What is Gaunilo’s criticism? • Gaunilo says the argument must be defective, since if it were not, you could prove the existence of a perfect island by a similar a priori argument • A necessary truth is a proposition that is true in all possible worlds and a contingent truth is a proposition that is true in the actual world, but not in all possible worlds • Conclusion: Gaunilo’s conclusion wasn’t that there are P-islands. Rather, he thought this argument about islands must be defective and Anselm’s argument must have been mistaken in it as well. He believes the premises are true but don’t deductively imply the conclusion. How are the Ontological Argument and the Island Argument Related? • Gaunilo was suggesting that since his Island Argument is invalid, so too is Anselm’s argument about God, since they have the same logical form • Anselm says his argument applies to God---the greatest possible being, not a P-island---the greatest possible island • Said islands are not the kind of thing that could have all perfections like intelligence • Definition tells us what a thing must be like if it is to count as an E-God. The definition tells us that if something is an E-God, then that thing will have the property of existing • When we define God, we are saying what properties a being must have to be God • The fact that existence is built into a concept doesn’t imply there are things to which the concept applies • Definitions don’t entail the existence of anything that omnipotent nor of anything that necessarily exists. Therefore, the Ontological Argument is invalid. • Conclusion: The two arguments are fully parallel, contrary to what Anselm says in reply to Gaunilo. Pages 129 – 132: Anselm • Something than which a greater cannot be conceived undoubtedly both stands in relation to the understanding and exists in reality • Something than which a greater cannot be conceived so truly is, that it is impossible even to conceive of it as not existing • Who ever understands that God is so cannot even conceive that he is not Gaunilo • About island, person claiming should first show that this excellent island exists as a genuine and undeniable real thing, and not leave it standing in relation to understanding as a false or uncertain something Anselm • If anyone discovers something existing either in fact or at least in thought and is able to apply logic to my argument, I shall find that “lost Island” for him and shall give it to him as something which he will never lose again Gaunilo • It should be proved by some most certain argument that some superior reality, a nature which is greater and better than everything that is, actually exists • From this we can prove all the other qualities which must not be lacking from that which is greater and better than all things Anselm • That which cannot possibly not be is obviously something that can be conceived and understood • He who conceived of “that than which a greater cannot be conceived” is not conceiving of what can, but of what cannot possibly, not be • For that reason, what he is conceiving must necessarily exist, because whatever is able not to exist is not of which he is conceiving
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