Foremost among our modal headaches is Anselm’s ontological argument. How does it fare under the Anselm and Actuality A. H. J. Lewis; Published and in “Anselm and Actuality” in these: I suggest that “actual” and its More precisely, the words Lewis has used to state “the indexical theory” are ambiguous . But that makes Lewis’s defense of a plurality of worlds incoherent. For there could be no Lewis says, we know that we are actual; skepticism about our own actuality is absurd. With this I agree. Lewis, David (). “Anselm and Actuality.

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It is not easy to give a good characterisation of ontological arguments. Some commentators claim that the main actuaality is in Proslogion IIand that the rest of the work draws out corollaries of that proof see, e. Anselm and Actuality Anselm and Actuality Chapter: So, for example, there are extended discussions of ontological arguments in EverittSobeland Oppy On the other hand, on the reading in which there is no cancellation, it is clear that this claim is one which no reasonable, etc.

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Note that actiality characterisation does not beg the question against the possibility of the construction of a successful ontological argument—i.

Anselm and Actuality : Philosophical Papers Volume I – oi

Focus on the case of ontological arguments for the conclusion that God exists. In various ways, the account provided to this point is rough, and susceptible of improvement. Williams – – Dialectica 62 1: On the other hand, it is perfectly possible to entertain the idea of a being than which no greater can be conceived—and to recognise that this idea encodes the property of real existence—without attributing real existence to a being than which no greater can be conceived, i.


A Victorious Ontological Argument? Since no one has ever said what the premises of this alleged argument are, there is good reason for scepticism about this scholarly claim.

If such a being does not exist, then we can conceive of a greater being—namely, one exactly like it which does exist. Unpublished essays and lecturesS.

Classical, Early, and Medieval Poetry and Poets: Hence the being than which no greater can be conceived exists in reality. History of Western Actuwlity. This is true as a matter of definition. How to cite this entry.

Ontological Arguments

Here are some modest examples: Detailed critique of ontological arguments. Hence There is in the understanding something which is the thing than which there is no greater. Classical, Early, and Medieval Prose and Writers: Enhanced bibliography for this entry at PhilPaperswith links to its database. Hence, the existent perfect being who creates exactly n universes is existent.

The point is that non-theists are not prepared to include god s in the former group of objects—and hence will be unpersuaded by any argument which tries to use whatever vocabulary is used to discriminate between the two classes as the basis for an argument that god s belong to the former group. Scotus’s Rejection of Anselm.

Essays for Richard CartwrightJ. Those who are disposed to think that theism is irrational need find nothing in ontological arguments to make them change their minds and those who are disposed to think that theism is true should take no comfort from them either. If a property is anse,m, then it is consistent, i.

From 2by a theorem about descriptions. While this is not a good argument, it could appear compelling to one who failed to attend to the distinction between entertaining ideas and holding beliefs and who was a bit hazy on the actyality between the vehicles of belief and their contents.

David Lewis, Anselm and actuality – PhilPapers

The Proslogion goes on and on, trying to establish the properties of that than which no greater can be conceived. Considered together, the argument and the counterargument just mentioned plainly do not give anyone a reason to prefer theism to non-theism, and nor do they give anyone a reason to prefer non-theism to theism.


Oxford University Press, pp.

A minimally rational non-theist would not accept both of these premises — they entail that God exists in anslm possible world whereas a minimally rational non-theists would insist that there is at least one possible world in which God does not exist.

These premises entail that God exists in no possible world, and hence that God does not exist in the actual world. For each of the families of arguments introduced in the earlier taxonomy, we can give general reasons why arguments of that family fall under the general criticism. They cannot, perhaps, be said to prove or establish their conclusion. Hence There is a being x existing in the actual world such that for no world w and being y does the greatness of y in w exceed the greatness of x in the actual world.

Anselm and Actuality

If a being than which no greater can be conceived does not exist, then I can conceive of a being greater than a being than which no greater can be conceived—namely, a being than which lewiz greater can be conceived that exists. Not all properties are God properties. One general criticism of ontological arguments which have appeared hitherto is this: Hence, a being than which no greater can be conceived except that it only ever creates n universes exists.

But that is absurd: History of Ontological Arguments Koebner, ; translated as The Foundations of ArithmeticJ.

This latter fact may help to explain part of the curious fascination of ontological arguments.