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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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Anselm claims to derive the existence of God from the concept of a being than wnselm no greater can be conceived. Secondthe Meinongian interpretations of BarnesAdams and Oppenheimer and Zalta produce arguments which, given the principles involved, could easily be much simplified, and which are obviously vulnerable to Gaunilo-type objections.

For if it is even in the understanding alone, it can be conceived to exist in reality also, which is greater. History of Ontological Arguments 2. After all, when it is set out in this way, it is obvious that the argument proves far too much.

Anselm and Actuality

Actualty course, all of the above discussion is directed merely to the claim that ontological arguments are not dialectically efficacious—i. On the other hand, it seems worthwhile to attempt a more informative definition.

God exists in at least one possible world. There are many parodic discussions of Ontological Arguments in the literature.

Sections 6—8 take up some of the lwwis questions at a slightly more sophisticated level of discussion. 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.

Not all properties are God properties. I is the property of having as essential properties just those properties which are in the set. From the Publisher via CrossRef no proxy jstor. To take a few prime examples, AdamsBarnes and Oppenheimer and Zalta have all produced formally valid analyses of the argument in this passage.


Even the Fool has the concept of that than which no greater can be conceived. Hence, it is false that God exists in the understanding but not in reality. Classical, Early, and Medieval World History: If a person can conceive that a specified object has a given property, then that person can conceive that something or other has that property. Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service.

But that is absurd: It is false that a being greater than God can be conceived. Ignoring the leais between entertaining ideas and holding beliefs, this means that we when we entertain the idea of that than which no greater can be conceived, we entertain the idea of a being which exists only in the understanding. Austin llewisOxford: But this would be absurd: Contains famous attack on traditional theistic arguments. Jasper Hopkins – – Philosophy Research Archives 9: Oxford University Press, pp.

Anselm and Actuality : Philosophical Papers Volume I – oi

Premise 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. Essays for Richard CartwrightJ. 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. 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.

Alexandre Billon – – Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 3: Premise Hence the being than which no greater can be conceived exists in reality. Swatkowski is the most recent collection of papers on ontological arguments.

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.


David Lewis, Anselm and actuality – PhilPapers

Characterisation of Ontological Arguments 4. Often, these operators have two readings, one of which can cancel ontological commitment, and the other of which cannot. Terence Parsons, Richard Sylvan—ever endorses a Meinongian ontological argument; and it should also be noted that most motivate the distinction between nuclear and non-nuclear properties in part by a need to avoid Meinongian ontological arguments.

Is the reductio argument supposed to tell us something about what even the Fool believes, or ought to believe? Suppose that we agree to think about possibility and necessity in terms of possible worlds: A Note on Truth and Actuality.

Ontological Arguments

I shall ignore this aspect of the controversy about the Proslogion. While the ambitions of these review discussions vary, many of them are designed to introduce neophytes to the arguments and their history.

Finally, the taxonomy can be further specialised: Hence There is in the understanding something andelm is the thing than which there is no greater. Necessary existence is positive Axiom 6: Here are some modest examples:. History of Ontological Arguments How to cite this entry. It would surely be absurd to claim that Anselm is only committed to the less general principles: However, more sophisticiated Meinongians will insist that there must be some restriction on the substitution instances for F, in order to allow one to draw the obvious and important ontological distinction between the following two groups: From 1, 2, 3 See Adams God exists in all possible worlds if God exists in any.

Are the earlier references to the Fool supposed to be inessential and eliminable? Those who dislike mereology will not be impressed by these arguments.