Philosophy 1020 001 FW13
September 17, 2013
The Ontological argument for the existence of God
1. Some history and some language
a) The person who formulated this argument: Anselm of Canterbury
Scholar and theologian
Ecclesiastical statesman - Archbishop of Canterbury
b) 'Argument' has two meanings:
1. A verbal disagreement
2. A reasoned support of a given idea
just means “having to do with being” or “having to do with existence”
“onto” comes from the present particle of the Greek verb “to be”
2. Digression on sasquatches: definition and existence
- A sasquatch is (df.) a large, hairy, gorilla like creature inhabiting the mountains of the west coast of
North America, and preferring to avoid contact with humans.
- Notice that we can talk about sasquatches, debate about them, fill in details, etc, while still leaving the
question open to whether they exist or not.
- Notice that both pro-sasquatchers and anti-sasquatchers can agree on the definition of sasquatch,
while leaving the question if they exist, out.
3. Expounding the argument
a) the argument:
PREMISE 1: God is (df.) 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 exist.
In other words, unlike the case of the sasquatch, the very definition of God commits you to
b) the definition of God: that being tha