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

By Charles Hartshorne | Go to book overview

genuinely conceivable, his existence very well can be. Hence, the impossibility of significantly denying 'Greatness exists' appears not to be nullified by any comparable difficulty in asserting it. And of course many mystics claim to experience God. Since their claim is compatible with the conception of God, and the claim of falsification is not thus compatible, Anselm's Principle seems to be vindicated. Greatness is conceivable only as existent, by the very criteria which allow us to conceive either the existence or the nonexistence of any island, dollar, devil, you please.


16. The Proof and Logical Rules

The basic pattern of attacks upon the Argument is this: however exceptional God may be, He cannot be an exception to the ultimate rules of language or of meaning. But this is also the pattern of many positivistic attacks, not simply on the Argument, but on the idea of God itself. Thus God could not be infallible, for to perceive or know is to experience things in a perspective which is bound to put some things in clearer light than others: He could not be both perfect and 'living', for to live is to have an environment whose features set limits to the actions of living organisms. In short, God cannot be a sheer exception to the rules governing the meaning of the terms applied to Him. Just so, the anti- Anselmian is sure that God could not be an exception to the rule governing 'exist'--that it is always an arbitrary or contingent determination of the disjunction: to exist or not to exist. So sure is he of this that he does not even need to read and rarely does read--or at least remember--even the four pages of Prosl. II-IV in order to know how wrong they must be. And what is the critic so sure of? Unwittingly or wittingly,

-65-

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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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