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The Ontological Argument
Concerned with being
Uses reason alone rather than relying on evidence of senses or world around us
Premises contain conclusion
True by definition
Offered modal form of the argument: God must exist in all possible worlds since maximally great and excellent
God's existence neither impossible nor contingent=>necessary
Doctrine of existence as perfection='remarkably queer'
Developed ontological argument for non-existence of God
'Cows are brown and exist'=tautology, only tells us one thing (i.e. 'cows are brown')
Establish existence then define not vice versa
God's existence has to be demonstrated a posteriori, Anselm's definition of God not necessarily shared by all believers
Existence could only ever be contingent
Used example of perfect island to demonstrate that if logic of argument applied to things other than God it led to invalid conclusions
Counter-arguments to Gaunilo
Perfect island: no intrinsic maximum, subjective and contingent
Has failed to grasp full implications of concept of God according to Anselm
Reductio ad absurdum
Method of reasoning aiming to show truth of something by reducing to absurdity the very opposite
Anselm's definition of God
'that than which nothing greater can be conceived'
French rationalist philosopher
Descartes' definition of God
'supremely perfect being'
Cancer, evil dictators and tsunamis
Things we would consider more perfect if only existed in the mind
In the mind