1851:529, 699; Kant, Critique, 308. The arguments of Descartes and Anselm, with Kant?s reply, are given in their original form by Harris, in Journ. Spec. Philos., 15:420-428. The major premise here is not that all perfect ideas imply the existence of the object which they represent, for then, as Kant objects, I might argue from my perfect idea of a $l00 bill that I actually possessed the same, which would be far from the fact. So I have a perfect idea of a perfectly evil being, of a centaur, of nothing, ? but it does not follow that the evil being, that the centaur, that nothing, exists. The argument is rather from the idea of absolute and perfect Being ? of ?that no greater than which can be conceived.? There can be but one such being and there can be but one such idea.
Yet, even thus understood, we cannot argue from the idea to the actual existence of such a being. Case, Physical Realism, 173 ? ?God is not an idea, and consequently cannot be inferred from mere ideas.? Bowne, Philos. Theism, 43 ? The Ontological Argument ?only points out that the idea of the perfect must include the idea of existence; but there is nothing to show that the self-consistent idea represents an objective reality.? I can imagine the Sea-serpent, the Jinn of the Thousand and One Nights, ?The Anthropophagi, and men whose heads Do grow beneath their shoulders.? The winged horse of Uhland possessed every possible virtue, and only one fault, ? it was dead. If every perfect idea implied the reality of its object, there might be horses with ten legs, and trees with roots in the air.
?Anselm?s argument implies,? says Fisher, in Journ. Christ. Philos., Jan. 1883:114, ?that existence in re is a constituent of the concept. It would conclude the existence of a being from the definition of a word. This inference is justified only on the basis of philosophical realism.? Dove, Logic of the Christ. Faith, 141 ? ?The Ontological Argument is the algebraic formula of the universe, which leads to a valid conclusion with regard to real existence, only when we fill it in with objects with which we become acquainted in the arguments a posteriori.? See also Shedd, Hist. Doct., 1:331, Dogmatic Theology, 1:221-241, and in Presb. Rev., April, 1884:212-227 (favoring the argument); Fisher, Essays, 574; Thompson, Christian Theism, 171; H. B. Smith, Introduction to Christ. Theol., 122; Pfleiderer, Die Religion, 1:181-187; Studien und Kritiken, 1875:611-655.
Dorner, in his Glaubenslehre, 1:197, gives us the best statement of the Ontological Argument: ?Reason thinks of God as existing. Reason would not be reason, if it did not think of God as existing. Reason only is, upon the assumption that God is.? But this is evidently not argument, but only vivid statement of the necessary assumption of the existence of an absolute Reason, which conditions and gives validity to ours.
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