Explain Anselm’s ontological statement.
The ontological statement was put away at first as a supplication by the 11th century monastic and philosopher Anselm of Canterbury. In his Proslogion. which means discourse. he presented this statement as a supplication for trusters to confirm their belief in God. Anselm uses ‘a priori’ ( which means before experience ) logical thinking. which conveys that it does non trust or depend on experience and so an statement of this kind is more plausible and likely to fascinate and pull philosophers. by non depending on experience or familiarities it can be understood and derived strictly from logic. Furthermore its truth doesn’t depend on anything apart from logic and can be deduced strictly from the significance of the words used in the statement. The ontological statement uses deductive logical thinking. which means its decision is contained within the premises presented. and if one accepts these premises to be true so 1 must accept that the decision is besides right ; an statement of this kind would be: 1. Work forces are all person.

2. Rene Descartes was a adult male.
3. Consequently Rene Descartes is mortal.

From this illustration if we accept the premises ( 1 & A ; 2 ) so logically we must accept the decision ( 3 ) so in some signifier this statement presents a warrant of the truth of the decision. Anselm’s statement said ‘God is that than which nil greater can be conceived’ . by greater he means perfect and by conceived he means to believe of. so we can set in other words: God is that than which nil more perfect can be thought of. When Anselm foremost wrote this in the Proslogion. his purposes for this were non for it to be used as an statement to turn out God’s being but merely a mere supplication for trusters. but due to his trust entirely on ground and logic it has become popular and has overcome the trial of clip as it is still relevant today and is being studied.

The statement can take this signifier:
1. God is that than which nil more perfect can be thought of. 2. Even a sap can understand this definition. ( By sap Anselm most likely meant person who does non believe in God. and so he said this to demo that this statement is nil of a complex kind but of a simple nature which can be comprehended by anyone. even a sap as Anselm said. ) 3. This sap says that God ceases to be in world. simply as an thought. 4. It is greater to be both in the apprehension and in world. than basically merely in the apprehension.

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5. The greatest possible being. for it to be the greatest must genuinely be in both manners: world and apprehension.

6. Hence God does be both in world and in the apprehension ; therefore we can besides reason that the sap in world is really a sap. ( The sap is denying the being of the greatest possible being. this being must be for it to be the greatest possible being. and if he wasn’t the greatest possible being so certainly we could gestate of something greater. ) Anselm starts the statement with a definition. and uses this definition to turn out God into being. nevertheless this statement relies on a peculiar definition and analysis of a peculiar 1. There are two cardinal and overriding aspects to this statement: one is the apprehension of the definition. this is an built-in portion of the statement. because the statement arises from this start point. and besides that it is greater to be both in world and in apprehension.

Anselm understood God in an analytical sense. analytic sense is where the whole significance of a word or statement is transferred through the words merely. like for illustration. Tom has a brother. you wouldn’t state he has a brother who is a male because the fact that he is a male is already conveyed through the significance of the word brother. And so similarly. Anselm understood God in the same manner. so it isn’t necessary to state ‘god. you know exists’ the facet of being is already given away from the word God. and so in a manner could be perceived as inseparable from God.

This statement mentioned hitherto was found in Proslogion 2. which tried to turn out Gods being. A coeval of his. Gaunilo of Marmoutier who was a monastic and besides a theist. replied to Anselm’s Proslogion. with a work titled ‘On Behalf of the Fool’ . he was genuinely besides a Christian and had a steadfast belief in God. but he rejected the leap from the definition that God is the greatest being to the decision that he must be. Gaunilo claimed that through Anselm’s concluding we can potentially turn out anything one wishes into being by suggesting it’s the greatest thing or maximally perfect in its quality.

He used the illustration of an Island. that if we were to state that at that place existed an island which was the most first-class and possessed an incomputable wealth. we can easy understand this ; even a sap can grok this. And therefore it is the most first-class. and it is more first-class to be both in world and in understanding moreover this island must be. He argued even a sap is right to be doubting about Anselm’s statement. as grounds is required for a affair every bit great as God. Furthermore he went on to claim that Anselm’s statement is a ‘reducto ad absurdum’ . this is Latin for reduced to absurdness.

As Anselm was cognizant of this unfavorable judgment during his life-time. he wrote a Reply to Gaunilo. in this he defends his statement and draws up another facet. He says ‘God can non be conceived non to exist… That which can be conceived non to be is non god’ . This introduces another affair ; Anselm asks whether a God is greater who can be thought of as non bing or a God which can non be thought of non bing. Furthermore he claims that it is a contradiction for a God who can be thought of non bing if he genuinely is the greatest possible.

Anselm created a duality between the constructs of things: necessary and contingent beings. Anselm himself didn’t use these aforesaid footings himself but were subsequently applied by philosophers but Anselm did divide the two as he described the island as physical and hence he could easy suggest that it could discontinue to be due to other physical causes like for illustration the sea degrees lifting could eliminate the island wholly. However he said that it is impossible to conceive of the greatest being non bing or discontinuing to be. and so certainly it would non be the greatest being.

Necessary beings do non depend on any other thing for it to be. as it is the greatest thing so it is non predisposed to anything else. On the other manus. contingent beings do depend on other things and besides there was a clip when they didn’t exist. like for illustration worlds. who are a perfect illustration of a contingent being. However Anselm argued that God was a necessary being. and it can non be thought of as non bing. it has ever exists and ever will. It is instead difficult to gestate of another necessary being or being
apart from this.

Anselm put frontward this proposition in Proslogion 3. that God has a necessary being. and this is the type of God that he is. in this manner Anselm shows that Gaunilo was a sap as he didn’t understand the type of God that Anselm discussed.


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