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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: July 2009

6 - Rival Concepts of God and the Ontological Argument: Thomas Morris, Katherin Rogers, and Alvin Plantinga

Summary

In this final chapter of the book I would like to examine three analytic philosophers who are favorably disposed toward the ontological argument: Thomas Morris, Katherin Rogers, and Alvin Plantinga. But these thinkers defend Anselmian reasoning both in terms of Anselm's argument for the existence of God and in terms of Anselm's problematic concept of God. I will indicate why the neoclassical concept of God not only is superior to Anselm's classical concept, but also facilitates a defense of the ontological argument. That is, I will argue that the defenses of the ontological argument by Morris, Rogers, and Plantinga are not likely to withstand certain criticisms from the likes of Rorty, Taylor, and Oppy.

Morris's Anselmian Explorations and Rogers' Perfect Being Theology

Morris commends the efforts of neoclassical theists to apply philosophical reasoning to religious belief, efforts that counteract the enormous influence of Kantian fideism over the last two centuries. He locates two points at which neoclassical theists make genuine progress. First, they are right, he thinks, to call into question the classical theistic metaphysics that is based on static categories (e.g., being rather than becoming, substance rather than event, etc.) that are at odds with the dynamic tenor of the biblical God. And second, these static categories make it difficult to render theistic belief consistent with the dynamism of concepts in contemporary biology, physics, and other sciences (Morris 1987, 124-126).