#1
1. God is the greatest conceivable being
2. Even a fool can understand that God is the greatest conceivable being
3. The fool says there is no God in reality
4. The fool is convinced that God, the greatest conceivable being, exists only in understanding and not in reality.
5. It is greater to exist in both reality and understanding than in just understanding.
6. The greatest conceivable being, if it is genuinely the greatest, must exist in both understanding and in reality.
7. Conclusion: Therefore God must exist in both understanding and in reality.

To any philosophers out there, am I missing something here? Surely this argument about 'the greatest conceivable...' whatever could apply to anything?
And more to the point, where is the proof that God is the greatest conceivable being? This argument is kneecapped by the fact that this idea of 'the greatest conceivable being' has been put upon God by man, and therefore isn't necessarily true, and if premise one of the argument is flawed the whole thing is ****ed is it not?

I'm confused because I'm fairly sure I don't have the mental capability to actually pull off destroying an argument like that, so if anyone can actually explain this argument in a way that would at least make it seem valid, I'd be very grateful.

And I didn't think that this belonged in the religion thread because the fact that it's an argument for the existence of God isn't the point as much as the fact that the argument is flawed and I'm trying to make some sense out of it.

Cheers

EDIT: I know this isn't the perfect example of every Ontological argument, it's just Anselm's first, it's pretty much the gist of all of the ones I've read though.
Last edited by burningcowsrule at Sep 27, 2007,
#2
*cricket noises* sorry ive always wanted to do that but yeah i belive that could apply to anything
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#4
What's with the semantical errors today? This depends on how you define reality. Just because God exists outside of our boundaries of space and time does not mean He doesn't exist in reality. Also, just because He doesn't reside or exist within our physical universe certainly doesn't mean that He can't interact with it. Also, another flaw would be Jesus who was born both fully God and fully man. Hence God existing in reality.

Owned?
#5
First off there 2 numbers 5's and no number 6!
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#6
EDIT: ^ Damnit...

Quote by denizenz
What's with the semantical errors today? This depends on how you define reality. Just because God exists outside of our boundaries of space and time does not mean He doesn't exist in reality. Also, just because He doesn't reside or exist within our physical universe certainly doesn't mean that He can't interact with it. Also, another flaw would be Jesus who was born both fully God and fully man. Hence God existing in reality.

Owned?


No. Whether or not Jesus was actually part God relies entirely on whether or not God exists in the first place. If he doesn't exist, Jesus wasn't part God. And if God exists outside of our space and time how can we conceive Him?
#7
The whole business with the fool conflicts with itself and the rest of the statements.

Others are redundant in the philosophical context.

You could just leave 1, 6, and 7 for the actual argument. Then you can try and claim that any one of two points leading to the conclusion - probably 6 - isn't true beyond a doubt.
Last edited by Dr. Faustus at Sep 27, 2007,
#8
Quote by Dr. Faustus
The whole business with the fool conflicts with itself and the rest of the statements.

Others are redundant in the philosophical context.

You could just leave 1, 6, and 7 for a simpler Argument if all the given points are presumed to be true.


Yeah but I was just copying it out of the textbook on account of I didn't want to risk screwing it up if I paraphrased.
#9
Well from my religious point of veiw, God would live in reality for he lives in everyone of us, without him we would not be here, he is our creator, and a part of him is in everyone, therefor makin him a part of our reality. Just because God isnt with us in body, though he is with us in mind, does not mean he was never here at all, just because people die or leave or whatever does not mean that they were never part of out reality.

All that your list is saying is that he who does not believe in God as reality is a fool, but even the fool that does not believe knows that God is the greatest thing you can possibly think of.

From a non-religious stand point there is no actual hard proof that God was ever here. In the very begining it was all oral stories pass on from person to person, and if you've ever played the game "telephone" where you whisper into your nieghbors ear, you would know how well understood things that travell through spoken word are. In my opinion there never was a God, a Jesus, or Mohhamad, those are all just stories people made up long ago. Possibly to make themselves more important, or to make the world follow their rules wich they sold off as the "Word of God" Just because people believe something is true does not mean it its. Hell people think Elvis is not really dead, that all of that was a conspiracy. ELVIS DIDN"T DO NO DRUGS!...elvis was found with his head in a toilet with his pants around his ankles, dead from an overdose. Just because people say he didn't do drugs, that does not mean its true, just becauese people have written stories about God, does not mean they are true.
call me Shelby

#10
Quote by burningcowsrule

No. Whether or not Jesus was actually part God relies entirely on whether or not God exists in the first place. If he doesn't exist, Jesus wasn't part God. And if God exists outside of our space and time how can we conceive Him?

Even without the existence of the Bible, What does his geographic location or lack thereof have to do with our ability to conceive his existence?

Edit: Also, as Dr. Faustus has said, your sixth premise is a presupposition that is unsupported by anything in the rest of the argument.
#11
Quote by burningcowsrule

5. It is greater to exist in both reality and understanding than in just understanding.


Why?
Dear God, do you actually answer prayers?

Yes, but only in a way indistinguishable from random luck or the result of your own efforts.
#12
Well look at it this way, would you rather something you wanted existed only in your imagination or was actually a real thing? Again that is open to argument as some people might argue it's greater to exist only in people's minds.

Quote by denizenz
Even without the existence of the Bible, What does his geographic location or lack thereof have to do with our ability to conceive his existence?

Edit: Also, as Dr. Faustus has said, your sixth premise is a presupposition that is unsupported by anything in the rest of the argument.


Who mentioned a geographical location? You said God could exist outside of out boundaries of time and space, not just off our planet but effectively outside our universe. My point was that we cannot conceive something that exists outside of our universe and therefore God is inconceivable, and so cannot be the greatest conceivable being. Nobody mentioned a geographical location OR the Bible.

And it's not MY 6th premise, it's St Anselm's. I'm not a supporter of this argument, I think it's wank, I'm trying to understand it because I don't see how it can actually hold itself up.
#13
Quote by burningcowsrule

Who mentioned a geographical location? You said God could exist outside of out boundaries of time and space, not just off our planet but effectively outside our universe. My point was that we cannot conceive something that exists outside of our universe and therefore God is inconceivable, and so cannot be the greatest conceivable being. Nobody mentioned a geographical location OR the Bible.

And it's not MY 6th premise, it's St Anselm's. I'm not a supporter of this argument, I think it's wank, I'm trying to understand it because I don't see how it can actually hold itself up.

I should have said physical location...

I never said you mentioned the Bible. I did because it's debatably the best/only resource when it comes to not only conceiving of God, but actually learning His will, emotions, and thoughts.
#14
Quote by burningcowsrule
Well look at it this way, would you rather something you wanted existed only in your imagination or was actually a real thing? Again that is open to argument as some people might argue it's greater to exist only in people's minds.



No, it's not about what I prefer. Greatness is measured in closeness to perfection, or to an absolute ideal. Perfection and ideals don't exist in reality, because we have formulated them in such a way, as to reflect an upper limit which is never really reached.

In other words, whatever exists in reality, we CAN imagine something greater. Since God is, so to speak, "the peak of greatness", it's perfectly logical to conclude that he would be imaginary.
Dear God, do you actually answer prayers?

Yes, but only in a way indistinguishable from random luck or the result of your own efforts.
#15
Quote by Mad Marius
No, it's not about what I prefer. Greatness is measured in closeness to perfection, or to an absolute ideal. Perfection and ideals don't exist in reality, because we have formulated them in such a way, as to reflect an upper limit which is never really reached.

In other words, whatever exists in reality, we CAN imagine something greater. Since God is, so to speak, "the peak of greatness", it's perfectly logical to conclude that he would be imaginary.

I don't know about this. I find it difficult to imagine the limitlessness of God.
#16
Quote by Mad Marius
No, it's not about what I prefer. Greatness is measured in closeness to perfection, or to an absolute ideal. Perfection and ideals don't exist in reality, because we have formulated them in such a way, as to reflect an upper limit which is never really reached.

In other words, whatever exists in reality, we CAN imagine something greater. Since God is, so to speak, "the peak of greatness", it's perfectly logical to conclude that he would be imaginary.


I never thought of that actually, score.
#17
As Kant said, existence is not a predicate! God isn't made greater by having existence beacuse it is impossible to "have" existence. Existence is the actualistation of a concept (like god) not a property or quality of the concept (like being wonderful, omnipotent whatever)
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#18
Quote by burningcowsrule
1. God is the greatest conceivable being.



Uhhu. Its generally agreed by theologians that god is not conceivable. In other words: is unknowable.
Let me tell you about heartache and the loss of god
Wandering, wandering in hopeless night
Out here in the perimeter there are no stars

Out here we is stoned
Immaculate.
#19
Quote by denizenz
I don't know about this. I find it difficult to imagine the limitlessness of God.


1) begin a game of Quake

2) press ~

3) type "god" sans quotes and hit Enter

4) voila.
Dear God, do you actually answer prayers?

Yes, but only in a way indistinguishable from random luck or the result of your own efforts.
#20
God is all knowing, all powerful, and all loving.

Yet bad stuff happens. This means either:

1) He doesn't know everything, and is therefore not truely God like.
2) He can't stop bad stuff happening, there for he is not all powerful.
3) He lets bad stuff happen even though he can stop it, and concievably being all powerful would give him the ability to change things while keeping free will ect. intact, therefore he is not all loving.
#21
Not the best of ontologies, but not exactly the worst. The factor that makes this particular argument invalid is the fact that the premise in which the argument is based on relies on supposing that reality and understanding are universal things, which they are not. We may all be perceiving reality in different ways, and we just don't know it.

Also, as Mad Marius said, greatness is closeness to perfection, and since the diving being, or God, is supposedly the greatest entity, then he does not need to change, ergo Logos, cue Plato's Forums, in which the human template for perfection is God.

The argument really loops and closes around itself, and has no real spine.
Catch me,
heal me,
Lift me back up to the Sun
I choose to live
#22
The first three steps are based on nothing. It is an incredibly weak argument.
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what's the point in being "philiosophical"?

Interesting question...