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  1. 1. 9-21
  2. 2. ontological argument <ul><li>is an a priori argument </li></ul><ul><ul><li>starts with the idea of God itself </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>does not rely on experience </li></ul></ul><ul><li>attempts to show that God is a logical necessity </li></ul><ul><li>most famous formulation is from anslem’s Proslogium </li></ul>
  3. 3. logical format <ul><li>God is that being than which nothing greater can be conceived. </li></ul><ul><li>the concept of God exists in understanding </li></ul><ul><li>God does not exist in reality (assumed for the purpose of the reductio ad absurdum argument) </li></ul><ul><li>we can conceive of God existing in reality and in the understanding </li></ul><ul><li>any being existing in reality is greater than a being that exists only in understanding </li></ul><ul><li>hence, we can conceive of some being greater than God, the greatest conceivable being </li></ul><ul><li>this is a contradiction </li></ul><ul><li>hence, it must be that God does exist in reality </li></ul>
  4. 4. gaunilo’s criticism <ul><li>uses example of the greatest island to demonstrate that such an island must exist </li></ul><ul><li>anslem’s response seems to be simply to assert that gaunilo is wrong without being clear just why that is the case </li></ul><ul><li>more sophisticated response is to suggest that islands are the kind of thing that do not have intrinsic maximums, that they increase in greatness by some undending degree </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a response to this might be that God’s “greatness” is similar in that all we are able to conceive are incremental increases in those things we think of as attributes of God, an increase in degree, but that we are not truly able to conceive of the supposed maximums necessary to distinguish the island from God in kind </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. kant’s criticism <ul><li>being (existence) is not a proper predicate </li></ul><ul><li>it is not a property that can be added to the concept of a thing </li></ul><ul><li>it is merely the positing of that thing in some relation to the subject; it is only to say that there is some instantiation of that concept </li></ul><ul><ul><li>what kind of sense can it make to say something exists in the absence of other properties? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>rowe’s criticism seems to be that any ascription of a property, according to the kantian account, must presuppose that thing to exist, and this is problematic to say the least. but it does not appear that this is the case. indeed, i can find no place in kant where he says any such thing, and i can find several places where he seems to imply quite the opposite. </li></ul>
  6. 6. a hidden premise that seems troubling <ul><li>without saying so explicitly, anslem assumes that God is a possible being </li></ul><ul><li>by defining God as the greatest of all beings, and by including in that greatness existence, we are saying that God cannot be a nonexisting being </li></ul><ul><li>by saying that God is possible, we are actually granting that such a thing does exist </li></ul><ul><li>we are now question-begging in that we assume from our premises the conclusion, and this is fallacious reasoning </li></ul>
  7. 7. religious experience <ul><li>religious experiences make up the heart of religions </li></ul><ul><li>is uniquely individual </li></ul><ul><li>is said to offer a strong argument in favor of God rather than a conclusive proof </li></ul><ul><li>is sketched out in the following manner: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1) there is a consensus and unanimity among believers concerning the spiritual nature of reality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2) such unanimity among observers about their experiences is commonly taken to demonstrate that such experiences are veridical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3)there are no positive reasons for thinking that such experiences are delusive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>4) hence, it is reasonable to believe that these religious experiences are veridical </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. criticisms <ul><li>religious experience is varied, contradictory, and vague </li></ul><ul><li>justification is often circular in that the particular experience relies on personal, subjective background beliefs </li></ul><ul><li>religious experience has no way of being confirmed as it offers no predictive capability or other manner of checking the veracity of the claims </li></ul>
  9. 9. religious experience is varied <ul><li>there are any number of various religious experiences with nothing in common other than their supposed “religiousness” </li></ul><ul><li>there doesn’t even appear to be any sort of consensus about the basic attributes of the god or being in question </li></ul>
  10. 10. religious experience is circular <ul><li>the experiences we are most likely to see as genuine are those that meet up with our expectations of what god is </li></ul><ul><li>alternative explanations are immediately apparent when seen through an alternative worldview </li></ul><ul><li>mere agreement is insufficient for justification </li></ul>
  11. 11. inability to confirm <ul><li>those things that offer up the ability to make accurate predictions are those that we generally find veridical </li></ul><ul><li>an inability to make accurate predictions is generally accepted as evidence the explanation in question is in some way faulty </li></ul>