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Philosophy of Transcendence: Selected Problems

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Jana Trajtelová

Does God exist? Is it meaningful to speak of the Infinite or the Absolute? What is to be understood by concepts such as soul, spirit, or love? Are religious truths philosophically relevant and philosophically tenable? The reflective critical thinking of philosophy tries to embrace each side of human reality, even the matters and themes which arise out of the religious experience. This auxiliary textbook intends to present several selected topics of the philosophy of religion and it is primarily intended for bachelor students of philosophy.
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2. Philosophical Proofs of the Existence of God

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truth – a priori proof – a posteriori proofs – theology – cumulative proof

Before we more closely introduce the particular forms of proofs throughout the history of thinking, a schematic overview of the types of proofs may help us with basic orientation. The distinction between a priori proofs (derived “without” or given “before” experience) and a posteriori proofs (“from”, “after” experience with the world) is the most general kind of division.

A priori proofs:

–   ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT: the existence of God stems from the existence of a concept or definition (a classic deductive argument); Saint Anselm of Canterbury is a classic representative.

–   NOOLOGICAL PROOF: the existence of God stems from the existence of “inscribed” truth; the main ← 29 | 30 → representative is Saint Augustine (it is also presented as a version of an ontological argument).

A posteriori proofs:

–   COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT: derives the existence of God from the existence of the organized world, cosmos; it refers to the first cause, necessity, source of motion and so forth.

–   TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT: derives the existence of God on the basis of the perfect purposiveness of everything that exists; it refers to “telos”, i.e. aim, objective, reason or purpose.

–   MORAL ARGUMENT: the existence of God is necessary to explain moral experience (the existence of moral norms, conscience); sometimes it is related to the so-called axiological proof (proof based on the existence of a hierarchy of values and degrees of being).

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