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Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal

Volume 1, April 2008

John Woodlee
Pages 8-14

Descriptions of God
A Critique of Anselm’s Ontological Argument

This paper uses the lessons gathered from a brief consideration of the workings of substantive descriptive phrases to develop two objections to Anselm’s ontological proof of God’s existence. First, one’s understanding of the definition of God does not, as Anselm claims, guarantee that God exists in one’s understanding. Second, the proof depends on a flawed interpretation of the denial of God’s existence. The paper concludes by discussing the broader significance of this second objection.