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

By Charles Hartshorne | Go to book overview

God for the variety of existence constitutes His immunity to nonexistence.

However, Spinoza is right in saying that a thing can only fail to exist if something 'prevents' it from existing; in other words, all facts are partly positive. But he misconstrues this to mean that effects are necessitated by their causes. They are necessarily prevented from existing if the causes are sufficiently unfavorable, but even favorable causes cannot reduce to zero the creativity--involving contingency--which is becoming itself. One must also take temporal aspects into account in considering how one thing may prevent another from existing. Granted that creativity could, at a certain point, have taken another course than it has, the course actually taken henceforth excludes this other possibility. It was, but no longer is, an 'open possibility'. But no possibility is closed unless the realization of some incompatible possibility has closed it. Only the future is still an open possibility, and an eternal being, which can never be merely future, can never be an open possibility. Whatever made its nonexistence a fact would also make its existence impossible.

God's absolute "power to exist" is His ability to assimilate any and every causal condition, to make it 'favorable' to some appropriate responsive state of His own awareness. This is the opposite of being influenced by nothing other than Himself. Nothing can be merely other or alien to God; all have something 'in common' with Him. This neoclassical view is about equally far from that of Spinoza and that of Anselm.


7. Ralph Cudworth

Here is one of the few writers who have arrived at a good

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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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