The ontological argument is the name of an idea in religious philosophy.
There are different versions, but they all seem to use a form of argument, such as: because we can imagine a perfect being, therefore there must be a god. The earliest objection was that one could use that sort of reasoning to prove anything. Other versions start with a notion of the universe, and from that argue that there must be a god.
Technically, the argument is a kind of a priori reasoning. That means deductions from reasoning without any actual investigations. David Hume was the enemy of that kind of thinking. He believed that knowledge was got from experience, and the rest is "nothing but sophistry and illusion".
References[change | change source]
- Anselm of Canterbury in the 11th century, according to Miroslaw Szatkowski (ed) 2012. Ontological proofs today. Ontos Verlag, p22.
- Hume, David 1777 . An enquiry concerning human understanding. London: A. Millar, p166.