A Brief Critical Introduction to the Ontological Argument and its Formalization: Anselm, Gaunilo, Descartes, Leibniz and Kant

Journal of Applied Logics 5 (7):1441-1474 (2018)
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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, it aims at introducing the ontological argument through the analysis of five historical developments: Anselm’s argument found in the second chapter of his Proslogion, Gaunilo’s criticism of it, Descartes’ version of the ontological argument found in his Meditations on First Philosophy, Leibniz’s contribution to the debate on the ontological argument and his demonstration of the possibility of God, and Kant’s famous criticisms against the (cartesian) ontological argument. Second, it intends to critically examine the enterprise of formally analyzing philosophical arguments and, as such, contribute in a small degree to the debate on the role of formalization in philosophy. My focus will be mainly on the drawbacks and limitations of such enterprise; as a guideline, I shall refer to a Carnapian, or Carnapian-like theory of argument analysis.

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Ricardo Silvestre
Federal University of Campina Grande

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