Monday, February 16, 2009

The Anselmian argument for God

This is the wikipedia page on the OA.
Anselm's second argument
Anselm in his Proslogion 3 made another a priori argument for God, this time based on the idea of necessary existence. He claimed that, if God is that than which no greater can be conceived, it is better to be necessary than contingent; therefore, God must be necessary. To sum up:
1. God is the entity than which nothing greater can be thought.
2. It is greater to be necessary than not.
3. God must therefore be necessary.
4. Hence, God exists necessarily.
In Chapter 2 of “The Existence of Nature and God” Anslem′s Argument for the Existence of God is as follows:
1. God is something than which nothing greater can be thought.
2. It is greater to exist in reality and in the understanding than just in understanding.
3. Therefore, God exists in reality

2 comments:

Matthew said...

It sucks that most people attack what I call the "language-version" of Anselm's version. The response usually goes like this: "Hey, I can define unicorns as existing!"

Bert said...

Here's my version for your amusement:

1. God is the entity than which nothing greater can be thought.
2 This world must be the best of all possible worlds for a creator God to exist infinitely in the past.
3. God did not exist in the past if the state of affairs in the world could be improved,.
4 The state of the world would improve immediately if (a non-creator) God began to exist today.
5 A God that began to exist today is greater than an infinitely existing God (whose created world is nice enough but clearly sucks in some ways).
6 Therefore (from 1 and 5) God began to exist today.

In other words, the greatest conceivable being must be matched up with the greatest conceivable world, but I can conceive of a world greater than this. It is conceivable that a God that began to exist today (or perhaps 2 weeks ago) would improve the world to be greater than the world as it is. My concept of God is thus perfected.