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AQA A Level RS (ethics and philosophy) > Ontological Argument > Flashcards

Flashcards in Ontological Argument Deck (8)
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Proslogium 2:

A priori
Deductive and analytic statements

God is the greatest conceivable being

Even a fool can conceive (psalm 14 the fool says in his heart there is no god)

Better to exist in mind and reality than mind alone (painter analogy and also water example)

Therefore god exists in mind and reality

Therefore god exists


Gaunilo: ‘on behalf of the fool’

The lost island is that than which nothing greater can be conceived

It is greater to exist in reality than mind alone

Therefore exists and mind and reality


Anselms response: proslogium 3

Distinguished between necessity and contingency

Necessary: would be a being whose non existence would be contradictory

Contingent: may or may not exist, dependent upon something else for its existence



Anselm defines God as ‘that than which nothing greater can be conceived’

Greater to be a necessary being than a contingent being

If god only existed contingently a greater being could be imagined

Contradicts gods def

Therefore god is necessary being

Islands= contingent
God= necessary


Critique: Kant

Actually critiquing Descartes

Something can not be defined into existence:
Although necessary existence can be applied to god
Does not mean that god exists
The fact it could exist doesn’t mean it actually does

Existence is not a predicate:
Existence gives no more information about a subject (eg chair is blue, chair is blue and exists)
Thalers: can describe the appearance and the feel but saying they exist adds nothing more
There is no difference between concept of 100 thalers and 100 thalers that actually exist.


Critique: Aquinas/ Tillich

Challenged anselms def of god.

Humans cannot know the nature of god and any attempts to define God limits him

“To speak of god is to limit him”- Tillich



Needs empirical evidence:

“Wise man proportions his belief to the evidence”



Never intended as proof

Consisted of anselms meditations on religious experience

Eg prayer