St. Anselm's Ontological Argument as Expressive: A Wittgensteinian Reconstruction

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Abstract

We offer a reading of Anselm's Ontological Argument inspired by Wittgenstein which focuses on the fact that the “argument” occurs in a prayer addressed to God, making it a strange argument since as a prayer it seems to presuppose its conclusion. We reconstruct the argument as expressive. Within the religious perspective, the issues are to be focused on the right object not to present an argument for the existence of God. While this sort of reading lets us understand much about the argument, it also opens new avenues of criticism, one of which is the problem of worship.

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