It makes sense and is true to say that my future house will be a better one if it is insulated than if it is not insulated; but what could it mean to say that it will be a better house if it exists than if it does not? Or who understands the saying that if God exists He is more perfect than if he does not exist? Since Premise 3 asserts that existence is a perfection, it follows that B lacks a perfection. Further, on Malcolm’s view, the existence of an unlimited being is either logically necessary or logically impossible. To see this, simply delete premise 1 and replace each instance of “God” with “A being than which none greater can be conceived.” The conclusion, then, will be that a being than which none greater can be conceived exists – and it is, of course, quite natural to name this being God. But we cannot imagine something that is greater than God (for it is a contradiction to suppose that we can imagine a being greater than the greatest possible being that can be imagined.). In contrast, the ontological arguments are conceptual in roughly the following sense: just as the propositions constituting the concept of a bachelor imply that every bachelor is male, the propositions constituting the concept of God, according to the ontological argument, imply that God exists. Then there would be three possible beings, namely, one which combines X and Y, one which combines Y and Z, and one which combines Z and X, each of which would be such that nothing … superior to it is logically possible. Now suppose, per reductio, an unlimited being exists in some other world W’. The claim that an unlimited being B exists at some world W clearly entails that B always exists at W (that is, that B‘s existence is eternal or everlasting in W), but this doesn’t clearly entail that B necessarily exists (that is, that B exists at every logically possible world). Ontological arguments are common in the history of philosophy. Nothing has no qualities whatsoever. Thus, on this line of reasoning, existence isn’t a great-making property because it is not a property at all; it is rather a metaphysically necessary condition for the instantiation of any properties. ), Sennett, James F., “Universe Indexed Properties and the Fate of the Ontological Argument,”. It is a conceptual truth that a piland is an island than which none greater can be imagined (that is, the greatest possible island that can be imagined). Both versions of Anselm’s argument rely on the claim that the idea of God (that is, a being than which none greater can be conceived) “exists as an idea in the understanding.” Similarly, Plantinga’s version relies on the more transparent claim that the concept of maximal greatness is self-consistent. Second, notice that the argument for Premise 4 does not make any reference to the claim that all propositions bear their modal status necessarily. Saint Anselm’s ontological argument is distinctive from other arguments that attempt to prove that it is the existence of God, the creator, and not just some abstract entity that is being defined. The medieval philosopher St. Anselm gave a famous version of the ontological argument, and even Plato puts an ontological argument in Socrates' mouth in the Phaedo. This latter claim asserts that a being whose existence is necessary is greater than a being whose existence is not necessary. PL4 is, of course, Plantinga’s Premise 4 slightly reworded, while PL4* is simply a straightforward instance of AxS5. This second argument implies 1 that the conceivability of a perfect being is the crux of the issue. As the objection is sometimes put, Anselm simply defines things into existence-and this cannot be done. I need to go out into the world and conduct some sort of empirical investigation using my senses. Kant’s Criticism: Is Existence a Perfection? In his own time, St Anselm had his critics. And the only way for God to be his own explanation is for some version of the ontological argument to work. Argument: Saint Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury (1033-1109), is the creator of the ontological argument. Anselm's proof, known since the time of Kant as the ontological argument for the existence of God, has played an important role in the history of philosophy and has been incorporated in various forms into the systems of Descartes, Leibniz, Hegel, and others. Description. Aquinas reasoned that, as only God can completely know His essence, only He could use the argument. Therefore, God necessarily exists in reality. Since, by definition, a being that is maximally great at W is omnipotent at every possible world and a being that does not exist at some world W’ cannot be omnipotent at W’, it straightforwardly follows, without the help of anything like the controversial S5 axiom, that a maximally great being exists in every logically possible world. If so, then it must be some contingent feature f of W’ that explains why that being exists in that world. There are no loose ends. There is a definite connection between the notions of dependency and inferiority, and independence and superiority. He argues that everyone (theist and atheist alike) should agree to some definitions about what God is like. The structure of the Ontological Argument can be outlined as follows (The argument is based on Anselm 's Proslogion 2): 1. There is an enormous literature on the material in ProslogionII-III. The argument in this difficult passage can accurately be summarized in standard form: Intuitively, one can think of the argument as being powered by two ideas. This does, indeed, sound like circular reasoning. PL4* If “A maximally great being exists” is possible, then it is necessarily true that “A maximally great being exists” is possible. Hence, if that, than which nothing greater can be conceived, can be conceived not to exist, it is not that, than which nothing greater can be conceived. Ontological arguments are common in the history of philosophy. The first, expressed by Premise 2, is that we have a coherent idea of a being that instantiates all of the perfections. Plantinga simply builds necessary existence into the very notion of maximal greatness. U. S. A. Gaunilo shared this worry, believing that one could use Anselm’s argument to show the existence of all kinds of non-existent things: Now if some one should tell me that there is … an island [than which none greater can be conceived], I should easily understand his words, in which there is no difficulty. A being that is loving is, other things being equal, better or greater than a being that is not. He simply is not. As C.D. God’s indestructibility in this world means that God exists eternally in all logically possible worlds that resemble this one in certain salient respects. But these latter claims clearly attribute particular properties to x. Thus, by definition, if God exists as an idea in the mind but does not necessarily exist in reality, then we can imagine something that is greater than God. As we have seen, Plantinga expressly defines maximal excellence in such terms. St. Anselm (c. 1033- April 21, 1109) was an Italian monk who later went on to become the Archbishop of Canterbury developed one of the most notable Ontological Arguments of all time. To see that this criticism is unfounded, it suffices to make two observations. While Kant’s criticism is phrased (somewhat obscurely) in terms of the logic of predicates and copulas, it also makes a plausible metaphysical point. 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