By David Hume, Eric Steinberg, J. B. Schneewind
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Hume took the argument quite seriously (Hartshorne 1965, 5, 125; Plantinga 1965, 65–67). Consider the remarkable concession Hume seems to have made in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (especially Part IX) to the effect that 26 Rethinking the Ontological Argument if the ontological argument happened to be sound, then we could dispose of the antitheistic argument based on the obvious evils in the world. This argument is often stated in a priori terms: if God has the classical theistic attribute of omnipotence, then the presence of evil in the world would disconﬁrm the existence of such a God in that an omnipotent God could eliminate evil.
Getting Things Right” Process metaphysicians have successfully reached an accommodation with Darwin, Rorty thinks, but this accomplishment is not as signiﬁcant as it seems initially. All they have done, on his interpretation, is to present in temporalized language the old Platonic distinctions, especially that between “the rational pursuit of the truth by the wise and the ﬂux of passion characteristic of the many” (Rorty 1995, 200). Or again, despite the process criticisms of Aristotle already noted, process thinkers keep alive the Aristotelian notion of the identity of subject and object.
The ontological argument was therefore central to Descartes’ development as a dialectician (contra Oppy). Further evidence of this development is found in the fact that, whereas the ontological argument comes late in the Meditations and has a rather minor role there, it is pivotal in the later Principles of Philosophy. Ironically, given the quotation I have given from Collins regarding divine dynamism, we will see that the prime defect in Descartes’ treatment of the ontological argument is his unquestioned assumption that the 22 Rethinking the Ontological Argument divine, necessary existent has without qualiﬁcation the classical theistic property of immutability (Collins 1954, 164; Hartshorne 1965, 8, 36, 164–173).