Here’s the argument reduced to its basic elements: Notice that Malcolm’s version of the argument does not turn on the claim that necessary existence is a great-making property. Rather, as we saw above, Malcolm attempts to argue that there are only two possibilities with respect to the existence of an unlimited being: either it is necessary or it is impossible. But this contradicts the assumption that B is a being that instantiates all the perfections. PL4* If “A maximally great being exists” is possible, then it is necessarily true that “A maximally great being exists” is possible. Broad puts this important point: [The notion of a greatest possible being imaginable assumes that] each positive property is to be present in the highest possible degree. The problem with this criticism is that the ontological argument can be restated without defining God. Thus, if God exists in the mind as an idea, then God necessarily exists in reality. Since existence isn’t a logical predicate, it doesn’t belong to the concept of God; it rather affirms that the existence of something that satisfies the predicates defining the concept of God. A very similar argument can be given for the claim that an unlimited being exists in every logically possible world if it exists in some possible world W; the details are left for the interested reader. Norman Malcolm expresses the argument as follows: The doctrine that existence is a perfection is remarkably queer. As before, the argument includes a premise asserting that God is a being than which a greater cannot be conceived. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. But even if we concede that existence is a property, it does not seem to be the sort of property that makes something better for having it. The Ontological Argument(From Proslogium 2) 1. As is readily evident, each version of the ontological argument rests on the assumption that the concept of God, as it is described in the argument, is self-consistent. One influential attempts to ground the ontological argument in the notion of God as an unlimited being. He is best known for the celebrated “ontological argument” for the existence of God in the Proslogion, but his contributions to philosophical theology (and indeed to philosophy more generally) go well beyond the ontological argument. To defend this further claim, one needs to give an argument that the notion of a contingent eternal being is self-contradictory. Thus, a being that is omniscient lacks the ability to create free beings and is hence not omnipotent. As Malcolm describes this idea: God is usually conceived of as an unlimited being. ), Sennett, James F., “Universe Indexed Properties and the Fate of the Ontological Argument,”. But suppose that he went on to say, as if by a logical inference: “You can no longer doubt that this island which is more excellent than all lands exists somewhere, since you have no doubt that it is in your understanding. “Whoever understands this properly, understands that this being exists in such a way that he cannot, even in thought, fail to exist” (Anselm). Perhaps the most influential of contemporary modal arguments is Plantinga’s version. As Kant puts the point: Being is evidently not a real predicate, that is, a conception of something which is added to the conception of some other thing. Now suppose, per reductio, an unlimited being exists in some other world W’. The first, expressed by Premise 2, is that we have a coherent idea of a being that instantiates all of the perfections. And notice that his argument does not turn in any way on characterizing the property necessary existence as making something that instantiates that property better than it would be without it.