Before restating the Anselm’s argument for the existence of God, it is important to understand who Anselm was and what might have compelled him to come up with the ontological argument for the existence of God. Anselm’s background information will be helpful in evaluating the validity and reliability of his arguments.
Anselm was born in Italy in c. 1033. In 1063, he entered the famous monastery. In 1093, he moved to England, having been appointed Archbishop of Canterbury. Anselm famously associated with the “ontological argument” for the existence of God. Anselm, in Proslogion, coined the term “ontological” to describe a branch of philosophy that deals with the notion of “being or existence.” (McGrath & OverDrive, Inc. 2001 p. 181). Proslogion is a work of meditation, not of logical argument. Anselm …show more content…
2001 p. 180). To fully understand Anselm’s argument, a series of steps needs to be understood. The first step towards understanding Anselm’s argument is that one must first accept the fact that God is the greatest possible being. The second fact or point to note is that God exists in the human mind or understanding. The third point, step, or fact to accept is that if God exists only in the human mind, then God is not the greatest possible being (McGrath & OverDrive, Inc. 2001 p. 180). This is because a being who exists only as a mental notion is not so great as a being who exists in reality. Based on these facts and steps, Anselm conclude that Good must exist in reality, as well as an idea in the mind. To vividly understand the argument, it is important to understand the
What phrase does Anselm use to designate God? Explain why he formulates his designation in this way. Do you think this is an appropriate way to speak of God? The Phrase he used was “God is that than which no greater can be conceived”. There are two reasons as to why Anselm words this the way he does, reason one is the idea that “ no greater can be conceived” he doesn’t want you to be able to think about something greater hence the idea that no greater can be thought of by a person.
In order for us to have understanding and think up our representation of the divine God there must be existence of him. How else would we be able to imagine a perfect holy being that is above all? If there is understanding of this being, the knowledge to imaging this being up had to come from somewhere, and this is how Saint Anselm tries to prove Gods existence.
Descartes, and Paley suggest that we can know God and that he is within our understanding. Throughout the readings they describe and argue how we can now the existence of God and the attributes that are associated with him. However David Hume would refute these claims saying through his dialogues more specifically through a character named Philo that we cannot know the attributes or even for that matter the existence. During this paper I will analyze Descartes and Paley’s arguments in comparison with David Hume’s arguments that we cannot know these things. In Paley’s argument he says that if we saw a rock lying on the ground and someone said that rock had always been there that is conceivable, whereas if a watch were lying on the ground that answer would no longer be acceptable.
In other words, Anselm argued that if one can conceive a being that possesses all perfections, it is greater for that being to exist in reality rather than just in the mind. Therefore, with God being defined as the greatest conceivable being, He must exist in reality to solidify the definition. Anselm's argument relied on the concept of God being a necessary being, which is a being whose nonexistence is logically impossible. According to Anselm, if God’s nonexistence is a possibility, then He would not be the greatest conceivable being.
Anselm’s argument is based on this known definition of the concept of God alone. Descartes’ argument for the existence of God is based on his foundation of knowledge, logic. Humans have the idea in their minds of infinite perfection. Humans also have the idea of themselves as inferior to this idea as imperfect. For humans to have the idea of infinite perfection, there must be truth in the reason for them having this idea.
According to the “Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy”, the Judeo-Christian God is defined as “the creator and sustainer of the universe and is unlimited with regard to knowledge (omniscience), power (omnipotence), extension (omnipresence), and moral perfection.” With regard to God’s existence, many philosophical arguments, some of which date back thousands of year, deliver intriguing and intellectual interpretations, questioning our knowledge about the universe. One of them is the Design Argument, or the teleological argument, the most influential and developed argument for the existence of God throughout history. The basic idea of this argument is that the universe, which we live is created and controlled by an intelligent designer, namely God. In this paper, I will begin by further explaining one version of the arguments from design for the existence of God-specifically one from English philosopher William Paley in his book “Natural Theology”.
There have been an innumerable amount of arguments for the existence of God for hundreds of years. Some have become much more popular due to their merit, and their ability to stay relevant through changing times. Two arguments in particular that have been discussed for a very long time are the ontological and cosmological arguments. Each were proposed in the period of the high middle ages by members of the Roman Catholic Church. They each have been used extensively by many since their introduction.
St. Anselm and Descartes are known for presenting the first ontological arguments on the existence of God. The word ontological is a compound word derived from ‘ont’ which means exists or being and ‘–ology’ which means the study of. Even though Anselm and Descartes’ arguments differ slightly, they both stem from the same reasoning. Unlike the other two arguments on God’s existence (teleological and cosmological), the ontological argument does not seek to use any empirical evidence but rather concentrates on pure reason. The rationale behind this school of thought
Descartes declares he has to determine if there is a God and if he does exist, whether he can be a deceiver. The reason he has to determine the existence of God and what he is, rests in his theories of ideas. This is because we do not know if there is an outside world and we can almost imagine everything, so all depends on God’s existence and if he is a deceiver. “To prove that this non-deceiving God exists, Descartes finds in his mind a few principles he regards as necessary truths which are evident by the “natural light” which is the power or cognitive faculty for clear and distinct perception.” If arguments is presented in logical trains of thought, people could not help but to be swayed and to understand those arguments.
Anselm says that God is the being which nothing greater can be conceived. This is the base of the argument. He says let’s assume God exists as an idea in the mind, there is a possibility that God exists only in our understanding. On the other hand, one can imagine that God is exists in our understanding as well as in reality. St. Anselm’s theory also says that a being which has all the properties of God and exists also in reality then this would be greater than the being which exists only in our understanding.
Secondly, the lack of complete understanding of a God that is greater than any other is the basis of Anselm’s argument. In other words, one needs not understand how it is that no other greater God exists, because it is not possible to do that. It is the concept of understanding that such a being exists that is important. As long as it is possible to have such a state, then the definition given by Anselm is
If we think god is perfect and superior than everything we know then anything greater than god can’t be imagined. If we think god as not
Anselm’s reasoning was that, if a being existed only in the mind but not in reality, then a greater being was conceivable (a being which exists both in the mind and in reality). Since God is an infinitely great being, therefore, God must exist. Anselm logically proved that God existed by our understanding aside from reality and our understanding combined with reality. Another argument is the cosmological arguments. It begins by examining some empirical or metaphysical fact of the universe, from which it then follows that something outside the universe must have caused it to exist.
In this essay, I will set out to prove that Thomas Aquinas’ First Cause Argument does not show that God exists and the conclusion that God exists does not follow from the premises of the first cause argument. I do think that the conclusion is valid and could be sound/or has the potential to be, but the premises fail to provide the basis upon which to reach such a conclusion. Hence, I will be raising some objections to the premises and will try to disprove any counter-arguments that could be raised in its defense. This would be done by examining Aquinas’ First Cause Argument and trying to disprove it whilst countering arguments in its defense.
In this essay, from what I have read about the Teleological Argument for God’s existence I will explain the Teleological Argument and show that the world is not like