Philosophy 1305F/G - Lecture 5.docx

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Philo1305 February 6, 2012
Lecture 5
St. Anselm’s Ontological Argument – A Priori (No Sense Experience)
Anselm claims that God is that which no greater can be conceived.
The Argument:
What is greater: (1) God only in the mind OR (2) God inside and outside the mind?
o It has to be said that the second argument is correct, because it is greater than the
first.
o This is not saying that God is the greatest, but that in agreeing with the definition,
one must also accept the second argument; God is beyond comprehension or
conception. This definition points to the existence of God because it
encompasses every possibility, variation, and extension of every definition.
Anselm furthers his point by stating that it is impossible for God to not exist.
(1) A being which can be conceived not to exist OR (2) A being which cannot be
conceived not to exist.
o The second argument is greater than the first.
St. Thomas Aquinas’ Self-Evident Proposition (Not on the Exam)
Can be something which is (1) true for us (the whole is greater than the part) and (2)
true in itself but not to us (God exists).
o The second argument is true (it is self-evident), but not for us. This is because
the word “God” cannot be defined.
o St. Thomas refutes Anselm, saying that Anselm’s argument is fallacious because
it assumes that we can define God.
3 Further Exceptions to St. Thomas Aquinas’ Second Ontological Argument, by Adler
1. Does not talk about continued preservation. P. 137
To talk about the future of Frank is to strip it of its a postiori level. It is not to talk about
what we can see, but what we can’t see. Thus this is not a good objection to St. Thomas’
argument.
2. Only talks about a part of the world. P. 141
It is not truly cosmological if it does not include the world he is only talking about
Frank. Therefore this argument too is invalid.
3. Does not talk about the possibility of other worlds. P. 143
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