Essence and Realization in the Ontological Argument

Timothy G. McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


A persistent complaint about modal forms of the ontological argument is that the characteristic modalized existence assumptions of these arguments are simply too close to the conclusion to be of much probative value in establishing it. I present an abstract form of the ontological argument in which the properties imputed to the divine nature by these assumptions are replaced by any of a wide class of properties of a sort I call "actualizing." These include basic theistic attributes such as authorship, sovereignty and omniscience. The import of these arguments is to show that the metaphysical coherence of some of the most familiar conceptions of the divine nature ensures their actual realization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-24
Number of pages20
JournalFaith and Philosophy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies
  • Philosophy


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