Last Updated 10 Mar 2020

Kant & ontological proof

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Essay type Research
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The basic principles of ontology are argument for existence of God as a predicate and argument for God’s existence as a necessary existence. The first leg of the argument states: God is the greatest and most perfect being that can be conceived. Existence in imagination and reality is greater than existence in imagination only. Therefore, God really exists. The second leg of the argument is that: God is the entity than which nothing greater can be conceived. It is greater to be necessary than not. God must be necessary. God necessarily exists.

Kant’s objection to conceived God as proof of his actual existence is premised on the ability of everything that is said to exist to have some features or characteristics attributable to them. He argued that existence is not a property or the constituent of a thing. Anything that has the property of being non-existent cannot possibly have any other property. David Hume’s objection is that nothing can be proved a priori. Proving a priori is through an opposite contradiction. The resultant contradiction makes something inconceivable. Nothing can be proven a priori, since it is impossible to comprehend anything not existing.

Norman Malcolm, in defending the idea of God, maintains that while it may be true that existence of God as a predicate for his reality may be unsustainable, he calls attention to another twist of the argument, which is necessary existence. He argues that where the idea of God, greater than which nothing can be conceived, is possible, it is therefore logically consistent that He necessarily exists. I agree with Malcolm. God must necessarily exist so that the existence of other beings can be traced to Him, who in himself is self existent.

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1. Malcolm Norman (Prentice Hall, 1963), Knowledge and Certainty: Essays and Lectures (Englewood Cliffs, N.).

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