GodEssay - Joaquin Effertz PHIL 101 Concerning St Anselm's...

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Joaquin Effertz 3/3/08 PHIL 101 Concerning St. Anselm’s Ontological Argument for the Existence of God St. Anselm makes an intriguing argument for the existence of God. The approach of Anselm’s argument is to use the definition of God to prove God’s existence. While thought provoking, Anselm’s argument is flawed for several reasons. The first explained by Gaunilo in a counter-argument. The basic premise of Anselm’s argument is that God is that which nothing greater can be conceived, and therefore must exist, because if God existed simply as an idea, a greater idea could be conceived. In his counter argument, Gaunilo adequately refutes this point: the same can be said for a perfect island, or nearly any idea of something that is perfect. This is true. The argument that one could conceive something greater than God if God was only an idea and therefore God must exist can also be used for, say, a song. Let us consider the idea that there is a perfect song, and that no greater song can be written. By the logic of Anselm’s argument, this perfect song must actually exist, because if it exists only as an idea then a greater song can always be imagined. Most people would agree, however, that there is no perfect song. Anselm makes a counter-argument, in which he essentially states that it is necessary for God to exist because by definition God cannot exist merely as an idea, whereas any other perfect idea, such as the perfect song or Gaunilo’s perfect lost island do not by definition have to exist. Anselm essentially challenges the reader to find him anything perfect other than God that must exist by definition. This counter-argument is flawed because of the fact that
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definitions are man-made. Though non-human creatures know what certain things are, this knowledge comes to them by instinct. If an animal sees, for example, a predator, an animal knows what the predator is and how to react to it. An animal does not, however, lay down
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This essay was uploaded on 04/11/2008 for the course PHIL 101 taught by Professor Sullivan during the Spring '07 term at New Mexico.

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GodEssay - Joaquin Effertz PHIL 101 Concerning St Anselm's...

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