IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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


  • Yulia V. Gorbatova

    () (National Research University Higher School of Economics)


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

Suggested Citation

  • Yulia V. Gorbatova, 2014. "Malcolm’s Version Of The Ontological Argument: Several Questionable Aspects," HSE Working papers WP BRP 68/HUM/2014, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hig:wpaper:68hum2014

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    ontological argument; modalities de re and de dicto; Norman Malcolm; necessary existence; possible worlds semantics;

    JEL classification:

    • Z - Other Special Topics


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hig:wpaper:68hum2014. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamil Abdulaev) or (Victoria Elkina). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.