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Define 'a posteriori arguments'

Arguments which draw conclusions based on observation through experience


Define 'ontological'

To do with the nature of existence


Define 'a priori arguments'

Arguments which draw conclusions through the use of reason


Define 'contingent'

Depending on other things


Define 'necessary existence'

Existence which does not depend on anything else


Define 'predicate'

A term which describes a distinctive characteristic of something


Define 'epistemic distance'

A distance in knowledge and understanding


Define 'logical fallacy'

Reasoning that has a flaw in its structure


What is ontology?

- The branch of philosophy that explores the concept of existence
- There are different types of existence e.g. physical, mathematical, emotional


Why is the ontological argument a priori and deductive?

- Works from principles, definitions and conceptual truth
- Uses logic rather than sense experience
- Not natural theology, it relies on on its own internal logic


According to the ontological argument, how does everything exist?

Everything other God exists in a contingent way but God is not a being that has come about because of cause as there is no time when God didn't exist and there is nothing that could stop God's existence


Describe Anselm's (1033-1109) beliefs

- Archbishop of Canterbury and Benedictine monk
- 'Faith seeking understanding' rather than an attempt to convert non-Christians
- God is the highest sum of all perfections


Describe Anselm's first form of the ontological argument

- God is that which nothing greater can be thought
- A real, existent being would be greater than an illusionary being
- God must be existent because the concept of God is surpassed by an actual, existent God


Describe Anselm's second form of the ontological argument

- God is that which nothing greater can be thought
- Contingent beings are inferior to necessary existence
- God is unsurpassable so must have necessary existence
- God exists


What is an analytic proposition?

One which is true by definition, there is no test required to prove the proposition because it is concluded through deduction


How is Anselm's ontological argument an analytic proposition?

Anselm claimed 'God exists' because the concept of God includes the concept of existence and so without existence, God would not apply


What is a synthetic proposition?

One which adds to understanding beyond the definition of a word so we need to test if it's true e.g. the shop sells newspapers


Give a quote from John Hick in support of Anselm

"Why, then, did the fool say in his heart 'God is not' since it is so obvious to the rational mind that you exist supremely above all things?"


How did Guanilo (French monk contemporary to Anselm) criticise Anselm?

- Flaws in Anselm's logic is obvious by replacing God with an island
- We can imagine the perfect island whilst understanding the implications of the phrase 'perfect'
- Such an island exists in our minds so it must exist in reality because it is defined as a superlative


How did Anselm defend his argument against Guanilo's criticisms?

God's existence is necessary and so does not apply to contingent beings because of God's uniqueness in the way he exists


How did Aquinas oppose Anselm?

- God's existence can be proven through a posteriori
- God's existence is not self-evident through reason alone
- God is unknowable to the finite mind and so there is fault in Anselm's definition and the understanding of God is not universalisable
- It is possible to imagine a state of Godlessness


Describe Descartes' form of the ontological argument

- People were born with 'ready-made ideas' shared universally including an idea of what God is
- Existence is the essence of God just as three angles of a triangle add up to 180 degrees
- God has all perfections and existence is one of these so must have always and will always continue to exist


How has Kant criticised the ontological arguments?

- Existence is not a predicate as it adds no description to the idea of what God is to create an identity
- The ontological arguments create a mental image but this is not actualised in the real world without a posteriori evidence


What analogy did Kant use to support his criticism of the ontological arguments?

A hundred Prussian dollars known as 'thalers'
- We can imagine 100 thalers but this hasn't been added to if we substitute it for a real 100 thalers, we are talking about the same money but by saying it exists refers to whether it is actual


Describe Bertrand Russell's criticisms of the ontological argument

Think about the statement 'the King of France is bald' is not true neither is the statement 'the King of France is not bald' because there is no current King of France, predicates are not enough to demonstrate that something exists