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

By Charles Hartshorne | Go to book overview

in 'none greater' and compare the two ways of doing this, to see clearly the distinction between atheism and positivism as alternatives to theism, to generalize the problem of contingency with respect to alternative criteria for the division between necessary and contingent propositions and to relate these to various language systems and their rules. We are, in short, in a position to inquire in this area, rather than merely to debate. So, on the whole, we may after all be at least mildly grateful to those whom we have been viewing with such severity. And certainly we should be grateful to Anselm. He did for us not exactly what he hoped to do, but in some ways far more than he could have dreamt of doing.


18. Refutation of Some Refutations

Gilbert Ryle tells us that the Argument rests upon the use of a 'systematically misleading expression'. In 'x exists', existence is only a 'bogus predicate' and that of which it is asserted only a 'bogus subject'. And "if existence is not a quality it is not the sort of thing that can be entailed by a quality."9 Another author says that the verb to exist "takes us right out of the purely conceptual world," and therefore "there can never be any logical contradiction in denying that God exists."10

In these charges I find unwitting instances of the 'bad

____________________
10
New Essays in Philosophical Theology, eds. A. G. N. Flew and A. Macintyre ( London: SCM Press, 1955), p. 34.
9
G. Ryle, "Systematically Misleading Expressions," Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society ( 1931-32); also in Logic and Language, eds. A. G.N. Flew and A. Macintyre ( New York: Philosophical Library, 1951), pp. 15, 17.

-73-

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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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