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

By Charles Hartshorne | Go to book overview
Save to active project

in conceptu, necessary from contingent existence, self-existence from derived existence. Specific distinctions must surely admit of being predicated. That the exclusion of existence--which here means real and necessary existence--from the idea of God does not leave us with an incomplete idea of God, is not a position, I think, which can be maintained . . . the idea becomes either the idea of a nonentity or the idea of an idea, and not the idea of a perfect being at all. Thus, the argument of Anselm is unwarrantably represented as an argument of four terms instead of three. . . .

The second form of the Cartesian argument is, that God cannot be thought of as a perfect Being unless He be also thought of as a necessarily existent Being; and that, therefore, the thought of God implies the existence of God. . . . It is futile to meet this by saying that existence ought not to be included in any mere conception, for it is not existence but necessary existence which is included in the conception reasoned from, and that God can be thought of otherwise than as necessarily existent requires to be proved, not assumed. To affirm that existence cannot be given or reached through thought, but only through sense and sensuous experience can prove nothing except the narrowness of the philosophy on which such a thesis is based.38

Flint overlooks the abstract-concrete paradox, and the consequent need to transcend classical theism. But it was fifty years after his writing the above words, at least, before more than a minute fraction of the philosophical world had anything like so definite and accurate a grasp of what either Anselm or Descartes had meant. It is probably still a small fraction.


14. W. E. Hocking, Josiah Royce, and George Santayana

Anselm's Proof has seldom played a positive role in Ameri

____________________
38
Theism ( Edinburgh and London, 1877), pp. 278-80, 282-84 [Since Flint refers to Cudworth, the latter's rare understanding of the Argument was not quite lost in his vast volumes, after all.]

-240-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

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

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 336

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?