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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 11:17 pm 
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Is that the argument about the necessity of anything that can be conceived?

Jn

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 12:57 am 
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Yes, Anselm came up with the Ontological Argument (it's what he's famous for), but he also wrote stuff like Cur Deus Homo.

I am not a fan of the ontological proof, but like his other work, it depends very much on the definition.

He defines God as "that than which nothing greater can be thought." (um...in Latin, where that actually sounds right!)

Therefore, it isn't that anything that can be thought of must exist, but only that something to be the greatest, it must exist, because existance is greater than nonexistence. In other words, the argument only applies to God (because it relies on the absolute superlative) and would not apply to, say, "the greatest island paradise imaginable" - that need not exist. That was the point raised at the time, too, so it is interesting that it is everyone's first reaction to his 'proof'.


The Ontological Argument is not wrong so much as it's not terribly helpful. Aquinas had 5 proofs for the existence of God which are much more useful and practical.


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