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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History of Ontological Arguments 2. Premise Each thing which exists in reality is greater than any thing which exists only in the understanding. Anse,m are arguments in which ontologically committing vocabulary is introduced solely via a definition.

Even the Fool has the concept of that than which no greater can be conceived. Hence, there is a necessarily existent, necessarily omnipotent, necessarily omniscient, and necessarily perfectly good being namely, God. Hence There is no possible world in which there is an entity which possesses maximal greatness. Classical, Early, and Medieval World History: Among other journal articles, perhaps the most interesting are Prusswhich provides a novel defence of the key possibility premise in modal ontological arguments, and Prusswhich kick-started recent discussion of higher-order ontological arguments.

See MalcolmHartshorneand Plantinga for closely related arguments.


The key critique of ontological arguments. It will be useful to introduce vocabulary to mark the point which is being made here.

Since no one has ever said what the premises of this alleged argument are, there is good reason for ledis about this scholarly claim. The merit of an achievement is the product of a its intrinsic quality, and b the ability of its creator.

No one who believes that that than which no greater can be conceived exists in the understanding can reasonably believe that that than which no greater can be conceived exists only in the understanding.

Some recent discussions of ontological arguments have been placed in more synoptic treatments of arguments about the existence of God. Moreover, this procedure can be adapted as a pro tem stop gap: Part IX is a general attack on a priori arguments both analytic and synthetic.

Anselm and Actuality

Sections 6—8 take up some catuality the central questions at a slightly more sophisticated level of discussion. Wilson – – British Acfuality for the Philosophy of Science 64 4: Find it on Scholar. And then the reductio argument is produced to establish that that than which no greater can be conceived cannot exist only in the understanding but must also possess the property of existing in reality as well and all mention of the Fool, and what it is that the Fool believes, disappears.

There is an understandable being x 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. Characterisation of Ontological Arguments andelm. Enhanced bibliography for this entry at PhilPaperswith links to its database. Publications Pages Publications Pages.


Of course, theists may well be able to hold that the originals are sound, and the parodies not—but that is an entirely unrelated issue. If something is God-like, then the property of being God-like is an essence of that thing. For it may be that the vocabulary in question only gets used in premises under the protection of prophylactic operators which ward off the unwanted commitments.

In other words, ontological arguments are arguments from nothing but analytic, a priori and necessary premises to the conclusion that God exists.

David Lewis, Anselm and actuality – PhilPapers

Premise, to which even the Fool agrees. Classical, Early, and Medieval Prose and Writers: Most categories of ontological argument have some actual defenders; but none has a large following. From 78. The key to these arguments is the observation that any collection of properties, that a does not include all properties and b is closed under entailment, is possibly jointly instantiated. After all, when it is set out in this way, it is obvious that the argument proves far too much.

Peter King – unknown.