I dislike the ontological argument greatly.
The ontological argument (OA) is, in my opinion, such an example of philosophical obscurantism and wish-fulfillment that I'm actually embarrassed for the famous, historical philosophers who (apparently) took it seriously.
Here are two examples of OAs:
1. Whatever I clearly and distinctly perceive to be contained in the idea of something is true of that thing.
2. I clearly and distinctly perceive that necessary existence is contained in the idea of God.
3. Therefore, God exists.
His argument basically says, "Whatever I define is true. I define that God necessarily exists. Therefore, God exists."
That's a FAIL. Do I need to explain why?
Saint Anselm's OA (paraphrase)
1. God is a being that which none greater can be imagined.
2. Existing in reality is better than to only exist in understanding.
3. If God exists only in understanding, He would be less great than one which exists in reality.
4. Since God is the greatest being, therefore God must exist in reality.
Again, I cringe. Kant pointed out that existence is not a trait, and a imaginary tree that is imagined to be identical to an actual tree is not less "great". Even if it were, Kant pointed out, the entire argument is premised on the definition again; if you reject the entire concept then the definition doesn't really matter. As an example, I define a shape called a "Squircle": squircles are square circles. It doesn't matter that I define Squircles to be so... they don't exist.
Here's what I consider to be an even better example of why the ontological argument is stupid.
1. A "Flarn" is an actual creature that is 100% dog and 100% human.
2. If Flarns were not wholly dogs, then they would not be 100% dog.
3. If Flarns were not wholly human, then they would not be 100% human.
4. If Flarns did not exist, they would not be an actual creature.
5. Therefore, Flarns exist and are 100% dog and 100% human.
As you can see, Flarns help themselves to several necessary properties. Apparently, that's okay when you're making an OA.
Is anyone else embarrassed by Ontological Arguments, too?
What do you think?
Do you know of an ontological argument form that you think is good?
Do you disagree with me and think either of the arguments presented above work?
Is philosophy a helpmate to religion or do you think they are incompatible?