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The existence of God can be proved a priori by a

logical deduction from the concept of God, when we

think about the idea of God we realise that real

existence is an essential part of how we conceive the

idea of God. God therefore necessarily exists so that

it is impossible for him to not exist.

I belive to be necessary to examine Anselm’s version

of the ontological argument, in order to answer the

above question, namely whether God’s existence can be

proved a priori.

Anselm states that a non believing fool (in the Psalms)

can coceive the idea that God is ‘a being than which

none greater can be thought’ because he understands it.

Anselm further adds that if this idea could exist not

only in his undestanding but also in reality then that

would be greater. Futhermore we cannot conceive of God

as not existing, becasue that would be less greater

than a being which necessarily exists. In addition to

this anselm states that God cannot be thought of as

non-existent because we cannot conceive of him a

beginning or an end.

Gaunilo however criticises and objects to Anselms

argument that the existece of God can be proved a

priori. He states that he can conceive the existence

of a ‘wonderful lost island’, which is perfect, just

by thinking about the idea.

However Anselms counter objects to Gaunilo’s argument

by saying that only the idea of god can be thought of

as necessarily existing because it is unique.

Aquinas makes his views known, and I believe it would

be beneficial to identify them because they are

relevant to the question. Aquinas states the God’s

existence may indeed be self-evident, but it is not

self-evident to us because we do not understand the

essence of God. Furthermore we (man) may self-evidently

desire happiness, and God may be man’s happiness but

we dont desire God through ignorance. Finally saying

that fools like the one Anselm describes deny the first

premise that there is ‘a being then which none greater

can be thought’

Hume however states that we can clearly conceive the

non-existence of any existent thing, and therefore

non-existence is never a contradiction. Thus Hume

voices the normal empiricist view, that logic could

never prove the existence of anything.

However the most potent criticisms come from Kant, who

i believe ‘demolishes’ the claim that the existence of

God can be proved a proiri by a logical deduction.

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