Anselm’s Ontological Argument and Gaunilo’s Objection
Anselm basically relies on five concepts to prove his Ontological Argument that God exists both in terms of human understanding as well as in reality. His first argument is based on the theory that the word ‘God’ connotes to a theory of Supreme Power and humans cannot conceive of any force more powerful than God. His second argument, based on the definition of ‘God’ which, he postulates, itself corroborates the fact that God exists in the understanding of all humans. The third argument is founded on the theory that God exists not merely in the understanding because if it were so, a human would have perceived some other force that is more or equally powerful. Thus, he argues, that in the absence of any such power, God’s existence becomes a reality. In the fourth argument, he again reverts to the definition of ‘God’ stating that by this definition itself, it is impossible for humans to perceive any power that is greater than God. His fifth argument reiterates the theories in the third argument and claims that since God exists not merely in understanding, but in reality also, and therefore God’s existence stands proven.
A step-by-step analysis of Anselm’s Ontological Argument will reveal that it is well-founded and based on solid logic. Initially, he points to the definition of God and explains convincingly that the definition gives the notion of a great power that everybody recognizes, and then he goes on to establish that such a power exists not simply in our understanding but also as a reality. His concept is based on the simple logic that if God were not a reality some other power would have emerged. In conclusion, Anselm’s postulation that God exists can be inferred as a logical argument based on the definition of the concept of God, his presence both in our understanding and as a reality.
Guanilo confronts Anselm’s argument by alleging a parallel between the definition of God and the definition of the Island. Through his ‘Guanilo’s Island Objection’ he claims that if one deploys similar reasoning, one can prove the existence of the island. It can easily be seen that this argument does not contain any sound logic as the definition of the island cannot hold the vast and deep meaning as that of God. Similarly, no one will likely develop an understanding of the islands, and thereby its existence as reality is questionable. Guanilo also cannot prove that a greater island does not exist. Thus in terms of lack of any evidence, either by way of definition, under-standing, or being a reality, ‘Guanilo’s Island Objection’ and the opposition is not a valid rebuttal to Anselm’s Ontological Argument regarding the existence of God.