Descartes Ontological Argument

1589 Words7 Pages
This paper is to explain the Ontological argument, followed by the discussion of the objection and the response to the objection, and concludes with my opinion of the actual argument. The purpose of Saint Anselm’s Ontological argument, is to prove through 12 premises that God does exist in reality. Yet through objections, such as Gaunilo’s Parody, it will be shown that the Ontological argument contains flaws. Though there are substantial premises to the Ontological argument, the objection nevertheless rejects them; However, Anselm attempts to salvage his argument by then refusing the parody. The Ontological argument is set up to prove God exists in reality by justifying it as a priori, which in this instance means that God is understood to exist in reality even though Anselm has not witnessed God himself. He still understands there to be a God. Since Anselm can establish an understanding, he claims he can prove that God does dually exist in both reality and in the understanding. St. Anselm presents the first premise of the Ontological argument as follows, Every being that exists, exists in the understanding or in the reality or both. (Perry, p.78) Based on the foundational beliefs of Rene Descartes, we already know that ‘I think’ and ‘I exist‘. Anselm continues to say, “I understand God[2], God is the greatest conceivable being[3], if I understand God, then God exists in the understanding[4], so, God exists in the understanding[5]“(pg.78). These are premises two through five of the Ontological argument. Understanding God is a form of thinking, which is something that is already understood to be true. So, at this point God does exist in the understanding, which supports premise one, proving God is a being. The next set of premises, six through twelve, work to prove that God exists in reality through a method known as “reductio ad absurdum“. Reductio ad absurdum
Open Document