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

By Charles Hartshorne | Go to book overview

eration, that negative possibilities are only an aspect of positive ones taken wholesale, gives us a criterion for distinguishing genuine from merely verbal negations. The nonexistence of a predicate, H, either does or does not imply the disjunction of various positive forms of possibility any one of which would exclude the existence of H. If for H we put divine perfection, no such forms can be specified. It is the same with all comparably abstract properties, e.g., 'something particular'. No positive possibility is excluded by the bare 'existence of particulars', their nature being not further specified. Universals are not crowded out of reality by there being particulars; on the contrary it is only in particulars of some sort, for instance, particular minds, that universals can be met at all. And there being particulars of a kind not further specified sets no restrictions upon the truth or untruth of more specifically defined sorts of particulars. This absence of exclusive particularization in 'particularization' itself, taken merely as such, is entirely matched by the absolutely infinite tolerance of 'divine perfection exists somehow, in some particular concrete form'. Any imaginable being besides God is quite free to exist, so far as this statement is concerned. To say otherwise is to say that something could exist which God could not know existed, and this is to make the idea of His cognitive perfection contradictory.


15. Contingency and Observability

If it be thought arbitrary to take positive possibilities as forming the entirety of possibility, then I appeal to Popper's invaluable if simple lesson, that the useful meaning of 'contingent' or 'empirical' is, "capable of being contradicted

-62-

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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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