-type of argument that attempts to establish that God exists from reason alone (i.e. without relying on any empirical observation or experiment)
– more generally, something that can be known in this way Is said to be a priori.
– 2+2+4 and “all bachelors are male’ appear to be a priori in this sense
– By contrast, “all men in this room are bachelors” cannot be justified without observation or experiment
-such claims are said to be A POSTERIORI
What definition of God is Anselm working with ?
“We believe you are something that which nothing greater can be thought (conceived)
-God= the greatest conceivable being
“Or is there no such nature, since the fool has said In his heart, there is no God? (Psalms xvi.1) But, at any rate, this very fool, when he hears of this being of which I speak – a being that which nothing greater can be conceived – understands what he hears…. Although he does not understand (Believe) it to exist.
Two assumptions about the Fool:
1. Denotes that a greatest conceivable(GCB) being exist.
2. Understand what it means to speak of a GCB.
– understands what the words in the definition mean
– Can conceive of such a being existing.
“The fool) understands what he hears, what he understands is in his understanding; although he does not understand to exist. For it is one thing for an object to exist in the understanding, and another thing to understand (believe) that it realist exist (exist in reality)”
-two realms of existence: understanding vs. Reality
Painter analogy: “when a painter first conceives of what he will afterwards perform, he has it in his understanding, but be does not understand it to be, because he has not yet performed it. But after he has made the painting, be both has it in his understanding, and he understands that it exist, because he has made it”
“Hence, even the fool is convinced that something-than which-nothing-greater-can be-conceived exists in the understanding “
-conclusion: God exists In the understanding
-“For, when he hears of this he understands it. And whatever is understood, exist in the understanding”
Premise: If we understanding what it means to speak of x, then x exists in the understanding.
1. By god we mean the greatest conceivable being
2. We understand what is means to speak of the greatest conceivable being
3. We can conceive of such being existing in reality
4. If we understand what it means to speak of x, then x exist in the understanding
5. So, god exist in the understanding
-Anselm is employing an argument strategy called reductio ad absurdum. Which has the following:
From P it follows Q
But Q is impossible (self-contradictory)
Therefore P is false
– the same resining establishes that the greatest conceivable island really exist, and this is absurd
Anselm’s reply : the reasoning only applies to the class of all conceivable beings
– if (the greatest conceivable being) could be thought not to exist, it could be thought to be a beginning and end- but this cannot be”
-existence is not a property
-existence is a property, but it doesn’t designate a great making property
-evaluating Anselm’s otological argument get us to think about
– an historically important argument for the existence of God
– The power & limit of a priori reasoning.
– The nature of existence