The Ontological Argument Revisited: A Reply to Rowe

Forum Philosophicum: International Journal for Philosophy 15 (1):37 - 44 (2010)
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Abstract

Saint Anselm’s ontological argument is perhaps the most intriguing of all the traditional speculative proofs for the existence of God. Yet, his argument has been rejected outright by many philosophers. Most challenges stem from the basic conviction that no amount of logical analysis of a concept that is limited to the bounds of the "understanding" will ever be able to "reason" the existence in "reality" of any thing answering such a limited concept. However, it is not the intent of this paper to prove or disprove Anselm’s argument. Rather, in this paper we concern ourselves with arriving at a sound interpretation of Anselm’s leading critic -- Immanuel Kant. Kant put forth perhaps the most vaunted criticism of Anselm’s argument. However, Kant has been perhaps the most misunderstood objector to Anselm’s argument. This paper confirms that charge, simultaneously offering what I believe to be a sound interpretation of Kant’s criticism.

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Eric Wilson
Georgia State University

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