Anselm

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Even as early as the eleventh century, people doubted the existence of God. Saint Anselm, one of the most important Christian philosophers of his time, tried to change the minds of these nonbelievers. To clarify the confusion, he developed the Ontological Argument. The Ontological Argument attempts to demonstrate that God exists in the understanding, and therefore exists in reality as well. Although it is a clever argument, I argue that Saint Anselm fails because he incorrectly claims something to be greater just by comparing existence only and also because one can apply the argument’s same reasoning in order to prove the existence of anything else.

The Ontological Argument, as stated above, is Saint Anselm’s attempt to prove the existence of God. He uses a couple of steps of reasoning in order to do so. Anselm starts by proclaiming that people believe God to be something that nothing greater can be conceived. He states that we understand the expression “something that nothing greater can be conceived.” If this is true, something that nothing greater can be conceived exists in the understanding. Anselm then goes on to suggest that people think that God may exist in the understanding, but not in reality. He examines this thought by observing some random thing that one hundred percent exists in reality. Anselm believes that since such a random thing exists and, from his earlier suggestion, that God does not exist, then such a random thing has to be greater than God. He then states that this cannot be true because, from his first claim, God is something that nothing greater can be conceived. Therefore Anselm concluded that God has to exist in reality.

In Anselm’s argument, he uses a priori proofs. He doesn’t really prove his ideas but rather justifies his reasoning as common sense. One does not need experience to be able to understand Anselm’s argument, which is a posteriori, but you mainly need just your common knowledge and the ability to think, which is a...
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