In the first two chapters of the Monologion Anselm shows, or tries to show that “Of all the things that exist, there is one that is the best, greatest and supreme.” In this paper I examine his argument.
In the first two chapters of the Monologion Anselm shows, or tries to show that “Of all the things that exist, there is one that is the best, greatest and supreme.” In this paper I examine his argument.
A presente entrevista foi realizada no primeiro semestre de 2022 parcialmente em forma escrita (e-mail) e parcialmente através de uma conversa por videochamada com o autor. Em ambas, os entrevistadores indagaram o filósofo sobre uma grande quantidade de temas, todos presentes em suas diversas obras. Ao mesmo tempo, deu-se particular atenção à questão que se aproxima de sua pesquisa mais recente, i. e., o vínculo entre desenvolvimento capitalista da forma-valor e as formas patológicas de narcisismo em sua acepção psicanalítica. Tal (...) pesquisa encontra-se cristalizada amplamente em seu livro, recentemente publicado no Brasil, A sociedade autofágica: capitalismo, desmedida e autodestruição (2021). O objetivo da entrevista é, de modo geral, contribuir para a divulgação da crítica do valor e, em particular, do pensamento de Anselm Jappe. Consideramos que as respostas aqui apresentadas possam oferecer instrumentos conceituais, se não suficientes, ao menos necessários, para construir uma correta compreensão dos problemas que os tempos atuais de crise permanente põem. (shrink)
Kripke raises the question concerning how the reference to God might be fixed, and Augustine makes it the leading question of the Confessions: How can I call upon God and not someone else instead? In this paper, I argue that this question is the central concern of Anselm’s Proslogion, which explicitly adopts the dialogical form of Augustine’s Confessions. Anselm does not define God but instead fixes the reference to God through an ostension or indexical description. The same linguistic formulation, “God (...) is that than which nothing greater can be thought,” has three functions: as an ostension, it points out God as that being and not another; as a criterion for selection, it ostensibly picks out a referent that exists rather than not; finally, as a rule for analysis, it provides a principle to clarify the necessary properties of the God that has been so ostended. (shrink)
Heresies are intrinsically intertwined with the evolution and inner growth of the very religions that denounce them. They serve as theological junctures, challenging and thus refining the orthodoxy of religious beliefs. The Pelagian heresy touches on one of the central tenets of Christian theology: the question of salvation. Pelagianism posits that human beings retain freedom of the will and, more specifically, the capacity to earn salvation through their own merits rather than relying solely on the grace of God in Christ. (...) This stands in contrast to the predominant Christian view that Original Sin fundamentally impaired man’s will and intellect. A central tenet of Christianity is that through His suffering and death on the Cross, Christ atoned for humanity’s Original Sin and paved the way for our redemption. But what exactly made this redemption possible through the suffering and death on the Cross? Unlike many of the answers offered, Abelard’s explanation, also referred to as exemplarism, resonates with modern sensibilities: Christ set an example to imitate, and through this imitation, man learns humility and love. However, this stance faced criticism and was condemned by Bernard of Clairvaux as having Pelagian tendencies because it suggests that Christ’s redemptive work might not inherently require Christ’s divine nature. This study will attempt to defend the exemplaristic approach while ensuring Christ’s essential role and addressing criticisms against the Pelagian heresy. This discussion is further enriched by an examination of the Eucharist, illuminating the theological tension between symbolic and realistic interpretations of religious rites. (shrink)
Kearns (2021) argues that there is a parody version of Anselm's ontological argument (a "gontological argument") which shows that God does not exist. I show that Anselm considers one of the key premises in Kearns' gontological argument, and explicitly gives an argument which entails its falsity, and hence the unsoundness of the supposed parody argument. -/- .
Anselm's ontological argument is one of the most fascinating, most controversial, and most misunderstood arguments in the entire history of Western thought. By centring the argument firmly in the Neoplatonic tradition within which Anselm was writing, Understanding Anselm's Ontological Argument sheds fresh light and clarity on this enigmatic piece of philosophy. It argues that, far from resting upon a fallacy or illegitimately attempting to define God into existence, Anselm's argument is a powerful and plausible philosophical proof, and deserves to be (...) taken seriously as such. Written to be understandable for specialists and non-specialists alike, Understanding Anselm's Ontological Argument is ideal for scholars and researchers in philosophy of religion and philosophy in the Middle Ages (especially Neoplatonism) as well as for medievalists in general. (shrink)
In this essay, I qualify Jean-Luc Marion's anti-ontological interpretation of Anselm's argument. Marion claims that the argument is not ontological but in line with Dionysian apophatic theology. To substantiate his anti-ontological reading, Marion suggests that the main regulative idea of the Proslogion is bonum. The final regulative idea, however, is gaudium, since gaudium, not bonum, leads the argument to the beatific vision. If we reformulate the Proslogion focusing on gaudium, we find that Marion's analysis misses the evident ontological aspects of (...) the argument, such as the tradition of prayer and hermeneutics. Since Anselm promulgated the argument within the Benedictine tradition of Bec, the practice of prayer or meditation is the legitimate context of the argument. However, because of his emphasis on the structure of call and response over the ontological and hermeneutical aspects of revelation, his analysis neglects the importance of the hermeneutic relation within which the Proslogion is born. (shrink)
The Philosophical Fragments (Lambeth Fragments) of St. Anselm of Canterbury are a kind of dictionary that explains the meaning of certain terms, such as: facere, velle, posse, necesse, debere, or agere. They include a discussion, conducted on the intersection of logic and ethics, of such deontic concepts as “obligation” and “goodness.” Through the explication of meanings, Anselm attempts to create a conceptual apparatus for rational proofs of the main tenets of the Christian doctrine and, even more broadly, for the exegesis (...) of Scripture. In addition, this new apparatus allows him to examine some purely philosophical topics, including free will, causation, and the relationship between human freedom and divine foreknowledge. Recently attempts have been made (by D. Walton at the level of syntax and by S. Uckelman at the level of neighborhood semantics) to reconstruct the logic of agency presented in the Philosophical Fragments. The article will briefly introduce the main issues discussed in the Philosophical Fragments. The paper shows that the description and analysis of the verb “facere” mainly in the Philosophical Fragments, but also in Anselm’s other treatises, can be well described within the Aristotelian logical square; however, the article shows some problems in trying to describe the concepts of causation, agency, and action in the language of logic. Thus, the article examines the thesis of the applicability of logic to the fundamental problems of metaphysics, namely causality, especially in the context of human free will and God’s action. (shrink)
This book investigates the compatibility between the doctrine of divine simplicity (DDS, hereafter) and divine free action primarily in the works of Avicenna and Anselm with an analytical approach. The book has three main objectives: (1) to thoroughly analyse both philosophers’ views on DDS, divine free will, and their compatibility; (2) to put them into the context of the contemporary discourse of the philosophy of religion, by investigating whether it is possible to have freedom without the ability to do otherwise (...) (as proposed by both philosophers for divine free will) with a reference to the prominent contemporary discussions initiated by Harry Frankfurt’s counterexamples; and (3) to show the plausibility of the agent-causal view for divine freedom (as defended by Anselm and Avicenna) by briefly sketching an alternative account based on Anselmian intuitions (the meta-awareness account) which can avoid the reasons-explanation objection and the luck objection against the libertarian agent-causal view. (shrink)
An annotated translation, by a distinguished translator and scholar of medieval philosophy, of the complete treatises of Anselm of Canterbury, with selected letters and prayers. A bibliography and index will be included.
This is the first collection of essays devoted to the thought of Anselm W. Müller. It brings to the attention of the English-speaking world an influential and highly regarded philosopher who has made important contributions to a wide range of philosophical debates. The volume begins with a biographical sketch of Müller. Arguably, Müller's most important contributions are to the philosophy of action and virtue ethics. The contributors, which include friends, colleagues, and former students, engage with different aspects of Müller's thought (...) in these areas. Subjects include his interpretation of Aristotle and Wittgenstein, the teleology of thought and action, the Aristotelian distinction between poiesis and praxis and its application to ethical upbringing, and the possibility of practical knowledge and practical truth. Teleological Structures in Human Life will be of interest to researches and advanced students working on virtue ethics, philosophy of action, and practical reasoning. (shrink)
"Anselm of Canterbury gave the first modal "ontological" argument for God's existence. Yet, despite its distinct originality, philosophers have mostly avoided the question of what modal concepts the argument uses, and whether Anselm's metaphysics entitles him to use them. Here, Brian Leftow sets out Anselm's modal metaphysics. He argues that Anselm has an "absolute", "broadly logical", or "metaphysical" modal concept, and that his metaphysics provides acceptable truth makers for claims in this modality. He shows that his modal argument is committed (...) to the Brouwer system of modal logic, and defends the claim that Brouwer is part of the logic of "absolute" or "metaphysical" modality. He also defends Anselm's premise that God would exist with absolute necessity against all extant objections, providing new arguments in support of it and ultimately defending all but one premise of Anselm's best argument for God's existence"--. (shrink)
Anselm of Canterbury, as a classical theist, does not hold that there is a moral, or value, order independent of God. What is good, indeed what is necessary and possible, depends on the will of God. But Anselm’s development of this claim does not succumb to the problems entailed by divine-command theory. One such problem addresses the question of whether or not the moral order is available to reason, bracketing Scripture and Church teaching. Anselm holds that to be just is (...) to conform to God’s will. Nevertheless Anselm proposes a eudaimonistic ethical theory that allows reason to assess moral principles. And Anselm holds that the non-believer recognizes justice, even before he can appreciate the more general category of “good.”. (shrink)
This paper examines the interrelation between justice and mercy in Anselm’s prayers. Divine justice and human injustice seem to rightly cut off a human being from any assistance, grace, or reformation, since human beings has set themselves in a condition of injustice from which they cannot extricate themselves. Mercy then seems the only solution, but appears not only unjust, but also to trump divine justice, a position inconsistent with Anselm’s explicit statements. So then, how are justice and mercy rendered compatible, (...) even complementary with each other? Human beings are brought into integral roles for each other as intercessors within a divine economy of justice offering mercy within the scope of that very justice. Anselm’s rhetorically and dramatically structured prayers perform an educative as well as petitionary function in assisting the human being to locate, understand, and exert themselves within that divine economy of justice and mercy. (shrink)
Anselm of Canterbury’s so-called ontological proofs in the Proslogion have puzzled philosophers for centuries. The famous description “something / that than which nothing greater can be conceived” is part and parcel of his argument. Most commentators have interpreted this description as a definition of God. We argue that this view, which we refer to as “definitionism”, is a misrepresentation. In addition to textual evidence, the key point of our argument is that taking the putative definition as what Anselm intended it (...) to be – namely a description of a content of faith – allows getting a clear view of the discursive status and argumentative structure of Proslogion 2–4, as well as making sense of an often neglected part of the argument. (shrink)
This paper develops a view of worship according to which worship is a certain sort of _life orientation_, and argues that according to the Bible, the worship of God normatively is _non-instrumental, comprehensive, unconditional orientation of one’s life toward God_. It then develops a biblical view about how this sort of worship of God is _possible_. Finally, it argues that it is _good_ to worship God in this way only if God is an Anselmian being—_that than which nothing greater can (...) be conceived_—and suggests that the God of the Bible, the Psalms in particular, is in fact an Anselmian being. (shrink)
It has been argued recently that classical theism and Lewisian modal realism are incompatible theses. The most substantial argument to this effect takes the form of a trilemma. It argues that no sense can be made of God’s being a necessary being in the modal realistic picture, on pain of, among other things, modal collapse. The question of this essay is: Is that so? My goal here is to detail the reasons that have been offered in support of this contention (...) and then defend the coherence of theistic modal realism from the trilemma. I call my reply to the argument an “Anselmian-Thomistic” defense, since it appeals to resources from classical medieval philosophy, especially from Anselm and Aquinas. (shrink)
Interpretations of Anselm's Proslogion range between the extremes of 'rationalism' and 'fideism' because of the challenge of unifying its philosophical and devotional aspects. In this book, Bayer argues that a 'monastic interpretation' - or an interpretation that takes seriously the intellectual significance of our existential commitments - offers a powerful compromise. Through an extensive study of Anselm's spiritualty, especially as it is manifested in his letters and homiletic works, coupled with a profound study of Anselm's philosophy of language in the (...) De grammatico and Monologion, Bayer aims to reveal the Anselmian unity of life and thought, and thereby also the harmony between faith and reason. In this way, he defends the Proslogion as a unified and probative argument. (shrink)
How to understand Saint Anselm of Canterbury on time and divine eternity is subject to debate. Katherin Rogers argues that Anselm is a four‐dimensionalist, whereas Brian Leftow argues that he is a presentist. Despite the disagreement, both scholars assume that Anselm has a positive account of time and divine eternity to offer. I challenge this assumption, arguing that Anselm is not interested in offering an account of the metaphysics of time and divine eternity. The reading defended here is deflationary in (...) the following sense: Anselm is trying to purify, so to speak, the notion of ‘divine eternity’ from creaturely imperfections that are suggested by our language. (shrink)
In this book, Richard Campbell reformulates Anselm’s proof to show that factual evidence confirmed by modern cosmology validly implies that God exists. Anselm’s proof, which was never the “ontological argument” attributed to him, emerges as engaging with current philosophical issues concerning existence and scientific explanation.
I argue that the Proslogion 2 argument rests on Meinongian assumptions, and Meinongianism is more defensible than many metaphysicians think, but although Meinongianism can be defended from objections, the most promising strategies for doing that call into question the cogency of the Proslogion 2 argument, so that argument is less than convincing, even if Meinongianism is true.
Empleando procedimientos de la lógica simbólica, se intenta contribuir a una mejor comprensión del ejercicio dialéctico llevado a cabo en el Parménides. La interpretación de las formas del ser y el no ser a partir de la oposición entre el objeto de conocimiento y el pensamiento acerca del mismo, abre la puerta a una manera original de enfocar el problema de la verdad en Platón. Puede resultar interesante, asimismo, la solución que se propone a la aporía planteada en Parménides 132b-c, (...) relativa a la confusión del pensamiento o el no ser con otras formas. (shrink)
Consider three widely shared claims that have not been discussed vis-à-vis one another. In his Proslogion, Saint Anselm argued that the claim “God exists” is true. If an intuition that a claim c is a useful a-priori justificatory resource, this can only be because such an intuition is a justification that c is true. And if an intuition that c is a justification that c is true, c can stand, not only for mathematical or logical claims, but also for controversial (...) philosophical ones, e.g., “God exists”. This essay addresses to while dialoguing with the literature on Anselm and intuition and articulating an alternative reading of the Proslogion. The alternative reading is that regardless of whether the Proslogion backs up or aims to back up the claim that “God exists” is true, it implicitly articulates the Meaning Argument whose conclusion is that all persons of faith are able to understand that the claim “God exists” is meaningful. This argument, it is argued, is evidence that an intuition that c may be a useful a-priori justificatory resource even if such intuition does not track truth, but merely meaning in being a justification for taking c to be meaningful. It is also supported that an intuition that “God exists” is not a justification that this claim is true. This is an indication that there may be reasons for thinking that the same applies to other controversial philosophical claims. (shrink)
Anselm’s original argument for the existence of God seems to pull in opposite directions. On the one hand, it is not easy to see what, if anything, is wrong with it; on the other, it seems incredible that the existence of a being like God could be proved entirely a priori. This paper presents a diagnosis of what seems to be wrong with Anselm’s original reasoning. The diagnosis is general enough to be of use elsewhere, and it is this: conceptual (...) possibilities are inferential dead-ends, not free inference tickets to prove any substantial claim. It remains to be seen if other versions of Anselm’s original insight, both contemporary and not, fall into the same conceptual possibility trap. (shrink)
Some analytic philosophers of religion argue that theists should embrace the hypothesis of the multiverse to address the problem of evil and make the concept of a “best possible creation” plausible. I discuss what classical theists, such as Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas, might make of the multiverse hypothesis including issues such as: the principle of plenitude, what a classical theist multiverse could look like, and how a classical theist multiverse could deal with the problem of evil and the question of (...) a best possible creation. (shrink)
We use a mechanized verification system, PVS, to examine the argument from Anselm’s Proslogion Chapter III, the so-called “Modal Ontological Argument.” We consider several published formalizations for the argument and show they are all essentially similar. Furthermore, we show that the argument is trivial once the modal axioms are taken into account. This work is an illustration of Computational Philiosophy and, in addition, shows how these methods can help detect and rectify errors in modal reasoning.
A counterpossible conditional, or counterpossible for short, is a conditional proposition whose antecedent is impossible. The filioque doctrine is a dogma of western Christian Trinitarian theology according to which the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. The filioque doctrine was the principal theological reason for the Great Schism, the split between Eastern Orthodoxy and western Christianity, which continues today. In the paper, I review one of the earliest medieval defenses of the doctrine in Anselm of Canterbury, and (...) I show that Anselm’s treatment of counterpossible conditionals concerning the procession of the spirit from the son in Trinitarian theology represent an early foray into default logic. Thus, the mutual estrangement of eastern and western positions on the matter may not lie fundamentally in a change in dogma, but rather in a change in logic. (shrink)
Was Anselm zu einem leuchtenden Vorbild für die Theologie heute werden lässt, ist nicht seine Gelehrsamkeit, sondern das Wagnis, auf die Anfragen seiner Zeit durch mutige und eigenständige Synthesen des christlichen Denkens zu antworten. Die hier vorliegende Interpretation gestaltet sich als Versuch, die zuletzt etwas eingefahren wirkende Zugangsweise zum Werk Anselms auf einen neuen Boden zu stellen. Die Komplementarität von Teleologie und Eschatologie, bzw. die Begründung der ersteren in der letzteren bietet dafür den begrifflichen Rahmen, von welchem her sich neue (...) Einblicke in das Denken des Doctor magnificus ergeben. (shrink)