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

By Charles Hartshorne | Go to book overview

Of course Cudworth lacks any realization of the abstract- concrete paradox, and he asserts rather than explicates the incompatibility of perfection with contingency. On this second point, Anselm is more helpful.


8. Leibniz

No more than with Descartes, Spinoza, Cudworth, or most of those we shall have to deal with is there evidence that Leibniz knew the contents of the Proslogium (after the by themselves scarcely intelligible first two chapters). My guess is that he did not. He was, however, too much a meta- physician to be wholly victimized by the Gaunilo tradition. Like Scotus, but first among the moderns, he sees the need of establishing the logical possibility of the theistic concept, and he attempts to meet this need, partly by connecting the problem of logical possibility with the principles which he believes underlie logic generally, an intelligent procedure, if it can be carried through successfully. Like Thomas (and all the great theists) he is clear that if we know anything at all about God we know that He could not exist contingently. Unlike Thomas, but like all the Ontologists, he disbelieves in the sensory origin of the most universal conceptions. God is a direct datum of the soul, always given but not always attended to.

One of the best-known passages of Leibniz concerning the Argument betrays the persistent influence of Anselm's initial blunder (see Part One, Secs. 6, 19, 20).

To exist is something more than not to exist, or rather, existence adds a degree to grandeur and perfection, and as Descartes states it, existence is itself a perfection. Therefore this

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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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