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Working paper

Malcolm’s Version Of The Ontological Argument: Several Questionable Aspects

This article deals with the version of the ontological argument (OA) for existence of God proposed by Malcolm and Hartshorne. The study has three aims: to outline the role of de re modality in the OA, to reinvestigate the de re / de dicto distinction, and to reflect on the possibility of an a priori proof of the existence. The article analyses two logical formulations of the argument, points out some formal features of de re modality relevant to its validity, and proposes another approach to the formalization of de re. We demonstrate that the prevailing way does not represent the essential features of de re and, therefore, cannot be effective with respect to the argument. Further, we substantiate the thesis that most contemporary proofs of existence are vague. We conclude that a more precise distinction between modalities de re and de dicto makes Malcolm’s version of the ontological argument (as well as its improved version proposed by Hartshorne) unsound.