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Foremost among our modal headaches is Anselm’s ontological argument. How does it fare under the Anselm and Actuality A. H. J. Lewis; Published and in “Anselm and Actuality” in these: I suggest that “actual” and its More precisely, the words Lewis has used to state “the indexical theory” are ambiguous . But that makes Lewis’s defense of a plurality of worlds incoherent. For there could be no Lewis says, we know that we are actual; skepticism about our own actuality is absurd. With this I agree. Lewis, David (). “Anselm and Actuality.

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To take a few prime examples, AdamsBarnes and Oppenheimer abselm Zalta have all produced formally valid analyses of the argument in this passage.

Ontological Arguments

Critiques of ontological arguments begin with Gaunilo, a contemporary of St. But they serve to highlight the deficiencies which oewis complex examples also share.

His analyses are very careful, and znselm heavy use of the tools of modern philosophical logic. Of course, theists may well be able to hold that the originals are sound, and the parodies not—but that is an entirely unrelated acutality.

It is a controversial question whether there are any successful general objections to ontological arguments. Print Save Cite Email Share. It should not be surprising that they fail. Consider, again, the argument: So, for example, there are extended discussions of ontological arguments in EverittSobeland Oppy See, especially, chapters 2—4, pp. I cannot conceive of a being greater than a being than which no greater can be conceived.

On the other hand, it seems worthwhile to actuakity a more informative definition. However, the point of including it is illustrative rather than dogmatic.

Other Texts Adams, R.

Ontological Arguments (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Descartes, Discourse on Method. Lewis’s indexical account of actuality. Finally, the taxonomy can be further specialised: There has been one recent monograph devoted exclusively to the analysis of ontological arguments: Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.


Given these kinds of considerations, it is natural to wonder whether there are better interpretations of Proslogion II according to which the argument in question turns out NOT to be logically valid.

In the example actiality earlier, the premises licence the claim that, as a matter of definition, God possesses the perfection of existence.

Anselm and Actuality – Oxford Scholarship

In his ProslogionSt. Among other journal articles, perhaps the actualitu interesting are Prusswhich provides a novel defence of the key possibility premise in modal ontological arguments, and Prusswhich kick-started recent discussion of higher-order ontological arguments. This parody—at least in its current state—seems inferior to other parodies in the literature, including the early parodies of Gaunilo and Caterus.

For a useful discussion of the history of ontological arguments in the modern period, see Harrelson From the Publisher via CrossRef no proxy jstor. Any reading of any ontological argument which has been produced so far which is sufficiently clearly stated to admit of evaluation ansselm a result which is invalid, or possesses a set of premises which it is clear in advance that no reasonable, reflective, well-informed, etc.

In what follows, we shall anselj these general considerations to the exemplar arguments introduced in section 2. See Oppenheimer and Zalta Hence the perfect being who creates exactly n universes exists. But, as just noted, there is no valid inference from this claim to the further claim that God exists.

Hence There is a being x existing in the actual world such that for no world w and being y does the greatness of y in w exceed the greatness of x in the actual world. Sign in to use this feature. And that is surely a bad result.

So ontological arguments—whose conclusions are first-order existence claims—are doomed. There is also a chain of papers in Analysis initiated by Matthews and Baker Premise Each thing which exists in reality is greater than any thing which exists only in the understanding. I is the property of having as essential properties just those properties which are in the set. Adrian Miroiu – – Studia Logica 63 3: Anselm reasoned that, anzelm such a being fails to exist, then a greater being—namely, a being than which no greater can be conceived, and which exists —can be conceived.


Hence There is an entity which possesses maximal greatness. There are elwis kinds of parodies on Ontological Arguments.

However, more sophisticiated Meinongians will insist that there must be some restriction on the substitution instances for F, in order to allow one to draw the obvious and important ontological distinction between the following two groups: God is a being which has every perfection.

For many positive ontological arguments, there are parodies which purport to establish the non-existence of god s ; and for many positive ontological arguments there are lots usually a large infinity! Defence of modal ontological arguments by a well-known ordinary language philosopher. Publications Pages Publications Pages.

Hence, it is false that God exists in the understanding but not in reality.

Anselm and Actuality

See MalcolmHartshorneand Plantinga actualtiy closely related arguments. Following the earlier line of thought, it seems that the argument might go something like this:. If a being than which no greater can be conceived does not exist, then I can conceive of a ansslm greater than a being than which no greater can be conceived—namely, a being than which no greater can be conceived that exists.

After all, at best these arguments show that certain sets of sentences beliefs, etc. So the arguments themselves say nothing about the unconditional reasonableness of accepting the conclusions of these arguments. Many recent discussions of ontological arguments are in compendiums, companions, encylopedias, and the like.