Essay plan – explain Anselm’s ontological argument

OCR Part a – Explain Anselm’s Ontological Argument (25)

Part b – “Gaunilo’s challenge undermines Anselm.” Discuss


  • What is the context of Anselm’s ontological argument?
  • What is the question asking you to do?
  • What fields of knowledge are you going to explore?

Main body

1. Analytic and synthetic knowledge

  • What is meant by analytic? Give examples of analytic knowledge
  • What is meant by synthetic? Give examples of synthetic knowledge
  • What is the strength and weakness of each type?

2. Version 1 – in the Proslogion

  • Psalm 14: What does it discuss?
  • The Fool: What makes him a fool according to Anselm?
  • TTWNGCBC: What is Anselm’s definition of God? How does he arrive at it?
  • Greatness: Existing in the mind alone or reality and the mind.
  • Conclusion: The Ontological Argument 1.
  • Denial: Why Anselm says it’s foolish to deny it.
  • Painter: Anselm’s example of the painter and the painting existing in the mind and then in reality.

3. Version 2 – Anselm’s Apologetic to Gaunilo

  • TTWNGCBC: The importance of that definition and the challenge presented by Gaunilo.
  • Contingent: What is meant by contingent things?
  • Necessary: What is meant by necessary things?
  • Greatness: How is God necessary by definition?
  • Conclusion: The Ontological Argument 2.

(b) Gaunilo’s challenge undermines Anselm (10)


  • What is the context of Gaunilo’s challenge?
  • What is the question asking you to do?
  • What fields of knowledge are you going to explore?

Main body

  • Agreeing with statement/Disagreeing with statement.
  • Why Gaunilo is right.
  • Why Gaunilo is wrong.
  • Who supports Gaunilo? eg Hume, Kant.
  • Who challenges Gaunilo/agrees with Anselm? eg Norman, Plantinga etc.


  • Summarising what you have said and drawing your own conclusion.








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