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Anselm's Proslogion, Chapter II--The Ontological Proof of God - Essay Example

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There are several variations of the argument proposed by various philosophers and theologians – but the purpose of this thesis is to analyze…
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Anselms Proslogion, Chapter II--The Ontological Proof of God
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Download file to see previous pages However, to maintain the position, the atheist would have to add another attribute, that of “existing in reality,” to supposedly make it the “greatest possible being”. It is just as if someone had claimed 7 to be the “largest possible number”; you could always add a number to make it greater. And when an atheist does add the attribute of existence, then he is no longer an atheist. This is a brief summary of the ontological argument.
The immediate response this argument received was from Gaunilo of Marmoutiers, a Benedictine monk, who predictably flipped the tables and applied the same set of arguments to prove the existence of the Lost Island, in order to demonstrate how the argument is fundamentally flawed. However, the argument was critiqued on the grounds that the very concept of “the greatest conceivable being” does not apply to Islands, or any objects as such, and that it applies to God alone.
One of the popular criticisms of St. Anselm’s argument is theological, proposed by St. Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologica, who questioned the soundness of the initial premise of Anselm’s argument, stating one cannot possibly know the essence of God; ergo it is beyond humanly possible to adequately consider that premise. He also strikes a major blow to the first premise, pointing out that not everyone necessarily conceives God to be the ‘greatest possible being’, seeing that some have believed God to be a body. The criticism leveled by St. Thomas Aquinas was so strong, that it was said to have laid the argument dormant for centuries.
David Hume also leveled a criticism against cosmological argument in his work Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, which broadly applies to the Ontological Argument as well. Hume stated that existence of something cannott be established based on a priori reasoning. And whatever we ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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