TF: Kerstin Haase
On The Ontological Argument and its Objections
In this paper I will explain put forth Anselm’s ontological argument for the existence of God. and Tthen, I will turn toexplain why this argument is convincing, despite what I deem to be the tthe best objection to it to it, Gaunilo’s objection. To explain Anselm’s argument for the existence of God, I will explain how Anselm uses a reductio ad absurdum to prove the existence of God. In order to show why objections to Anselm’s argument is are unconvincing, I will focus on Gaunilo’s objection that Anselm’s argument can be altered to prove the existence of any being simply by using the definition that the being is greater than all other beings which can be conceived, and Gaunilo’s insistence that the existence of a being be proven before it can be defined.
Anselm begins his argument by stating that even “the fool” who claims God does not exist, “when he hears of this being of which I speak – a being than which nothing greater can conceived – understands what he hears, and what he understands is in his understanding; although he does not understand it to exist.” In order to prove the existence of God, Anselm adopts the fool’s position as his assumption for the reductio. That is, Anselm does not believe the fool’s position is correct, but uses it to show that if God exists in understanding then he must exist in realityIn order to prove the existence of God Anselm uses this argument as his assumption for the reductio, meaning Anselm does not believe it is true but is using it to show that God does in fact exist. Next, Anselm defines God as a being than which nothing greater can be conceived. Anselm follows this definition with the premise that if a being exists in the understanding, but not in fact, then a greater being can be conceived. To assert this point Anselm argues “For suppose it exists in the understanding alone: then it can be conceived to exist in reality; which is...