Flashcards in Ontological argument Deck (35)
What is the basic ontological argument?
P1: God is that than which nothing greater can be conceived (imagined)
P2: That than which nothing greater conceived must exist
Conclusion: Therefore, God must exist
What type of proof is the ontological argument?
What is the purpose of proof?
1) To provide a complete explanation
2) They appeal to reason, logic and evidence to support a view or an argument
3) To give meaning to phenomena- theists will interpret certain evidence in terms of God rather than anything else
What is an analytic statement?
True by definition. In other words, the conclusion of the proof is contained within the premise. E.g. Roses are flowers
What is an synthetic statement?
A proposition where the predicate is attached to the subject but not contained within it. In other words, the conclusion is not contained within the premise. E.g. Lawyers are wise.
What is a predicate?
What is said about the subject. A quality or property of an object or subject. E.g. The boy kicks the ball
What is a priori?
Independent on experience
What is a posteriori?
Dependent on experience
Strengths of a priori arguments
- Logically necessary conclusions- provided the premises are analytically true
Weaknesses of a priori arguments
- Leads to only apparently logically necessary conclusions
- Depends on whether we accept the premise are analytically true
- Can only say that IF there is a God, we might be able to make certain claims about him, since we do not know that God exists or what God is like
Strengths of a posteriori arguments
- Uses evidence based on experience
- Empirical evidence is open to different interpretations
Weaknesses of a posteriori arguments
- Reliability of experience
- Relies on accepting the nature of the evidence
- Demands overwhelming good reasons for accepting that the conclusion is the most likely
What does ontological mean?
Concerned with 'being' or 'existence' e.g. God's being
How is the ontological argument differ from all the other classical arguments for the existence of God?
Ontological argument is a priori argument whilst the rest are a posteriori.
What is Anselm First Form argument (Proslogion Ch.2)?
1. God is the greatest possible being
2) If God exists in the mind alone, then a greater being could be imagined to exist both in mind and in reality
3) This being would then be greater than God
4) Thus God cannot exist only as an idea in the mind
5) Therefore God exists both in the mind (in intellectu) and in reality (de re)
Why does Anselm argues that God's existence is logically necessary (de dicto) in the above argument?
It is self contradictory to be able to imagine God as the greatest possible being and yet deny that he exists. Existence is a predicate making "God exists" analytic.
Key strengths of Anselm argument above
1) A priori leads to a logically necessary conclusion
2) Descartes supports the ontological argument
3) Believes God is more than imagination
Key weaknesses of Anselm argument above
1) Lacks empirical proof
2) No evidence or experience provided
3) What does it mean by existing in reality and mind?- too vague
4) God is not an object of proof- faith does not rely on evidence - Kant
5) Circular argument
6) It would be contradictory to claim that God is the greatest possible being
What does "I do not seek to understand so that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand"- Anselm?
- Putting his faith in order to understand
- Anselm never doubted the experience of God; uses reason to justify a belief
What is Gaunilo criticism of Anselm's 1st Form argument?
- Defends on Behalf on the Fool
- He believed in God but rejected Anselm's deductive argument because we cam use it to define anything in the existence, provided it has the property of being the 'greatest' or most "excellent"
- God's real existence is doubtful without further existence (empirical proof)
-Uses the Island Analogy
What is the Island Analogy?
Imagine a perfect island but in reality it doesn't exist. This means that not always your imagination can be in reality.
Gaunilo's argument conclusion
1) One can have a concept of God but you cannot move from concept to reality
2) Cannot define a concept into existence- you need empirical proof
What is Anselm's 2nd form (Proslogion, Chapter 3)?
1) God is the greatest being imaginable
2) It is greater to be a necessary being cannot be than a contingent being (can cease to exist)
3) If God exists only as a contingent being, he can be imagined not to exist, then a greater being could be imagined that cannot not exist
4) This being would be greater than God
5) Therefore, God is a necessary being and must exist in reality ( de re necessary being)
Strengths of Anselm's argument above
For those theists e.g. Anselm & Descartes who believe that existence is a necessary attribute God. Existence is a predicate
Weaknesses of Anselm's argument above
- Existence is NOT a predicate
- The concept of a necessary being still lacks empirical proof- still only a concept
- Cannot prove God- Kant
Background details on Descartes argument
1) God has stamped the idea of God into every person
2) The truth of God's existence, like the truth of mathematics cannot be doubted once it has been clearly demonstrated
3) Demonstrating God's existence is not about proving God exists but showing that there is no reason to doubt his existence
What is Descartes version of the ontological argument?
1) God is perfect (part of God's nature)
2) Existence is a necessary attribute of perfection ( a predicate of God)
3) Therefore, God exists
"God is perfect" is analytic- a logically necessary truth
What is Descartes Triangle analogy?
"Triangle analogy"- logically necessary that every triangle must have 3 side and 3 angles
What is Descartes mountain analogy?
Logically necessary that every mountain must have a valley