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    I don't know how to write RS essays as the school has been most unhelpful. My understanding is that part a) is just explain with no evaluation. Does this mean you don't mention any of it's critisisms or?
    This is my essay, I would like a critique of the structure of the answer and content thanks.

    Explain Anselm’s version of the ontological argument.
    Anselm’s ontological argument is a deductive argument which can be verified a priori, and is used to prove the existence of God. A deductive argument is an argument in the form, such that, if the premises of the argument are true, the conclusion follows necessarily. A priori knowledge is knowledge gained independent of sense experience. A posteriori knowledge is knowledge gained dependent on sense experience.
    Anselm’s first form of the argument is:
    1) God is that than which nothing greater can be thought.
    2) A being that than which nothing greater can be thought, can be thought.
    3) A being that exists is greater than a being that does not exist.
    4) Conclusion: Therefore, God exists.
    Anselm (1033-1109) was an Archbishop of Canterbury and a Benedictine monk. Anselm set out the ontological argument in his book, Proslogion, for ‘faith seeking understanding’ individuals, rather than to convert unbelievers. Anselm firstly begins by defining God as ‘that than which nothing greater can be conceived’ and argued that we all would agree that this is what we mean when we speak about God, regardless of whether or not we believe God exists.
    Anselm defends (2), by claiming that everyone can understand ‘that than which nothing greater can be thought’ on the basis of our experience and understanding of things that have potential to be greater. For example, Anselm says: ‘Who, for example, is unable to think . . . that if something that has a beginning and end is good, then something that has a beginning but never ceases to exist is much better?’ Anselm is saying that God has no potential and is fully actualised.
    So, Anselm has established (2) and therefore, the fool (who hath said in his heart, ‘there is no God’) can understand the phrase, ‘a being than which nothing greater can be conceived’.
    In defending (3), for Anselm, the concept of, ‘that than which nothing greater can be thought’, now exists in the fools understanding. Anselm says: ‘But whatever is understood exists in the understanding, just as the plan of a painting he has yet to execute already exists in the understanding of the painter’. Anselm is saying that a painter has a mental image of the full painting he is going to produce, before having painted it and thus, before it exists in reality.
    However, Anselm then says that a being that exists in reality is greater than a being that exists just in the mind. Therefore, it is not possible to have a being ‘that than which nothing greater can be thought’ and to have it not exist because a being that actually exists is greater than one that does not exist. Here, Anselm accuses the fool of contradiction as the fool claims to conceive a being greater than no other can be conceived, but, since the fool holds that the being exists only in his mind and not in reality, the fool must admit that something greater can be conceived. He cannot maintain that such a being exists in his mind and not in reality. From the fact that he cannot deny its existence in his mind, he must concede that a being ‘than which nothing greater can be thought’ exists in reality. Having shown the plausibility of (2) and (3), (4) follows necessarily.
    An analytic statement is a statement in which the concept of the predicate is contained in the concept of the subject. Therefore, we can see, ‘God exists’, is an analytic statement. For Anselm, the claim, ‘God does not exist’, is a logical contradiction because ‘God exists’ is a logically necessary existential proposition. That is to say, God, a being ‘that than which nothing greater can be thought’ exists in all possible worlds. This means that there is no possible description of reality which does not include the statement ‘God exists’ as part of its description. So, to say God does not exist, is a logical contradiction- it is logically impossible. Analytic propositions such as, ‘There are no married bachelors’ and, for Anselm, ‘God exists’, can be verified a priori. So, is the claim, ‘there are no married bachelors’, true or false? As the definition of bachelor is ‘an unmarried man’, the claim is essentially, ‘there are no married unmarried men’, which is logically impossible, the claim must be false. We can say that since there is no possible world in which there are any married bachelors, there is also no possible world where, ‘there are no married bachelors’ is true. The claim is necessarily false.

    Anselm’s second form of the argument is:
    1) God is that than which nothing greater can be thought.
    2) Necessary existence is greater than contingent existence.
    3) Conclusion: Therefore, God exists necessarily.
    Contingent beings are those which come into and out of existence, and which depend on other things for existence. For example, human beings exist contingently as they are brought into existence during conception and go out of existence when they die and they depend on food, water and oxygen, among other things, to stay alive. Necessary being are those which exist by a necessity of their own nature. Many mathematicians think that numbers, sets and other mathematical entities exist in this way. They are not caused to exist by something else. They did not begin to exist and do not cease to exist, they are eternal. Anselm held that things that exist contingently are inferior to things with necessary existence.
    To better understand Anselm’s argument, it is important to understand the meaning of metaphysically possible and necessary.
    To say X is metaphysically possible is to say X is true in some metaphysically possible world. For example: It is metaphysically possible that some physical particle moves faster than the speed of light, even though it may not be physically possible in the actual world. This is because there is a possible world where the laws of nature could have been different.
    To say X is metaphysically necessary is to say X is true in all metaphysically possible worlds. For example: It is metaphysically necessary that Queen Elizabeth is a human. It is also a metaphysical necessity that a man cannot be in two places at once. The distinction between metaphysical necessity and logical necessity is that the former involves no contradiction in terms. There is no contradiction in the proposition, ‘a man is in two places at once’, there is no relation between ‘man’ and, ‘two places at once’, however, we can see, it is metaphysically impossible. Metaphysical possibility has to do with what is actualisable and realizable. Although, a statement may not involve a logical contradiction in the strict sense, it may still an actualisable state of affairs. Here, Anselm is claiming that God is metaphysically necessary, meaning that it is impossible that He fail to exist.
    So, given Anselm’s ontological argument is it logically possible God does not exist? Well, given Anselm’s first formulation of the argument, it is a logical necessity for God to exist, as to be ‘that than which nothing greater can be conceived’ is to exist. However, even if we do not hold that by definition God must exist, given the second formulation of the ontological argument, we can see this does not matter. Although, given this second argument, there is no strict logical contradiction in the statement, ‘God does not exist’, it is however an unactualisable state of affairs. So given Anselm’s ontological argument, it can be said that God is both logically necessary and metaphysically necessary. There is no logically possible world where God does not exist and there is no metaphysically possible world where God does not exist.
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    (Original post by Sylosis)
    I don't know how to write RS essays as the school has been most unhelpful. My understanding is that part a) is just explain with no evaluation. Does this mean you don't mention any of it's critisisms or?
    This is my essay, I would like a critique of the structure of the answer and content thanks.

    Explain Anselm’s version of the ontological argument.
    Anselm’s ontological argument is a deductive argument which can be verified a priori, and is used to prove the existence of God. A deductive argument is an argument in the form, such that, if the premises of the argument are true, the conclusion follows necessarily. (By using this form Anselm hopes to provide the theist with no reason to doubt the existence of God.) A priori knowledge is knowledge gained independent of sense experience. A posteriori knowledge is knowledge gained dependent on sense experience.(these definitions aren't really necessary, if you just use the terms accurately you should get the same marks for them and waste less time) (maybe instead you could say, by taking this a priori approach anselm uses reason alone, not sense experience to establish the existence of God, or something like that)
    (mentioning that Anselm uses syllogistic logic (with three premises and a conclusion) might get you extra brownie points here)
    1) God is that than which nothing greater can be thought.
    2) A being that than which nothing greater can be thought, can be thought.
    3) A being that exists is greater than a being that does not exist.
    4) Conclusion: Therefore, God exists.
    Anselm (1033-1109) was an Archbishop of Canterbury and a Benedictine monk.
    Anselm set out the ontological argument in his book, Proslogion, for ‘faith seeking understanding’ individuals, rather than to convert unbelievers. Anselm firstly begins by defining God as ‘that than which nothing greater can be conceived’ and argued that we all would agree that this is what we mean when we speak about God, regardless of whether or not we believe God exists. (this would make a better introduction, before you explain the argument)
    Anselm defends (2), by claiming that everyone can understand ‘that than which nothing greater can be thought’ on the basis of our experience and understanding of things that have potential to be greater. For example, Anselm says: ‘Who, for example, is unable to think . . . that if something that has a beginning and end is good, then something that has a beginning but never ceases to exist is much better?’ Anselm is saying that God has no potential and is fully actualised. (very good here)
    So, Anselm has established (2) and therefore, the fool (who hath said in his heart, ‘there is no God’) can understand the phrase, ‘a being than which nothing greater can be conceived’.
    In defending (3), for Anselm, the concept of, ‘that than which nothing greater can be thought’, now exists in the fools understanding. Anselm says: ‘But whatever is understood exists in the understanding, just as the plan of a painting he has yet to execute already exists in the understanding of the painter’. Anselm is saying that a painter has a mental image of the full painting he is going to produce, before having painted it and thus, before it exists in reality.
    However, Anselm then says that a being that exists in reality is greater than a being that exists just in the mind. Therefore, it is not possible to have a being ‘that than which nothing greater can be thought’ and to have it not exist because a being that actually exists is greater than one that does not exist, (good maybe be a bit conciser with explanation) Here, Anselm accuses the fool of contradiction as the fool claims to conceive a being greater than no other can be conceived, but, since the fool holds that the being exists only in his mind and not in reality, the fool must admit that something greater can be conceived. He cannot maintain that such a being exists in his mind and not in reality. From the fact that he cannot deny its existence in his mind, he must concede that a being ‘than which nothing greater can be thought’ exists in reality. Having shown the plausibility of (2) and (3), (4) follows necessarily.
    An analytic statement is a statement in which the concept of the predicate is contained in the concept of the subject. Therefore, we can see, ‘God exists’, is an analytic statement. For Anselm, the claim, ‘God does not exist’, is a logical contradiction because ‘God exists’ is a logically necessary existential proposition. That is to say, God, a being ‘that than which nothing greater can be thought’ exists in all possible worlds. This means that there is no possible description of reality which does not include the statement ‘God exists’ as part of its description. So, to say God does not exist, is a logical contradiction- it is logically impossible(you could make this clearer by just saying that it would be fallacious) Analytic propositions such as, ‘There are no married bachelors’ and, for Anselm, ‘God exists’, can be verified a priori. So, is the claim, ‘there are no married bachelors’, true or false? As the definition of bachelor is ‘an unmarried man’, the claim is essentially, ‘there are no married unmarried men’, which is logically impossible, the claim must be false. We can say that since there is no possible world in which there are any married bachelors, there is also no possible world where, ‘there are no married bachelors’ is true. The claim is necessarily false. (Just as the claim that TTWNGCBC is neccesarily false)

    Anselm’s second form of the argument is:
    1) God is that than which nothing greater can be thought.
    2) Necessary existence is greater than contingent existence.
    3) Conclusion: Therefore, God exists necessarily.
    Contingent beings are those which come into and out of existence, and which depend on other things for existence. For example, human beings exist contingently as they are brought into existence during conception and go out of existence when they die and they depend on food, water and oxygen, among other things, to stay alive. Necessary being are those which exist by a necessity of their own nature. Many mathematicians think that numbers, sets and other mathematical entities exist in this way. They are not caused to exist by something else. They did not begin to exist and do not cease to exist, they are eternal. Anselm held that things that exist contingently are inferior to things with necessary existence.
    To better understand Anselm’s argument, it is important to understand the meaning of metaphysically possible and necessary.
    To say X is metaphysically possible is to say X is true in some metaphysically possible world. For example: It is metaphysically possible that some physical particle moves faster than the speed of light, even though it may not be physically possible in the actual world. This is because there is a possible world where the laws of nature could have been different.(this explanation is a little long-winded, you need only have one small paragraph explaining the concept of necessary beings)(then another on how Anselm applies it- it is unlikely you will have enough time for anymore in the exam)
    To say X is metaphysically necessary is to say X is true in all metaphysically possible worlds. For example: It is metaphysically necessary that Queen Elizabeth is a human. It is also a metaphysical necessity that a man cannot be in two places at once. The distinction between metaphysical necessity and logical necessity is that the former involves no contradiction in terms. There is no contradiction in the proposition, ‘a man is in two places at once’, there is no relation between ‘man’ and, ‘two places at once’, however, we can see, it is metaphysically impossible. Metaphysical possibility has to do with what is actualisable and realizable. Although, a statement may not involve a logical contradiction in the strict sense, it may still an actualisable state of affairs. Here, Anselm is claiming that God is metaphysically necessary, meaning that it is impossible that He fail to exist (again, although this is great, a little unnecessary- just try and be conciser.)
    So, given Anselm’s ontological argument is it logically possible God does not exist? Well, given Anselm’s first formulation of the argument, it is a logical necessity for God to exist, as to be ‘that than which nothing greater can be conceived’ is to exist.(you won't get marks for this evaluation, though it does help to explain, the exam board won't recognise it, save this analysis for the part (b) question)
    However, even if we do not hold that by definition God must exist, given the second formulation of the ontological argument, we can see this does not matter. Although, given this second argument, there is no strict logical contradiction in the statement, ‘God does not exist’, it is however an unactualisable state of affairs. So given Anselm’s ontological argument, it can be said that God is both logically necessary and metaphysically necessary. There is no logically possible world where God does not exist and there is no metaphysically possible world where God does not exist.(You really don't need to'step out' of the argument in the conclusion, just try and sum up what Anselm said)
    Hey there,
    I got 100% UMS in philosophy last year and LOVE the ontological argument. You're right, the part (a) question doesn't require any criticisms at all. Part (b) is where you get all the AO2 marks for analysis, this is when you would bring in critics.

    In terms of your essay I think you are on the right track I have just a few suggestions. (I have edited the quote above in red).

    To give you a better idea I have copied and pasted the introduction and conclusion of the same essay I did last year (and got full marks on).-

    MY INTRODUCTION- Anselm’s ontological argument was formed in order to give people of Faith a logical reason to believe in God’s existence. The argument was not intended to convert people to religion, but to reaffirm and provide answers to those who already have belief in God. The argument is analytical and deductive as Anselm draws on our reason to confirm the necessary existence of God, leaving followers of the argument with no logical means to doubt God’s existence.
    MY CONCLUSION- To conclude, Anselm's ontological argument is a deductive argument made up of two parts that help explain God's necessary existence. The argument relies on Anselm's definition of God- 'That than which nothing greater can be conceived' and the premise that existence in reality is 'greater' than existence in the mind alone. According to Anselm, once one has accepted his definition of God, we cannot possibly doubt God's existence as it has been proved to be necessary.
    Wow, sorry for that long winded reply. Good luck in your exams, I really hope this helped

    Let me know if I can help you with anything else in RS.
    Robyn
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    (Original post by RemusSnupin)
    Hey there,
    I got 100% UMS in philosophy last year and LOVE the ontological argument. You're right, the part (a) question doesn't require any criticisms at all. Part (b) is where you get all the AO2 marks for analysis, this is when you would bring in critics.

    In terms of your essay I think you are on the right track I have just a few suggestions. (I have edited the quote above in red).

    To give you a better idea I have copied and pasted the introduction and conclusion of the same essay I did last year (and got full marks on).-

    MY INTRODUCTION- Anselm’s ontological argument was formed in order to give people of Faith a logical reason to believe in God’s existence. The argument was not intended to convert people to religion, but to reaffirm and provide answers to those who already have belief in God. The argument is analytical and deductive as Anselm draws on our reason to confirm the necessary existence of God, leaving followers of the argument with no logical means to doubt God’s existence.
    MY CONCLUSION- To conclude, Anselm's ontological argument is a deductive argument made up of two parts that help explain God's necessary existence. The argument relies on Anselm's definition of God- 'That than which nothing greater can be conceived' and the premise that existence in reality is 'greater' than existence in the mind alone. According to Anselm, once one has accepted his definition of God, we cannot possibly doubt God's existence as it has been proved to be necessary.
    Wow, sorry for that long winded reply. Good luck in your exams, I really hope this helped

    Let me know if I can help you with anything else in RS.
    Robyn
    Thanks a lot Robyn that has really helped and it is great to know you did so well in your exams. I really haven't had much guidance on how to write these essays from my school. How long would you say part a) and part b) should be? Like, how many sides of A4 lined paper given someone with average sized writing. I sometimes find myself writing more in part b) than part a) which is not a good thing. Thank you.
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    (Original post by Sylosis)
    Thanks a lot Robyn that has really helped and it is great to know you did so well in your exams. I really haven't had much guidance on how to write these essays from my school. How long would you say part a) and part b) should be? Like, how many sides of A4 lined paper given someone with average sized writing. I sometimes find myself writing more in part b) than part a) which is not a good thing. Thank you.
    You're welcome! Ugh, I'm sorry your teacher's aren't very helpful. I would say the most I ever wrote for part (a) was four sides but I would usually aim for three sides. For part (b) I would aim for one and a half to two pages. I hope that helps.
    Haha, that just means you'll be good at A2- they ask for a lot more analysis
    Good Luck,
    Robyn
 
 
 
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