessary is besides wrong.

( degree Celsius ) To what extent does the statement remain strong in the visible radiation of these responses?

Several of the assorted versions of the ontological statement seem to hold weakened. Anselm s statement has been weakened by assorted philosophers, nevertheless, there are some elements that tend to demo that his statement remains strong.

Anselm s first signifier of the ontological statement was criticised by his modern-day Gaunilo. He drew analogues between the supreme being and a perfect island. He attempted to demo cogent evidence that there is a perfect island which no greater can be conceived. Anselm disputed against Gaunilo s effort to weaken his statement by stating that the thought of God is alone. The construct of a perfect island can ne’er be consistent as every person would be given to hold their ain thought of what a perfect island truly is whereas the thought of & # 8220 ; the most perfect being & # 8221 ; seems to be a common thought that seems decided upon. This unfavorable judgment tended to be uneffective and remained strong in this sense.

Kant does successfully nevertheless, destroy Anselm s foremost signifier of the statement and indirectly besides demolishes the statement on the necessary being though his unfavorable judgment. He criticises and successfully attacks the Cartesian version that in order for there to be a supreme being, being must be predicate of God ( the supreme being ) . Norman Malcolm so tried to salvage this statement by coming up with an statement which Davis seems to hold demolished successfully.

Although the statement does non look to stay excessively strong in the visible radiation of these responses, we can state that although Anselm failed to demo the sap that God existed, he by geting more cognition and understanding about the Christian beliefs seems to strengthen his religion as a truster. Anselm s 2nd signifier of the statement seems has kept philosophers interested and fascinated with it throughout clip.

The really fact that philosophers such as Descartes, Kant, Malcolm have been intrigued by the ontological statement strongly shows that it is a really of import and complex statement which is in favor of the being of God. Although a concluding and ultimate reply to the inquiry of God s being has yet to be attained, it is still considered to be a singular statement.