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Gaunilo's argument from Anselm's point of view - Essay Example

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Gaunilo's argument from Anselm's point of view

Gaunilo, a fellow monk and believer sought to oppose Anselm’s argument, saying it would force people to conclude existence of other non- existent things. His critic is usually described by philosophers as an overload idea, because he does not show how Anselm’s ideas are wrong but rather how it unsound in all applications, if it is unsound in one. Gaunilo argues that “god” in the argument placed by Anselm can be replaced by anything, in his case, “the perfect island. “Suppose we replace God with an island, this is how it would flow. Imagine a perfect island of which none like it is conceivable, now this idea exists in your mind. The existence of a perfect island in both the mind and in reality is greater than if it only exists in the mind. If the concept of a perfect island exists in the mind then we can imagine an island better than the “perfect island”. But we cannot imagine an island greater than this; we can conclude that this perfect island exists. In defense of his theory, Anselm would argue that the idea of what entails a perfect island varies from one person to another, for example, to me, a perfect island would be one with sandy beaches and human occupation, while to another that would be one that is deserted and with abundance of let’s say fruits. ...
In the second way he argues that no object can create itself, therefore there must be a first cause (God), who began the chain of existence of all things. Aquinas reconciled faith and reason, by borrowing heavily from Aristotle. The second cause is explained using the following steps; 1) The natural world has things that are caused by other things. There is therefore an order of efficient causes in the sensible world. Every sensible event that takes place has a distinct cause. 2) In the natural world, nothing can be the cause of itself. There is hardly a case in which an event in the natural world was caused by itself. Events occur that were caused by events rate than themselves. 3) In the natural world there cannot be an endless string of objects causing other objects to exist. We can therefore say that causes are preceded by effects. 4) There exists a supernatural being that causes the first chain of events; therefore the cause of such events is called God. The supernatural force has to be a person with immense power and with divine attributes such as being omnipresent. These inferences are drawn from nature and causation. This argument has some flaws for example the identity of the cause does not have to be God. It is flawed to assume that the cause of the events that take place in nature has to originate from one location for all of them. There is a possibility that there may be multiple causes, not related to each other. Moreover, the cause does not have to be supernatural, but could be other causes such as the universe. In conclusion, this theory begs the question as to why infinite causal chains are impossible, for example it can be assumed that there exists no beginning, middle or end time, therefore the ...Show more


Date. Ontological arguments seek to make us understand that God exists. We do this through reason: conceiving and not observation. The first ontological argument was proposed by St. Anselm of Canterbury. The outline of his argument goes like this; God exists because we cannot imagine another greater being than God and this we believe in our mind…
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Gaunilos argument from Anselms point of view essay example
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