I the other a priori argument due originally to anselm is the ontological argument i the ontological argument comes in various forms, but the common element is that it asserts that gods existence can be proven simply from the concept of god. Anselm s ontological argument is certainly one of the most audacious arguments in the history of western philosophy. Proslogion, with the replies of gaunilo and anselm pdf. Anselm presents the ontological argument as part of a prayer directed at god. Ontological argument the ontological argument is widely thought to have been first clearly articulated by st. Anselms a prioriargument for the existence of god today we will look at anselms ontological argument for the existence of god. Ontological argument for the gods existence internet. Explain the ontological argument from anselms perspective. In this paper, we discuss formal reconstructions of anselms ontological argument. This is the response given by st anselm to the fool in the psalm who believed there was no god. We examine the famous ontological argument in proslogium ii.
Anselm developed a controversial a priori argument for the existence of god. Anselm means when he writes there is only one way god can be. Oct 15, 20 designed for aqa a2 this powerpoint takes you through the ontological argument. Anselm s argument together with gaunilos, aquinas and kants objections are conveniently summarized by kenneth einar himma in the internet encyclopedia of philosophy. Saint anselm of canterbury 10331109 was the outstanding christian philosopher and theologian of the eleventh century. He is most famous for his ontological argument, which is one of the most famous proofs for the existence of god in proslogium, as well as for his argument for satisfaction atonement in cur deus homo trans. Ontological argument, argument that proceeds from the idea of god to the reality of god. Anselm discusses a counterargument offered by his contemporary, gaunilon, a benedictine monk who questioned st. Im doing anselm s argument for the existence of god at university this semester, and thought id share my thoughts with you. This is taken from the original text, translated by jonathon barnes. Kants background to the ontological argument immanuel kant 17241804 does not seem to show familiarity with anselms version of the ontological argument, and it appears that he is responding to its less impressive forms found in the writings of rene descartes 15961650 and christian wolff 16791754. They have agreed with hume and kant that existence is not merely a matter of logic, and that gods existence cannot be demonstrated on the basis of thought alone. What everybody knows is wrong with the ontological argument but never quite says robert anderson saint anselm college peoples sense that one cannot argue for gods existence in the way anselm s ontological argument attempts to do so can be shored up with the help of aquinas wellknown distinction.
He is best known for the celebrated ontological argument for the existence of god in the proslogion, but his contributions to philosophical theology and indeed to philosophy more generally go well beyond the ontological argument. Anselm s version, and attempt to do exactly thatshow what is wrong with it. The relevance of kants objection to anselms ontological. A resources and revision website for a level religious studies, ocr, aqa and edexcel. Reeves phd cambridge is assistant professor of historical theology at gordonconwell theological seminary. Anselm but how has the fool said in his heart what he could not conceive.
Anselm of canterbury was a neoplatonic realist and was. The ontological argument is thought to be one of the most fascinating arguments that proves the existence of god as a supremely perfect being. He has two versions of it, and they are the most widely discussed among. The origins of the ontological argument are usually seen in the writings of st anselm of canterbury. What is anselm s reply to the perfect island objection. Matthews and lynne rudder baker the ontological argument in anselm s proslogion ii continues to generate a remarkable store of sophisticated commentary and criticism. My aim is to demonstrate that the significance of this. Anselms response focuses on his position that god alone cannot be conceived not to exist. Saint anselms ontological argument is distinctive from other arguments that attempt to prove that it is the existence of god, the creator, and not just some abstract entity that is being defined.
An ontological argument is an a priori demonstration of the existence of god. Saint anselm s ontological argument is distinctive from other arguments that attempt to prove that it is the existence of god, the creator, and not just some abstract entity that is being defined. Anselme du bec after his monastery, was an italian benedictine monk, abbot, philosopher and theologian of the catholic church, who held the office of archbishop of canterbury from 1093 to 1109. Todays lesson on the ontological argument for god is probably going to make your head spin. For and against anselms ontological argument mind map.
While there are several different versions of the argument, all purport to show that it is selfcontradictory to deny that there exists a greatest possible being. Ontological argument for god s existence one of the most fascinating arguments for the existence of an allperfect god is the ontological argument. The reception of saint anselms logic in the 20th and 21st centuries. Anselm of canterburys ontological argument the postbarthian. Jul 15, 2015 a powerpoint on anselm s ontological argument. Anselms versions of the ontological argument descartes is not the first philosopher to state this argument. Explain anselms ontological argument essay example graduateway. He has two versions of it, and they are the most widely discussed among the many versions of this argument. Saint anselm of canterbury, italianborn theologian and philosopher, known as the father of scholasticism, a philosophical school of thought that dominated the middle ages. Anselm s proof, known since the time of kant as the ontological argument for the existence of god, has played an important role in the history of philosophy and has been incorporated in various forms into the systems of descartes, leibniz, hegel, and others. Theologian and philosopher anselm of canterbury 10331109 proposed an ontological argument in the second and third chapters of his proslogion.
Their versions of the argument are slightly different, but. Anselms ontological argument for gods existence video. God, by definition, is that for which no greater can be conceived. Anselm presents a philosophical argument for the existence of god. Essay about anselms ontological argument 680 words bartleby. Anselm the ontological argument flashcards quizlet.
The first critic of the ontological argument was anselms contemporary. Feb 12, 2015 it is widely accepted that the first ontological argument was proposed by anselm of canterbury in his 1078 work proslogion. This volume includes the proslogion, gaunilos reply to the ontological argument, and anselm s reply to gaunilos reply. Now we believe that you are are something than which nothing greater can be thought.
Strengths and weaknesses of the ontological argument. As is clearly evident, the ontological argument rests on the assumption that the concept of god, as it is described in the argument, is selfconsistent. Foremost among our modal headaches is anselm s ontological argument. The ontological argument for the existence of god i. In a few sentences from his proslogion, the great saint, theologian, and.
Anselms ontological argument for the existence of god anselms argument is an a priori argument. It was critized and somewhat ambivalently rejected by thomas aquinas. Anselmss ontological argument is stated, and a few standard st. While the ontological argument may very well be the strongest argument for the existence of god through reason, the strongest of a weak set remains weak. Anselms connection to logic is only noted in so far as the argument for the existence of god in. Thomas aquinas in the th century, it was revived in the 17th century by rene des. Anselm claims that we can prove the existence of god, without any evidence from experience, simply by understanding the conceptof god. Anselm claims to derive the existence of god from the concept of a being than which no greater can be conceived. Ontological argument criticisms introduction to philosophy. The argument is not too broad and in fact can only work for god for it does claim that god is the greatest member of a category, but that god is greater than all things in all categories and only god can be that. The premise of saint anselms ontological argument is that, no greater being can be conceived than god.
He suggested that only a being with necessary existence can fulfill the remit of that. Anselm defined god as a being than which no greater can be conceived, and which exists 2, and argued that this being must exist in the mind, even in the mind of the person who denies the existence of god. Anselm s ontological argument on the existence of god is sound, but since ontological arguments are conceptual, one must approach soundness away from the classical guidelines. Anselm, who claims that once we understand the nature of god as a being than which nothing greater can be conceived, we realize that his essence implies his existence. Saint anselm, archbishop of canterbury 10331109, is the creator of the ontological argument. Anselms name will forever be associated with the ontological argument for. Anselm was the archbishop of canterbury who lived from 10331109 a. The ontological argument st anselm and descartes both famously presented an ontological argument for the existence of god. Humanities wp brp 68hum2014 this working paper is an output of a research project implemented at the national research university higher school of economics hse. The argument is in a line of development that goes back to anselm of canterbury 10331109. Anselm s conception of god is that than which nothing greater can be conceived. Anselms ontological argument for the existence of god.
The paper examines the way in which faith seeking understanding, the ontological argument, and the derivation of the divine attributes from the original formula in the proslogion repeat this pattern of yielding conclusions which are both necessary and paradoxical. Speaks january 10, 2006 gaunilo, a monk who was a contemporary of st. He was recognized in modern times as the originator of the ontological argument for the existence of god based on the idea of. An analysis of the ontological argument of st anselm by ian corfield introduction st anselm 1033ce1109ce was a philosopher and theologian and held the office of archbishop of canterbury from 1093ce until his death. About the work although anselms argument for gods existence presented in this article is based on predominately on reason, anselm presents the argument as clari. As clearly as possible, restate anselms ontological argument. A criticism of anselms ontological argument leaving.
The word ontological comes from ontology, the study of ology of what exists or being ont. Anselm, descartes, critics, and a contemporary defense. It covers everything in the specification and uses the nelson thornes book as a guide. So i would like to propose this idea as a thought experiment for the conciliar post community to engage in rather than as a conclusive argument. We rst present a number of requirements that any successful reconstruction should meet. In this paper i argue, against plantinga and others, that kants claim is indeed relevant to anselm s argument, in the straightforward sense that if the claim is true, then anselm s argument is unsound. Alvin plantinga challenged this argument and proposed an alternative, based on modal logic. Ontological argument saint anselm created the ontological argument. And finally there is one more strong criticism where anselm s argument fails. In the ontological argument, he constructs a reductio ad absurdum in effort to.
Anselm starts with an idea that depends on experience for their justification and then proceeds by purely logical means to the conclusion that god exists. By the ontological argument i mean the argument of proslogion ii. One of the most fascinating arguments for the existence of an allperfect god is the ontological argument. Anselm, a philosopher, theologist, and the archbishop of canterbury, is the inventor of the first ontological argument. Anselm 10331109 who was an archbishop of canterbury and abbot of bec. The ontological argument 3 the ontological argument explained the ontological argument for the existence of a monotheistic god was first put forth by st. God is a being than which none greater can be conceived. But many philosophers are skeptical about this underlying assumption. Anselm, gaunilo, kant, descartes, norman malcolm and alvin plantinga. It argues the existence of god from a deductive and a priori stance. The argument is that it is impossible to have an understanding of god but deny his existence. Anselm gave in, accepted the inference, and produced one of the most famous, intriguing, challenging, and fascinating arguments in the history of philosophy, an argument that was later named the ontological argument from the greek word ontos.
Anselm presents the ontological argument, an argument for the existence of god in which god is defined as, a being than which none greater can be conceived. Anselm responded to gaunilos criticism by arguing that the argument applied only to concepts with necessary existence. Anselm himself views as both necessary and paradoxical. A new formalization of anselms ontological argument. Therefore, if humans cannot fully conceive of god, the ontological argument cannot work. Many recent authors have interpreted this argument as a modal one. This is my first essay of my first philosophy course. And, as is well known, of all the versions of the ontological argument, it is anselm s argument for gods existence that stands out the most. Today we are introducing a new area of philosophy philosophy of religion.
Speaks january 6, 2006 1 anselms presentation of the argument anselms argument begins with a statement of what god is. Anselm 10331109 was archbishop of canterbury and wrote many influential works, including his proslogium, monologium and cur deus homo. Saint anselm 10331109 proslogion translated by sidney. Gods existence, which holds that the idea of god in ones mind is evidence of a.
What is anselms ontological argument for the existence of god. Anselm sought out to prove gods existence strictly through reason and rationalism alone. Anselm begins with a stipulative definition of god as a being than which no greater being can be conceived. However, in our opinion, much of this literature ignores or misrepresents the elegant simplicity of the original argument. We are starting this unit off with anselm s argument for gods existence, while also. Anselm s versions of the ontological argument descartes is not the first philosopher to state this argument.
Anselms ontological argument is an a priori proof of gods existence. He is remembered chiefly as the originator of the first ontological argument for the existence of god. An ontological argument is a philosophical argument for the existence of god that uses. We then o er a detailed preparatory study of the basic concepts involved in anselms argument. The form of the argument is that of a reductio ad absurdum argument.
Anselm s ontological argument, in its most succinct form, is as follows. Anselm s ontological argument on the existence of god is sound god is defined as the greatest being in this argument. Saint anselm of canterbury 10331109 was a medieval philosopher, theologian, prior of bec, and archbishop of canterbury from 1093 to 1109. The first ontological argument in the western christian tradition 1 was proposed by anselm of canterbury in his 1078 work proslogion. Pdf in this article i offer a new interpretation of saint anselms ontological argument. The ontological argument is an a priori or deductive argument. The first, and bestknown, ontological argument was proposed by st. Gaunilos island, descartes triangle, kants coin analogy etc. Anselm is known by the motto faith seeking understanding. St anselm and the ontological argument 1744 words bartleby. St anselms ontological argument for the existence of god. Anselms argument together with gaunilos, aquinas and kants objections are conveniently summarized by kenneth einar himma in the internet encyclopedia of philosophy.
Deals with the argument as laid down by anselm and developed by descartes. Norman malcolm revived the ontological argument in 1960 when he located a second, stronger ontological argument in anselm s work. On the logic of the ontological argument stanford university. The ontological argument is widely thought to have been first clearly articulated by st. If it is greater to exist than not to exist, then there must be a greatest member of any class of beings whatsoever. The honor of being the first to present this argument fully and clearly belongs to saint anselm of canterbury 10331109. Anselms argument was not presented in order to prove gods existence. Anselm ontological argument san jose state university. Ontological arguments stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. In fact, unless youre a studied philosopher, i can pretty much guarantee it will.
Anselm s ontological argument is an a priori proof of gods existence. Anselm s ontological argument is an a priori argument. Anselms proslogion is nothing but an attempt to articulate what belief in god. Perhaps one of the most famous ontological arguments presented was by st. One might put the argument in other words, and argue that god. Anselms 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. Saint anselm of canterbury o ered several arguments for the existence of god. Anselmo daosta after his birthplace and anselm of bec french. The ontological argument is the attempt to prove, simply from an examination of the concept of god, that the being to which that concept would apply must in fact exist. Saint anselm of canterbury offered several arguments for the existence of god. All the premises are a priori justified a claim is a priori justified iff it can be justified by reason alone.
However, i do wonder if something like anselms ontological argument can be tweaked to support the universalist position. About the work although anselm s argument for god s existence presented in this article is based on predominately on reason, anselm presents the argument as clari. Therefore the argument works only in the case of god. An analysis of the ontological argument of st anselm. Oxford university press usa publishes scholarly works in all academic disciplines, bibles, music, childrens books, business books, dictionaries, reference books, journals, text books and more. Explain anselms ontological argument essay example. This is an a prioriargument for the existence of god. The main weakness of anselms argument is posed by gaunilo of marmoutier, a contemporary of anselm, gaunilo posed, using reductio ad absurdum, that if the logic of the argument were applied to anything other than god, its conclusion would be unreasonable. One of the famous arguments for the existence of god is the ontological argument.
Once we have a nonmodal argument, we have clear standards of validity. Saint anselm of canterbury archbishop and philosopher. Very detailed mindmap addressing the strengths and weaknesses of the ontological argument. I shall take it for granted that the connection between what i call ontological arguments and traditional presenta tions of the ontological argument there is, of course, no one argument that can be called the ontological argument is plain. Having receded from the forefront of intellectual thought after being refuted by st. St anselms ontological argument is a deductive, priori, analytic argument which seeks to establish the existence of god by understanding the attributes of god in the sense of classic theism. For this distinction, see gyula klima, saint anselms proof. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. Anselm of canterbury, who defined god as the greatest conceivable being. Anselm s ontological argument for the existence of god anselm s argument is an a priori argument. This entry is a good place to start for clarification of the above notes to the argument. Saint anselm 10331109 proslogion translated by sidney norton deane preface after i had published, at the solicitous entreaties of certain brethren, a brief work the monologion as an example of meditation on the grounds of faith, in the person of one who. Speaks january 6, 2006 1 anselm s presentation of the argument anselm s argument begins with a statement of what god is.471 162 277 715 117 1421 619 1168 143 343 638 396 358 188 961 1251 92 511 946 1043 187 446 285 183 67 88 977 886 301 848 1004 902