ontological - Anselm's Ontological Argument Phil 10100-01,...

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Anselm’s Ontological Argument Phil 10100-01, -05 25 January 2008 Brendan Murday
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Concept of X Roughly, the set of characteristics a thing must satisfy to be an X. Example: the concept of an orange = being a fruit & being orange-colored & being round.
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Reductio ad absurdum. Assume that your opponent is right, and then show that it would entail something absurd. This is Anselm’s methodology.
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Necessity and possibility Examples: I could have been a lawyer. ‘I am a lawyer’ is false but possible. No squares could have been round. ‘Some square is round’ is impossible. Circles have to be round. ‘Circles are round’ is necessary.
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2 Kinds of Existence Existence in reality is just what we ordinarily mean by existence. Existence in the understanding (for Anselm) roughly means ‘something we think of’. If nobody ever thinks of something, it doesn’t exist in the understanding, but if we do think of something, it exists in the understanding.
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More on existence: Examples: President Bush. Sherlock Holmes. Pluto, before we knew about the solar system. Some imaginary object, before anybody thought about it.
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Greatest existing thing vs. greatest conceivable thing. we can conceive of things that don’t exist, like imaginary objects.
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A key feature of Anselm’s argument: existence is a great-making quality.
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This note was uploaded on 03/19/2008 for the course PHIL 101 taught by Professor Brendanmurday during the Spring '08 term at Ithaca College.

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ontological - Anselm's Ontological Argument Phil 10100-01,...

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