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Flashcards in The Ontological Argument Deck (11)
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1

What are the 6 premises of Anselm's ontological argument?

1) We have an idea of God
2) Our idea of God is of a being than which no greater can be thought
3) Either this being exists only in our minds, or in reality as well
4) If this being exists only in our minds then it cannot be a being than which no greater can be thought
5) Therefore we must think of God as existing
6) Therefore God exists

2

Outline Gaunilo's criticism of the ontological argument.

He thinks that the argument can be applied to many things; by changing 'God' for 'X', it can seemingly prove the existence of anything. He uses the example of a perfect island to illustrate his point.

3

Outline Hume's criticism of the ontological argument.

He thinks that you cannot define something into existence. Using 'Hume's fork' as an illustration, he claims that the argument tries to merge facts with definitions. Whether something exists or not is a fact, not a definition.

4

What are the 5 premises of Descartes' ontological argument?

1) We have an idea of God
2) Our idea of God is of a supremely perfect being
3) Our idea of a supremely perfect being involves the idea of a supremely perfect being existing
4) Therefore, we are obliged to think of God as existing just as we are obliged to think of a triangle as having internal angles adding up to 180
5) God exists

5

Outline Kant's criticism of the ontological argument.

He thinks there is some sleight of hand in moving from defining the concept of God to proving his existence. He says that existence is not a predicate, meaning that it does not act like an adjective like 'yellow'. You cannot assign existence as a property of God in order to define him into existence.

6

Outline Leibniz's addition to the ontological argument.

He claims that the ontological arguments don't work unless one first proves that 'perfection' is a coherent concept. He thinks that there is no internal contradiction in his definition of perfection (positive, simple, limitless), and for this reason all perfections can co-exist in a single entity - God.

7

Outline Malcolm's response to Kant's criticism of the ontological argument.

He argues that it is true that contingent existence is not a predicate, but necessary existence is a predicate. God has to exist, therefore his existence is necessary and a predicate.

8

Outline Plantinga's addition to the ontological argument.

He claims that as it is at least possible that God exists, he must exist in at least one possible world. God is not necessarily false as he exists in at least one world. Therefore God is necessarily true, and exists in all possible worlds. Therefore God exists in our world.

9

Which two philosophers wrote the original ontological arguments?

Anselm and Descartes

10

Which three philosophers support the ontological argument?

Leibniz, Malcolm and Plantinga

11

Which three philosophers disagree with the ontological argument?

Hume, Kant and Gaunilo