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

By Charles Hartshorne | Go to book overview

as 'bare nothing'. And very likely that is truly 'the most deficient and imperfect entity in the world'. It also is necessarily unexemplified in actuality, because it is the total denial of actuality, whereas the divine perfection is (in a certain manner) the maximal assertion of it. Classical theism makes this assertion absolute in a sense which runs into totally opaque antinomies; neoclassical theism avoids these by requiring only that the divine actuality be supreme and all-inclusive with respect to whatever is actual and that the divine potentiality account for all that is possible but not actual, by being both the ground of its possibility and that which would fully inherit its richness were it to become actual. Thus all possibility of rivalry with another is made logically impossible. And this exclusion of rivalry, as a great man saw almost nine centuries ago, is the very principle Which justifies worship.


22. Conclusions

We have in Part Two considered or mentioned the responses of some forty-four philosophers to the type of argument that Anselm invented. At least twenty of these, including a dozen modern writers, appear to have known virtually nothing of the structure of the Proof as presented in Prosl. III-IV and the Reply, or in Descartes Replies! About fourteen, half of them modern, have had at least a partial understanding of such a structure, in some cases ( Descartes, Spinoza, Cudworth) probably not derived directly from Anselm; but of the modern thinkers discussed in Part Two, only Malcolm and Hartman pay explicit attention to the remarkable difference between Anselm's two accounts, in Prosl. II and III, and deal with the

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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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