St Anselm's Ontological Argument
For the final paper, you should choose one reading that we have gone over during the course, and either argue for or against the main thesis in that reading. For example, you might argue for or against Mill’s theory of utilitarianism, Anselm’s ontological argument, Descartes’s argument for dualism, and so forth. I AM ARGUING FOR THE MAIN THESIS!
Your paper should have the following structure:
1)Introduction: Explain what your paper will attempt to argue, and what your conclusion is. Explain the thesis you will be discussing and how the philosopher in question defends it.
2) Exposition: Explain the viewpoint of the philosopher you are discussing so that someone who had not read the material before would be able to have a clear sense of what they said, why it matters, and why they believed as they did.
3) Argument: Present your main argument for or against the thesis in question. It can help if you break the argument down into premise/conclusin format athough this is not essential.
3b) Objection: Present what you think the most serious objection to your main argument is. Present it clearly and explain how someone who holds the opposite conclusion from your own might argue.
3c) Rebuttal: Present your response to the objection, explaining why it fails and why your initial argument stands.
4) Conclusion: Present your conclusion, and explain clearly why the reader should accept it.
If you want to send me rough drafts of your paper, you may do so and I will return them to you with comments and suggestions.
Anselm’s Ontological Argument; 9
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In the case of Anselm’s ontological argument, the hypothesis treated in this way is the hypothesis that God does not exist. Anselm’s argument rests upon the conception of God as “that than which no greater can be conceived”. It is this conception of God with which the hypothesis that God does not exist is supposed to conflict.
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Finally, there has been some activity in journals. The mostsignificant of these pieces is Millican 2004, the first article onontological arguments in recent memory to appear inMind. Millican argues for a novel interpretation of Anselm’sargument, and for a new critique of ontological arguments derivingfrom this interpretation. Needless to say, both the interpretation andthe critique are controversial, but they are also worthy ofattention. Among other journal articles, perhaps the most interestingare Pruss 2010, which provides a novel defence of the key possibilitypremise in modal ontological arguments, and Pruss 2009, whichkick-started recent discussion of higher-order ontologicalarguments. There is also a chain of papers in Analysisinitiated by Matthews and Baker (2010)