Philosophical Perspectives 5:509-529 (1991)

Authors
Paul Edward Oppenheimer
Stanford University
Edward Zalta
Stanford University
Abstract
In this paper, the authors show that there is a reading of St. Anselm's ontological argument in Proslogium II that is logically valid (the premises entail the conclusion). This reading takes Anselm's use of the definite description "that than which nothing greater can be conceived" seriously. Consider a first-order language and logic in which definite descriptions are genuine terms, and in which the quantified sentence "there is an x such that..." does not imply "x exists". Then, using an ordinary logic of descriptions and a connected greater-than relation, God's existence logically follows from the claims: (a) there is a conceivable thing than which nothing greater is conceivable, and (b) if <em>x</em> doesn't exist, something greater than x can be conceived. To deny the conclusion, one must deny one of the premises. However, the argument involves no modal inferences and, interestingly, Descartes' ontological argument can be derived from it.
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DOI 10.2307/2214107
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References found in this work BETA

On Denoting.Bertrand Russell - 2005 - Mind 114 (456):873 - 887.
On Denoting.Bertrand Russell - 1905 - Mind 14 (56):479-493.
Summa Theologica.Thomas Aquinas - 1274 - Hayes Barton Press.
Anselm and Actuality.David K. Lewis - 1970 - Noûs 4 (2):175-188.
Mathematical Logic as Based on the Theory of Types.Bertrand Russell - 1908 - American Journal of Mathematics 30 (3):222-262.

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