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Flashcards in Ontological Argument from Anselm Deck (20):

What is the definition of an ontological argument?

The study of being/the nature of God


What kind of argument is the ontological argument?

A priori (logically necessary), deductive (the premises contain the only possible conclusion) and analytic (true by definition alone)


What form is Anselm's argument written in?

Proslogian - a prayer to God


Who was Anselm influenced by?

Plato, and he therefore thought reason was really important to faith


What did Anselm's argument begin with?

He says (according to the Bible) "The fool (atheist) has said in his heart "there is no God".


What is the definition of God?

"The Being than which no greater can be conceived" (greatest conceivable being). Even the fool in psalm 14 would accept that definition of God


How does God exist for the fool?

In the mind but not in reality


What is the first form of Anselm's argument?

God is the greatest conceivable being, but things are greater when they actually exist in reality (in re) than just in the mind (in intellectu). Therefore God (being the greatest conceivable being) must exist in re also otherwise something greater may be conceived.


What is the example Anselm gives with his first form of argument?

A painter conceives a painting in his mind (in intellectu) but the greater is the final completed piece which actually exists (in re).


What is Anselm's second form of argument?

A necessary being is greater than a contingent being since a contingent being depends on something else for its existence and can therefore be thought of as not existing. God as ‘that than which nothing greater can be conceived’ must therefore be necessary and as such must exist. (Logical necessity)


What does Anselm say about the atheist?

The atheist only fails to believe because he hasn’t considered the true definition of God. Once this is established then he cannot fail to concede that God exists


What is the definition of analytic?

True by definition alone


What is the definition of deductive?

The premises contain the only possible conclusion


What is the definition of a priori?

Logically necessary


What was Gaunilo's book called?

On behalf of the fool


What did Gaunilo do?

Criticised Anselm with his 'Greatest conceivable island analogy'


What does Gaunilo illustrate?

The absurdity of Anselm's argument


How does Gaunilo criticise?

He uses the Greatest Conceivable Island which must exist because things in re are better than things in intellectu. Gaunilo said you would be a fool to believe that.


How could Anselm respond to Gaunilo?

Anselm is not talking about contingent beings, and an island is contingent because it is always changing and can be bettered. Anselm is talking about necessary beings


What does Platinga say to support Anselm?

An island has no intrinsic maxim because it can always be improved, but God does have an intrinsic maxim because he is the greatest conceivable being and cannot be any greater