The question about the existence of God or, more generally speaking, of a supernatural entity that steers the course of the world, is probably as old as humanity itself. Many great philosophers were concerned with this basic and yet so important question which remains to be a controversial issue to this day! In the following I will commit myself to the above-mentioned question by firstly reconstructing Anselm´s proof of God´s existence and secondly considering his position in the light of the critique put forward by Gaunilo, Aquinas and Kant.
St. Anselm (1033-1109) was an Italian philosopher and monk who later left his country to become Archbishop of Canterbury. As Anselm firmly believed in God, he wanted to prove God´s existence through…show more content… Therefore, something “than which nothing greater can be conceived” cannot be conceived not to be and thus must exist. Put it another way, it is simply impossible for God not to exist, which even refers back to Boethius (480 AD-524 AD) reasoning, which Anselm had studied extensively. God differs from humans, animals or any other non-living subjects in that their existence is always contigent on something or someone else. Thus, a child is contigent on his parents; if the mother had not conceived it, it would never have come to existence. God, however, is not contigent on anyone or anything else but himself!
Of course, as it is the case with most of the sensational publishments throughout human history, it did not take long until Anselm´s ontological argument was subjected to criticism. Up to now many famous philosophers have published papers refuting Anselm´s argument and questioning its validity, amongst others Gaunilo, Aquinas and Immanuel Kant.
One of the first objections documented, was put forward by Gaunilo of Marmoutiers (11th century). Although Gaunilo was a firm believer in God, he did not agree on Anselm´s method to prove God´s existence and hence played ‘the devil´s advocate’ to demonstrate the flawed reasoning in Anselm´s argument. Gaunilo tried to show up the problem with the logic of the first argument by