Monotonic and Non-monotonic Embeddings of Anselm’s Proof

Logica Universalis 11 (1):121-138 (2017)
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A consequence relation \ is monotonic iff for premise sets \ and conclusion \, if \, \, then \; and non-monotonic if this fails in some instance. More plainly, a consequence relation is monotonic when whatever is entailed by a premise set remains entailed by any of its supersets. From the High Middle Ages through the Early Modern period, consequence in theology is assumed to be monotonic. Concomitantly, to the degree the argument formulated by Anselm at Proslogion 2–4 is taken up by later commentators, it is accepted or rejected in accordance with a monotonic notion of consequence. Examining Anselm’s use of parallelism in the Proslogion, I show Anselm embeds his famous argument in Proslogion 2–4 in a non-monotonic context. The results here presented challenge some deeply ingrained ideas governing the historiography of the long twelfth century, particularly concerning how the theology of the later eleventh through the twelfth century relates to the scholasticism of the thirteenth.



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Jacob Archambault
Fordham University

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