Anselm's Argument In Proving The Existence Of God

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Can we know whether God exists, or doesn 't exist, just by looking at the definition of ‘God’? Why, or why not? The question being asked here is whether a priori (or non-empirical) definitions are enough to prove the existence of God. Within this essay, I aim to prove that just because a definition exists in theory, it does not mean that they necessarily exist in our world, and that arguments providing a definition do not prove God’s existence. I will focus on Anselm’s argument to prove this, as I believe this is the most interesting and influential definition argument with reference to the question. To begin this essay, I shall introduce the idea of what definition arguments aim to do. A definition argument is a priori, which means that…show more content…
Therefore, premise iii. is flawed as you can not say that something is better if it exists, if existence is not a trait. I would agree with this, and I would put forward that existence as a concept is completely different from having a certain colour of hair, or personality trait. If one says something exists, they are not giving a trait to such object, but instead stating that it is a thing that has a place in the world. I would personally not say that if something exists that it is changed as to how it was before, whereas a trait such as colour changes the objects form. Referring back to Kant’s argument, he therefore suggests that if existence is not a trait (or existing in reality is better than not), then it is not possible to compare an existing God with a non existing God, because they are completely different concepts [Schonfeld 2000: 297]. Furthermore, Kant goes on to offer further criticism through stating God’s…show more content…
I would agree with this, and state that instead of targeting the actual definition of God, Anselm does not offer a solid definition to God, and instead creates a supposition (that something that exists in reality is better than something that only exists in the mind) which he uses simply to define God into existence. I would say that to all things that exist in reality are better than that only exist in the mind. For example, if a man had a plot to commit suicide, but was not able to do it in reality, then it is better for the idea to be in his mind than in reality. With this in mind, I believe that premise iii of Anselm’s ontological argument commits the fallacy of presumption, that something that exists in reality is not always better than something that exists as only an idea. With this in mind, I would therefore say that Anselm’s argument is not sound, and that this critique has disproven that a definition is enough to prove God’s
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