2. Philosophical Proofs of the Existence of God
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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