Eric WilsonCorresponding author

The Ontological Argument Revisited: A Reply to Rowe

15/1 - Spring 2010, pages 37-44
Date of online publication: 15 June 2010
Date of publication: 01 June 2010


Saint Anselm’s Ontological Argument is perhaps the most intriguing of all the traditional speculative proofs for the existence of God. Yet, his argument has been rejected outright by many philosophers. Most challenges stem from the basic conviction that no amount of logical analysis of a concept that is limited to the bounds of the “understanding” will ever be able to “reason” the existence in “reality” of anything answering such a limited concept. However, it is not the intent of this paper to prove or disprove Anselm’s argument. Rather, in this paper we concern ourselves with arriving at a sound interpretation of Anselm’s leading critic—Immanuel Kant. Kant put forth perhaps the most vaunted criticism of Anselm’s argument. However, Kant has been perhaps the most misunderstood objector to Anselm’s argument. This paper confirms that charge, simultaneously offering what I believe to be a sound interpretation of Kant’s criticism.


Cite this article

Wilson, Eric. “The Ontological Argument Revisited: A Reply to Rowe.” Forum Philosophicum 15, no. 1 (2010): 37–44. doi:10.35765/forphil.2010.1501.03.


Anselm of Canterbury. St. Anselm: Basic Writings. Translated by Sidney Norton Deane. La Salle, IL: Open Court, 1961.

Kant, Immanuel. Critique of pure reason. Translated by Werner S. Pluhar, Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 1996.

Rowe, William L. Philosophy of Religion: An Introduction. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2007.