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Faith and Philosophy

Volume 33, Issue 1, January 2016

Timothy G. McCarthy
Pages 5-24
DOI: 10.5840/faithphil20163312

Essence and Realization in the Ontological Argument

A persistent complaint about modal forms of the ontological argument is that the characteristic modalized existence assumptions of these arguments are simply too close to the conclusion to be of much probative value in establish­ing it. I present an abstract form of the ontological argument in which the properties imputed to the divine nature by these assumptions are replaced by any of a wide class of properties of a sort I call “actualizing.” These include basic theistic attributes such as authorship, sovereignty and omniscience. The import of these arguments is to show that the metaphysical coherence of some of the most familiar conceptions of the divine nature ensures their actual realization.

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