Philosophy Lecture Day 13
• Much of metaphysics concerns ontology, theories about what is real and what is not real
• The main ontological question discussed thus far has been whether Platonic forms are
1. Plato held that the forms are real
2. Aristotle denied the reality of the Forms
• We have seen some attempted proofs of Gods existence byAquinas whose approach was
closer to Aristotle.
• We can say that the objects of our though or conception exist in the understanding.
• Abeing that exists in the understanding will be said to exist.
• In general, existing does not guarantee existing as such a thing might only exist in the
• Is there anything which, if it exists, must exist?
• Anslem stated that “it was a fool against whom my argument in the Proslogium was
• The argument is supposed to show that to deny the existence of God is foolish.
• Anyone who understands what God is (and so for whom God exists) cannot consistently
deny that God exists.
• The first move in the argument is the definition of what God is
• God is a being than which nothing greater can be conceived(NGC)
• Then the claim against the fool is that if he can conceive of NGC, denying its existence
would be inconsistent.
• The next step would be that if it is inconsistent to deny the existence of NGC then an
• If Anselm is right then God’s existence follows from the very conception of God as an
• Every object of conception exists in the understanding.
• Anselm’s argument assumes that whatever is conceived as existing in the understanding
can be conceived as existing in reality outside the understanding.
• Anyone who can conceive of x can conceive of x as existing
• The heart of the argument is the comparison of the degree of greatness of what is
conceived. • Greatness can be considered in two ways: