Ontological Argument Anselm Essay

Ontological Argument Anselm Essay-69
Armed with this concept of God, we can now argue for God’s existence as follows. That there exists a being greater than which cannot be conceived is at least a hypothesis we can entertain.

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In Kant's own words: Being is evidently not a real predicate, that is, a conception of something which is added to the conception of some other thing.

It is merely the positing of a thing, or of certain determinations in it. The proposition, God is omnipotent, contains two conceptions, which have a certain object or content; the word is, is no additional predicate-it merely indicates the relation of the predicate to the subject.

Thus, if God exists only as an idea in the mind, then we can imagine something that is greater than God (i.e., a greatest possible being that does exist).

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.) Therefore, God exists.

For if it does not exist, any land which really exists will be more excellent than it; and so the island understood by you to be more excellent will not be more excellent." Can we not conceive of a perfect island – an island perfect in every conceivable way, from the purity of its streams to the sublime contours of its landscape? To restate Gaunilo's point: if we can conceive of such an island, and it is greater to exist in reality than in imagination, then the island we are conceiving of must exist.

If it didn’t exist, it would not be perfect in every way.Now if I take the subject (God) with all its predicates (omnipotence being one), and say, God is, or There is a God, I add no new predicate to the conception of God, I merely posit or affirm the existence of the subject with all its predicates - I posit the object in relation to my conception.Accordingly, what goes wrong with the ontological argument is that the notion of existence is being treated as the wrong logical type.However, Anselm's argument runs into another, if we, let's say, assume that existence is a great-making property.The difference between these two concepts is that we have added existence to the latter.His argument is not easy to understand especially if you have had little philosophical training, but don't despair, if you re-read his argument a couple of times you will probably get his idea.According to Kant, Anselm’s mistake is to treat existence as if it is a further property we might conceive of something possessing, in addition to various other properties such as, for example, being tall or all-powerful. Kant rejects premise 3 ["A being that exists as an idea in the mind and in reality is, other things being equal, greater than a being that exists only as an idea in the mind"] on the ground that, as a purely formal matter, existence does not function as a predicate.To be a little bit clearer, existence is not a property (in, say, the way that being red is a property of an apple).Rather it is a precondition for the instantiation of properties in the following sense: it is not possible for a non-existent thing to instantiate any properties because there is nothing to which, so to speak, a property can stick. To say that x instantiates a property P is hence to presuppose that x exists.Anselm’s argument is logically difficult to grasp at first sight.He begins by characterizing God as "a being greater than which cannot be conceived".


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