This author gives us an admirable short account of the historical background of the Proof. One may doubt if the special role of faith is properly estimated in this account. But on the other hand, one could hardly have a clearer realization than the passage expresses of the enormous systematic philosophical issues which are entwined in this one.
An ingenious argument, not included in the quotation below, is given to show that logic and ethics, like metaphysics, must assert existence as involved in essence. Thus--for instance-- in talking about propositions we create propositions, and hence their existence cannot be denied. This seems rather different from the necessity that God should exist; but possibly the consideration is relevant. In any case, if all existence is contingent, metaphysics is a will-o'-the-wisp, and so is much of what has been regarded as philosophy.
Of the three phrases quoted below from Boëthius, the last and most significant is in the Consolations of Philosophy, Book III, X. It is indeed close to Anselm: "nothing better than God can be thought of." Boëthius uses the formula to prove that God must have perfect goodness, since otherwise, inasmuch as "perfect things were before the imperfect," there would be something better than He. Still, this is not Anselm. For the procedure requires us to prove independently that perfect goodness exists, whereas all that is needed is that it be conceivable, since then that which is thought of as not admitting even the thought of a greater must be thought of as perfectly good. Similarly it must be thought of as existing necessarily--again assuming only that necessary existence is conceivable and would be superior to contingency. There is another bit of
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
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: 250.