The Argument Of Contingency Theories

Organizations operate in many different environments and it is vital to assess how they influence their structures. Effective and efficient organizing has become increasingly important in the modern world characterized by rapid changes. Contingency approaches emphasize that in order for organizations to succeed they must adopt a structure suitable for the environment in which they operate.
Two types of theories are referred as contingency theories: theories of organizational structure and theories of leadership. In general, contingency theories are a class of behavioral theory that state that there is no best way to organize a corporation and the organizational structure of the company. An organizational or leadership style that is effective in some situations may not be successful in others. Therefore, the best way of organizing the company, is contingent upon the internal and external situation of the company.
External environments influence organizations in a varied number of ways. Critical external factors include, but are not limited to, the size of the organization, labor markets, availability and cost of capital, competitors, governmental laws and policies, ecological concerns, managerial assumptions about employees, strategies, technologies used, etc.
The main ideas of contingency theory are:

There is no one best way of organizing or managing the company
Organizations are open systems that need careful management to satisfy and balance internal needs and to adapt to environmental circumstances
Different types of organizations are needed in different types of the environment
Different approaches to management may be necessary to perform different tasks within the same organization
Effective organizations not only have a proper ‘fit’ with the environment but also between its subsystems

Several contingency approaches were developed simultaneously in the late 1960s. The emergence of the theory was the result of criticisms of the classical theories such as Weber’s bureaucracy (Weber, 1946) and Taylor’s scientific management (Taylor, 1911) which had failed because they neglected that management style and organizational structure were influenced by various aspects of the environment: the contingency factors. The contingency approach originated with the work of Joan Woodward (1958), who declared that successful organizations in different industries with different technologies were characterized by different organizational structures.
In this essay I will discuss three influential contingency theories, those of Burns and Stalker (1961), Lawrence and Lorsch (1967), Fiedler (1967) and I will try to assess the relevance of contingency approach in organizations today.
Tom Burns and Graham Stalker in their book, “The Management of Innovation” (1961) studied about 20 Scottish and British electronics companies operating in increasingly competitive and innovative technological markets. Their findings demonstrated that organizations operating in stable environments are very different from those which have to face a changing and dynamic environment. The authors have discovered that differences in the way firms approached change and innovation related to the values and mission of the firms.
Burns and Stalker classified the firms into 2 categories on the basis of their managerial structures and practices: mechanistic and organic.
The authors found that mechanistic organizations are similar to bureaucracies and suited for relatively stable environmental conditions. Such organizations are clearly programmed, strictly controlled and hierarchically structured. Often they do not have mission and vision statements, and instead depend on established rules for guidance, measuring success by the degree to which staff conforms to process and procedure. Organizational tasks are typically broken down into specialized activities. Individuals are responsible for their specific functions in a relative isolation from the overall organizational goal.

Get Help With Your Essay
If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!
Essay Writing Service

The organic organizations are appropriate in unstable, turbulent, unpredictable environments. Organic organizations are orientated towards results, have a flat organization structure instead of a hierarchy, and little structure in terms of process and rules. They focus on results and employees receive positive rewards for creative and pragmatic contributions. Given these conditions it becomes necessary to review and redefine the responsibilities, methods, inter-role relationships, and even goals on a continual basis.
Burns and Stalker emphasized that each system is appropriate under its own specific conditions. Neither system was superior to the other under all situations. Since the 1960s much of writings in organization theories field is a constant debate between the machine/organ analogies, and attempts to develop growth models of how simple mechanistic forms can grow into the more complex organic forms.
Another significant study to demonstrate the relationships between environmental characteristics and effective organizational structures was conducted by Paul Lawrence and Jay Lorsch (1967). They studied ten US firms in three industries (plastics, food, containers) that confronted varying degrees of uncertainty, complexity and change.
The researchers found that successful firms in each industry had a different degree of differentiation. The firms operating in uncertain, complex, rapidly changing environments had more highly differentiated internal structures such as sales, production and R&D departments. Such organizations require the greater need for suitable mechanisms for integrating and resolving conflicts between various segments. Successful firms in more homogeneous and stable environment were more formalized and hierarchical in their forms. Authors concluded that in order to succeed firms must have internal structures as complex as environments in which they operate.
This seminal work of Lawrence and Lorsch refined the contingency theory by demonstrating that different markets and technological environments require different kinds of organizations, and that subunits or functional departments within an organization might be managed in different ways, due to variations resulting from their sub-environments.
Managerial leadership has influenced organizational activities in many ways. These influences include motivating subordinates, budgeting scarce resources, and serving as a source of communication. Contingency theories of leadership argue that no single leadership style is effective in all circumstances, but the leadership styles are contingent on the organizational and situational context. Fred Fiedler’s theory (1967) is the earliest and most extensively researched is also known as contingency model of leadership effectiveness.
Fiedler’s ideas, originated from trait and behavioral models, underline the importance of both the leader’s personality known as “leadership style” and the situation in which that leader operates “situational favorableness”. Fiedler was the first theorist who said that leadership effectiveness depends on the situation.
The leadership style is the consistent system of interaction that takes place between a leader and work group. In order to classify leadership styles, Fiedler has developed an index called the Least-Preferred Coworker (LPC) scale. To get an LPC score a leader is asked to think of co-workers with whom he/she has ever worked and choose the one with whom the work was the most difficult. Then this person is rated on a number of eight-point bipolar scales (friendly/unfriendly, hostile/supportive, etc.). The responses are then summed and averaged: high LPC scores are interpreted as an indication of human relations orientation of a leader, while low LPC scores show a task orientation.
The situational favorableness is a measure of the degree to which the situation of the work group affects the leader’s ability to influence group members. Fiedler then extends his analysis by focusing on three key situational factors, which are leader-member, task structure and position power.
In leader-member relations Fiedler states that leaders will have more influence if they maintain good relationships with group members who like, respect, and trust them, than if they do not. Fiedler determines the task structure as the second most important factor in structural favorableness. He argues that highly structured tasks, which specify how a job is to be done in detail, provide a leader with more influences over group actions than do unstructured tasks. Leaders, who are authorized to hire and fire, to discipline and reward, have more power than those who do not. For example, front office manager has more power than a room clerk.
By classifying a group according to three variables, it is possible to identify eight different group situations or leadership style. According to Fiedler, there is no ideal leader. Both low-LPC (task-oriented) and high-LPC (relationship-oriented) leaders can be effective if their leadership orientation fits the situation. Fiedler stated that it would be easier to change the situation (i.e. the work environment) to fit the leader’s style. As such, the organization should not choose the leader who fits the situation but should change the situation to agree with the style of its leader since the leader’s personality is not likely to change.
The following aspects can be considered as strengths of Fiedler’s theory: it is predictive and supported by a lot of empirical research; it does not require that people be effective in all situations and provides a way to assess leader style that could be useful to an organization. However, among the theory’s weaknesses are the fact that it is cumbersome to use, it doesn’t explain what to do when there is a mismatch between style and situation; it doesn’t take into account situational variables, like training and experience, which also have an impact in a leader’s effectiveness. Finally, the LPC measure has a low reliability and its meaning is unclear, which put in doubt whether it is a true measure of leadership style.
Today’s organizations are quite complex and there cannot be one correct strategy that works in all situations. The contingency approach stresses the absence of a single best way to manage and emphasizes the need for managerial strategies based in all relevant facts. In other words, each manager’s situation must be viewed separately, a wide range of external and internal factors must be considered and then the focus should be on action that best fits the given situation.
Contingency theory is often called the “it all depends” theory, because when a contingency theorist is being asked for an answer, the typical response will be that it all depends. While this may sound simplistic, assessing the contingencies on which decisions depend can be a very complex.
The appropriate management style and organizational structure depend on the environmental context of the organization concerned. The ability to manage change is now recognized as a core organizational competence. In order to prove the relevance of contingency theory to the modern enterprises I would like to analyze what has happened to the offshore banking industry from 2001 up today and how these changes has influenced to redesign completely the organizational structures of offshore banks and how this change was managed and implemented.
Increasing pressure from FATF and OECD on tax evasion issues, anti-money laundering concerns as well as prevention of the terrorism financing from the end of 2001 started to change the environment in which offshore banking was operating. Therefore offshore banks had to adjust their organizational structures and the way these banks have been managed.
Increasing importance of the role of compliance processes at offshore banks has changed the organization structures of banks as well as operations processes in the way, where the importance of the compliance departments have become a necessity to survive. Compliance officers have become managers of one of the most important internal processes – compliance with the laws and regulations. Therefore now offshore banks operations are centered on the compliance department, rather that business/client management department. This issue in fact is going beyond just offshore banking sector; it has influenced drastic changes of many countries’ legislation, supervisory and regulation processes as well.
So a massive task of reorganizing not just internal organizational structures of banks, but regulating agencies was undertaken in a very short period of time. Those countries and their financial institutions which were able to adapt to the changes rapidly, survived, but entire industries and dozens of banks went out of business because of their failure to act as open systems and balance internal needs and external environmental forces. The change was massive and organizations had to deal with many important issues, interrelated and so interdependent, that in many cases organization have failed to manage the change in order to deal with the following problems:
Lack of suitable qualified compliance personnel – no professionals available;
Lack of appropriate training and educational programs – no educational institutions;
Increased expenses for appropriate compliance practices – lower profitability, dilemma of choice for the CEOs – continue as usual to satisfy shareholder’s needs and create financial benefits for themselves in a short term rather than comply with the demanded change but reduce the performance of the company;
Resistance of business departments to accept the necessity of increased compliance interference – struggle for power within companies;
Insufficient laws and regulations – government agencies lagging behind with legislative change, banks had to establish their new internal rules and procedures for compliance;
Those offshore banks which where managing their organizations consciously or unconsciously employing contingency theories of organizations, have managed to adopt to the new environment, therefore the relevance of these theories is undisputed to the modern companies, at least in the offshore banking sector.
 

Disputing the Modal Ontological Argument: The Evil God Objection

Disputing the Modal Ontological Argument: The Evil God Objection

Criticisms of the Modal Ontological Argument (MOA) have largely centered on its two key claims, specifically (1) that necessary existence is a great-making property, and (2) that a maximally perfect being is metaphysically possible. For the purposes of this essay, I will grant these premises to be valid, and instead, I will focus on the implications of this argument. In this paper, I argue that the MOA can be used to prove the necessary existence of absurdities like an Evil God, since such beings are modally just as feasible as God. Thus, this objection poses a clear issue to the monotheistic traditions of Western religion, for the MOA can only be upheld as an immaculate proof of God’s existence if other beings like Evil God are analogously accepted as well.

Examining the Modal Ontological Argument

The MOA appeals to the philosophical notion of possible worlds to prove the existence of God as necessary. When philosophers make statements about the World, they are merely referring to the totality of all things that exist in their present form (Van Inwagen 123). However, upon close inspection, it is easy to see that this is not the only manner in which the world could have arranged itself. For example, it is possible to imagine a world in which William & Mary was founded in 1694 or even in 1964. We can imagine even more absurd potentialities, like a world in which chickens hunt humans for sport. These plausible iterations of the world constitute possible worlds or alternate specifications of the way the world could have manifested (Van Inwagen 123). These possible worlds are all as valid as our world, which we call the actual world, for the actual world is merely one of the many possibilities. Now let us proceed with the idea of necessary existence, or existence in every possible circumstance. Using the modal concept of possible worlds, we can add to this definition by further stating that necessary existence also entails existence in all possible worlds.

Get Help With Your Essay
If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!
Essay Writing Service

With these presumptions, we may proceed with the argument. God is traditionally defined as a maximally perfect being, or a being who contains all the ‘great-making’ properties, such as omnipotence and omniscience, Proponents of the MOA also ascribe necessary existence as one of God’s great-making properties, for it is undoubtedly a greater property to exist in all possible worlds than to only exist in only a few. Thus, if a perfect being exists, he must also exist necessarily. From here, the MOA proceeds with the claim that, since the vast schematic of all possible worlds contain all possibilities, it is plausible to imagine at least one possible world in which such a perfect being does exist. However, as previously noted, if a perfect being were to exist, he would also exist necessarily, which would imply that this perfect being exists in the entire set of all possible worlds including the actual world. Thus, the possibility of God’s existence in a possible world necessitates his existence in our actual world as well.

The Evil God Objection

Objections to past iterations of the Ontological Argument have mainly exposed how the argument’s premises can also be used to justify the existence of implausible absurdities like perfect islands. Since existence in the actual world was deemed to be an essential part of perfection, perfect beings and perfect islands could both be proven to exist under the argument’s framework. Modal Ontological arguments have largely avoided these objections by inserting the property of necessary existence into their definitions of a perfect being  a property that material objects cannot possess, since they are composed of smaller parts. Despite this, the property of necessary existence is not solely enjoyed by God, and resultantly, the MOA can also be used to prove the existence of another perfect being, if not a perfect island.

Let us now imagine the concept of an Evil God, similar to the malicious God posited by Daniel Chlastawa (116). Such an Evil God would be an omni-temporal being without parts, who possesses all the same traits as God, with the only difference being that he is maximally evil instead of maximally good. Such a perfect being meets the aforementioned prerequisites for necessary existence, and the idea of an Evil God is not internally inconsistent with the concept of necessary existence  thus, such a parallel with the theistic God cannot be outwardly dismissed an invalid. Now, one might contend that maximal evil does not constitute a perfection, and I address this objection later in this paper. Continuing with the discussion, since the Evil God differs with the theistic God solely on the characteristic of omni-malevolence instead of omnibenevolence, which is an irrelevant trait for the purposes of the argument, Evil god can effectively be substituted with God in the MOA to prove that the possible existence of such a being necessitates existence in the actual world as well.

Notable Objections

One could object to the Evil God objection by claiming that such a being is impossible. However, according to Van Inwagen, the only condition which precludes possibility is an intrinsic impossibility (137). Since the concept of Evil God is not internally inconsistent, meaning it does not imply an innate contradiction, such a being is not impossible. Thus, the concept of an Evil God is not logically inconsistent with the concept of modal possibility.

 The most significant objection which a theist could make would be to argue that the theistic God is more perfect than Evil God in light of his omnibenevolence, which would consequently grant some degree of supremacy over beings like Evil God. However, such an objection hinges on the ambiguous nature of a perfect being. While van Inwagen defines such a being as one who possesses all ‘perfections’ necessarily, he does not define the notion of perfection itself (125). However, from his work, we can reasonably assume that these perfections are maximally powerful and constitute some benefit for the being who possesses them. Let us analyze two of God’s notable perfections, omnipotence and omniscience. Since power and wisdom can be used in a variety of moral applications, these two concepts are not predicated upon the idea of goodness. Instead, omnipotence and omniscience simply represent the maximization of two characteristics. Omnibenevolence and omni-malevolence similarly represent the maximization of a characteristic, namely good and evil, and they both constitute a beneficial maximization for each being. Consequently, Evil God and theistic God both possess all the same types of perfections, and in the only situation in which they do not, the differing property of evil is still maximized to the same degree as God’s goodness. Thus, there is no reason to assume that Evil God cannot be a perfect being.

Conclusion

The Evil God objection does not discredit the MOA as fallacious, rather it highlights how such an argument can inadvertently instantiate the existence of other god-like beings. By proving the concurrent necessary existence of Evil God, this objection shows that the MOA does not necessitate the existence of only a single god, rather a seemingly countless number of other perfect beings  an issue which Anselm’s original argument also faced. Ultimately, the idea of a plurality of Gods is innately inconsistent with the monotheistic traditions of western scripture, and it represents a proposition which most theists will undoubtably reject.

[Word Count: 1195]

Works Cited

Chlastawa, Daniel. “Modified Gaunilo-Type Objections against Modal Ontological Arguments.” European Journal for Philosophy of Religion, vol. 4, no. 2,  2012, pp. 113-26.

Inwagen, Peter Van. “Necessary Being: The Ontological Argument.” Metaphysics, Apr. 2018, pp. 129–157., doi:10.4324/9780429495021-8.

 

Theistic Argument of Morals: Does God Exist?

The moral arguments regarding the existence of God form a wide range that reason the moral life or some feature of morality to the existence of a divine creator, who is usually understood to be a morally good being. Most non-religious people will concur that religion in some way is able to provide a foundation for morality. Connections between religion and morality seem to support the suggestion that morals need a religious basis, which could be best explained by a divine existence.

Get Help With Your Essay
If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!
Essay Writing Service

As aforementioned, a wide range of arguments have been developed to show that a God is required to prove the human awareness of moral knowledge. Richard Swinburne (2004, 218) suggests that there is no, “great probability that moral awareness will occur in a Godless universe.” However, “there are many species of animals that are naturally inclined to help others of their species, and yet do not have moral beliefs.” (Swinburne 2004, 217), suggesting that moral beliefs are not entirely necessary to produce what is typically ‘moral’ behaviour.

Sharon Street (2006) argues that moral truths are ‘stance-independent’ of human beliefs, values and emotions. She suggests a problem with the question as to how our human evaluative beliefs are related to human evolution. She believes that the evolution of humans throughout time is what developed the awareness of morals in our modern society.

However, evolution alone cannot predict the improbability of objective moral knowledge. Majority of Street’s argument arises from the assumption of naturalism, and consequently, evolutionary processes being unguided. In a naturalistic universe it would seem that we could expect a process of Darwinian evolution to select moral judgements that improve survival and not objective moral truths. A detailed argument by Mark Linville (2009, 391-336) supports the claim that it is highly improbable to develop a plausible evolutionary process as to the creation of moral judgements.

Contrary to this, if it is supposed that said evolutionary process were to have been guided by a divine being, who has the ability and want to create morally significant humans, then it would not seem unlikely that a God would ensure humans would develop beliefs that are largely good and ‘morally correct’.

Although, the randomness of Darwin’s natural selection is argued by many philosophers to prove that no kind of divine guidance could have been exercised through such a randomised process. The belief that evolution and God are mutually exclusive hypotheses is called ‘Creation Science’. Such belief suggests what can explained by science needs no extra explanation through religious inputs. If a divine being exists, it is the reason why the world would exist and the reason for the existence of causal processes within the world. By proxy, a natural explanation of the development of humans can never prelude a theistic one.

A non-religious person might claim that because the theory of evolution suggests the process by with flora and fauna have developed involved random selections of genetic mutations, it cannot have been guided by any God, and subsequently God could not have used evolutionary means to achieve his ends of creating a morally aware species.

That being said, this argument is easily counter by the definition of ‘random’ genetic mutations. When it is said that the genetic mutations are random, scientists are not suggesting that they are unpredictable but that the mutations have not occurred in response to any adaptation requirements of the organism. It could be possible for an unguided ‘natural’ process to have included or utilised such randomness in that sense; however, that is highly unlikely. The sense of ‘randomness’ suggested with the evolutionary theory does not strictly imply that there could be or was no outer guiding force or that the process itself must be unguided. A being responsible for the creation of nature and the conditions that would shape the evolutionary process would be able to ensure that the organisms developed from their conditions in order to achieve the ultimate end of a sentient and morally aware human.

Subjective theories can make sense of humans making ethical judgements, but disregard morality of its objective authority. Contrary to this, objective theories that view morality in a stricter more serious sense, however, will always find difficulty in explain humans’ capacity to make morally correct judgements. That is unless the process by which humans developed the ability to make these judgements were to have been controlled by some outer force or divine being such as God.

To conclude, non-theistic moral believers and philosophers, have developed a wide range of arguments about how moral knowledge may have come to be possible. Regardless, the plausibility of these arguments, and by proxy, those convinced that morality is true, may disagree that moral knowledge allows for a stronger arguments and supports for theistic beliefs. It therefor can be concluded that the arguments given in relation to the acceptance of morality and what is now seen as morally correct point to some form of divine being in play within the development of Earth.

Bibliography

Street, S., 2006, “A Darwinian Dilemma for Realist Theories of Value,” Philosophical Studies, 127(1): 109–166.

Swinburne, R., 2004, The Existence of God, 2nd edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Argument from morality. (2019). Retrieved 25 August 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_morality

Craig, W. (2019). The Moral Argument for God | Reasonable Faith. Retrieved 25 August 2019, from https://www.reasonablefaith.org/question-answer/P40/the-moral-argument-for-god

Darwinian evolution and God?. (2019). Retrieved 25 August 2019, from https://www.cpcnewhaven.org/darwinian-evolution-and-god

God and Evolution. (2019). Retrieved 25 August 2019, from https://ncse.com/library-resource/god-evolution

Moral Argument. (2019). Retrieved 25 August 2019, from https://www.allaboutphilosophy.org/moral-argument.htm

Moral Arguments for the Existence of God (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). (2019). Retrieved 25 August 2019, from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-arguments-god/

 

Descartes’ Argument of a True Perception

In this paper, my aim is to argue what way is best for us to understand Descartes’ argument on how we arrive at a true perception of the world. I will be using excerpts from the second and sixth meditations in order to support my argument. I will be arguing that the mind and body are two separate and distinct things and one of which proves our existence. I will also clarify the difference between the mind and the imagination and perception so that we have a better understanding of the mind.

Get Help With Your Essay
If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!
Essay Writing Service

In the second meditation, Descartes makes a complex argument about how we arrive at the perception of the world. In this meditation he is trying to figure out if we do exist or not, he attempts to come to a conclusion by doubting all that he believes he knows. This leads to him coming up with his argument which he goes on to call the “cogito”, ‘Cogito ergo sum’ which is Latin for ‘I think therefore I am’. Descartes uses the wax example to further drive his point on how we arrive at the perception of the world and also to clarify on what the mind is. He makes use the wax example to show us what extended things are. Descartes believes the body is separate from the mind and we know what it is quite distinctly. By body he understands it to be all that can be limited in shape, contained in some sort of space, and fills that space in such a way that every other body is excluded from it. Something that can be sensed by us in the world through our sensations and can be moved not by itself but by something else by which it is touched and from which it receives some sort of force (Descartes/Bennett, pp.5).

Descartes comes to the conclusion that he exists because he is a thinking thing. And no matter how much you try to prove him otherwise you possibly cannot. He goes on to mention that even if there was an evil demon trying to deceive him about his existence it has to be that he exists in the first place for him to be deceived because if he did not exist then how is he being targeted to be deceived? We are thinking things and what we are (this thinking being/mind) is separate from our body which he refers to as an extension of us. We can make use of perception and imagination to know that our bodies are separate from our minds. The wax argument helps us better understand this separation. In the wax argument Descartes posits that if we get wax from a honeycomb, this wax would be cold, solid, have a nice smell, have a taste, colour, shape and various other attributes we can sense. These attributes are what inform us on what the wax is. But when we start to experiment and melt the wax, all these present qualities of the wax that we perceive after taking it from the honeycomb would have undergone change and would be different. Now we have to ask ourselves, is this wax which has been melted still the same as the solid wax gotten from the honeycomb? Our reasonable answer would be ‘yes’ because it is in fact the same wax, it has just taken on a different appearance. So, from this we can tell that the wax itself has to be something other than the sensible qualities it holds. For Descartes, “this wax is a body which just a little bit before appeared underneath these forms, which now he can take in without these others” (Descartes/Bennett, pp6-8). The wax is something that is extended, flexible, and shapeable. We perceive the wax as a type of extended substance not through our senses, as we have seen that wax can change form and still remain the same, but through our intellect/understanding. We do not grasp things as they truly are except through the understanding. The intellect is what we make use of to deduce that we are thinking beings. If we now understand better the nature of the wax, then this methodology could also be used in relation to us to help us better understand how we perceive the world. We can take the wax to represent us, its primary qualities being a representation of our mind and its secondary qualities being an extension of it therefore representing our bodies.

In the meditation six, Descartes is distinguishing between the mind and the material world. According to him, material things can exist as long as they are subject to mathematics. So, things with extension, shape, and size could possibly exist. Understanding deals with pure concepts, but our imaginations picture images. The example Descartes uses is the example of the triangle and the chiliagon (Descartes/Bennett, pp.27). If we think of a triangle, we know that it is a three-sided shape and so we will conjure a picture of a three-sided shape in our heads through our imagination when we think of a three-sided shape. And if we were to think of a chiliagon, which is a shape with a thousand sides, if we were to think of this shape, we have never experienced such a shape so the image which we will conjure in our minds would be a blur of what a thousand sided shape would look like because we have never experienced one but we still understand that a chiliagon is a shape with a thousand sides. Our understanding turns inwards to search the contents of our minds while our imagination turns outwards to the perception of material objects. The imagination concerns itself with the external world, so it is not essential to the mind. Now that Descartes has come to understand what our imaginations rely on, he has come to a realisation that the external world which he had cast into doubt might actually exist. But although our external world exists, we experience it through our perceptions. Our perceptions which Descartes has already come to understand could be deceitful in the sense that if we dream, we do perceive things but these things that we perceive in dreams are not real. So, if our perceptions could deceive us then how are we meant to be sure that the external world exists? Descartes backs his claim by saying that God is the one responsible for putting all material objects in place and God can not possibly be deceiving us because he is not a deceitful God (Descartes/Bennett, pp.27/29). This is how we are to know that the external world exists according to Descartes.

In this paper I have shown how Descartes expects us to perceive the world, he expects us to perceive the world as one which has two sides, an internal aspect which consists of our minds, and an external aspect which consists of all material things. And we are meant to understand this world through the use of our perception and imagination. Our intellect is what makes us understand this world with the use of these faculties. We perceive objects and register them along with their primary and secondary qualities, once we have perceived an external body we can use our imagination to conjure images of said external bodies when we think about them but how we are able to make this relation between perceived objects and thought of objects is through the use of our intellect/understanding. The wax example showed us that our perception and imagination could be deceived as the melted wax which is the same as the solid wax had undergone change and therefore did not appear the same to us. The melted appeared different as all the secondary qualities of which we had related to the previous appearance of the solid wax are not there any longer, but the wax remains what it is. It is just the secondary qualities which have changed. But even though the appearance of the wax changed we are able to piece together through the use of our understanding that this new formed wax with different external properties to it is still the same as that which was extracted straight from the honeycomb. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Curran and Granham’s Argument on Public Sphere in Analysing Media Structures

Studies of media clearly indicate that the media as we know it today largely came into prominence at a point in time when the political ideas of democracy and participation were becoming a political reality (Charles, 2013). This was because it became more obvious that in order to maintain some degree of order in this democratic societies, the constituted authority needed a way in which to generate and shape public opinion, and the tools which were best employed in that regards squarely fall within the purview of media (Hodkinson, 2011). As a result, the power and role media plays in society became a topic of interest to the thinkers of the time. Their thoughts according to Hodkinson (2011) revolved around how the media would be employed in this regard led to the identification of firstly, the public sphere which was the embodiment of that area of society within which societal discuss occurred (Wodak et al, 2008) and secondly, the media structures (Hallin & Mancini, 2004) that operated within said sphere. These structures determined the manner in which media as an institution would function in a particular society and follows from the long been settled idea in media literature that suggests that the content and the quality of content, be it commentary, entertainment or reporting is a direct consequence of the structures within which they are produced (Altmeppen 2006) and this is reflected in the ‘culture’ of said society. This complex view of the relationship between culture and media feeds into questions about the of the nature of the media and its relationship to the public sphere for which it is responsible for overseeing.

The public Sphere

The public sphere as defined by Jakubowitcz, (1997) is that infrastructure that is comprised of the all the institutions that are responsible for managing the propagation of media, the generation of knowledge and the formation of thought within civil society. The operations of these institutions are integral to the development of public opinion which is as much a part of political power as it is essential for democracy to function observes (Goode, 2005). This definition of the public sphere is not without criticism and is at the centre of one of the more prevalent debates in the field of media and journalism. The debates focus mainly on defining the role and function of the media as relates to the mechanics and operations of the public sphere. Arguments and counter arguments continually revise how these concepts are perceived and the relationship between them and despite the fact that some of these arguments are diametrically opposed to each other in how perceive the relationship between the media and the public sphere, there exists a few points of overlap. These points of agreement largely stem from an established definition of some of the terms and concepts that are foundational to any discussion about media and its role in society. To attempt to contribute to this debate, it is therefore important to establish a set of definitions about the public sphere on which the impact of media structures can be assessed.

Get Help With Your Essay
If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!
Essay Writing Service

The most widely recognised definition of the term public sphere can be traced back to the works of Jürgen Habermas (Habermas et al, 1989). Upon conceiving the idea of the public sphere, he saw it as an abstract arena where “rational-critical debate about public issues are conducted by private persons who are willing to let arguments and not status determine decisions” (Calhoun, 1992). His ideas about the nature of the public sphere suggest that is represents an area, physical or abstract, where rational discuss is entertained and stems from his belief that the public sphere is a by-product of an attempt of different factions within society to communicate their views to the larger society. This heralded the development of a public affairs of thought within society and in western culture in particular helped to draw the boundaries within which the often-conflicting ideologies of the upcoming burgiose, the royalty and religion struggled to craft the social narratives with which they could affect their beliefs on the wider society (Madsen, 2008;2009). As a result, early media primarily concerned itself with questions of democracy and how to ensure that the public was well informed on the views of all sides in order to effect quality public debate (Hodkinson, 2011; Gripsrud, & Weibull, 2010).

Over time and with the translation from media to mass media large due to the industrial revolution, the competing authorities started to use the facilities of the media to shape the public sphere. This way in which they did this, coalesced into a number of structures that determined how the media in those societies are employed and was the beginning of a departure from the underlying premise of the importance of public debate to democracy that the media was built on.

Media structures

These structures, which with the aid of technology have grown in size, scope and reach have in many ways experienced decisive changes largely as a result of the societies they operate in. To fully understand the reason for this transformation it is crucial that these media structures be discussed.

Media structures at their core, refer to the different ways media institutions and the companies that comprise them operate (Geber, Scherer & Hefner, 2016). This implies the models that dictate how media institutions function in the societies they occupy observes Hallin & Mancini (2004). In examining media structures, Hallin & Mancini (2004) argue that they are entities borne from the coalescing of organizational rules, norms and regulations within the mass communications landscape that exist within societies and that these structures are distilled by society into institutions which are wholly devoted to continually inform and interpret past and current events within society. Gripsrud & Weibull (2010) expanded on this view with the realisation that these institutions do not operate in vacuums and are thus subject to the society’s political, legal, and social circumstances which they are actively involved in shaping.

Consequently, media structures or systems are indicative of the characteristic traits of the society’s they exist within and are responsible for the connecting the other institutions that subsist within a given society.

(Wieslaw, 200…..) goes on to argue that since media structures are determined by socio-economic circumstances, media functioning, values system, guarantees of freedom of media, political conditions, regulations on the functioning of media organizations and institutions as well as by the level of education and technological advancement, a thorough examination can only the possible by analysing these structures on two parallel paradigms. These paradigms answer questions relating to what content the media structures are generating and how the content is reported and are the determining factors of how ideas and opinions are generated and discussed in the public sphere.

The most widely instantiated media structures were identified by Hallin/Mancini (2004) in their work on the “models of media and politics” distinguished among a liberal structure, a polarized-pluralist structure or model and a democratic-corporatist media structure. These media structures are found to contribute significantly to how the power dynamics of the societies they constitute and offer an entry point into attempting to understand how society functions. These structures are:

•                     The liberal: This media structure is characterized by the relative dominance of market mechanisms and commerce. This translates into the development of relatively high levels of journalistic professionalism, a prevalence of commercial media and limited state involvement in media operations. In the liberal model, the media has the choice of engaging in political activity and thus there exhibits varying levels of political parallelism.

•                     The Democratic Corporatist Structure favours a historical coexistence of commerce and media but with significant ties to organized social and political groups. This model promotes the existence of an active but legally limited role of the state and is typically characterised by a above average development and propagation of mass circulation information bulleting in the form of newspapers and other mass-produced form of media. This model favours a synergy between both commercial and political media and is associated with high political parallelism where the state promotes pluralism of the media system as much as it engages in delivering welfare to its citizens. Fiedler, & Meyen (2015) observes that this model also boasts a well-developed sense of journalistic professionalism in its media landscape.

•                     The third media structure identified by Hallin & Mancini (2004) is the polarized pluralist media model. This media model typically evolves from an integration of the media into party politics which results in the suppression of commercial incentives in media. This media structure often features a strong state presence guiding and detailing the operations of the media, the type of content it generates and how this content is delivered to the citizenry. Hence, a press that addresses politically active elites more than the mass public; a relatively interventionist role of the state; and a lower level of journalistic professionalism.

Media structures and the transformation of media

When the ideas of the role of media are paired with those of the media structures that exist within them, it is possible to understand the media practices of today and why they are a direct consequence of applying these media structures to the fabric of the public sphere.

In the west in particular, where the liberal and democratic corporatist structures were borne, the main observable transformation that has happened to media revolves around its continuous disentanglement from its political underpinnings in society (Garnham, 1996; Strömbäck et al, 2008; Rothstein, 1987). In its role as the vehicle with which societal conversations are steered, the media historically focussed on delivering current affairs relating to the power dynamics within society. This has changed in recent years as media trends tilt towards a more tabloidized approach to content delivery. This is more prevalent in the liberal structures which revised their business models to focus on attracting the most number of consumers in order to attract advertisers (Splichal, 2015). The past decade saw a surge in the profitability of media largely due to the effects of the industrial revolution which, meant that businesses that required advertising to reach many more customers funnelled money into these institutions which in turn forced them to grow in a manner that prioritised profitability. With advances in technology, this profitability has now been threatened by alternative media which has seen a marked rise in such things as free dailies, blogging and internet journalism. This has effectively destroyed the monopoly these legacy media institutions have cultivated over the years forcing them to adopt more financially embedded practices rather than the more cultural and socially embedded origins from which they developed and is the driving force behind the “click-baity”, outrage machine the media has in some respects devolved into. This in turn has forced the political actors to also adopt media logics that favour shock and awe approach in order to elicit media coverage. This phenomenon is referred to by Lucht & Udris (2010) as the “mediatization” effect.

Also, there is a growing concern that the media is beginning to lead the political systems instead of reporting on them. Whereas the media historically was responsible for facilitating the social and political discussion. In a bit to be more commercialised, there is a tendency for media institutions to begin to curate the content they report. This is further magnified with the reliance on media in most developed societies, which means that the media is primarily responsible for relaying social issues to the community (Charles, 2013; Dahlgren, 2013). Thus as the media starts to focus on those topics they know are high interest or would gain them favourable reach and coverage, issues that aren’t as high intensity but are just as important are ignored which alienates certain aspects of the society. While historically, the reliance on media was seen as a positive in that via media, all facets of society are given a voice, as the financial incentives on the media increase it is becomes more common for the media to focus on scandalous, high interest issues that guarantee consumer interest in order to lure businesses that which to advertise their products. Furthermore, there is growing concerns about bias in content delivery which has significantly diminished the media’s credulity (Rothstein, 1987; Murphy & Blankson, 2007).

Another key change that the media has undergone is the widening of the knowledge gap (Strömbäck et al, 2008). This refers to the idea that the ingress of media information into the social fabric of society tends to result in a corresponding increase in the degree of fracturing of socioeconomic segments. This sees those individuals that occupy the higher rungs of the socioeconomic ladder acquiring information at a greater rate than those on the lower rungs. This widens the knowledge gap between these two groups and disenfranchises those on the lower groups as they are unable to participate in social discuss at the same rate. This is especially true for media structures that favour commercial media in that there is a tendency to structure media delivery in a manner that is advantageous to speedy consumption and dissemination and results in a preference for certain media formats.

While in other more authoritarian societies, where the media is largely a tool with which the government maintains control over the citizenry, it is possible to see the footprints of the polarized pluralist structures. In this societies, it is widely accepted that the media is no more than a tool for delivering propaganda and while certain overlaps exist in the form of content type and manner of delivery, it is largely due to the universality of the delivery mechanism like tv and the internet (Hallin & Mancini, 2012;2011).

This analysis agrees with the views of both Curran and Garnham who, in considering the influence the media has on society and in particular the public sphere present in societies, have observed a series of changes in those spheres. These changes include:

•                     the shift from national information markets to mostly international market

•                     The emphasis on digital content delivery mechanisms like the television and the internet

•                     The creation of information market divides between the information rich and the information poor

•                     And most importantly, a departure from public service ethos of the media

These ideas on the function of the public sphere are foundational to the arguments made by both Curran and Garnham and in Curran’s case, he went on to break down the Habermas’s views on the public sphere, distilling it into three distinct ways the public sphere could be perceived or employed.

The first is the marxist/communist perspective that sees the public sphere as a tool of the state. In this view, he argues that the public sphere is used solely for the dissemination of propaganda by the powers that be. This perspective matches with the application of the polarised pluralist structure of media where media and its content are significantly policed and controlled by the state. Hence any developments in media in this approach has to be in line with the objectives of the state.

Secondly, he argues that another perspective from which the public sphere can be observed is that of a battleground. One where contending ideas vie for supremacy with everyone being able to present their ideas without fear. This view maps to that of the liberal media structure and sees the different elements that make up the media compete for the audience and coverage.

Thirdly, he viewed the public sphere as the mechanism via which the citizenry exercise control over the state. The democratic corporatist structure appears to be an inverted form of this view in that, through media, social groups have an opportunity to effect change on the community by appealing to the state. The ability of these groups to shape public opinion forces the state to take them seriously and act in a manner that preserves their interests.

This view similarly mirrored Garnham’s (2007) conclusions on Habermas’s works on the public sphere. In applying the definition to the modern era, Garnham was able to observe that for Habermas to have come to his definition, he has to accept that there existed a substrate on which every variant of the public sphere regardless of its character was built. He suggests that this substrate is a network of institutions without which society cannot exist politically. This allowed him to observe the transformation that that was happening to media structures over time.

His observations revolved around the trends which saw the development of what he called information rich and information poor halves of the media landscape. This spurred an emphasis of digital media which progressively leaned towards encouraging domestic modes of consumption and resulted in the destruction of idea that cultural resources ought to be dedicated towards positive public service.

In conclusion, when applied to the current media landscape, there exists obvious utility in the notion that what obtains today is a direct evolution of those ideas about media structures and their role on the public sphere as such when looking at how the media has transformed it is possible to see the lingering effects of these structures and their present-day iterations. Both Curran and Garnham subscribe to the idea that “the possibility of arriving at a rationally grounded consensus can only be demonstrated in practice by entering into a concrete and historically specific process of rational debate with other human beings (…) the task is to cooperate in building the political, economic and communication institutions.” (Garnham, 1996) This they believe is central to the idea of democracy and for this democracy to persist the media has a duty to encourage participation in societal discuss by ensuring that competing arguments and views are presented objectively and wholly, and they insist that this is a responsibility of the media and of the citizenry.

REFERENCES

Benson, R., Blach‐Ørsten, M., Powers, M., Willig, I. & Zambrano, S.V. 2012, “Media Systems Online and Off: Comparing the Form of News in the United States, Denmark, and France”, Journal of Communication, vol. 62, no. 1, pp. 21-38.

Butsch, R. 2007, Media and Public Spheres, Palgrave Macmillan UK, London.

Cap, P., Cap, P. & Okulska, U. 2013, Analyzing genres in political communication: theory and practice, John Benjamins Publishing Company, Amsterdam.

Curran, J., Curran, J., Liebes, T., Katz, E., Kats, E., כ”ץ, א., כ״ץ, א., כ״ץ, א., Libes, T. & ליבס, ת. 1998;2002;, Media, ritual, and identity, Routledge, London;New York;

Fiedler, A. & Meyen, M. 2015, “‘The totalitarian destruction of the public sphere?’ Newspapers and structures of public communication in socialist countries: the example of the German Democratic Republic”, Media, Culture & Society, vol. 37, no. 6, pp. 834-849.

Geber, S., Scherer, H. & Hefner, D. 2016, “Social capital in media societies: The impact of media use and media structures on social capital”, International Communication Gazette, vol. 78, no. 6, pp. 493-513.

Goode, L. 2005, Jurgen Habermas: democracy and the public sphere, Pluto Press, London.

Garnham, 1996

Garnham, N. 2007, “Habermas and the public sphere”, Global Media and Communication, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 201-214

Gripsrud, J. & Weibull, L. 2010, Media, markets & public spheres: European media at the crossroads, Intellect, Bristol.

Habermas, J., Habŏmasŭ, W., Habŏmasŭ, Khabermas, I., Khabermas, I., Ha-pei-ma-ssu, Y., Habeimasi, הברמאס, י., הברמס, י. & 哈贝马斯 1989, The structural transformation of the public sphere: an inquiry into a category of bourgeois society, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.

Hallin, D.C. & Mancini, P. 2012;2011;, Comparing media systems beyond the Western world, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge;New York;.

Hallin, D.C. & Mancini, P. 2004, Comparing media systems: three models of media and politics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge;New York;.

Harper, T. 2017, “The big data public and its problems: Big data and the structural transformation of the public sphere”, New Media & Society, vol. 19, no. 9, pp. 1424-1439.

Hodkinson, P. 2011, Media, culture and society: an introduction, SAGE, London;Los Angeles, Calif;.

Lichtenfels, P. & Rouse, J. 2013, Performance, politics and activism, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.

Matheson, D. 2005, Media discourses: analysing media texts, Open University Press, Maidenhead.

Papathanassopoulos, S., Papathanassopoulos, S., Papathanasopoulos, S. & Negrine, R. 2011, European media: structures, policies, and identity, Polity, Cambridge, U.K;Malden, Mass;.

Rothstein, B. 1987, “Corporatism and Reformism: The Social Democratic Institutionalization of Class Conflict”, Acta Sociologica, vol. 30, no. 3/4, pp. 295-311.

Strömbäck, J., Luengo, Ó.G., Mittuniversitetet, Fakulteten för naturvetenskap, teknik och medier & Institutionen för informationsteknologi och medier 2008, “Polarized Pluralist and Democratic Corporatist Models: A Comparison of Election News Coverage in Spain and Sweden”, International Communication Gazette, vol. 70, no. 6, pp. 547-562.

Strömbäck, J., Aalberg, T., Mittuniversitetet, Fakulteten för naturvetenskap, teknik och medier & Institutionen för informationsteknologi och medier 2008, “Election News Coverage in Democratic Corporatist Countries: A Comparative Study of Sweden and Norway”, Scandinavian Political Studies, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 91-106.

Wodak, R., Wodak, R., Koller, V., Wodak-Leodolter, R., Leodolter, R.W., Leodolter, R. & Wodak-Leodolter, R. 2008, Handbook of communication in the public sphere, 1. Aufl. edn, Mouton de Gruyter, New York;Berlin;

Charles, A. 2013, Media/democracy: a comparative study, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, England.              Link

Dahlgren, P., Lund University, Media and Communication Studies, Lunds universitet & Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap 2013, The Political Web: Media, Participation and Alternative Democracy, Palgrave Macmillan UK, London.

Madsen, P. 2008;2009;, Media, democracy and European culture, Intellect, Bristol.

Murphy, P.D. & Blankson, I.A. 2007, Negotiating Democracy: Media Transformations in Emerging Democracies, State University of New York Press, Albany.

Splichal, S. 2015, “Democracy and Media Decadence. By John Keane. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. 261p. $27.99”, Perspectives on Politics, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 518-519.

 

An Argument for Education to be State Funded in Canada

Education is the backbone of Canadian society. In thousands of schools across the nation, millions of children, teenagers and young adults will attend some form of learning institution – whether that be a physical classroom, homeschool, or online learning environment – almost daily until the age of 18 (Statistics Canada, 2017).
While criticisms can be made against Canada’s primary and secondary schools systems, the appeal of Canada’s public school system is that access to education of any child, teenager or young adult is not determined by the wealth of their parents, or their own individual merit, but rather they are given the opportunity with an understanding that all children deserve quality education.
Up until postsecondary, education is publically funded. By ensuring equality of opportunity at the most foundational level of education, Canada seemingly makes a commitment towards the education of its young populace with an understanding that the students of today are the working class of tomorrow.
In fact, studies have shown the substantial positive impact of investing into the cognitive and non-cognitive skills of children, one report concluding that school in essence fosters “a dynamic process in which early inputs strongly affect the productivity of later inputs.” (Heckman, 2006).
However, while primary and secondary schools find themselves publicly funded due to this supposed ‘Canadian’ belief in investing into the future our nation, the hypocrisy of the Canadian government’s commitment to students and its lack of desire for intelligent, educated adults is realized in the drastically increasing cost of admission to postsecondary education that is tuition.
As of 2018, in order for a student to attend a postsecondary institution in Canada they must often bear a significant financial burden, a burden that while diversified is mainly encompassed by the overwhelming cost of attending classes; tuition.
Even if one is to temporarily ignore the multitude of other college and university related costs (such as the need for transportation to and from school, money for food and entertainment, and the cost of textbooks and learning resources) and imagine the cost of attending university as solely that of tuition, this cost can range anywhere from $2,000 to $22,000 depending on the degree program and province (Statistics Canada, 2017).
And while a tuition in the thousands of dollars range may not be considered a lot of money for those who find themselves not worrying for money, even the lower end of the tuition range can lead to those without much income steering clear of higher education forever.
Through an analysis of the recent history of tuition costs in Canada, accompanied by thorough reasoning supported by peer reviewed articles and an overview of the current aid-based approach to the financial struggles of students, I will argue that the Canadian government should pay for the tuition of all Canadian students, regardless of age, academic prowess, financial standing or chosen program.
It is my belief that as Canada has committed to the education of youth from years 6-18, they should continue to do so as these same youth enter the transitional period of higher education.
A Brief History of Tuition in Canada
Tuition as a concept has an interesting albeit frustrating history in Canada. Before World War 2, university was largely reserved for those with considerable wealth (An Overview of Tuition Fees in Canada, 2013). As tuition fees were often astronomical due to the absence of funding from the federal government, those from middle and lower classes were restricted from accessing university on the basis of their wealth.

Get Help With Your Essay
If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!
Essay Writing Service

However, following the war, and largely due to the attempt at reintegrating soldiers into society, there was a influx of government funding for universities that drastically decreased tuition and led to an equally substantial increase in university enrollments; much of these enrollments consisting of the middle and lower class, students who would never have been able to attend university if not for the decrease in tuition (An Overview of Tuition Fees in Canada, 2013).
This trend of increased educational support and subsidies would continue into the 1970s, and as some provinces such as Newfoundland and Labrador removed tuition entirely the country seemed to be leaning towards tuition-free postsecondary education nationwide (An Overview of Tuition Fees in Canada, 2013).
But in the 1980s, the downward spiral towards exponentially increasing tuition began. Funding was cut, and “Between the early 1980s and the early 1990s, average tuition fees at Canadian universities more than doubled. Average tuition fees at colleges, excluding those in Québec, more than tripled.” (An Overview of Tuition Fees in Canada, 2013) leading to students bearing the burden of an inflated university cost.
Where the increased social assistance of the post-World War 2 Welfare era had encouraged those from all walks of life to engage in higher learning, the cuts towards funding from the 1980s onwards has led to tuition costs that seem to be increasing at rates which propose a reversion to the limited and inherently exclusionary education landscape of the pre-WW2 era (An Overview of Tuition Fees in Canada, 2013).
Tuition as it stands now continues to climb at rates far beyond that of inflation, and studies have begun to show that both enrollment and completion of degree programs is negatively correlated with increasing tuition costs (An Overview of Tuition Fees in Canada, 2013).
The Current Literature in Relation to Tuition
While tuition itself is not technically a barrier to receiving a university education in Canada, as tuition increases the resulting decline in enrollment as well persistence reveals how financial inequality negatively impacts the equality of opportunity that is purported in Canada’s publicly funded primary and secondary schools’ systems.
One study in 1994 on the influence of student aid concluded that regardless of intervention, tuition charge always have a negative relation to persistence (John, 1994). Another study spanning nearly 40 years found that “higher tuition levels in the 1990s did reduce the probability of university participation by persons aged 17, 18 or 19 relative to a province-specific trend increase in university participation” (Johnson, 2005).
While several factors account for the decision whether to enroll in university, this study as well as others, including a highlights the significance of economic factors, including tuition. Reflecting on this study, and somewhat of a common-sense notion, as the cost of schooling increases past that of inflation those who are left out of attending university are by and large those who can no longer afford it. Akin to what is said in the CAUT Almanac of Postsecondary Education in Canada, it appears that “The burden of rising tuition fees has weighed far more heavily on the budgets of the poorest Canadians” (Canadian Association of Teachers, 2013).
As tuition rises minimally every year it’s unlikely one student who could afford it the year prior would be unable to the following year, over a span of 5 to 10 years with a gradual but moderate increase in tuition above rates of inflation, it become likely that a student at the lowest income level capable of affording university would be unable to afford tuition in 2018 even if he could afford it in 2008.
In another report on rising tuition in both Canada and the United States, the author explains that “The results of most studies are found to lie in the very close range of -0.03 to -0.05 percentage point decline in the participation rates among 18-24-year old’s to a $1000 tuition increase” (Fortin, 2004).
In essence, tuition increasing at a higher rate than inflation shaves off the portion of the student populace that can afford university the least, and likely discourages them from applying due to financial restraints (Johnson, 2005).
Impacts of Financial Aid
There are many approaches the Canadian government has used and continues to use to this day in effort to counteract the absurdness that is post-secondary tuition. Programs like OSAP in Ontario, and private and public scholarships have been created with the intention of lessening the financial burden of students, however, studies have revealed a negative relationship between educational aid – especially loan aid – and University persistence that implies that simply giving aid may not really help in the long run (McElroy, 2004).
The report found that while the intention of aid was to enable students to be able to afford the costs of university, including tuition, that the greater the aid usually resulted in worse degree persistence. The Ontario Student Assistance Program serves as a distributor of aid throughout Ontario – notably where tuition rates have rose the most drastically (Canadian Association of University Teachers, 2013) – and often uses a approach that offers loan and grant money in tandem to students.
However, in reflection of McElroy’s finding I find it probable that OSAP enables tuition hikes as it gives students money on loan that they not only won’t be able to effectively payback, but that will negatively impact their educational career overall.
Conclusion
As previously mentioned, students in university already bear a high financial burden without tuition, and if tuition costs continue on the route they are now Canada will begin to restrict access of the lower class to further education because there will simply be no way to afford it. Raising tuition is not the answer – it leads to lower enrollment (Fortin, 2004), less overall persistence in university (John, 1994) and is directly targeted at often marginalized groups, particularly the poor (Canadian Association of University Teachers, 2013).
Back when the Canadian government dropped tuition substantially and oriented themselves with a social assistance mindset, university enrollment increased, and it has been documented extensively that a university educated populace is a thriving one (An Overview of Tuition Fees in Canada, 2013).
In reflection of; the roller coaster history of tuition in Canada, the current over-inflated upwards trajectory tuition cost, the current financial aid centered approach towards financial inequality found at postsecondary institutions, and the alarming realization that Canada’s universities are moving towards a merit-based system that discriminates based on wealth, I find it imperative that the Canadian government move towards drastically reducing tuition on a nationwide level (including a tuition freeze) and eventually eliminate the concept entirely.
An abolition of tuition is the only way Canada can ensure equality of educational opportunity for all – regardless of income level or background – and in turn strengthen our nation through an educated populace.
Works Cited

An Overview of Tuition Fees in Canada (Vol. Fall 2003, Rep.). (n.d.). doi:http://dev.cfswpnetwork.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/71/2015/07/Fact-Sheet-fees-2013-Nov-En.pdf
Canadian Association of University Teachers. (2013-2014). The CAUT Almanac of Postsecondary Education in Canada. Retrieved from https://www.caut.ca/docs/default-source/almanac/almanac_2013-2014_print_finalE20A5E5CA0EA6529968D1CAF.pdf?sfvrsn=2
Fortin, N. M. (2004). Rising Tuition and Supply Constraints: Explaining Canada-U.S. Differences in University Enrollment Rates (Working paper). University of British Columbia. Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.568.2135&rep=rep1&type=pdf
Heckman, J. J. (2006). Skill Formation and the Economics of Investing in Disadvantaged Children. Science, 312(5782), 1900-1902. doi:10.1126/science.1128898
John, E. P., Andrieu, S., Oescher, J., & Starkey, J. B. (1994). The influence of student aid on within-year persistence by traditional college-age students in four-year colleges. Research in Higher Education, 35(4), 455-480. doi:10.1007/bf02496383
Johnson, D. R., & Rahman, F. T. (2005). The Role of Economic Factors, Including the Level of Tuition, in Individual University Participation Decisions in Canada. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 35(3). Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ771033.
McElroy, L. (2004). Student Aid and University Persistence : Does Debt Matter? Retrieved from https://contactpoint.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/student_aid_eng.pdf.
Statistics Canada. (2017, September 6). Tuition fees for degree programs, 2017/2018 (Rep.). Retrieved https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/170906/dq170906b-eng.htm

 

Strengths and Weaknesses of The Ontological Argument

The a priori and analytic argument posed by Anselm states that God must exist solely by definition; it uses the subject of God and predicate of perfection. In Proslogian 2 Anselm defines God as “being than which no greater can be conceived”  .
Strengths of the Ontological Argument
The main strength of Anselm’s argument is showing that the concept of God is not illogical, though explaining that everyone, even a non-believer must have a concept of God in the mind and because of this have a concept of God existing in reality. By definition, God cannot exist in the mind alone, as “no greater can be conceived” as something greater could be thought of, namely that same thing existing in both mind and reality. Hence, God must exist in reality by the meaning of the word God.
The argument succeeds as it is deductive and clear conclusions can be drawn from it, this leaves the argument with only one answer; God exists. Because of it’s a priori nature It also offers an actual proof for God’s existence which can be logically debated rather than relying on changeable evidence.
Weaknesses of the Ontological Argument
The main weakness of Anselm’s argument is posed by Gaunilo of Marmoutier, a contemporary of Anselm, Gaunilo posed, using reductio ad absurdum, that if the logic of the argument were applied to anything other than God, its conclusion would be unreasonable. The analogy of a perfect island was formulated, and using the same argument as Anselm reasoned that as the perfect island could be thought of, then it also must exist.

Get Help With Your Essay
If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!
Essay Writing Service

Though Gainilo’s perfect island does have flaws itself as it pointed out by Rowe “if we follow Anselm’s reasoning exactly, it does not appear that we can derive an absurdity from the supposition that the island than which none greater is possible does not exist.”  It does highlight the many flaws in Anselm’s, mainly that something cannot be thought into existence, as Russell states “the argument does not, to a modern mind, seem very convincing, but it is easier to feel convinced that it must be fallacious than it is to find out precisely where the fallacy lies.”  Russell draws a clear distinction between existence and essence and argues that the essence of something can be defined but this does not constitute existence.
Russell argues that the word “exist” is used incorrectly in Anselm’s argument  . Russell states that to define something is to provide an intention and to add existence would be an extension of that intention, Anselm does provide both as the idea which is said to exist, then “that which nothing greater can be conceived” must exist, as it is the totality of all ideas. Russell believes that this only constitutes God being the greatest thing one can think of, but does not prove God exists in realily.
Anselm responds to this with Proslogian 3, by explaining that something that cannot not exist (necessary existence) is greater than something which could not exist (contingent existence), “That God Cannot be Thought Not to Exist”  . This however can be disputed is God is not thought of as a necessity and also as necessary existence can only be applied to God then it is unverifiable.
Another weakness in Anselm’s argument is posed by St Aquinas, as Anselm states God is “that which nothing greater can be conceived” then to understand God in this way is to be equal to him, which Anselm cannot be, as he is human.
Descartes begins his argument from the position that he has certain ideas that have necessary qualities; ‘necessary’  meaning a priori. For example, it is necessary of a triangle that it has three sides and three angles totalling 180 degrees. Because these properties are demonstrably undeniable, he could not have invented such ideas himself. These ideas possess their own undisputable nature which is, regardless of will, perceived clearly and distinctly. Because of this, they must be true. So, if one is able to draw such an idea from one’s mind, then whatever one predicates of that thing is truly a predicate of it. Because it is clearly and distinctly recognised that actual existence is a property of God, actual existence is truly of God’s nature. Therefore, Descartes reasons, God exists.
This argument only succeeds if existence is regarded as a predicate; Descartes argues that God possesses necessary existence in the same way that a triangle does three sides; this analogy is a main weakness of Descartes argument. It may be easy to understand what it means for a triangle to have three sides, but if the properties of a triangle, such as the number of its sides, then the mental concept of the triangle changes (and becomes a square/rhombus/etc.) it is very difficult to see how existence, or the lack of it, changes the mental concept of God, and so we may be reluctant to say that it is necessary of God. Kant argues that there are differences between something having certain predicates, such as in the case of the triangle, and something existing, in the case of God.
Kant argues that the examples given by Descartes are of ‘judgements’  and it is not necessarily true that three sides exist at all. It is only necessarily true that, given a triangle, there are three sides consisting in it. By this understanding, existence is separate from the predicates that determine how a subject is.
If Kant’s view is correct then The Ontological Argument fails, if existence is not a real predicate that is added on to the subject then to deny existence you take away the whole subject. The principle of the Ontological Argument regards this as being as an attribute.
The Ontological argument can only succeed using faith in something which cannot be quantified, therefore can only really be used to prove the existence of God by someone who is already a believer, as Barth suggests “it can tell what theists believe about God but not whether he exists”  . Because of this the argument ultimately fails, as it claims to be a proof but that proof will never be able to be measured.
 

Constructivist and Liberalist Argument on State Shared Value

According to realism, relations between states in the anarchical world is doomed to the state of constant conflict in which states can only count on themselves. Whatever cooperation exists in the world they prescribe it to the hegemonic order. This means that hegemon, creates institutions which facilitate cooperation but that these institutions are carriers of hegemonic interests and their existence is related to the existence of a hegemon.

Get Help With Your Essay
If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!
Essay Writing Service

Representatives of liberal school deny the abovementioned argument and point at contemporary networks of cooperation in many fields which they see as a positive current in the world politic. Realists and liberals agree that the status of international system is anarchy and sovereign states make up the international order. As Alexander Wendt stated in 1992 in his article[1]: “neorealists and neoliberals share generally similar assumptions about agents: states are the dominant actors in the system and they define security in “self-interested terms”[2]. As for the Liberals, they underline the importance of international institutions and cooperation between states thus placing a principle of the shared values in the center of state-behavior.
Constructivist Argument
According to Alexander Wendt, concept of “power politics” is socially constructed: “If self-help is not a constitutive feature of anarchy, it must emerge casually from processes in which anarchy plays only a permissive role. This reflects a second principle of constructivism: that the meanings in terms of which action is organized arise out of interaction”[3] Wendt views “self-help” as something not given by nature but instead, socially constructed. Having in mind the fact that “power politics” is socially constructed means that it can be transformed by human practice. Furthermore, constructivists look at international arena as a constructed structure which is built by socio-cultural practices, ideas, domestic and international interactions. According to Wendt, “the basic tenets of constructivism are the structures of human association that are determined primarily by shared ideas rather than material forces, and that the identities and interests of purposive actors are constructed by these shared ideas rather than given by nature”[4].
According to the theory of constructivism the effect of anarchy on the state is proportionate to the state’s perception of anarchy, identity and interest. If in the state of Anarchy state A perceives the rise of power of state B as threat to its security, then a security dilemma is created and states apply to the self-help principle. But, if state A and state B view their security in the form of cooperation and collaboration, then a security dilemma is not formed, thus not establishing logical grounds for self-help principle to develop. Alexander Wendt in his article “anarchy is what state make of it: The social construction of power politics” states that: “the nature of international anarchy appears to be conflictual if states show a conflictual behaviour towards each other, and cooperative if they behave cooperatively towards one another. Therefore, it is states themselves that determine anarchy’s nature.”[5]
Liberal argument
Representatives of liberal theory agree with realists on a notion that international system is anarchical. But unlike realist, liberalism mitigates the risks coming from the nature of anarchy with cooperation and collaboration between states.[6].
While liberalism agrees on an anarchical condition of international politics, it provides three main mechanisms that can explain a state behavior in order to avoid the risks coming from the anarchy: “consolidation of democracy, economic interdependence, and transtational institutions”.[7] In order to mitigate the threats and risks coming from the anarchy representatives of the liberal theory believe that states should become more interdependent with each other. Shared democratic values and economical interdependence significantly reduces the risk of military confrontation between states. Free trade relations between states, which result in a close economic ties between its citizens, excludes the chance of military confrontation with each other. According to Michael W. Doyle: “Wars occur outside the liberal zone because conflicts of interest are deeper there.”[8]

Find Out How UKEssays.com Can Help You!
Our academic experts are ready and waiting to assist with any writing project you may have. From simple essay plans, through to full dissertations, you can guarantee we have a service perfectly matched to your needs.
View our services

Liberalism also allows a probability of the world peace despite the anarchical feature of international politics. If the state behavior is prone to establishment of international organizations and institutions then this behavior may lead to the long term cooperation between the member nations which share the same values. According to the liberalism military conflicts are not inevitable but can be prevented through collaboration. The development of an international organization such as United of Nation, NATO and European Union are the examples of cooperation between states that could promote stability.
A central claim of this theory is that once created, institutions tend to persist, because it is cheaper to maintain institutions than to create new ones. Therefore, when confronted with new sets of problems, states seek to modify an already existing institution to meet new challenges. Thus, institutional liberal theories have easier time explaining why NATO persisted after the end of the Cold War even when the enemy that it was supposed to counter disappeared.
Liberalism underlines the significace of the shared values between states. The principle of shared values can explain state behavior as they create alliances and develop joint capabilities, rather than focusing only on the development of their own.

Saint Anselm’s Ontological Argument Analysis

 
Thesis:
In this paper I will investigate Saint Anselm’s Ontological Argument in order to make an attempt at establishing some clear evidence to answer this question; Did Saint Anselm believe in GOD?
Argument:
Saint Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury (1033-1109), is the creator of the ontological argument. Saint Anselm’s ontological argument is distinctive from other arguments that attempt to prove that it is the existence of God, the creator, and not just some abstract entity that is being defined. Saint Anselm’s argument reads as follows:

In my opinion, while Saint Anselm was a deep thinker, he was even more so, in this case, a deeper writer. I believe the common reader should be able to see the soundness of an argument, so that they may be able toaccept or reject the writer’s position. I think the Ontological Argument of Saint Anselm is unclear because the writing style is confusing and it needs to be more understandable. Maybe a simpler script or updated version of Saint Anselm’s message would clarify his position to ordinary readers like me. Based on Clifford’s comment “It is never lawful to stifle a doubt, for either it can be honestly answered by means of the inquiry already made, or else it proves that the inquiry was not complete”, 2(Encountering the Real,pg. 502).
Speak of the devil! Saint Anselm does have a 2nd version of his Ontological Argument, and it states:

 
With all that being said, this version of Saint Anselm’s argument is also about as clear as mud! However, by definition, God is a being than which none greater can be imagined, is now more properly put as follows:
Objection(s):
Along with his 1st Argument, Saint Anselm’s 2nd version of the Ontological Argument is also believed to have failed in its efforts to clearly state his position to his readers/audience, according to some of his peers. The following names are some of Saint Anselm’s peers along with the some other writers who sighted their objections to the clarity and understandability of his Ontological Argument.

Get Help With Your Essay
If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!
Essay Writing Service

Monk, Gaunilo of Marmoutier, a contemporary of Saint Anselm, expressed an important criticism against Saint Anselm’s Ontological Argument. Monk Gaunilo states that Saint Anselm is basically defining things into existence. Monk Gaunilo remarks that he believes this practice is unacceptable. Monk Gaunilo thinks that by using Saint Anselm’s method of argument authors could simply employ such tactics in an attempt to argue and even confirm the existence of all sorts of non-existent things.
Saint Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274) wrote that God’s existence is self-evident. Saint Thomas Aquinas believed that since many people have different thoughts of God, Saint Anselm’s Ontological Argument works only to sway those people who would define the idea of God the same way or have the same concepts of God. In Saint Thomas Aquinas’s view he believed, even if everyone had the same concept of God “it does not therefore follow that he understands what the word signifies exists actually, but only that it exists mentally.” In Saint Thomas Aquinas’ understanding he points out that when we try to connect the phrase “a being than which none greater can be imagined” with more familiar predictable concepts they don’t help us to get an in depth view of God.
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) directs his famous objection at the third premise of Saint Anselm’s Ontological Argument. This is where Saint Anselm makes the claim that a being that exists as an idea in someone’s mind as well as in reality, is greater than if that being exists only as an idea in just their mind alone. Based on Saint Anselm’s premise number three, existence is what’s understood to be a great-making property or, as sometimes referred to, a perfection. Premise three thus explains that (a) existence is a property; and (b) to characterize existence makes a thing better, if all things are equal, than it would have been otherwise. Immanuel Kant rejects premise three on the ground that, as a purely formal matter, existence does not function as a predicate. While Kant’s criticism is phrased a bit obscurely in terms of thelogicof predicates and copulas, it also makes a conceivable metaphysical point. Existence is not a property like the way that being red is a property of an apple. Instead existence is a precondition for the exemplification of things in the sense that, it is not possible for a non-existent thing to exemplify any properties because there is nothing that such a property can stick itself to. Nothing has no qualities whatsoever. To say thatxexemplifies or instantiates a propertyPis hence to presuppose thatxexists. So, with this line of reasoning, existence isn’t a great-making property because it is not a property at all; it is rather a metaphysically necessary condition for the instantiation of any properties. Okay, Immanuel Kant also writes like Saint Anselm, way too deep for the poor little old average readers like me!
Responses(s):
In response to Saint Anselm’s Ontological Argument, other writers have made modal versions to express their thoughts about his ontological argument, below are two of those responses.
The first response to Saint Anselm’s Ontological Argument comes from: (“Anselm’s Ontological Argument,”Philosophical Review, vol.69, no.1 (1960), 41-62 by Norman Malcolm). According to Malcolm’s view, the existence of an unlimited being is said to be either rationally necessary or logically not possible. Norman Malcolm’s argument for this claim is either that an unlimited being exists or that an unlimited being does not exist; by his logic there are no other possibilities. Reducing Malcom’s argument to its basic elements it would read as follows:

The next response to Saint Anselm’s Ontological Argument is from Alvin Plantinga, (God, Freedom, and Evil(New York: Harper and Row, 1974). Plantinga complains that Saint Anselm’s argument is remarkably unconvincing if not downright irritating; he says that it looks too much like a parlor puzzle or some kind of word magic riddle. Not surprisingly, Alvin Plantinga shares my feelings about Saint Anselm’s writings.
Finally, here is my response to Saint Anselm’s Ontological Argument. In just my lowly opinion, I think a person who writes in riddles is not out to teach as much as they are out to prove how smart they are. God does not need our help to show his existence, we need His help to see that He exists. This to me is like a child trying to prove they have parents, the process is self-evident. I am, so they are!
Conclusion:
Per Anselm –

A being thatnecessarilyexists in reality is greater than a being that does notnecessarilyexist.
Thus, by definition, if God exists as an idea in the mind but does not necessarily exist in reality, then we can imagine something that is greater than God.
But we cannot imagine something that is greater than God.
Thus, if God exists in the mind as an idea, then God necessarily exists in reality.
God exists in the mind as an idea.
Therefore, God necessarily exists in reality.”

In reaction to the above riddle, I investigated several sources to establish clear evidence to answer the question, “Did Saint Anselm believe in GOD?” My findings were; Saint Anselm wrote, in his 1st version of his ontological argument “… there is no doubt that there exists a being, than which nothing greater can be conceived, and it exists both in the understanding and in reality.” 1(Anselm, http://www.iep.utm.edu/ont-arg/). In the 2nd version of his Ontological Argument Saint Anselm states: “God is that, than which nothing greater can be conceived.… And [God] assuredly exists so truly, that it cannot be conceived not to exist… There is, then, so truly a being than which nothing greater can be conceived to exist, that it cannot even be conceived not to exist; and this being thou art, O Lord, our God.” So the answer is YES, Anselm believed that God does exist.
Citations:
1(Anselm, http://www.iep.utm.edu/ont-arg/)
2(Encountering the Real,pg. 502)
3(Malcolm, Norman, “Anselm’s Ontological Argument,”Philosophical Review, vol. 69, no. 1 (1960), 41-62)
4(Plantinga, Alvin,God, Freedom, and Evil(New York: Harper and Row, 1974)
Bibliography:
Anselm, St.,Anselm’s Basic Writings, translated by S.W. Deane, 2ndEd. (La Salle, IL: Open Court Publishing Co., 1962)
Anselm: Ontological Argument for God’s Existence, http://www.iep.utm.edu/ont-arg/
Davenport, Ronald. Saintleo, Modules 1- 4 Lecture Notes.
Aquinas, Thomas, St.,Summa Theologica(1a Q2), “Whether the Existence of God is Self- Evident (Thomas More Publishing, 1981)
Kant, Immanuel,Critique of Pure Reason, translated by J.M.D. Meiklejohn (New York: Colonial Press, 1900)
Malcolm, Norman, “Anselm’s Ontological Argument,”Philosophical Review, vol. 69, no. 1 (1960), 41-62
Plantinga, Alvin,God, Freedom, and Evil(New York: Harper and Row, 1974)
Saint Leo University. Encountering the Real. 2013 ed. New York: Cengage Custom. Print
 

Anselm’s Ontological Argument & How It May Prove Gods Existence

In this essay I shall describe Anselm’s ontological argument and look at how it may prove Gods existence. I will then go on to look at criticisms of the argument from both Gaunilo and Kant to see if they can show that the argument does not work and if not, why not.
The core of Anselm’s ontological argument uses a reductio ad absurdum structure to attempt to prove the existence of God. He does this by showing that if the negation of the conclusion is followed then this leads to absurdity (a false or nonsensical conclusion). Anselm’s argument is as follows: ‘If therefore that than which nothing greater can be conceived exists in the understanding alone [and not in reality], then this thing than which nothing greater can be conceived is something than that which a greater can be conceived. And this is clearly impossible. Therefore, there can be no doubt at all that something than which a greater cannot be conceived exists in both the understanding and in reality.’ This quote is somewhat confusing due to the language used so a simplified version may be of some use. The argument can be seen as such (1) God is something which nothing can be greater than; God is the being of maximum greatness. (2)It is completely possible that God can exist within reality; God, no matter whether he actually exists within reality, can exist within some circumstances, therefore God may possibly have existed within our world. (3)Now if something exists entirely and only within the constraints of the mind and does not exist in reality but is still possible then it is plausible that that something which exists only within the mind may have been greater. (4) Now imagine that God exists only within the mind and does not exist in our reality (this can be seen to be God not actually existing at all), this allows for the idea that there is a possible entity which is greater than God. (5)So it can be a possibility that there is a being or entity which is greater than God! (6)Because God is the greatest and there is nothing which can be greater than God (as stated in point 1) then this argument has shown that there is something which can be greater than that which nothing can be greater than! Because statement 6 makes no sense due to it being self contradictory God must exist not just in the mind but also at the same time in reality. This argument has been given in many different forms over time and I will cite one here to show that the interpretation given above is not too far removed from other interpretations. The following interpretation is given by Plantinga:

God exists in the understanding but not in reality. (Assumption for reductio)
Existence in reality is greater than existence in the understanding alone. (Premise)
A being having all of God’s properties plus existence in reality can be conceived. (Premise)
A being having all of God’s properties plus existence in reality is greater than God. (From (1) and (2).)
A being greater than God can be conceived. (From (3) and (4).)
It is false that a being greater than God can be conceived. (From definition of “God”.)
Hence, it is false that God exists in the understanding but not in reality. (From (1), (5), (6).)
God exists in the understanding. (Premise, to which even the Fool agrees.)
Hence God exists in reality. (From (7), (8).)

This interpretation basically follows the same structure as mine and uses the reductio ad absurdum principle to prove God’s existence. Now we have seen how the argument works we must look at some criticisms of Anselm’s approach.
One of the most successful and effective criticisms is given by Gaunilo. He attacked Anselm’s argument by stating that his reductio ad absurdum could be applied to many things and not just god. For this reason he believed that Anselm’s argument was not a valid or acceptable way to justify Gods existence. Gaunilo used the example of ‘the greatest possible island (originally conceivable but we shall use possible for cohesions sake). He went on to apply Anselm’s argument to ‘the greatest possible island’ to prove the existence of this fictional island using the same style of reasoning which Anselm used to prove the existence of God. Now if somebody told me that there was an island greater than all other islands ever I would have absolutely no problem understanding the words which they used or the concept they were attempting to divulge. But if they then went on to state that because I can imagine the island in my mind then the island must be possible then I would have serious doubts about this concept (and their sanity for that matter). What follows will be Gaunilo’s criticism placed into the format of Anselm’s reductio ad absurdum argument

Get Help With Your Essay
If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!
Essay Writing Service

: (1) ‘Best island’ is an island that nothing can be greater than; ‘Best island’ is the island of maximum greatness. (2)It is completely possible that ‘Best island’ can exist within reality; ‘Best island’, no matter whether it actually exists within reality, can exist within some circumstances, therefore ‘Best island’ may possibly have existed within our world. (3)Now if something exists entirely and only within the constraints of the mind and does not exist in reality but is still possible then it is plausible that that something which exists only within the mind may have been greater. (4) Now imagine that ‘Best island’ exists only within the mind and does not exist in our reality (this can be seen to be ‘Best island’ not actually existing at all), this allows for the idea that there is a possible island which is greater than ‘Best island’. (5)So it can be a possibility that there is a land or island which is greater than ‘Best Island’! (6)Because ‘Best island’ is the greatest and there is nothing which can be greater than ‘Best Island’ (as stated in point 1) then this argument shows that there is a possible island which is greater than the island that no island can be greater than. Because statement 6 is self contradictory then ‘Best Island’ must exist not just in the mind but in reality at the same time. This argument seems to show that Anselm’s argument to prove God can be used to prove a lot of seemingly ridiculous ideas, for example ‘greatest possible bouncy castle’ or ‘greatest possible goat’.
On first impressions it would seem as though this argument goes a long way to disproving Anselm’s argument for God but there is a problem with this. Gaunilo’s argument doesn’t actually tell us what is wrong with Anselm’s argument; although it shows that seemingly ridiculous conclusions can be proved to be true it does not specify what is exactly is wrong or invalid about Anselm’s argument. It does not state that any of the premises are wrong and neither does it show the conclusion to be invalid. In fact if Anselm’s argument is looked at in terms of logic then there is nothing wrong with it at all. Although this is the case, Gaunilo’s criticism is still a fairly weighty one due its ability to prove absurd conclusions.
As with every objection there is always a response so now let’s look at some responses to Gaunilo’s weighty criticism. One of these responses focuses on the idea of ‘the greatest possible island’ (or best island). It states that the ‘greatest possible island’ can actually not exist. My conception of the greatest possible island almost certainly differs from your conception of the greatest possible island. For example I may prefer there to be a lot of animals on the island, dangerous and non dangerous and a lot of trees. Whereas you may prefer to only have non dangerous animals and mostly open areas on the island. This shows us that although subjectively there is the possibility of the ‘greatest possible island’ on a large objective scale there can be no such thing. In other words there is nothing within the definition of an island that allows for maximum greatness within a certain island. The oxford English dictionary defines an island as ‘a piece of land surrounded by water’. Clearly there is nothing there which could allow for one island to be greater than all others. It mentions nothing of the depth of water surrounding the island, whether or not there are inhabitants of the island, the size of the island etc. This is not the same for God though. Anselm describes God as maximum perfection of which nothing can be greater. The idea of God cannot be pulled away from the description of God. God is that which nothing can be greater than. This differs from the ‘greatest possible island’ as the idea of perfection is a separate concept which has be added to the idea of an island. So it seems that although Gaunilo’s objection on first inspection is a good one it misses the point that maximum perfection cannot be separated from the concept of God whereas maximum perfection can be separated from the concept of an island.
The final objection that I will look at comes from Kant, the very man who coined the phrase ‘ontological’ for Anselm’s argument. Kant’s argument works by rejecting premise (3) (if something exists entirely and only within the constraints of the mind and does not exist in reality but is still possible then it is plausible that that something which exists only within the mind may have been greater). Kant states that the Anselm’s argument is based on the idea that a God which exists is greater than a God which does not. Kant believes this to be false and confusing. In this objection Kant states that existence is not a property which can be possessed, or not possessed by an object. He goes on to say that existence, if it not a property, is a concept which refers or corresponds to something within our world (universe). In other words if something exists then there will be an example of the thing that exists in our world. A way to illustrate this is by giving the example of a ball. This ball is blue, round, fairly heavy and has the diameter of 50cm. Now if I say that this ball exists it does not add any properties to this ball, equally if I say that it doesn’t exist it adds no properties to the ball. When I say that it exists I am merely saying that there is an example of this ball within our world. When one applies this to the argument we can see why Kant’s objection is so well accepted amongst those who reject the ontological argument. If existence is not a property then a God which exists and a God which does not exist are absolutely identical. Both are omnipotent, omnipresent and so on. If they are both identical then Anselm cannot claim that a God which exists is greater than a God which does not exist. If this is the case then the ontological argument fails as premise three is false!
One response to Kant’s objection is that existence adds something to our conception of a subject. If I read about superman believing that he existed I would be very impressed with his powers and what he has done etc. If then I discover that superman does not exist I may be disappointed and my conception of him may change. This then allows for existence to alter my conception of a subject thus allowing for a God that exists to be different, slightly, to a God which does not exist. This response seems somewhat weak though and I believe that Kant’s objection still stands.
To conclude I have found that, through Kant’s property based objection, Anselm’s ontological argument fails to provide a decent way of proving Gods existence. Because Existence cannot be seen to be a property then the ontological argument fails. Gaunilo also provides some criticism of Anselm through showing that the ontological argument can be used to prove all kinds of ridiculous conclusions (if one accepts that the idea of maximum perfection can be separated from the concept of God). So because the ontological argument fails to defend itself adequately against criticism I believe that it fails as a way to prove Gods existence.