2.29 Ontological Argument

Category: Philosophy of Religion

Keywords: anselm, exists, exist, existent, santayana, existed, existence, contingency, essences, existing, existential, essence, plantinga, ontological, contingent

Number of Articles: 238
Percentage of Total: 0.7%
Rank: 66th

Weighted Number of Articles: 328.6
Percentage of Total: 1%
Rank: 42nd

Mean Publication Year: 1966.2
Weighted Mean Publication Year: 1966
Median Publication Year: 1967
Modal Publication Year: 1961

Topic with Most Overlap: Arguments (0.065)
Topic this Overlaps Most With: Faith and Theism (0.0404)
Topic with Least Overlap: Quantum Physics (0.00017)
Topic this Overlaps Least With: Cognitive Science (0.00083)

A scatterplot showing which proportion of articles each year are in the ontological argumenttopic. The x-axis shows the year, the y-axis measures the proportion of articles each year in this topic. There is one dot per year. The highest value is in 1928 when 3.0% of articles were in this topic. The lowest value is in 1908 when 0.3% of articles were in this topic. The full table that provides the data for this graph is available in Table A.29 in Appendix A.

Figure 2.74: Ontological argument.

A set of twelve scatterplots showing the proportion of articles in each journal in each year that are in the Ontological Argumenttopic. There is one scatterplot for each of the twelve journals that are the focus of this book. In each scatterplot, the x-axis is the year, and the y-axis is the proportion of articles in that year in that journal in this topic. Here are the average values for each of the twelve scatterplots - these tell you on average how much of the journal is dedicated to this topic. Mind - 1.0%. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society - 0.9%. Ethics - 0.3%. Philosophical Review - 1.3%. Analysis - 1.4%. Philosophy and Public Affairs - 0.2%. Journal of Philosophy - 1.1%. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research - 1.4%. Philosophy of Science - 0.4%. Noûs - 1.5%. The Philosophical Quarterly - 1.2%. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science - 0.5%. The topic reaches its zenith in year 1928 when it makes up, on average across the journals, 2.9% of the articles. And it hits a minimum in year 1888 when it makes up, on average across the journals, 0.4% of the articles.

Figure 2.75: Ontological argument articles in each journal.

Table 2.65: Characteristic articles of the ontological argument topic.
Table 2.66: Highly cited articles in the ontological argument topic.


In almost every model I ran, philosophy of religion was a single topic. But here, possibly because I was using so many topics, it split off ontological arguments from the rest of philosophy of religion. There are a few other articles in here on the general topic of arguments for God’s existence, but they mostly are ontological argument papers. I didn’t really realize that there were so many of them. There are, for example, about twice as many articles in the twelve journals on the ontological argument as on the Gettier problem, which is really not what I had realized.