Anselm's Ontological Argument Analysis

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PH2211 In this essay, I will first break down Anselm’s ontological argument with a powerful criticism, and then defend Anselm’s position. Following that, I will analyze both positions critically and provide my own stand regarding Anselm’s argument. The problem with Anselm’s ontological argument provided by Rowe in his book is the problem of definition. Gaunilo noticed that the definition of God as “a being than which none greater is possible” is infallible, in the sense that, the definition itself would force God into existence whether or not it is true. In order to show how this works, Gaunilo proposed a perfect island where it is “an island than which no greater island is possible”. Consider Gaunilo’s amendment: 1. A perfect Island exists in the understanding. 2. A perfect Island might have existed in reality. 3. If something exists only in the understanding and might have existed in reality, then it might have been greater than it is. 4. Suppose a perfect island exists only in the understanding. 5. A perfect island might have been greater…show more content…
Firstly, it is formidable since he is able to give the atheist the most charitable assumption that “God exists only in the understanding”, and then go on to show its contradiction and reduce it to absurdity. Furthermore, the defense for Anselm’s argument is a strong one. With the infinity argument, Anselm can solidify his claim that his argument is an exclusive argument for “sui generis” entities. Of course, skeptics would have us agree that two such entities may not prove that all such entities can seamlessly pass Anselm’s argument. However, with the infinity argument, we are one step closer to understanding how Anselm’s argument truly works. Thus, until a criticism that a “sui generis” concept that does not exist in reality is forced into existence by Anselm’s argument, his argument ultimately is able to hold together impressively. (758

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