Philosophy - Ontological argument

Maria Angela Samonte
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Maria Angela Samonte
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Philosophy

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Philosophy - Ontological argument
  1. Anselm
    1. necessary = ref, eternal + transcendent nature of G. means, exists OUTSIDE humans' space + time but is able to create + act WITHIN it. Anselm: if He didn't exist in this way, humans wouldn't exist either.
      1. 1st version
        1. "That than which nothing greater can be conceived." an address to G. "Anselm believes already and this is significant" -Vardy. Proslogion = a prayer + not a piece of philosophy
          1. This definition is understood by believers + non-believers.
            1. 'G exists' = analytic - true merely by analysing what it means to be G.
            2. 2nd version, chapter 3
              1. Vardy: Believers, activities PRESUME G's existence.
                1. Vardy: D.Z. Phillips + Fr. Gareth Moore: to talk of G's existence can't be considered to be talk about an object's existence. "God is not a substance" "talk of God is presupposed in the religious way of life." Norman Malcolm sees Anselm's argument as having the force of a grammatical observation. believers, talking of G's inescapable reality to them. Phillips: believer = "God's existence is that on which my whole life is based." A parallel, Moore's example, equator. exists, real, doesn't mean, physical line. idea, all accept. We live in a form of line in which the equator is real. G = a reality within the believer's form of life. those outside this community do not have any use for language about G. person who has no use for praise, for worship. G-talk has no reality. "God is not a thing. God is rather an idea within the form of life of the believing community." To the believer, G necessarily exists - like prime no.s exist for the mathematician.
                2. Descartes
                  1. 'a supremely perfect being'
                    1. In this context, perfection means 'flawless' or 'lacking any faults'
                      1. must exist to avoid being self-contradictory.
                      2. His second restatement (response, Caterus' criticism) = 1. Whatever belongs to the essential nature of something can't be denied of it. 2. G's essence includes existence. 3. Existence must be affirmed of G.
                        1. did take into account the type of attack that Gaunilo made against Anselm's argument. Descartes: 1. The argument applies only to an absolutely perfect + necessary being. can't, therefore, be applied to something like a lost island. 2. Not everyone has to think of G, but if they do think of G then G cannot be thought not to exist (link, Malcolm's). 3. G alone = the being whose essence entails G's existence. cannot be 2 or more such beings.
                          1. Aqui rejects precisely the point that Descartes wants to affirm. Descartes: can know G's essence + therefore we can say that G must exist. Aqui doesn't think that G's essence is knowable to humans.
                            1. The predicates follow from the subject. But, all this tells us is something about the IDEA of a triangle + not about whether there are any triangles. "necessary for a unicorn to have a horn", but this doesn't prove there are any unicorns.
                              1. Ahluwalia
                                1. 'Meditations'
                                  1. like Anselm + Plato before him, born w/ innate ideas - universally shared. concepts: equality, cause, shape, no. from birth, G. all the perfections = omniscience, omnipotence, + omnibenevolence.
                                    1. can't be separated from G's essence, "three angles equal to 2 right angles", triangle's essence.
                                      1. doesn't mean, mountain + valley combo in our imaginations actually exist in the real world.
                                        1. Descartes: G's nature doesn't involve angles or valleys but perfections. unchanging
                                    2. modern versions
                                      1. Norman Malcolm
                                        1. develops Proslogion 3
                                          1. Proslogion 2, existence, predicate. Proslogion 3 doesn't treat existence as a predicate: necessary.
                                          2. accepts that the first argument fails. Malcolm beings by stating that if G doesn't already exist, G can't come into existence, require a cause, limited being. G's existence is impossible or necessary. Could only be impossible if it were logically absurd or contradictory, MUST be necessary.
                                            1. Hick: no way of getting rid of the 'if', if G exists, exists necessarily
                                          3. Alvin Plantinga
                                            1. infinite possibilities
                                              1. A possible world = a complete way that things could be. NOT 'another world', i.e. a physical Earth
                                                1. A possible world, exists a being w/ maximal greatness. only if it exists in every possible world. DOESN'T MEAN G!
                                                  1. To be maximally great, a being only has to be present in every possible world. hasn't accounted, in each world, there may be a being that is more powerful, more knowing, more morally perfect, than this maximally great being. The fact that these beings may only be found in 1 possible world is irrelevant.
                                                    1. To deal w/ this, concept of maximal excellence. Maximal greatness entails maximal excellence. Maximal excellence entails omnipotence, omniscience, + moral perfection.
                                                    2. 1. There is a possible world in which there is a being that is maximally great. 2. It has maximal excellence (entailed within maximal greatness). 3. If omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect, and maximally great, it is existent in OUR world. IS a G.
                                                      1. Davies: even if we accept that a being w/ maximal excellence is POSSIBLE, + therefore it is POSSIBLE that such a being exists in our world, it doesn't follow that such a being ACTUALLY exists. C = maximal excellence is POSSIBLE, + therefore G is POSSIBLE, not ACTUAL.
                                                        1. Vardy: Plantinga: all Malcolm has shown, the greatest possible being exists in some possible world, but not necessarily in the real world.
                                                          1. Vardy: To overcome this difficulty, differentiates between maximal excellence (which entails omnipotence, omniscience + moral perfection) + maximal greatness (which entails the property 'has maximal excellence in every possible world'). If G has maximal greatness, G must exist in every possible world. However, Plantinga himself, NO-MAXIMALITY = the property in a world of having no maximally great being. If this is exemplified in 1 possible world, it could be exemplified in every possible world.
                                                          2. Ahluwalia: uses modal logic, concept of possible worlds.
                                                        2. Gaunilo
                                                          1. response to, Proslogion 2
                                                            1. MUST exist BC of its perfection
                                                              1. not valid in this context. never compares things of a like kind above. "...NOTHING...". Gaunilo, comparison between ISLANDS.
                                                                1. Plantinga: islands have no intrinsic maximum: can always be bettered (add another lagoon, sandy beach)
                                                                  1. Vardy: LOST ISLAND. But Anselm replied, hadn't understood his argument. Anselm: only G has all perfections, therefore only applies to G, only G is 'TTWNGCBC', only G is the GPB. G would lack something that belongs to perfection (not, clear, what characteristics belong to perfection). Gaunilo: G is merely the greatest ACTUAL being just as the island is the greatest ACTUAL island = but this ISN'T what Anselm is saying. Anselm: G is the greatest POSSIBLE being, only applies to G
                                                                    1. Ahluwalia: can't bring something into existence just by defining it as superlative.
                                                                    2. Kant
                                                                      1. v Descartes, matches that definition IN REALITY, another Q
                                                                        1. v Anselm, saying X EXISTS tells one nothing about X (whereas X is FEMALE or TALL does). X IS doesn't give info about X. The opp. statement, presents, paradox
                                                                          1. If X EXISTS tells us about a property that X has, then X DOESN'T EXIST denies that it has this property (or affirms that it lacks it). But, how can that which doesn't exist LACK anything?
                                                                          2. named, illegitimate jump from ideas to ontos ('reality').
                                                                            1. Kant: necessity applies to propositions (like triangles have 3 angles) + not to anything in reality. NO necessary things.
                                                                              1. Kant: true, 3 sides, doesn't mean that there are any triangles or any unicorns.
                                                                                1. Kant: existence isn't a predicate or a perfection.
                                                                                  1. 1. If something adds nothing to the concept of a thing, then it is not part of the thing's essence. 2. Existence adds nothing to anything's concept - to say 100 thalers is real rather than imaginary doesn't add any characteristics to a thaler. 3. Existence isn't part of a thing's essence; it is not a perfection.
                                                                                  2. Kant rejects 2. Existence is a possible perfection. Kant implies, however much you develop the idea, must go outside it by getting evidence from experience as to whether or not it exists. Kant: "a merchant can better his position by adding a few noughts to his cash account." - 'Critique of Pure Reason' p88
                                                                                  3. Bertrand Russell
                                                                                    1. Anselm uses 'exist' incorrectly. can't be a predicate. If it were, "Men exist. Santa is a man. Therefore, Santa exists." a syllogism. Russell, not a property of things, but of the IDEAs of those things. To say that "dragons don't exist" = of all the things that exist, none of them are referred to by "dragon".
                                                                                      1. Therefore, IS = to provide an intention. E.g. "A cow is quadruped with udders", intention = to describe a cow. The fact that a cow exists provides an EXTENSION to my intension. EXISTENCE = an EXTENSION of an INTENTION.
                                                                                        1. C = "TTWNGCBC" = simply the totality of everything that can be conceived by the mind. Doesn't have to be physical existence, or even BE conceived, as long as it is conceivable.
                                                                                          1. support Anselm's claim that G is TTWNGCBC, but not, belief that this proves G's existence in reality
                                                                                        2. Brian Davies
                                                                                          1. recognises Malcolm's attempt to distinguish between existence + necessity. In relation to Frege's point, we can accept existence only as a second-order predicate, but accept necessity as a first-order predicate. Therefore, Malcolm's argument: G is necessary; therefore G 'is'.
                                                                                            1. Frege
                                                                                              1. First-order predicates, NATURE of something (the horses are brown). Second-order predicates, CONCEPTS (the horses are numerous). Frege's objection to Anselm + Descartes: use existence as a first-order predicate, actually a second-order predicate.
                                                                                            2. "A pixie is a little man with pointed ears. Therefore, there actually exists a pixie." must exist in order to have those pointed ears, the reasoning unacceptable
                                                                                              1. 'is': DEFINE something (e.g. a queen is a female monarch). or, explain that there actually IS something (there is such a thing as a vampire)
                                                                                                1. the first use says nothing about existence, in that it says nothing about an existent queen. But, does explain what 'queen' MEANS.
                                                                                                  1. second use, not DEFINING anything either. IMPLICTLY SUPPOSING its existence.
                                                                                                  2. C: Malcolm's argument favours moving on from the premise 'A pixie is a little man w/ pointed ears' (first use) as a definition, to the conclusion 'exist' (an example of the second use).
                                                                                                  3. a priori: analysing the idea of G, doesn't depend on experience
                                                                                                    1. "All bears have bones" = analytic. "All bears are brown" = synthetic, right or wrong, evidence. Ontological, 'G exists' = analytic. can't fail to be true.
                                                                                                      1. starts, 'G exists' is 'de dicto necessary'. De dicto necessity = how words, used. de dicto = 'of words'
                                                                                                        1. move from G's de dicto necessity to G's de re necessity (that G necessarily exists in + of G's self, substance called G that cannot not-exist)
                                                                                                          1. Ahluwalia: Paul Tillich: G doesn't 'exist' in the way that the things in the universe exist. G's existence is different from the existence of anything else.
                                                                                                            1. Ahluwalia: a. Explain Anselm's version of the ontological argument. Don't need to go into detail about any other versions, but, could mention them in passing. Plan, main features: purpose, definition, distinction, necessary + contingent existence, differences between analytic + synthetic statements, way in which he arrives at his conclusion. key terms, specialist vocab. a. knowledge + understanding, save your criticisms. b. To what extent does Gaunilo's criticism of Anselm's argument succeed in demonstrating that the argument fails? Also show understanding of Anselm's response to it. Assessment, evaluative comment. other criticisms (Kant), more successful than Gaunilo's, deal w/ the issues explicitly raised in the Q.
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