Varieties of Ontological Argument

Howard Robinson

Abstract

I consider what I hope are increasingly sophisticated versions of ontological argument, beginning from simple definitional forms, through three versions to be found in Anselm, with their recent interpretations by Malcolm, Plantinga, Klima and Lowe. I try to show why none of these work by investigating both the different senses of necessary existence and the conditions under which logically necessary existence can be brought to bear. Although none of these arguments work, I think that they lead to interesting reflections on the nature of definition, on the conditions for possessing the property of necessary existence and point towards a different, neo-Platonic ground for God’s meeting the criteria for being logically necessary.

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