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Classical Philosophy: St Anselm and His Ontological Argument

Updated on July 8, 2014

In Classical Philosophy, St Anselm argues that the degree, by which any element is real, depends upon the extent of its universality. This according to him, means that God is the most real and other things existing in the work emanates from archetypes. The philosopher continues to postulate that, the concept of God as the greatest being in existence translates that God is actually in existence, otherwise, there could be something greater, or an extant greatest being which would absolutely be none other than God.

St Anselm’s ontological argument postulates that, God can be conceived as a being and which no other greater being can be conceived. This being, which no other greater being can be conceived is either extant in the human mind, or extant both in reality and in the mind. Antelm rests his argument by postulating that, the being that is conceived is both extant in our mind, and in reality.

I do support Anselms argument since he refutes an atheist’s assumption that God does not exist. The bible in psalms (14.1) is clear that, anybody who does not belief the existence of God is a fool. Such a person has two main characteristics.

  • He understands that God exists
  • He does not want to believe the existence of God


In this perspective, Anselm has succeeded in showing that, this combination is not stable. Any individual with an understanding on the saying of the existence of God can be directed into seeing that God actually exists. In this perspective, an atheist’s belief cannot just be considered as mistaken. Rather, his or her stand is internally incongruent.

St Anselm has particularly enhanced my believe in the existence a supreme being in the universe. Several theorists and philosophers have come up with theories that try to explain the creation of the world. Most of these theories rule out the involvement of God or a supreme being in this course. St Anselm’s theory is therefore, a handy one for may who are confronted with the issue of proving God’s existence. The theory has influenced my thinking on the approach to the truth about a supreme being. The theory has as well enhanced my knowledge on which opinion my mind has to form. This is in relation to the case when I am confronted with other theories, or philosophies that argue on the non-existence of a supreme being.

In a way, Anselm has seemed to define God into existence. I can use this argument effectively in demonstrating to atheists on the existence of God. Apart from trying to convince them on this existence, Anselm’s argument has also made it clear on the conception of God as being logically coherent, and a non-refutable being.

The work by Anselm has significant influenced my thinking and reasoning on the existence of God as the creator of all things. What attracts me more on philosophy is that is not enshrined to people of a particular religion, in other words, people of all religions, culture or social can use this philosophy to argue on God’s existence. I am also attracted to Anselm’s reasoning since it is not based on the Christian faith or systematized in the light of natural justice. Rather, this philosophy appears to be carefully meditated by reasoning and therefore, can be relied upon. I have been also impressed by Anselm’s display of confidence and the capacity to offer his perspective on matters relating to faith.

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    • OdysseusMakridis profile image

      Odysseus Makridis 

      4 years ago from Netcong, NJ

      You are reading too closely to the grammar - there is a logical grammar at work in the Ontological Argument. This is a proof, of course, which means that it should be assessed as a proof. Is it a deductive or an inductive argument? It is deductive . Is it valid? Yes - as a deductive proof, it has a correct logical structure. But is it sound (which means, does it have true or sufficiently supported premises)? This is where the critics of the proof attack.

      This proof ought to be fascinating to the logician, for many reasons. For one, it is amazing that we can have a proof of existence of something with NO empirical (factual) premises in the proof! Something must be wrong, but it is not readily obvious what is wrong...

      This is a philosophic proof - it is not like appealing to faith from above. Proofs are philosophic - divine commands instructing faith are a different matter. As a Catholic, Anselm has no problem playing the philosophic game - this gies back to Aquinas' synthesis between Scriptures and the philosopher Aristotle.

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