Date of Graduation

12-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Philosophy (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Philosophy

Advisor

Thomas Senor

Committee Member

Eric Funkhouser

Second Committee Member

Barry Ward

Abstract

Ontological Arguments for the existence of God, first discovered by St. Anselm (1033-1109), attempt to deduce the existence of God from the concept of God. It is the aim of this thesis to champion a modal version of the Ontological Argument as philosophically sound by demonstrating it to be logically valid and by successfully defending the argument's premises as true. Kirschner's version of the Ontological Argument states:

P1 For every type of entity, instances of that type of entity either actually exist, merely possibly exist, or necessarily do not exist.

P2 If an entity can be conceived, then that entity either actually exists, or merely possibly exists.

P3 God can be conceived.

C1 Therefore, God either actually exists, or merely possibly exists.

P4 Something is necessary if and only if that entity is totally non-contingent, or if it is inconceivable.

P5 If something is necessary, then that entity either necessarily actually exists (if it is totally non-contingent), or is impossible and thus necessarily cannot exist (if it is inconceivable).

P6 God is totally non-contingent.

C2 Therefore, God is necessary.

C3 Therefore, God cannot merely possibly exist.

C4 Therefore, God necessarily actually exists.

C5 Therefore, God actually exists.

Anselm's approach was to deduce a contradiction by supposing that God only possibly existed. The approach of this version is to begin, not with the supposition that God only possibly exists, but with the metaphysical principle that there are three categories that encompass the spectrum of existence. This version is an extended disjunctive syllogism whose conclusions follow the given the truth of the premises. This Ontological argument is valid and it may be considered sound by some who carefully investigate and consider the nature of God. It demonstrates that God cannot belong to the "cannot exist" category. It gives strong support to the idea that God does not merely belong to the "possibly exists" category. It gives strong support to the idea that God as the GCB is a compossible notion. It lays out a case for demonstrating that the concept of God guarantees the existence of God.

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