Michael Wiitala
Cleveland State University
Saint Anselm’s ontological argument is usually interpreted either (1) as an attempt to deductively prove God’s existence or (2) as a form of prayer, which is not intended to “prove” God’s existence, but rather to deepen the devotion of those who already believe. In this paper I attempt to find a mean between these two interpretations, showing that while Anselm’s argument is not a deductive proof, it is nevertheless a proof of God’s existence. I argue that Anselm’s ontological argument is analogous to Aristotle’s to elegktikōs apodeixai (retorsive argument) for the truth of the principle of non-contradiction in Metaphysics IV: an argument that does not move from premises to conclusion, but rather demonstrates the truth of its conclusion by showing that its conclusion is always presupposed. I argue that interpreting Anselm’s ontological argument in this way exempts it from the most common objections against it.
Keywords Anselm  Ontological Argument  God's Existence
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.5840/acpaproc20128611
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 63,319
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
53 ( #200,740 of 2,448,685 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #142,635 of 2,448,685 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes