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Al-Muḥaqqiq al-Iṣfahānī’s Ontological Argument and Spinoza’s Ontological Arguments for the Existence of God: A Comparison


Al-Muḥaqqiq al-Iṣfahānī (1878-1942) and Spinoza (1632-1677), two prominent intellectuals of the Islamic and Western worlds respectively, have proposed different versions of the ontological argument for the existence of God. I present five versions of al-Muḥaqqiq al-Iṣfahānī’s argument in three general dimensions: first, the concept of the necessary being (wājib al-wujūd) as a mental concept; second, the concept of the necessary being as a representation of something external; and finally, the reality of the necessary being or what externally exists by its essence. Only one of these versions is compatible with al-Muḥaqqiq al-Iṣfahānī’s words. On the other hand, Spinoza has presented six arguments in which he has deployed the concept of God in three ways: the concept of God as a concept, the concept of God as a representation of something external, and the mental existence of this concept. In this paper, I compare the accurate construal of al-Muḥaqqiq al-Iṣfahānī’s argument with Spinoza’s six arguments, whereby I make a case for a strong similarity between the grounds and forms of the ontological argument as formulated by these two intellectuals.


Al-Muḥaqqiq al-Iṣfahānī, Spinoza, Ontological argument, Concept of God



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