A Priori Arguments

Classical Theism 

conception of God: God is 


allall-powerful  Omnipresent: everywhere  Omniscient: all-knowing all Eternal: everlasting  Transcendent: beyond the world  Compassionate: caring

Dissident conceptions 

negativa-negativa-- the ³negative way´
can know only what God is not 



created the world, but has no further interaction with it; no miracles is everything includes everything 

God  God 


Argument from Thought
do we get our concept of God?  It¶s the concept of something perfect  We never experience perfection  So, the concept of God can¶t come from experience  So, the concept of God is innate  It must come from something perfect  So, God must exist 

Descartes¶s Premise 

it is manifest by the natural light that there must at least be as much reality in the efficient and total cause as in its effect. For, pray, whence can the effect derive its reality, if not from its cause? And in what way can this cause communicate this reality to it, unless it possessed it in itself?´

Descartes¶s Premise 
³And from this it follows, not only that

something cannot proceed from nothing, but likewise that what is more perfect -that is to say, which has more reality within itself -- cannot proceed from the less perfect.´

Descartes¶s Argument 

cause of the idea of X must have at least as much reality as X
get the idea of fire from fire  We get the idea of red from red things 


cause of our idea of God must have at least as much reality as God  Only God has as much reality as God  So, our idea of God must come from God

The Ontological Argument 

God is ³something than which nothing more excellent or sublime exists´  Anselm (1033-1109): (1033God is ³that the greater than which cannot be conceived´-conceived´-- the greatest conceivable being

Anselm¶s Argument 

the Fool ... is forced to agree that something, the greater than which cannot be thought, exists in the intellect, since he understands this when he hears it, and whatever is understood is in the intellect.´

Anselm¶s Argument 

surely that, the greater than which cannot be thought, cannot exist in the intellect alone. For if it exists solely in the intellect, it can be thought to exist in reality, which is greater. If, then, that, the greater than which cannot be thought, exists in the intellect alone, this same being, than which a greater cannot be thought, is that than which a greater can be thought. But surely this is impossible.´

Anselm¶s Argument 

there can be absolutely no doubt that something, the greater than which cannot be thought, exists both in the intellect and in reality.´

Anselm in outline 

Suppose you could conceive of God¶s nonexistence Then you could think of something greater than God-God-something just like God, but existing But nothing can be conceived as greater than God So, God¶s nonexistence is inconceivable

Descartes¶s Ontological Argument 

has all perfections  Existence is a perfection  So, God has existence

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful