parts. If there can be an eminent, necessary manner of existing, why not an eminent manner of having parts? And we shall see that, in one sense, God may have absolutely no parts while in another sense having more of them than any other being. The old sledgehammer methods in metaphysics need improving. There are ways and ways of having parts, as of existing. So far from its being obvious that the absence of parts is a merit, one of the normal procedures in estimating value is to compare degrees of complexity arising from parts. Beauty of all kinds is unity in variety, and the greater the variety, the greater the value of the unity. A musical chord is as unified as a symphony, but its lack of complexity, its poverty of parts, limits its value most severely. Yet, on the other hand, what could be meant by "greatest conceivable variety'? It must mean, all possible variety; and if this is to be unified to constitute a 'beauty than which none greater is conceivable', we run into trouble. 'All possible variety' is no definite variety at all, but confusion, full of mutual incompatibilities. For, as Leibniz put it, "not all possibles are compossible." So 'absolute beauty'--the great Platonic vision--is to all appearances a contradiction.
Is there any escape from the dilemma that 'greatest conceivable quantity' is impossible and greatest conceivable quality devoid of quantity is, for all we can see, likewise impossible? Fortunately there is, and to find it we need not abandon Anselm's definition of deity. We need only note the following ambiguity: 'None greater can be conceived' may mean, 'no greater individual' or it may mean, "no
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Publication information: Book title: Anselm's Discovery:A Re-Examination of the Ontological Proof for God's Existence. Contributors: Charles Hartshorne - Author. Publisher: Open Court. Place of publication: La Salle, IL. Publication year: 1965. Page number: 28.
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