On the logic of the ontological argument

Philosophical Perspectives 5:509-529 (1991)
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In this paper, the authors show that there is a reading of St. Anselm's ontological argument in Proslogium II that is logically valid (the premises entail the conclusion). This reading takes Anselm's use of the definite description "that than which nothing greater can be conceived" seriously. Consider a first-order language and logic in which definite descriptions are genuine terms, and in which the quantified sentence "there is an x such that..." does not imply "x exists". Then, using an ordinary logic of descriptions and a connected greater-than relation, God's existence logically follows from the claims: (a) there is a conceivable thing than which nothing greater is conceivable, and (b) if <em>x</em> doesn't exist, something greater than x can be conceived. To deny the conclusion, one must deny one of the premises. However, the argument involves no modal inferences and, interestingly, Descartes' ontological argument can be derived from it.
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References found in this work BETA
On Denoting.Russell, Bertrand
On Denoting.Russell, Bertrand
Summa Theologica.Aquinas, Thomas
Anselm and Actuality.Lewis, David K.

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Citations of this work BETA
Computer Science and Metaphysics: A Cross-Fertilization.Zalta, Edward N.; Benzmüller, Christoph & Kirchner, Daniel
The Ontological Argument Simplified.Matthews, Gareth B. & Baker, Lynne Rudder
The Pinocchio Paradox.Eldridge-Smith, Peter & Eldridge-Smith, Veronique

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