2009/02/28

Why the ontological "proof" of the existence of God is false:

The Ontological proof (Anselm's version):

  1. God is something than which nothing greater can be thought.
  2. It is greater to exist in reality and in the understanding than just in understanding.
  3. Therefore, God exists in reality

The problem being that 2. is clearly false. Many things exist in potentia or in theory, that would be less perfect if actualised - the Platonic Form of a carpenter's conception of a chair is perfect, the actualisation in wood is not, necessarily. The plan for a novel is always a greater thing than the imperfect realisation of it, actualised by the author's hand. 

Thus, "something which is greater than all things" cannot but be a Platonic Form, rather than an actualisation, and hence cannot exist - for in existing, it must become less than it was in potential.

This is all sounding very gnostic, isn't it?

1 comment:

tinchen said...

And yet, that proof is better than the most, since nearly all work with circular reasoning.

I love reading them, but sometimes I kinda sad that I found a the logic in each one lacking so far.


(and I finally managed to subscribe to your journal)

Tinchen (from LJ)