Millican on the Ontological Argument

Mind 116 (464):1027-1040 (2007)
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Peter Millican (2004) provides a novel and elaborate objection to Anselm's ontological argument. Millican thinks that his objection is more powerful than any other because it does not dispute contentious 'deep philosophical theories' that underlie the argument. Instead, it tries to reveal the 'fatal flaw' of the argument by considering its 'shallow logical details'. Millican's objection is based on his interpretation of the argument, according to which Anselm relies on what I call the 'principle of the superiority of existence' (PSE). I argue that (i) the textual evidence Millican cites does not provide a convincing case that Anselm relies on PSE and that, moreover, (ii) Anselm does not even need PSE for the ontological argument. I introduce a plausible interpretation of the ontological argument that is not vulnerable to Millican's objection and conclude that even if the ontological argument fails, it does not fail in the way Millican thinks it does



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Yujin Nagasawa
University of Oklahoma

References found in this work

Arguing About Gods.Graham Robert Oppy - 2006 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Anselm's ontological arguments.Norman Malcolm - 1960 - Philosophical Review 69 (1):41-62.
Ontological Arguments and Belief in God.Graham Oppy - 1995 - Philosophy 72 (281):476-478.
The Ontological Disproof of the Devil.C. K. Grant - 1956 - Analysis 17 (3):71 - 72.

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