Explain Anselm's Ontological Argument

683 Words3 Pages
Explain Anselm’s Ontological Argument God’s existence has been a major discussion for thousands of years and so in turn has sparked various arguments and theories, one of which is St Anselm’s ontological argument. St Anselm lived between the years on 1033 and 1109, and in his life he was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109. He is most famous for writing a book called “Proslogion” which was dedicated to God and which explains the ontological argument. Ontology is relating to the essence or nature of being and the ontological argument is an a priori argument, which means it is based on the analysis of words rather than evidence. The ontological argument is further defined as analytic, which means when you look at the word (which in this case is God) and you already know what it means. In Proslogion, St Anselm uses a phrase to define God. This phrase is “that than which a greater cannot be thought”. He uses this phrase because he believes God to be the greatest being ever, and the being which the best at absolutely everything. Also he believes that if you asked someone who doesn’t believe in God what their definition of God was, then it would also be something along the lines of this. He then later goes on to say that even if you don’t believe God to exist, then he must exist through this definition. This is because if God is the greatest being, and an atheist also defines him like this, then in order to be the greatest being he must also exist in reality, as it is greater to exist in reality than just the mind. Anselm then uses an analogy of a painter and a painting to help people understand this concept further. He says that when a painter plans his work before he starts it, then he has an idea in his head of what it will end up looking like, however because he hasn’t painted it yet it doesn’t exist. Then when he paints it and it looks identical to
Open Document