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

By Charles Hartshorne | Go to book overview

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-

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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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