Lecture 5_Ontological Argument

Lecture 5_Ontological Argument - Proving God The...

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Proving God: The Ontological Argument “a priori vs. “a posteriori” “a priori”: knowledge that is independent of any experience other than the experience of learning the language in which propositions are expressed. Typically thought of as necessarily true. “All bachelors are unmarried.” “If it’s raining, then it’s raining.” “2+3 = 5” “a posteriori”: knowledge that is derived from and defended by appeal to experience (i.e., not a priori). While it may involve the use of reason, it depends primarily on evidence from experience. “It’s raining outside right now.” A helpful exercise: 1. Things which exist (in reality) vs. Things which don’t exist (in reality) but only in the understanding as concepts. Call things on either side of the line “contingent things.” 2. Things which not only don’t exist (in reality) but also couldn’t exist as concepts. Call such logically contradictory or incoherent entities “impossible things.” 3. Things which must exist (in reality). Call entities that logically could not have been on the right-hand side “necessary things.” 4. Things that either (i) appear on the left-hand side of the line or (ii) logically could have been on the left-hand side of the line. Call these entities “possible things” (in the sense that they are not impossible). The ontological argument: Because the argument depends on the idea of God’s existence , it is called “ontological.” Ontology is typically defined as the general study of being, reality, or existence in all its forms. An argument from the idea or concept of God to His necessary existence In this sense, the argument is an a priori one. Anselm’s Basic Argument The concept of “God” is defined as “a being greater than which none can be conceived” Then, Anselm asks, “which would be greater, a being who is merely thought, or a being who actually exists?” The answer is a being who actually exists; but since God is, by definition, the greatest being who can be thought, He must therefore exist. A simplifying assumption: ‘God’ will be used in place of the longer phrase ‘the being than which none greater is possible (or can be conceived)’. Premise #1
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This note was uploaded on 04/10/2012 for the course PHI 2010 taught by Professor Tacks during the Spring '12 term at Florida State College.

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Lecture 5_Ontological Argument - Proving God The...

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