Assessing Ontological Arguments

William J. Wainwright

Abstract

Part I argues that ontological arguments, like other classical proofs of the existence of God, are parts of larger arguments in which they are embedded. These larger arguments include reasons supporting the proofs’ premises and responses to them, and to the proofs’ claims to validity and non-circularity, since, in the final analysis, our assessment of the proofs will express our best judgment of the cumulative force of all the considerations bearing on their overall adequacy. Part II illustrates these points by examining contemporary defences of, and attacks on, one of the ontological argument’s central premises, namely, that God’s existence is logically possible.

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