Anselm's Ontological Argument

Topics: Ontology, Existence, Existence of God Pages: 2 (422 words) Published: November 12, 2007
Anselm's ontological argument is a priori proof of God's existence. Anselm begins his argument with ideas that do not depend on experience and progress to a throughly logical explanation that God necessarily exists. Anselm's goal is to prove to the "fool" that God has to exist. He says that anyone who has an understanding of the existence of God can and logically has to believe that God really does exist.

Anselm starts off with a statement that is slightly simple and straight forward; God is that thing which nothing greater can be conceived. Even to an atheist this idea is clear. Anyone, even if they do not believe this statement, has it in their understanding that if their was a God, it would be that thing which nothing greater can be conceived. The created cannot be greater than the creator because the idea of the created was created by the creator and only by the creator. So if one thinks about the possibility of a thing which nothing greater can be conceived and thinks it possible, than that idea is in their understanding. Anselm says that it exists only in the understanding or it exists there and in reality. That means that since everyone can conceive of the idea of a thing which nothing greater can be conceived, than the only other group, is of people who believe it to be true.

Suppose then, that it exists just in the understanding, then one can really conceive of it actually existing. As Anselm asserts, " And surely than that which a greater cannot be conceived cannot exist just in the understanding. If it were to exist just in the understanding, we could conceive it to exist in reality too, in which case it would be greater"(Anselm, 78). Meaning that if, that which nothing greater can be conceived exists only in the understanding, than something greater than that can be conceived, one that exists in reality is clearly greater, better, more perfect. That idea cannot work. So that which nothing greater can be conceived cannot...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Explain Anselm’s Ontological Argument. Essay
  • Analysis of Anselm's Ontological Argument and the Argument from Evil Essay
  • Modern Versions of the Ontological Argument Essay
  • Essay about The Ontological Argument: an Explanation and Critical Assessment
  • I) Examine the ways in which the Ontological argument attempts to prove to the atheist that God exists. Essay
  • Ontological argument Essay
  • Essay about Strength and weaknesses of ontological argument
  • ontological argument Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free