Ontological Argument: Perfect Island By Gaunilo

2007 Words9 Pages

The Ontological Argument/The ‘Catholic’ View
The ontological argument , conceived by St Anselm, claims it is better to exist in reality than understanding so it would be contradictory for God (conceptually the greatest being that can be conceived) to exist only in understanding. Therefore, God exists!
The greatest flaw in this argument as pointed out by Gaunilo in his ‘Perfect Island’ argument, is it invites parody. He argued that it was possible to use the same form as the ontological argument to prove the existence of a perfect island; the island must exist otherwise it is possible to conceive of an island greater than that island than which no greater can be perceived which is logically absurd. If the ontological argument works, then, …show more content…

To see why Pascal’s wager works, imagine yourself being offered 2 pills. One of the pills will make you gloriously rich; the other will not have any effect. Each cost $2, and you are allowed to buy one at random. Is it not better to spend two dollars on a good chance to be a millionaire? We must remember that at the time of Pascal’s writing, scepticism reigned due to the Scientific Revolution. What could the theist say to the ordinary sceptic? Suppose such a typical mind lacked both the gift of faith and the intelligence to prove God's existence; could there be a third ladder out of unbelief into salvation? Pascal’s wager is the lowest ladder, appealing to selfish instincts instead of high moral ones but it works because it gives no middle ground. Pascal theorises that agnosticism is impossible. If Romeo asks Juliet to marry him and she continues to stall by saying, ‘Maybe tomorrow’, eventually Romeo will die and corpses cannot wed and ‘maybe’ becomes ‘no’. Agnosticism cannot continue indefinitely because life doesn’t; eventually we will have to make a choice. This is when Pascal reveals why atheism is a foolish choice; If God doesn’t exist, then there’s nothing to win after death and nothing to lose. But if he does, …show more content…

The main reason this argument convinces is because of the second premise . Imagine completing an infinite task; of course it could not be done. Thus, if the universe never began, it always existed. This means an infinite time would have passed before today and an infinite number of days which parallels the problem of the infinite task. Either the present day has been reached, or the task of getting there wasn’t infinite. So the process was finite and therefore there was a Cause-God, and he exists.
However, it becomes apparent that the Kalam argument does have some limitations. Firstly, the premise that all events have causes is arguable. This premise only makes sense because we’ve applied it to our ordinary lives. As Hume argues, the only way to ensure an everyday principle like causality still works in vastly different conditions is to have direct experience of it, which we cannot so the theory is invalid. Secondly, this argument functions on the basis of a priori judgments where philosophers attempt to reveal God through rational syllogism alone. The argument does not provide any validating evidence which weakens the

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