Analyse Key Objections That Have Been Made to the Ontological Argument Essay

492 WordsMay 20, 20132 Pages
The ontological argument is the argument attempting to prove the existence of God. St. Anselm and Descartes wrote versions of this argument. Anselm, an 11th century bishop, defined God as 'That than which nothing greater can be thought'. He claimed that even a fool (the atheist) could understand the concept of that than which nothing greater can be thought. The actual existence of this being is a greater thing than merely a concept or understanding. Therefore, that than which nothing greater can be thought must exist both in the mind and in reality. Descartes' ontological argument is an a priori argument, which means that it is based upon reason, rather than empirical evidence or experience. Descartes stated that God is a being with all perfections. He goes on to say that existence is a perfection. Therefore, God must exist. Both arguments have been debated by other philosophers and thinkers, and some objections have been made in relation to one or both of the arguments. One of the objections has been made by St Aquinas. Aquinas argued that the definition of God cannot be comprehended by humans. As humans are finite, and God is infinite, it is impossible for humans to make an accurate definition of God. Another issue with the ontological argument is its problems with proving existence just from a description. David Hume claimed that it was impossible to derive existence from a definition. Hume was an empiricist, and therefore believes that for something to exist, there must be evidence that can be accessed by the senses. As Descartes' argument is an a priori argument, there is no empirical evidence to support his definition. Davies agreed that existence can be derived from a definition. Davies claimed that both arguments misuse the language of the argument. For example, Descartes' argument states that 'God IS a being with all perfections' and

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