The Ontological Argument for the Existence of Ice Cream

Anselm and his just dessert

Let us understand the term Super Freeze to refer to the creamiest, most delicious ice cream that can be conceived of (regardless of whether any other ice cream exists or not). The fool says in his heart that Super Freeze does not exist. Yet this very fool, in order to say this, must have Super Freeze in mind when he denies its existence. So even this fool will admit that Super Freeze exists in his understanding, although he does not understand it to exist in reality.

Hence, even the fool is convinced that something exists in the understanding: the creamiest, most delicious ice cream that can be conceived of. But surely the creamiest, most delicious ice cream that can be conceived of cannot exist in the understanding alone. For if it did, we could then go further and conceive of it existing in reality as well, which would make it creamier and more delicious – for real ice cream is surely creamier and more delicious than imaginary ice cream (as any fool can tell you). This is clearly impossible. Hence, there is no doubt that there exists an ice cream than which no creamier or more deliciosu can be conceived, and that it exists both in the understanding and in reality.

So truly do you exist, O Super Freeze my ice cream, that you can not be conceived not to exist.

Thanks a million, Anselm!

[EDIT: OK, this was going to be an inside joke, but for those completely in the dark: This is a parody of Anselm’s ontological argument for the existence of God. It’s a bad argument. Click the above link to read the original argument. The primary purpose of the parody is to invoke the art of humour.]

Glenn Peoples

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6 thoughts on “The Ontological Argument for the Existence of Ice Cream

  1. But Glenn, the flaw of your argument is, if you believe in God, then you must believe that the tooth fairy and Santa Clause exist and give children presents 😉

  2. I thought about trying to defend Anselm’s argument from the paradoy (I think there are serveral important disanalogies). But why bother when just about everyone (including me) thinks that the argument is flawed anyway. Now, many modal versions of the OA, imho, are sound (though not very persuasive).

  3. I can think of two possible lines of response.

    One is that perhaps there is no, greatest concievable ice cream, for every ice cream one concieves there is another one can concieve of one that is greater. i.e do the great making properties of ice creams have an intrinsic maximum. The greatmaking properties God has however do have an intrinisic maxium.

    Second, if one adopts a modal version of Anselm’s position. Along the lines that a greatest possible icecream has must have its greatmaking properties in all possible worlds,and hence if a greatest ice cream is possible then its actual one can respond by claiming the argument is valid but unsound, seeing there is no greatest ice cream in the actual world, it follows that there is no possible world where the ice cream exists.

    The ontological arguer then could claim that the ice cream version is valid but unsound but perhaps if one exchanged false premises for true ones ( such as there is a possible world in which God exists) then one would have a sound ontological argument.

  4. Matt, re: the first objection, change it to “most real” icecream then 😉

    re: the second objection, I think the modal version basically treats possible worlds like other real worlds (ie. if something is in a possible world then it really has all of its properties in that world). But really, possible worlds are just mental constructs, which makes the version no better than Anselms. Unless something exists in the actual world, then it has no properties at all.

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