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Anselm's Ontological Argument - Term Papers

Anselm's Ontological Argument

Anselm of Canterbury was the first philosopher to create an argument for God’s existence based solely on logic and reason. He states that, because we can all conceive of that than which nothing greater can be thought, it must exist in our understanding, and if it exists in our understanding, it must also exist in reality. Even today, his ontological argument remains a controversial topic in philosophy. Gaunilo, a contemporary of Anselm, was the first to openly criticize Anselm’s reasoning. By applying Anselm’s logic to an island than which none greater can be thought, he sought to prove the absurdity of Anselm’s claims.
Proslogion, written by Anselm in 1077-1078, introduces the ...

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understand the idea of the greatest conceivable being, it must exist in his understanding.

“So even the fool must admit that something than which nothing greater can be thought exists at least in his understanding, since he understands this when he hears it, and whatever is understood exists in the understanding.” (Proslogion, 415)

Normally, one would not conclude that just because something exists in the understanding, it must exist in reality as well. Anselm recognizes this and even provides an example, saying that a painter may have a finished work of art in his mind, without actually creating it in reality. However, he contends that in this case, if the greatest conceivable being exists in the understanding, it must exist in reality as well. Anselm assumes that existence in reality is a greater good than existence in the understanding alone. Considering this, suppose that the greatest conceivable being does exist only in the understanding. If that were the case, ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 4/28/2011 10:09:54 PM
Submitted By: cmh13
Category: Philosophy
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1156
Pages: 5

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