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An Outline of Anselm’s Ontological Argument

The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." (Ps.14:1)

This must be greater than something whose non-existence can be conceived. So, if this thing (than which no greater can be conceived) can be conceived as not existing, then, that very thing than which a greater thing cannot be conceived is not that than which a greater thing cannot be thought. This is a contradiction. So it is true that there exists something than which nothing greater can be conceived, that it cannot be conceived as not existing.

  1. If one can think of the fool's god, then one can think of Anselm's God. [Both the fool's god and Anselm's God can be said to exist in the intellect].
  2. If one can think of Anselm's God then the fool's god is no God because it doesn't satisfy the definition of God [Any God worthy of the name cannot be conceived as not existing. Therefore the god of the fool never was].
  3. Only Anselm's God can satisfy the definition of God.
  4. Only God can exist in reality and in the intellect [i.e., God belongs to a class of one, of things which if he is in the intellect he must also be in reality] .
  5. Therefore God, being what he is must exist not only in the intellect but outside it as well.
  6. Therefore God is.