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V—On Behalf of the Devil: A Parody of Anselm Revisited

Timothy Chambers
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0066-7372.2003.00005.x 93-113 First published online: 1 June 2000

Abstract

This paper treats a question which first arose in these Proceedings: Can Anselm's ontological argument be inverted so as to yield parallel proofs for the existence (or non-existence) of a least (or worst) conceivable being? Such ‘devil parodies’ strike some commentators as innocuous curiosities, or redundant challenges which are no more troubling than other parodies found in the literature (e.g., Gaunilo's Island). I take issue with both of these allegations; devil parodies, I argue, have the potential to pose substantive, and novel, challenges to Anselm's ontological argument.

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