The Ontological Argument for the Existence of God
Some History and Some Language
St. Anselm of Canterbury 1033-1109 CE
Scholar and theologian
Ecclesiastical statesman: Archbishop of Canterbury (head of church)
1. Two matters of language
"Argument" has at least two meanings:
a. Verbal disagreement
b. A reasoned support of a given idea
Arguments involving verbal disagreements (a) usually involved a reasoned support of a given idea (b).
Ontological Argument is an argument in the second sense----reasoned support for idea that God exists.
In the reading it was an argument in the first sense between Anselm and Gaunilo
"Ontological" means "having to do with being" or "having to do with existence"
"onto" comes from Greek verb "to be"
2. Digression on sasquatches
Define sasquatches: large, gorilla like creature, lives in mountains of the west coast of North
Do sasquatches exist? No. Yes. Maybe.
We talk about sasquatches, we can define it but we still don't know if it actually exists
3. Expounding the Argument
Premise 1: God: that being than which none greater can be imagined.
Premise 2: Other things being equal, a being that exists is greater than one that does not. (beer
Premise 3: Therefore, God exists.
Premise 1: Reflective definition, not common-talk definition. If you asked a regular person they wouldn't
respond with that.
Note: the fact that we define God as a