handout_-_God_-_ontological_argument_-_m - God: Modal...

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God: Modal ontological argument John Turri 1. The modal ontological argument Norman Malcolm suggested that Anselm might not have had mere existence in mind, but rather necessary existence . If God exists, then God necessarily exists. Surely this distinguishes our concept of God from our concepts of mud puddles, wizards and the average fox in socks. Inspired by Malcolm (with some help from Alvin Plantinga), we can give this Modal Ontological Argument (MOA): 1. It is possible that God exists. (Premise) 2. Necessarily, if God exists, then God necessarily exists. (Premise) 3. So it is possible that God necessarily exists. (From 1 and 2) 4. If it is possible that something is necessary, then it is neces- sary. (Premise) 5. So God necessarily exists. (From 3 and 4) 6. So God exists. (From 5) 2. An initial evaluation Is the argument logically strong? The inference from 1 and 2 to 3 is valid. The inference from 3 and 4 to 5 is likewise valid, as is the inference from 5 to 6. Every inference is valid. So the argument is logically strong. Is the argument factually strong? 1 is initially plausible – most atheists would even be willing to grant it. 2 is supposed to derive straightforwardly from the concept of God. By definition God is the best (greatest) possible being. Compare two otherwise good beings, one that exists, and one that not only exists but must exist. Which is greater? It seems that the latter is greater. So it follows that if God ex-
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This note was uploaded on 07/11/2011 for the course ECON 321 taught by Professor Louis during the Fall '09 term at Waterloo.

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handout_-_God_-_ontological_argument_-_m - God: Modal...

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