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Posts Tagged ‘ontological argument’

I have, I must admit, something of an amused fascination with the ontological argument for the existence of a god. Or, rather I should say, I'm quite awe-struck by the sheer number of people who seem to believe it's a good argument.

(Long-time readers may remember that I once used it to "prove" the existence of a raspberry-flavoured marshmallow asteroid. Long time commenters will probably remember that Ubi Dubium then proceeded to smash (or possibly squish, given the material in question) my asteroid with their raspberry-flavoured marshmallow planet, damnit.)

For those unfamiliar with it, here's Anselm's version of the argument. There've been "refinements" over the years, but this remains the basis:

  1. It is a conceptual truth (or, so to speak, true by definition) that God is a being than which none greater can be imagined (that is, the greatest possible being that can be imagined).
  2. God exists as an idea in the mind.
  3. A being that exists as an idea in the mind and in reality is, other things being equal, greater than a being that exists only as an idea in the mind.
  4. Thus, if God exists only as an idea in the mind, then we can imagine something that is greater than God (that is, a greatest possible being that does exist).
  5. But we cannot imagine something that is greater than God (for it is a contradiction to suppose that we can imagine a being greater than the greatest possible being that can be imagined.)
  6. Therefore, God exists.

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