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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The Philosophy of ReligionAtascadero: Some recent discussions of ontological arguments have been placed in more synoptic treatments of arguments about the existence of God.

From 1 – 6by a complex series of steps here omitted. Let us suppose for the sake of example that the right thing to say is that the former things exist and the latter do not.

Sign in Create an account. Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. But, as just noted, there is no valid inference from this claim to the further claim that God exists. These are arguments in which ontologically committing vocabulary is introduced solely nad the scope of hyperintensional operators e.

This article has no associated abstract. Classical, Early, and Medieval World History: Setting aside the possibility that one might challenge this widely accepted modal principle, it seems that opponents of the argument are bound to challenge the acceptability of the premise.

Hence There is no possible qnd in which there is an entity which possesses maximal greatness. But they serve to highlight the deficiencies which more complex examples actjality share. Given the current explosion of enthusiasm for compendiums, companions, encylopedias, and the like, in philosophy of religion, it is likely that many more such discussions will appear in the immediate future.

Ontological arguments are arguments, for the conclusion that God exists, from premises which are supposed to derive from some source other than observation of the world—e. In the literature, there has been great resistance to the idea that the argument which Anselm gives is one which modern logicians would actualityy hesitate to pronounce invalid. And, by the second claim, any existent perfect being is existent.


Thus without doubt something than which a greater cannot be conceived exists, both in the understanding and in reality. Enhanced bibliography for this entry at PhilPaperswith links to its database. Ontological Arguments in the 21st Century Many recent discussions of ontological arguments are in compendiums, companions, encylopedias, and the like.

LeftowMatthewsLoweOppyand Maydole The natural reading of the text is that, if two beings are identical save that one exists only in the understanding and the other exists in reality as well, then the latter is greater than the former. MetaphysicsAtascadero, CA: Intimations of a defensible mereological ontological argument, albeit one whose conclusion is not obviously endowed with religious significance.

This discussion follows the presentation and discussion in Oppy Hence Even the Fool cannot reasonably deny that that than which no greater can be conceived exists in reality. It might be wondered whether there is some other use which ontological arguments have—e.

David Lewis, Anselm and actuality – PhilPapers

If such a being does not exist, then we can conceive of a greater being—namely, one exactly like it which does exist. Parodies of Ontological Arguments Positive ontological arguments—i. Perhaps it is worth adding here that there is fairly widespread consensus, even amongst theists, that no known ontological arguments for the existence of God are persuasive.

Those who take themselves to have good independent reason to deny that there are any gods will take themselves to have good independent reason to deny that there are God-properties that form a non-trivial collection that is closed under entailment. Then consider the following argument: There is room for argument about this. Kant, Critique of Pure Reason. I conceive of a being than which no greater can be conceived. There have been many ingenious attempts to find an argument which can be expressed in modern logical formalism, which is logically valid, and which might plausibly be claimed to be the argument which is expressed in this passage.


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. However, it is unclear how that traditional characterisation should be improved upon.

Taxonomy of Ontological Arguments 3.

Ontological Arguments

Hence Even the Fool cannot reasonably deny that that than which no greater can be conceived exists in reality Hence That than which no greater can be conceived exists in reality. Characterisation of Adtuality Arguments It is not easy to give a good characterisation of ontological arguments. Here is one translation of the crucial part of Proslogion II due to William Mann—1 ; alternative translations can be found in BarnesCampbellCharlesworthand elsewhere:.

Robert Black – – Australasian Journal of Philosophy 78 1: To take a few prime examples, AdamsBarnes and Oppenheimer and Ledis have all produced formally valid analyses of the argument in this passage. There are many kinds of parodies on Ontological Arguments.

From 4 and 5. So the sample argument is unsuccessful: Premise 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.

lewiw 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. From 3 and 4.

Anselm and Actuality – Oxford Scholarship

No keywords specified fix it. Classical, Early, and Medieval Prose and Writers: Under suitable assumptions about the nature of accessibility relations between actualigy worlds, this argument is valid: Even if all of the kinds of arguments produced to date are pretty clearly unsuccessful—i. So ontological arguments—whose conclusions are first-order existence claims—are doomed.