Ontological Argument

999 WordsMar 14, 20134 Pages
Ontological Argument One of the most fascinating arguments for the existence of an all-perfect God is the ontological argument. Ontological arguments are arguments to prove the existence of God based on pure reason alone. They attempt to show that we can deduce God’s existence from, so to speak, the very definition of God. St. Anselm of Canterbury proposed the first and most well known ontological argument in 1078 in his Proslogion, but it was actually Immanuel Kant, an 18th century German philosopher, who first called the argument “ontological.” In his argument, Anselm defines God as “that than which nothing greater can be conceived.” This can be interpreted as defining “God” as maximal perfection, or the greatest possible being. It…show more content…
He thought the ontological argument was flawed. Any argument for the existence of God based on the proposition that a God that exists in reality is greater than a God that exists in the imagination is based on a confusion. According to Kant, the confusion lies in the fact that existence is not a predicate. A predicate is a property that a thing can either possess or lack. When people say that God exists, they are not saying that there is a God and He possesses the property of existence. If they did, they would be saying that there is a God, but he lacks the property of existence, confirming and denying God’s existence at the same time. Kant suggests that to say that something exists is to say that the concept of that thing is demonstrated in the world. Existence is then not a matter of a thing possessing a property (existence) but of a concept corresponding to something in the world. For example, if we are given a complete description of an object and then it is added to the description that the object exists, in saying that it exists adds nothing to the idea of the object. The object is the same whether it exists or not. If Kant is correct in his view that existence is not a property of objects, then it is impossible to compare a God that exists to a God that does not. In Kant’s eyes, a God that exists and a God that does not are identical. A God that exists is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, etc. A God that does not exist is
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