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The existence of god - Essay Example

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In this way, the analysis will seek to provide a thoughtful overview of some of the most salient critiques of Anselm’s ontological view as well as to provide the reader with the alternate views that philosophers have developed over the years in response to it. Stone asserts that Anselm’s argument purports that God is conceived as the being that supersedes other beings. He purports that God exists in both understanding and reality. This is because if His existence was perceived not to be in reality, another being greater than God could be conceived. Therefore, his argument articulates that God really exists. Gaunilo’s argument uses the model of a perfect island to counter-argue Anselm’s strategy (Stone). The perfect island is described as a piland taking the form of an island in the mind which in reality is perceived greater than the piland idea. He purports that the occurrence of a piland idea in the mind proves that the piland exists. Gaunilo did not identify the fault in Anselm’s theory, but warned that there is something wrong with it because if the theory was perfect, then its logic can be applied in proving things that one has no reason to believe to be true (Burgess 2). For instance, Guanilo suggested the possibility of constructing an argument like that of the ontological argument proving the occurrence of a lost island (Burgess 3). His critique replaces the term ‘God” with “lost island” and views the idea that anything than which nothing bigger can be conceived must exist. It is reasonable to point out that Anselm’s approach is a supposition that a tangible thing corresponding to an idea emanates from an idea itself. The objection to the ontological idea is that of defining things into existence which is viewed as impossible. Stone asserts that Gaunilo shared this worry to explain that a person could use non-existent things to portray the existence of non-existent things. According to Gaunilo, if the argument for a superior being works, even that of a lost island is true; which is absurd (Burgess 3). In his response to Guanilo, Anselm purports that the concept is only applicable to God, as He is the only being that can be conceived. According to Stone, Anselm argues that Guanilo’s lost island strategy is variably spurious because Guanilo provides no justification to prove the island exists. Additionally, a perfect island is perceived as the one with abundant lush palm trees and pristine beaches. This proves the incoherence of this argument because perfection cannot be quantified through reference to these features as each island is perfect in its own way. This implies that there is no greater island than which no greater island can be conceived. Consequently, the concept of a greater God is coherent. This is because the features that are used to describe God are superior to that any other being can possess e.g. moral goodness, power and knowledge. Similarly, Immanuel Kant, the 17th century philosopher who actually coined the term “ontology” and “ontological”, had a specific criticism of Anselm’s rather simplistic means of argument. Although agreeing with the premise that God existed, Kant sought ot further differentiate the manner by which human rational and understanding could necessarily seek to prove or disprove such an existence. As a function of this, Kant argued that ...Show more


Name Date Course Section/# Anselm’s Ontological Argument for the Existence of God and Three Philosophical Critiques Every culture and religious grouping has its own divine being associated with defined powerful roles. This implies that there is more to human life than the material world that surrounds us…
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The existence of god
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