Date of Award

Spring 1999

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




The ontological proof is the argument for the existence of God in which we begin with our idea of God and, from this, argue for God's reality. There are two reasons this argument is important in Hegel's works. First, Hegel holds that of all of the arguments for the existence of God, the ontological proof alone is the true one, capable of attaining the speculative perspective in which thought and Being are recognized as united. Second, the ontological proof encapsulates the self-expressive movement of God, in which God articulates himself and then comes to know himself in this expression, which dominates Hegel's divine ontology. Given its importance in Hegel's thought, it is not surprising that Hegel addresses the ontological proof, both the formulations presented by his predecessors and his own articulation of the proof, in many of his works. In this chapter, we shall briefly look at Anselm's version of the argument. We shall then discuss Kant's influential critique of the ontological proof as it has been presented in the history of philosophy. Next, we shall examine Hegel's rejection of Kant's criticism of the ontological argument. Finally, we shall investigate Hegel's criticisms of the ontological proof, which will prepare us for a discussion of Hegel's own version of the proof...



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