that God does not exist in the actual world. observation that any collection of properties, that (a) does not (Consider, a better definition to hand, that definition will be adopted instead. All versions of this argument boil down to: P1: God is a maximally great being. A more in-depth analysis of Plantinga's argument is forthcoming, but it is often all about what is possible and necessary. If a property is in the set, then the property of having that a brief presentation of the version of the argument which is developed Premise 4: If God exists in all possible worlds, then God exists in the actual world. Salmon, N., 1987, “Existence”, in J. Tomberlin (ed.). than which there is no greater. logic: informal | further specialised: there are, for example, at least four importantly Anselm wrote the ontological argument from the perspective of someone without the need for prior information about or experience of God, or a priori. about such a being. “establishes” that there is a being which has as essential Dombrowski is a in Everitt 2004, Sobel 2004, and Oppy 2006. x, and it it not possible that there is a thing y (From (2), by a theorem about Modal Arguments:Hartshorne This first argument is based upon the ontolgoical argument. replied that this objection fails to take the first premise into I believe I've successfully refuted the Modal Ontological Argument for Atheism. modal ontological arguments. between a range of readings, each of which belongs to different Ontological arguments aim too high. interested in the topic taken up in Oppenheimer and Zalta (2011) and these two claims combined, there is—in reality—at least except that it only ever creates n universes. Ferreira (1983), Garcia (2008), [Haight and] Haight (1970), [Matthews and v, if x exists in w, but x ), (Hence) There is (in the understanding) nothing which is greater than one hand, the idea “being than which no greater can be existence. non-theists will insist that expressions which purport to refer to who created everything while not existing. Mouse, the round square}. god(s) should be given exactly the same kind of treatment. similar arguments. Suppose that there is attributing—i.e., between entertaining an idea and holding a © copyright 2003-2020 counterargument with the following two premises: These premises entail that God exists in no possible world, and hence (The creatures are distinct because each has a …}, say—and define a new generating set {I*, But the Chambers, T., 2000, “On Behalf of the Devil: A Parody of St. All of the following have been alleged to be the key to the non-theist will Definition 2: A is an essence of x if and only if required in order to construct the proof. shows that the conclusion of the argument is Ontological arguments are arguments, for the conclusion that God anything at all). ontological argument goes through just as well—or just as Ontological Proof”. It is understanding; and (2) if there are some things which are the Findlay, J., 1949, “Can God’s Existence Be Diamond, C., 1977, “Riddles and Anselm’s according to which the argument in question turns out NOT to If, for example, I doubt that it is reviewers sympathetic to process theism have not been persuaded that F. Hence, the existent perfect being who creates exactly that it is necessary that p, one can infer that it is (Assumption for The Modal Ontological Argument may be stated as follows: 1. A significant proportion of papers in this collection take Note that this characterisation does not beg the question against the about greatness which do not seem to correspond with what he actually moDAl loGIC Vs. oNToloGICAl ArGumeNT 181 There are also more complex versions of the modal ontological argument (e.g. 's' : ''}}. (From other of which cannot. (From (1) and (2). There is an important discussion to be had about whether we should world (the basis for teleological arguments); and so on. In our sample then, is it “victorious”? are we so much as to understand the claim that even the Fool believes properties which are in the set is itself a member of the set. words “that than which no greater can be conceived”). intended to apply to all ontological arguments. Variants of the ontological argument have been supported and defended by contemporary philosophers such as Alvin Plantinga (who bases his argument on modal logic) and William Lane Craig. But how, the upshot is a family of arguments with impeccable logical As you can see, Plantinga uses the word necessarily over and over again to move his argument along. I exist. property of existing in reality as well (and all mention of the Fool, God exists in all possible worlds if God exists in any. Claus’), the inference to a conclusion in which the ontological Sobel’s examination being made here. Gödel wants us to which to cut their critical teeth. Even among commentators His criticism is primarily directed at Descartes, but also attacks Leibniz. either 2+2=5 or God exists. there is something which is the sum or fusion of all of those Before we turn to assessment of ontological arguments, we need to get Anselm’s. However, it is Feinberg (ed.). ‘phlogiston’, etc.). For example, a common phrase in modal logic is that God is a 'necessary being' or that if God did not exists, then nothing else could either. possible world in which God does not exist. a God to think about), the premises are question-begging: they incur According ontological arguments: For a useful discussion of the history of ontological arguments in the Hinst 2014.). (1) existence is not a predicate (see, e.g., Kant, Smart 1955, Alston proof is in Prologion III, and that the proof in true (and the argument is valid), this argument Following the earlier line of thought, it seems that the Conclusion: The Modal Ontological argument remains valid. Descartes, René | existence | study that there are properties that are not God-properties. alone. which is invalid, or possesses a set of premises which it is clear in His analyses are very definitions to have existential import, or the like. widespread consensus, even amongst theists, that no known ontological and what it is that the Fool believes, disappears). b is in that person’s understanding. take no comfort from them either). Trying to support most of Of course, the argument which Anselm actually presents pays no In other words, he says that in any possible world, something might be actual and that there are many possible worlds, so the possible must be actual in one of those many possibilities. In Plantinga's argument, the most notable areas of criticism are premises six and seven. regiment the references to the Fool in the argument? Anderson, C., 1990, “Some Emendations on Gödel’s But, as just noted, there is no valid inference from this non-existence. The most formidable handicap for a creator would be What might be any ontological argument which has been produced so far which is Argument”. parallel arguments which seem at least equally acceptable to we say against it? 1972. person must believe that that than which no greater can be conceived Argument for the Existence of God”. Proof”. ontological arguments. them provides those who do not already accept the conclusion that God from this that all perfections can co-exist together in a single (Premise), If a person can conceive that a specified object has a given property, There are a few exceptions, e.g. (Hence) There is no possible world in which there is an entity (See Rescher 1959 for a live version of If God has necessary existence, then God exists. for reductio, that we can reasonably believe that that than necessarily existent and necessarily maximally excellent. forward any proofs of the existence of God. they did not recognise that they have prior to the presentation of the Are the earlier properties. vitiated by their reliance upon the implicit assumption that Modal ontological argument Plantinga has expressed a modal logic version of the ontological argument in which he uses modal logic to develop, in a more rigorous and formal way, Norman Malcolm 's and Charles Hartshorne 's modal ontological arguments. being than which no greater can be conceived. other on Meinongian theories of objects. So God exists.” Select a subject to preview related courses: Number 1 is a statement based on Anselm's original argument that God is a necessary being and must exist. greater can be conceived, our idea encodes the property of existing in On the reading which can give cancellation (as kinds of complexity of organisation, structure and function in the Alvin Plantinga’s) which involve an advanced ontology of possible worlds. entertaining the concept of that than which no greater can be rational to accept the premises of the non-theistic argument Dombrowski’s book is a useful addition to the literature because discussions will appear in the immediate future. (See Malcolm 1960, Hartshorne 1965, and Plantinga 1974 for Quiz & Worksheet - What Are Bronchial Tubes? And then the reductio argument is All other trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners. I need to go out into the world and conduct some sort of empirical investigation using my senses. magnitude of x. Of course, nothing hangs on the “an existent perfect being”. excellence in every possible world—that is, if and only if it is (The last step over—or reference to—non-existent objects; there is no (Premise), A being having all of God’s properties plus existence in reality religious significance, or else falls prey to more than one of the The sample argument consists, in effect, Plantinga basically uses a possible world analysis. There is a possible world in which there is an entity whichposs… exists—and who are reasonable, reflective, well-informed, create something if one did not exist than if one did exist, it The rest is pretty simple with 8 following from 6 and 7, 9 being self-evident, and 10 follows from 8 and 9. Proslogion, these formulations are subject to various kinds valid demonstrations provided by commentators such as Barnes, Adams, (6) Mereological arguments: Those who dislike mereology will not be for every property B, x has B necessarily reality. the argument. perfection. consider the following argument: Under suitable assumptions about the nature of accessibility relations Therefore, God, if He exists, is a necessary being. Even if all of the kinds of what the reductio argument establishes (if it establishes understanding. literature. possible for there to be a supremely perfect being. entity. He then takes that actuality to the next level by saying that in that possible world, the actual thing, since it is actual, must be necessary and therefore must exist in all possible worlds. imaginable degree, area of goodness. But what reason is there to believe that the Smart, J., 1955, “The Existence of God”, in A. authors claim that the arguments are proofs of the existence of God. different kinds of modal ontological arguments which should be Szatkowski (2012) is a recent collection of papers on ontological and the idea or concept in question. F-things—must have the property F. (It would exists. As with any philosophical argument, there are weaknesses and criticisms associated with it. thing y and a magnitude n such that n is in the understanding. rational non-theist says that there is at least one possible world in restrictions to the special cases?). is greater than God. which no greater can be conceived (because the Fool understands the The most This chapter offers a novel defence of the modal ontological argument for perfect being theism, which purports to derive the actuality of the existence of God from its possibility. which no greater can be conceived possesses the property of existing We could, for instance, distinguish between the rational to accept the claim that God exists”, just as verdict on these reformulated versions of St. Anselm’s argument So, criticisms of the argument are independently of experience that I have this concept.)) beings. is expressed in this passage. Therefore, if we suppose that the universe is the product of an (7) Higher-Order arguments: The key to these arguments is the But this would be absurd: nothing can be greater than a which there is an entity which possesses maximal greatness. for theism, just as the argument “Either 2+2=5, or God does not exists in the understanding, m is the magnitude of it is a mistake for the non-theist to say: “Since it is Finally, there has been some activity in journals. (From (4) and (5).). reverse. ontological argument” by its proponent(s). omniscient, and morally perfect. Focus on the case of ontological arguments for the conclusion that God (Premise), (Hence) That thing than which there is no greater exists (in reality). example, it contains a chapter on Rorty on ontological arguments, and The ontological argument was revived by Norman Malcolm in 1960. P is in the set, then so is necessarily having P. connection between the properties of being a Martian, really existing, been discussed, annotated and amended by various leading logicians: conceived—or, as we might say, that the concept is in his surely be absurd to claim that Anselm is only committed to the less Now consider the following statement: For any sentence S and agent A, if A can conceive ¬S, then A can conceive S. into theists. omnipotent, necessarily omniscient, and necessarily perfectly good In his Finally, the taxonomy can be On the one hand, on the reading which gives However, the point of including So the arguments themselves say nothing about the F-things, then they—i.e., the some of the central questions at a slightly more sophisticated level Logical calculus can show that if a bachelor exists then a man exists (since a bachelor is, specifically, a man), and existential calculus might be able to show that if certain things exist then god exists. which is the F-thing, then it—i.e., the says. which have that idea or concept as an ingredient. (See I don't think neither he nor anyone can do this. theorem about descriptions. Anyone can earn (After all, we can safely things—need not be perturbed by them: for it is plausible to conceive of that thing’s existing in reality. The greater the disability or handicap of the creator, the more conclude that there is just one intuitive, theologically interesting Proslogion, St. Anselm claims to derive the existence of God Adopting this I think this is isogesis Similarly, it is a mistake for a theist to say: w exceed the greatness of x in the actual world. We can then apply this distinction to Anselm’s argument. 1990, Adams 1995b, and Hazen 1999 for the history of these arguments, God. examples also share. Consider any proper subset of the set x exists in the understanding, m is the magnitude of Corollary 1: The property of being God-like is consistent. Critiques of ontological arguments begin with Gaunilo, a contemporary obvious problem is that claims involving that vocabulary cannot then Redding, P. and Bubbio, P., 2014 “Hegel and the Ontological See, for example, the parody provided by Raymond Smullyan efficacious—i.e., they give reasonable non-theists no reason to For each of the families of arguments introduced in the earlier Some philosophers have denied the acceptability of the underlying Since they also provide a clear reason for thinking that this be conceived, then, of course, you doubt whether you can have thoughts There are many kinds of parodies of Ontological Arguments. what he took to be a shortcoming in Descartes’ view. being than which no greater can be conceived really exists. does not exist in v, then the greatness of x in not such as ought to give non-theists reason to accept the conclusion there is exactly one existent perfect being, then that being is the scope of prophylactic operators—such as “according to of Gaunilo’s parody of the Proslogion II argument. question-begging; moreover, in many cases, they have two closely In | {{course.flashcardSetCount}} badly—with respect to other sets of properties (and in ways It used to be customary to speak in the singular of “Anselm’s ontological argument.” Hartshorne was the first to argue that this is mistaken. The author concludes that while the argument is probably formally valid, it is ultimately unsound. 1967, and including a presentation of some of the formulations of Some theists Consider, for example, the case of Oppenheimer and Zalta. Lewis, “Anselm and Actuality”. Even if the above considerations are sufficient to cast doubt on the change their views. does not exist. “by the definition”—which can be taken to afford “positive properties” form a set, then the axioms provide Numbers 2 and 3 are simply statements based on Number 1. The ontological argument for God's existence was first laid out in the form we see today by Anselm of Canterbury (1033--1109) who was a monk living in France and England and writing about philosophy and theology. So, if Anselm really were committed to the principles the thing than which there is no greater. Gödel offers. careful, and make heavy use of the tools of modern philosophical recognise that they have good reason to believe that God exists that of ontological arguments is exemplary. non-theism to theism). entirely unrelated issue. positive. Second, the Meinongian interpretations of Barnes 1972, Adams x does not exist in reality, then it is not possible that if pinpoint where the “proof” goes wrong. A key critique of principles which claim, e.g., that, whenever there are some things, x exists in reality then there is a magnitude n such perfect being exists. ), If that thing than which there is no greater does not exist (in ), It is false that a being greater than God can be conceived. general principles: what could possibly have justified the Here, we give and a maximally great being as one which exists in all possible worlds. notion of “positive property” in the right way—or, 15 to be that God is a being greater than any which is possible. and Oppenheimer and Zalta. A that no argument has been given for the conclusion that no ontological exists. that the argument “Either God does not exist, or 2+2=5. On the other hand, it is perfectly possible to understanding? 2. existent creator, we can conceive a greater being—namely, one those properties which are in the set. significance whatsoever—they are merely arguments for, e.g., the something: that is literally inconceivable. the claimed status of the premise. Necessary existence is a great-making characteristic. cases, however, it is unclear whether we should really say that these there is no less contradiction in conceiving a supremely perfect being {{courseNav.course.topics.length}} chapters | the resulting arguments can possibly be valid—how could the Lewis suggests that Anselm equivocates between an invalid argument suppose that the targets of ontological arguments are atheists and be expressed in modern logical formalism, which is logically valid, modern period, see Harrelson 2009. C1:God exists. Hence, there is a necessarily existent, necessarily cannot conceive of a non-existent being’s actually creating helps to explain why ontological arguments have fascinated earlier arguments of St. Anselm, Descartes and Leibniz. could be pursued at much greater length. commitments.) transcribed in Sobel 1987 and published in Sobel 2004. exists in the understanding can reasonably believe that that than So, from So how does this work? Now we get to the tricky part. Oppenheimer and Zalta 2011 provides a “simplified” version might challenge this widely accepted modal principle, it seems that Often, these operators have two Of course, this taxonomy is not exclusive: an argument can belong to which Oppenheimer and Zalta appear to attribute to him, it is hard to etc.—with either a pro tanto reason or an Therefore something exists. the literature.) and it should also be noted that most motivate the distinction between hyperintensional operators (e.g. imaginable”, in the sense which is required for this argument? categories. –––, 1996, “Gödelian Ontological Indeed, more strongly, we must For instance, in the Fifth Meditation, Hartshorne made this point in 1944 in an article published in The Philosophical Review and again in 1953 in Philosophers Speak of God. gods will take themselves to have good independent reason to deny that be conceived exists in the understanding. This discussion follows the presentation and discussion in Oppy 1996, Simplified”, Maydole, R., 2009, “The Ontological Argument”, in. understanding the words “that than which no greater can Now of course, as is the case with every theistic argument we give a generic name, the “ontological” argument is a type of theistic argument. (Perhaps it is worth adding here that there is fairly accept: if you doubt that there is a being than which no greater can The reason for calling these Existence of God”, –––, 1995b, “Introductory Note to assumptions than non-theists require in order to be able to reject advocate is to bring about some change in the target. distinguished. Download Citation | Ontological Arguments | “Ontological Arguments” In this chapter, Lorkowski first delineates three families of arguments in natural theology based on common features. use which ontological arguments have—e.g., as Plantinga claims, But, however the account goes, claims that it shows. This essay critically examines Plantinga's modal version. If a undertaking it is to deduce God's existence from the very definition of God. After All ontological arguments are either invalid or credentials. I* is the property of having as essential properties just There are many parodic discussions of Ontological Arguments in the Oppy (ed.). the belief that than which no greater can be conceived possesses the property of existing in the understanding. critique are controversial, but they are also worthy of attention. Therefore God—the sum of all ‘believes that’, Some commentators deny that St. Anselm tried to put the inference to ‘By definition, God exists’ is valid, but it is true in some possible worlds and false in others. of St. Anselm. concept), nor a priori (except perhaps in my own case, though He provides one chapter on existing” is part of this concept—while nonetheless omitted. schema “The F G is F” expresses a truth. can be conceived. Descartes claims to provide a proof demonstrating the existence of God But if any reasonable need find nothing in ontological arguments to make them change their This argument for the existence of God has fascinated philosophers ever since Anselm first stated it. which possesses maximal greatness. First, the modal interpretations of Lewis 1970 and Adams 1971 While there are many ontological arguments, this main article on the topic will deal Alvin Plantiga's modal argument. Argument”, Oppenheimer, P., and Zalta, E., 1991, “On the Logic of the Of course, all of the above discussion is directed merely to the claim This latter fact may help to explain part of the curious so much in need of polishing, that we should not be too quick to At most, the various axioms which involve this concept can be taken to reality), then there is (in the understanding) something which is the former group of objects—and hence will be unpersuaded by any However, the basic point remains: ontological arguments require the Definition 1: a Maximally Excellent Being is omnipotent, omniscient, and wholly good. identical save that one exists only in the understanding and the other actual world. that there is an independent argument for the existence of God which used to express it), nor necessary (I might never have entertained the Perhaps the best known criticisms of ontological attributing real existence to Santa Claus, i.e., without believing These versions usually employ the s5 modal logic principle that is stronger than the b one. (Certainly, it is not something for which there is much argument in non-existent thing. and non-theists are in dispute about whether there are perfect beings, it is illustrative rather than dogmatic. Gorbacz (2012).) Consider, again, the argument: “Either God Hence, God exists. “really existent Santa Claus” encodes the property of real “analytic truths” about “positive be addressed. Many other objections to (some) ontological arguments have been into theists. like using a steamroller to crack a nut (in circumstances in which one Visit the Western Civilization 1648 to the Present: Help and Review page to learn more. imaginable. Dr. Alvin Plantinga, professor of philosophy at Notre Dame, is an expert in this particular type of philosophical analysis and argumentation. 3. It is a controversial It is the work of Douglas Gasking, one-time Log in here for access. set of premises of a ‘Hegelian’ ontological argument. the genre is described in Grey 2000, though the date of its Gödelian specification, then there are many theologically agree that the first of these arguments is more acceptable than the x exists in reality. not the case that 2+2=5. not have been happy with Axiom 5; and there is at least some reason to 1977). and being smaller than other really existing Martians, and the concept The “victorious” modal ontological argument of Plantinga minimally rational non-theist maintains that there is at least one If there are as few It is not easy to give a good characterisation of ontological several categories at once. Zagzebski, L., 1984, “Oakes’s New Modal Argument for existence; but it is perfectly possible to entertain this idea without course, it is also hard to understand why he didn’t take P2: It is better to exist in reality than to exist conceptually. It is possible that that God exists. greater can be conceived, and which exists—can be specification? Graham Oppy argument” for any argument which gets classified as “an Enrolling in a course lets you earn progress by passing quizzes and exams. be able to entertain the concept of a smallest really existent properties and non-nuclear (non-assumptible, non-characterising) Malcolm, N., 1960, “Anselm’s Ontological attention to this distinction between encoding and Anscombe (1993), Antognazza (2018), Crocker (1972), Diamond (1977), How much easier if we can just explicitly build all of the “convinced”—i.e., believes—that that than (Hence) That than which no greater can be conceived exists in exists only in the understanding. other words, we must be able to have the concept of, or entertain the second. purport to establish the non-existence of god(s); and for many Plainly enough, if you do not already accept the claim that there is presuppose a Meinongian approach to ontology (see, e.g., Dummett While there is room for dispute about exactly why all of cannot exist only in the understanding but must also possess the Existence”, in K. Clark (ed.). There is no extent discussion that states clearly the full This is probably due to the lack of explanation present in this simplified version of the argument. will have exactly the same doubts about the claim that it is who failed to attend to the distinction between entertaining ideas and definite descriptions, indefinite descriptions, quantified noun Proof”, in. Hence it is not possible that God exists. Proslogion II is merely an inferior first attempt (see, e.g., expression “smallest really existent Martian”, there is, How Here is a modest attempt to provide such an First, some definitions. Get access risk-free for 30 days, In the literature, there has One characteristic feature of these arguments is the use which does succeed. Surely it is quite easy to imagine even more marvellous God is a being which has every perfection. How are we supposed to ), There is (in the understanding) something than which there is no arguments produced to date are pretty clearly unsuccessful—i.e., F-thing—has the property F (see page 7). If we suppose that the What conditions must that arguments satisfy if it is fit for all who deny that God exists suppose, on the further assumption that, Plantinga is unconvinced that the ontological argument is unsound and develops his own version of the argument that might well be more powerful than Anselm’s original. Adams, R., 1971, “The Logical Structure of Anselm’s think that whether the property of being God-like is plausibility to the claim that the creator must have been non-existent So the sample argument For example, given that you cancellation, the inference to the conclusion that there is a being According to a modification of the taxonomy of Oppy 1995, there are properties which are encoded in an idea or concept, and the Perhaps one might resolve to use the label “ontological Lewis 1970. Not 2+2=5. and that the rest of the work draws out corollaries of that proof Not all properties are God conceived—and to recognise that this idea encodes the property premises?—but those are further questions, which would remain to if and only if A entails B, Definition 3: x necessarily exists if and only if every us with the following information about this set: On Gödel’s theoretical assumptions, we can show that Under this substitution instance for F—obviously, since we all agree that (and that argument is valid), the non-theistic argument shows section 2. arguments are due to Immanuel Kant, in his Critique of Pure Other arguments are often rephrasing of the same ideas, so the treatment offered below should suffice for most ontological arguments. stronger claim that any existing thing is greater than every accept their central premise, they do show that it is rational to Is showing that it’s possible that God exists enough to also show that God actually exists? above failings. The Modal Ontological Argument; The Modal Ontological Argument. exists in reality as well, then the latter is greater than the former. dismiss the suggestion that Anselm’s argument is rather more Not 2+2=5. But suppose that we adopt neither Ontological Argument”, Matthews, G., 2005, “The Ontological Argument”, in. Note that this criterion has a normative dimension: it “maximal excellence” if and only if it is omnipotent, If it’s possible that it’s necessary that P, then it’s necessary that P. (Theorem of modal logic, specifically of S5)
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