Ontological argument

  • Created by: momonowa
  • Created on: 04-01-22 10:56

Ontological argument


  • Anselm - God is the greatest being, but it is even better to exist in reality and not just the mind, therefore God must exist
  • Descartes - I have the idea of God who is perfect, therefore he has all perfections including existence
  • Malcolm - Accepts that Anselm and Descartes are wrong and instead argues for the logical impossibility of God's non-existence, God cannot come into or cease existence and it is only impossible if his concept is contradictory


  • Guanilo (RE: Anselm) - I can conceive of a perfect island but it is even more perfect to exist, therefore this perfect island must exist
  • Hume - If we deny analytic truths, like "God exists", we end up at contradictions. It is logically possible for God to not exist because contradicitions cannot be coherently conceived but "God does not exist" can be conceived
  • Kant (RE: Descartes) - Existence is not a predicate because to add that something exists does not add to the concept of it


If the ontological arguments are successful, this means God by definition must exist. // Anselm argues that if God is the greatest being, he must exist as this would make him the greatest. Guanilo counters saying that through this argument we can define anything into existence, like the perfect island. // Descartes argues that God has all perfections and existence is a perfection, therefore God must exist. Kant responds to this by arguing that existence is not a predicate. // Malcolm acknowledges the weaknesses of Anselm and Descartes and instead argues for God's necessary existence as it is impossible for him not to exist. Hume argues that we can coherently conceive of God not existing and therefore "God exists" is not an analytic truth.


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