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Ontological (OCR exam board)


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Ontological (OCR exam board)

  1. 1. The Arguments for the Existence of God Ontological
  2. 2. ‘A priori’ and ‘A posteriori’ • ‘A posteriori’ = Teleological and Cosmological. • ‘A priori’ = Ontological = reason can be expressed using logical arguments. • Anselm is not trying to prove God’s existence using empiricism like the Cosmological argument but is demonstrating what is true, like a scientist.
  3. 3. Ontological Argument • “Fools say in their hearts “There is no God.” Psalm 14:1 • Anselm’s reflections of this passage became known as the ontological argument • Two Greek words: Ontos (being) and Logos (study of) •Imagine: what is God like?
  4. 4. Meet Anselm (1033 –1109) in Proslogian Two Premise one: God is “that than which nothing greater can be conceived (imagined)” Premise two: God may exists either in the mind alone (in intellectu) or in reality (in re) as well. Premise three: Something which exists in reality and in the mind is greater than something that exists as an idea in the mind alone. Conclusion: Therefore, God must exist in reality and in the mind.
  5. 5. What does this mean? • Anselm’s argument is a reply to the fool who says there is no God. • The ‘fool’ has to have an idea of what God is in the first place in order to dismiss it. • The definition given would be that God is the ‘greatest possible being.’ • Something that exists in the mind and reality is greater than something that just exists in the mind e.g. A unicorn • It is better to exist in reality than only in the mind. Therefore God must exist in both.
  6. 6. Benedictine Monk Gaunilo x3 • “On Behalf of the Fool” (why is the title important?) • Challenged Anselm’s logic via Reductio ad absurdum • (Latin: "reduction to the absurd") following the implications of an argument logically to an absurd consequence. 1. Gossip: The fool in Psalms may argue – all sorts of things in my mind do not exist in reality. Example of someone hearing about a person from gossip. Gossip = unreliable, person/ event made up to trick you. 2. Defining things into existence: You cannot prove from what is said (de dicto) what exists in reality (de re.) In other words you cannot demonstrate the existence of something simply be having an idea about it.
  7. 7. Gaunilo’s Island: • Just because imagine a perfect thing e.g. a lost perfect island does not mean it exists in reality. • In fact we know it does not • You would be a fool to think so.
  8. 8. Anselm’s Reply • Gaunilo missed the point. • God isn’t a perfect thing, like an island • God is THE perfect thing. • Islands can always be improved, God cannot. Islands have no “intrinsic maximum.” Alvin Plantinga Islands have no “intrinsic maximum.” Alvin Plantinga
  9. 9. Anselm’s second version in Proslogian Chapter Three Remember: God is that than which nothing greater can be conceived. • God is not contingent like an island • Contingent things can be thought of as not existing • God has Necessary Existence, since it is greater to be a necessary being that a contingent one. Therefore: it is impossible to imagine that God does not exist – as God is “that than which” • Furthermore: to say ‘God does not exist’ you are contradicting yourself. • This is because he believes that part of God’s nature is to exist.
  10. 10. Ontological Argument Descartes vs. Kant
  11. 11. Descartes In other words: existence is part of the perfection of God which God cannot lack. •God is the “supremely perfect being,” •To be truly perfect something must exist •Existence is a predicate •Therefore God must exist. •God is the “supremely perfect being,” •To be truly perfect something must exist •Existence is a predicate •Therefore God must exist. For Descartes: Existence is a predicate of Perfection. The predicate is a description that a concept has to have to be itself. Lets practice: The person sat next to me is: 5 qualities are :
  12. 12. Descartes and the Triangle • A triangle has three sides • 3 angles that add up to 180 degrees • This is a truth of mathematics that cannot be doubted • Descartes calls the triangle ‘immutable’ cannot change or be different • It does not matter if I know what a triangle is or not. • This will not affect the fact that a triangle has 3 sides/angles.
  13. 13. So...... Triangle and God • Just as a triangle is immutable so is God. • Just as three sides tells us something about the nature of a triangle • God's nature is that God exists. • This is because Necessary Existence cannot be divorced from the concept of a supremely perfect being. • Trying to imagine God without the predicate of existence is illogical, like trying to imagine a triangle without three sides. • Descartes is arguing that God’s existence cannot be doubted just as the truths of maths cannot be doubted. • Descartes gives more examples to support this including: Mountain and a Valley
  14. 14. • E.g. A triangle must have three sides, a hill most have slopes, a bachelor must be unmarried, a perfect God must exist. • These ‘facts’ are self evident – they do not require empirical proofs in order for a person to accept them as truths (that's why it is an ‘a priori’ argument) • This makes them analytic statements (meaning is within the statement)
  15. 15. Kant 1. If you have a triangle, you have to accept it has three sides. What is the subject and what is the predicate? 2. However if you dismiss the triangle altogether, you don't have to accept the three sides.
  16. 16. Kant Continued Analytic • Definitions are analytic. • Definitions are facts that cannot be disputed. Synthetic • Statements about existence are synthetic • They need proof that they are true • This means that to say ‘God exists’ is a synthetic statement • Therefore needs to be verified. Therefore: 3 sides of a triangle = necessary for the definition of a triangle (e.g. in a dictionary) But this says NOTHING about the existence of a triangle. “Existence is not a predicate.” A predicate/ quality must add meaning to the subject. Existence does not add meaning.
  17. 17. Norman Malcolm supports Ontological • Necessary existence cannot be affected by anything external to it. • God’s existence is either impossible or necessary • Kant’s criticism failed in one important respect. • You either have a triangle or not • But, by Anselm’s definition, you simply cannot have no God. • Therefore the situations are not exactly parallel.
  18. 18. Russell concludes • Existence is not a predicate –if it was then: E.g. Men exist Santa Claus is a man Therefore Santa Claus exists
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