Anselm's Discovery: A Re-Examination of the Ontological Proof for God's Existence

By Charles Hartshorne | Go to book overview

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.


5. Neoclassical Resolution of the Dilemma

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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Anselm's Discovery: A Re-Examination of the Ontological Proof for God's Existence
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Open Court Library of Philosophy i
  • Title Page v
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xv
  • Part One 3
  • 2. the Overestimation of Gaunilo 18
  • 3. What the Proof Claims to Prove 22
  • 4. the Definition of God: A Dilemma 25
  • 4. the Definition of God: A Dilemma 28
  • 6. Existence a Predicate? 33
  • 7. the Second or Strong Form of the Proof 33
  • 7. the Second or Strong Form of the Proof 36
  • 7. the Second or Strong Form of the Proof 41
  • 7. the Second or Strong Form of the Proof 48
  • 7. the Second or Strong Form of the Proof 49
  • 12. the Role of Faith 53
  • 13. is the Proof Platonic? 55
  • 13. is the Proof Platonic? 60
  • 13. is the Proof Platonic? 62
  • 13. is the Proof Platonic? 65
  • 17. Anselm's Appeal to Rules 70
  • 18. Refutation of Some Refutations 73
  • 18. Refutation of Some Refutations 85
  • 20. Proslogium Ii, Iii, and Anselm's Principle 99
  • 21. Definite Thought is About Something 106
  • 23. Some Recent Criticisms of the Proof 110
  • 24. the Proof and the Other Theistic Arguments 134
  • Part Two a Critical Survey of Responses to Anselm's Proof 139
  • 2. a Strange Story 149
  • 2. a Strange Story 150
  • 2. a Strange Story 154
  • 2. a Strange Story 164
  • 2. a Strange Story 173
  • 2. a Strange Story 176
  • 2. a Strange Story 178
  • 2. a Strange Story 201
  • 2. a Strange Story 208
  • 2. a Strange Story 234
  • 2. a Strange Story 237
  • 2. a Strange Story 238
  • 2. a Strange Story 240
  • 15. R. G. Collingwood 250
  • 16. Hans Reichenbach 253
  • 16. Hans Reichenbach 255
  • 16. Hans Reichenbach 261
  • 16. Hans Reichenbach 265
  • 16. Hans Reichenbach 267
  • 16. Hans Reichenbach 278
  • 16. Hans Reichenbach 297
  • Bibliography 305
  • Acknowledgments 311
  • Index of Names 313
  • Index of Topics 319
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