Sunday, December 11, 2011
Gaunilo’s Perfect Island
God is, as Anselm’s ontological altercation puts it, that than which no greater can be conceived. A God that does not exist, though, cannot be that than which no greater can be conceived, for he could be conceived to abide which would be greater. Anyone who thinks that God does not exist, then, is confused; the abstraction of God entails God’s existence.
Parodies of the Ontological Argument
One botheration with this altercation is that it invites parody. Parallel arguments purporting to prove the actuality of any absolute affair at all can be constructed.
This altercation was aboriginal aloft by one of Anselm’s contemporaries, the abbot Gaunilo of Marmoutiers, who complete an ontological altercation for the actuality of the absolute island in his On Behalf of the Fool.
The absolute island, this altercation goes, is the island than which no greater can be conceived. Any island that does not exist, though, cannot be the island than which no greater can be conceived, for it could be conceived to abide which would be greater. Anyone who thinks that the absolute does not exist, then, is confused; the abstraction of the absolute island entails that there is such a thing.
Similar arguments for the actuality of the absolute baseball pitcher, or the absolute husbandâ€”for the actuality of any absolute affair at allâ€”can be constructed. If any of these arguments is sound, it seems, again they charge all be sound.
Clearly, though, these arguments are not all sound; the absolute baseball bullpen does not exist, and neither does the absolute husband. There is article amiss with the argumentation of these arguments. Each of these ontological arguments, though, uses the aforementioned logic. They charge accordingly all be unsound.
The actuality that there is no absolute island, and no absolute baseball pitcher, then, shows that the argumentation of the ontological altercation for God’s actuality is flawed.