What Is The Basis Of Saint Anselm's Ontological Argument

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Saint Anselm’s Ontological Argument was most likely constructed during a time when the majority of the population was religious, in order to strengthen the belief that God exists. The thesis of the argument is as straightforward as it gets – that God does indeed exist. In this argument, God is defined to be the greatest entity that an individual can ever conjure in his or her mind.

His argument uses the reductio assumption, and the proof that starts it off – ironically – is that God does not exist. It is assumed that the majority of the people living back then believed in God, but in order to emphasise this fact, Anselm talks about how “even the fool” that does not believe in God, admits that God is thought to exist. This is called the
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The basis of Anselm’s argument is that “anyone who understands God will understand that God exists”; on the other hand, the basis of Gaunilo’s objection is that “you can understand something, but it doesn’t have to exist in your mind”. Gaunilo means that it is possible for the mass to understand the general concept of God; a discussion or conversation can be made about God with a mutual understanding and God does not have to actually exist in the mind. An example to further explain this objection is a chiliagon, a polygon with a thousand sides. The concept of a chiliagon is understandable, and there is a mutual understanding between everyone talking about this subject, but nobody can really have a clear idea of how a chiliagon is actually like, so it does not exist in the…show more content…
By doing so, the argument can always be inferred back to this evidence. With this “insurance”, it is less likely that there will be holes in the overall argument; the fool will understand the concept of God – that there is no other being that is greater than God – and God will exist in the mind, without any mention of a pre-determined definition of God that will bring about objections just like Anselm’s “fool’s concession”.

In conclusion, Gaunilo’s objection against Anselm’s argument was largely based around the flaw of the “fool’s concession”, because it assumes that there is a pre-determined definition of God that everyone agrees on. This can turn out problematic because the fool can simply think that there is a greater entity than God. Furthermore, an understanding of a concept can already mean its existence in the mind, and does not require a certain definition that has to be mutually shared by everyone. By addressing these main problems with Anselm’s argument, Gaunilo has ultimately been successful in his
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