Monday, February 8, 2010

The Ontological argument.

The Ontological argument, the ultimate argument if you want to fry your friends noodle. A couple of disclaimers before we go any further... I do not think this argument *works* (whatever that means) I do however quite enjoy it and wish I could understand it even better. So, fly with me into this elaborate, wordy and complicated argument that relies entirely on logic.

So, without further ado lets see what this argument actually is.

Anslem discusses psalm 14:1: 'The fool says in his heart there is no God..." and then he proceeds to give a reason as to why the person who says there is no God is a fool...

Basically it goes like this: Anselm first defines God as 'the being than which no greater being can be conceived.' So the fool says 'yes'. Now Anselm says that he is a fool because Anselm seems to think that the very idea of God entails existence. Because, after all, it's better to exist than to not exist. Therefore if God exists in the fools mind than any God which exists in reality is greater than the being conceived in the fool's mind.  This is why the fool is a fool, because he is contradicting himself by saying God does not exist while at the same time affirming his existence by conceiving of him in order to make that sentence.

So, imagine talking to your friend at a party and doing this! It would be great to see their reaction, but most people think it is a word trick. And we will get to that some time in a future post.

For now, enjoy this cartoon:


  1. i too also quite enjoy the ontological argument! i think i wrote an essay on that...

  2. did you limit yourself to just the Anselmian version? or go into some of the modal ones too?

  3. The comments section is limited to only 4 and a bit thousand characters so you'll have to follow this link if you would like to read my response to your blog.