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Name Instructor Course March 7, 2012 The Ontological Thesis: Anselm, Kant, Descartes and a Touch of the Buddha The ontological argument, used as a theoretical basis for the ideas of many philosophers is St. Anselm’s thesis that: God, being that than which no greater can be conceived, must exist, for if he did not then it would be possible to conceive of an existent God, which would be greater than that which no greater can be conceived, which is absurd (Anselm).
This paper will explore the ontological perspectives of Kant and Descartes, responding critically. Kant responds to Anselm’s ontological argument with the observation that it is based on a confusing assumption. If God exists, this is a property of the world in which God is manifest, and not a property of God, since existence is not a property. He explains, in Critique of Pure Reason: Being is evidently not a real predicate, that is, a conception of something which is added to the conception of some other thing. It is merely the positing of a thing, or of certain determinations in it. Logically, it is merely the copula of a judgment…Now if I take the subject (God) with all its predicates (omnipotence being one), and say, God is, or There is a God, I add no new predicate to the conception of God, I merely posit or affirm the existence of the subject with all its predicates – I posit the object in relation to my conception (Kant). ...
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