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Explain Anselm’s Ontological Argument

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The Ontological Argument was founded by St Anselm. St Anselm was the Archbishop of Canterbury in the late 11th century and was an avid philosopher. Anselm most famous work was a book called Proslogion. He outlined the Ontological Argument in parts two and three of Proslogion. As a firm believer in God, Anselm wanted to prove God’s existence and to refute ‘the fool who says in his heart that there is no God.’ (Psalms 14:1).

The ontological argument is a priori and deductive argument. It is priori as it is not based on our experiences of the world but relies on reason alone. The argument is also deductive, this means that if the premises (supporting statements) are true, then the conclusion must be true. If true, the premises logically entail the conclusion.
In Proslogion 2, Anselm main argument is developed. He begins by defining God as “that than which nothing greater can be conceived”. This means, it is impossible to think of anything with greater value or which has qualities (knowledge, power, etc.) to a greater degree. According to Anselm, even “the fool” (Psalm 14) who denies God at least has a concept of God present in the mind. Now everyone has a concept of God, one can ask, does God exist merely in the understanding or in reality as well? Anselm argues that if God existed merely in the understanding, then we could conceive of a being great (one which existed). Therefore, the greatest conceivable being cannot exist in the mind only, but must exist in reality as…...

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