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

By Charles Hartshorne | Go to book overview

that it was not to be evaded.27 However, our present situation is that we have an alternative form of theism which also, and with better right, can employ the ontological argument. So I incline to the view that the next move is up to the skeptics.


9. Hume

Hume makes a remarkable concession concerning the possible importance of the ontological argument: he grants that its validity would dispose of the argument against theism based on the evils in the world. And of course, no empirical facts can testify against a logical necessity. Indeed, the argument from evil itself rests on the supposed analytic truth that Greatness must result in a world without evil. This, in turn, means that Greatness in God implies an absolute absence of independence or initiative of action in the creatures. For, if they have any such independence, evil may be their doing, for all we could know, not God's. ('They' here means creatures generally, not just human beings!) And to say that God should, and as Great logically would, grant no freedom in this sense is to say that a being who can and must deny all genuine independence of action to others is better than one who could and would foster suitable degrees of independence in them. So far from finding this analytically true, some of us find it analytically false. Perhaps 'omnipotence', in the sense of a monopoly of power, an infinitely stingy denial of real power to others, is even a mere absurdity. In any case, it

____________________
27
Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics and Correspondence with Arnauld ( LaSalle, Illinois. Open Court Publishing Co., 1924), pp. 96-114 (letters vi, viii).

-201-

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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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