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

By Charles Hartshorne | Go to book overview

and concrete or particular, thought and reality. Obviously he is dealing in his own way with the abstract-concrete paradox, but is he making a clear advance toward its resolution? Or is he showing a muddled awareness of problems which are left for someone else to subject to lucid analysis?


12. Ludwig Feuerbach

Because it is arguable that Hegel's greatest influence has been through the Marxists, it is worth noting that his acceptance of the Gaunilo legend was in a sense echoed in that main source of Marxist atheism, Feuerbach Essence of Christianity. There, after quoting the Latin of Anselm's definition of divine Greatness, the author tells us that the Proof runs: nonexistence is a defect ( Nichtsein ist ein Mangel), therefore. . . .36 This of course is Prosl. II, for the hundredth time posing as the heart of the matter. One need add only two syllables to get an approximation to the proper form of the major premise: Nichtseinkönnen ist ein Mangel, the possibility of nonexistence is a defect. But to be wise enough to make and understand this addition, one might perhaps need to read what Anselm wrote on the subject. And this, it seems, one does not do, no matter to what school of philosophy one belongs.

Notable also is Feuerbach's assumption that the real existence of God, or of anything else, must be 'particular' or 'empirical'. Much of Feuerbach's brilliant attack upon theism reads like a diffuse exploitation of the abstract-concrete or Findlay paradox, that God both must and must not be an

____________________
36
The Essence of Christianity, trans. George Eliot ( New York: Harper's, 1957, p. 198 (ch. 20). German edition ( Leipzig, 1904), p. 300 (ch. 21).

-237-

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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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