This argument is unique in that it deduces the existence of God from the very definition of God; it makes a
conceptual claim of God and draws the logical conclusion that God does exist.
Formulated by St. Anselm, archbishop of Cantebury (1033-1109), the argument goes as follows:
- By definition, God is a being than which none greater can be imagined.
- A being that necessarily exists in reality is greater than a being that does not necessarily exist.
- Thus, by definition, if God exists as an idea in the mind but does not necessarily exist in reality, then
we can imagine something that is greater than God.
- But we cannot imagine something that is greater than God.
- Thus, if God exists in the mind as an idea, then God necessarily exists in reality.
- God exists in the mind as an idea.
- Therefore, God necessarily exists in reality.
1. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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