In this course, we have gone over a lot of topics, that have been interesting and some have been very confusing. One of our topics that I’ve found interesting and I enjoyed was when talked about the weaknesses and strengths of Gaunilo’s and Kant’s and their ontological arguments. Anselm’s ontological argument defined God as being “as which no other greater can conceive. ” Ontological arguments tend to start with a priori theory about the organization of the universe. If the organization falls under being true there will be evidence of the existence of God, in this case.
Anselm argues if God is defined as nothing which can be greater, than he must exist in the mind, even in the mind of fool who denies the existence of God. He then concluded, for this to exist in the mind it must exist. Decartes had some similar arguments which addressed the idea that God’s existence is immediately inferable from a clear and distinct idea of a “perfect being”. Leibniz took that argument further and took an attempt to prove a “perfect” being is a coherent concept.
The first critic of the argument was Gaunilo of Marmoutiers, who used the analogy of a “perfect island” and stated the ontological argument could be used to prove the existence towards anything. Everyone’s idea of perfect are different and that might be the problem with there being so many arguments on this subject and so many critics towards others views. I do not think the idea of perfect is logical and do not think anything is necessarily perfect. I can see why they used the theory of God being a perfect human being because who is better to look up to than someone claiming to be perfect.
Kant’s primary criticism was mainly directed at Decartes, but also at Leibniz and argued the intelligibility of a necessary being. He based his ideas on logic rather than thought “a triangle has 3 angles” and “God existence”. His necessary proposition stated for a triangle to exist it must have 3 angles. It proposed if X exists it exists necessarily, but does not necessarily exist. Kant took a more analytic and synthetic approach to proving God’s existence. “being is evidently not a real predicate” which cannot be part of the concept of something.
He concluded that God is an “object of pure thought”. I do not think that you could just know that something exists without more than just reasoning. Everything around us in the world has been discovered for the first time by someone. This knowledge gets passed around through writing, teaching, language. When there is something we witness for the first time, we take prior learned knowledge and apply it to the new discovery. Just because a person has a effective argument does not make it true. The only way to prove something is with evidence.
If a person has used reason alone to try to proposition the presence of something, they have no reputable evidence and cannot prove, without a doubt, that presence. If this were the case, there would be no question that God exists. The fact that there is no evidence is what keeps people questioning this existence. Someone may reason that because there are plaster casts of its footprints, footage of the creature in the wild, and numerous eyewitness accounts, that bigfoot must exist. However, on proper examination of the evidence one would realize that it really is just an elaborate hoax.
The only way we could ever prove the presence of bigfoot now, is through live or dead capture, mainly because of all the false evidence out there. The same really can be said of God now. Because of thousands of years of hearsay with no circumstantial evidence, any non-believer in God will not easily be swayed without witnessing God themselves. Hume’s two strategies for refuting the argument from design, was to state that the analogy between human creations and the universe is not strong. I think he says this because he believes there is too much to explain about the universe and it is portrayed as something unreal.
And if we did know the truth we wouldn’t be able to obtain it all because we would think it was unreal. Hume’s second strategy for refuting the argument from design is that he thought God was imperfect. He believes that God is imperfect because he uses natural evil and uses the world for suffering. I think the first argument was the strongest because the universe is too big to know how everything is designed. The first strategy refuting the argument for design is that the connection between human inventions and creation/the natural world is weak. The second argument is that there cannot be a perfect God because we live in an imperfect world.
The second argument provokes more thought, but the refute to it is found in the first book of the Bible. Therefore, I believe that the first argument is stronger by default. Hume’s argument is based on alternative explanation for natural selection. His basic two points are:1. Hume’s first strategy states that the analogy between human creations and the universe is not strong. 2. God was not infinite and is not perfect He doesn’t argue that the universe appears to have been designed, I believe what he is saying that it is not reasonable to think that there is a designer based on our own knowledge.
Taking these two statements at face value, it doesn’t seem like anyone will ever be able to demonstrate the existence of God. And if this is his position, then he surely can’t come up with proof of God’s non-existence. The only example we must work with is that a small fraction of the universe that we live on and that humans are the only ones with reasoning ability. Hume is right to say we are constrained by those limitations. And perhaps those raw materials don’t provide enough to be able to conceive of the ultimate explanations for the universe.
I think that Hume has shown that the “argument from design” has flaws, and so may not be regarded as a “proof”. However, the fact that it is not “proof” of God does not discredit it altogether. Gaunilo, criticized the ontological argument. He argued that the argument cannot work because many believers of God would agree that God cannot be fully comprehended. He argued that the steps of the ontological argument could be used to show a “more excellent” than any other island. On the other hand, Anselm believed, that a being with necessary existence was the only concept this argument worked for.
An island could always be improved or updated. The island could never reach a state of perfection as God. Kant, argued that existence was something that did not enhance or help to define God’s perfection. Existence is not a property of an objects. It is impossible to compare God that exists to one that does not exist. This would cause Anselm’s theory to be incorrect, that an existent God is greater than a nonexistent God, because they would be the same. Gaunilo uses the perfect island about the ontological argument. He argues that if the perfect island exists, then we can always think of something that would make the island better.
Therefore, the perfect island could never exist and only works with the idea of God. The problem with this, however, is that if God does exist we can always think of traits that would make God better. Kant argues that existence is irrelevant to the argument. He suggests that existence is understood and to use it as a trait does not add to the quality of an argument. The notes use a husband as an example. For a husband to exist is not a defining trait as it is understood. He therefore suggests that because we have ideas of God, that God exists is understood and is not a trait that makes God superior over the ideas we already have