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The Ontological Argument

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 06:29 AM
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The Ontological argument is a group of different philosophers arguments for the existence of God. "Ontological" literally means talking about being and so in this case, that being is the existence or being of God. The main component of the Ontological argument can be found in the Anselm’s   "Proslogion" which is a short work that tries to demonstrate both the existence and the nature of God. His main aim in writing the Proslogion is not to directly prove the existence of God but to moreover, to show the relationship between faith and reason. Anselm wanted to understand the object of the belief. He is also not trying to defend his belief against the atheist and neither is he trying to convince the atheist that God exists. The ontological argument differs from other arguments in favour of God as it is an ‘a priori’ deductive argument, a priori meaning that can come to a conclusion by the use of reason and not proof. A deductive argument means that   if the premises that are put into the argument are true, then the conclusion must be true.   Thus, Anselm tends to base his argument on the definitions and terminology used.






Anselm’s first form of the argument is that God is "that than which none greater can be conceived". Firstly, it must be emphasised that Anselm’s definition does not limit God to being the "greatest" but makes it known that nothing greater can be thought than God himself. Therefore, God should not in any way be linked to terms such as ‘omnipotent’ as terminology such as this limit him to what he really is.   With this definition, he attempts to prove that not only does God exist in the mind but also in reality. Anselm uses the example of "the fool" to prove his point on God’s existence. He says that when "the fool" says that "There is no God" in Psalms, he must therefore understand what he hears , and what he understands in his intellect by the term "God". Therefore, if he knows what...

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