Eastern Critique of Anselm’s Ontological Argument

The Soul of the East

By: Jay Dyer

(c) copyright

The ontological argument of Anselm of Canterbury has long since captivated the minds of many philosophers and apologists. Not long after Anselm published his Proslogion, his devotional apologetic was criticized by Gaunilo, yet Anselm’s argument was taken up by many of the West’s most prominent thinkers, such as Descartes and Leibniz, both giving their own versions. One of the strongest arguments against Anselm would be Immanuel Kant’s, who centered his objection around the notion that “being” is not a predicate.1 The purpose of this paper will be to analyze other problems, particularly theological, metaphysical and epistemological problems in the classical Anselmian formulation.

Anselm’s argument simply stated is as follows:

And certainly this being so truly exists that it cannot even be thought not to exist. For something can be thought to exist that cannot be thought not to exist, and this is greater than that…

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