Explanation of the Objectoins to the Ontological Argument by Kant and Gaunilo

Topics: Ontology, Logic, Ontological argument Pages: 2 (500 words) Published: January 23, 2011
Theology – Mr. Mayemba Kate Foote 12Ben

- Explain the objections of Gaunilo and Kant to the ontological argument.

Gaunilo and Kant both had objections to Anselms ontological argument. While Kant argued that the problem in the argument lay in it’s claim that existence is it’s predicate, Gaunilo argued that there must be something wrong with it even though he could not identify a specific fault.

Kant argued that existence cannot be a predicate because it does not add any new information to an understanding of the subject. To say that something exists is not genuinely communicating anything about the subject, nor, likewise with God. A predicate is a property that the subject can either possess or lack, however, without existence the subject would not exist therefor have no predicates. Kant also says that God is like a concept and the issue whether this God exists or not cannot simply be resolved by adding existence to the concept. He explains that if you “unpack” the term God you will not find existence in amongst other concepts of God that make God up. B. Russell says, “When cows exist, the concept of cow is instantiated, God is not instantiated. Exists in this case is not a predicate, it adds nothing to the knowledge of God. The difficulty is to explain the idea of God who is not modeled on the idea of thinghood” this backs up what Kant is arguing about The Ontological Argument.

Gaunilo argued that it is possible to construct an argument with exactly the same form as the ontological argument, as long as the subject was perfect and seemed to exist, it would work. Gaunilo gave us his perfect island as an example, the perfect island must exist, for if it did not then it would be possible to create in the mind and island greater than that island which no greater can be conceived. Gaunilo said that if the ontological argument works, then the perfect island idea must also work, this is because the two arguments have the...
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