Untitled Essay Research Paper Anselm

7 July 2017

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Anselm & # 8217 ; s Ontological Argument and the Philosophers Saint Anselm of Aosta, Bec, and Canterbury, possibly during a minute of

enlightenment or

starvation-induced hallucination, succeeded in explicating an statement for God & # 8217 ; s being

which has

been debated for about a thousand old ages. It shows no mark of traveling off shortly. It is an

statement

based entirely on ground, separating it from other statements for the being of God

such as

cosmogonic or teleological statements. These latter statements severally depend on the

universe & # 8217 ; s

causes or design, and therefore may weaken as new scientific progresss are made ( such as

Darwin & # 8217 ; s

theory of development ) . We can be certain that no such destiny will go on to Anselm & # 8217 ; s Ontological

Argument ( the name, by the manner, coined by Kant ) .

In signifier, Anselm & # 8217 ; s statements are much like the statements we see in

doctrine today. In

Cur Deus Homo we read Anselm & # 8217 ; s conversation with a skeptic. This kind of

question-and-answer

signifier of debate ( dialectic ) is really much like the Hagiographas of Plato. The skeptic,

Boso,

inquiry & # 8217 ; s Anselm & # 8217 ; s religion with an array of inquiries non-believers still inquire today. Anselm

replies in

a bit-by-bit mode, inquiring for verification along the manner, until he arrives at a

decision with

which Boso is forced to hold. This is merely like Socrates & # 8217 ; process with, say, Crito.

Subsequently philosophers have both accepted and denied the cogency of

Anselm & # 8217 ; s celebrated

ontological statement for the being of God, presented in both the Proslogium and

Monologium.

Anselm did non first attack the statement with an unfastened head, so analyze its constituents

with a

critical oculus to see which side was best. Anselm had made up his head about the issue long

before he

began to utilize dialectic to try to dissect it. “ Indeed, the extreme ardour which

impels him to seek

everyplace for statements favourable to the tenet, is a confession his portion that the tenet

demands

support, that it is problematic, that it lacks self-evidence, the standard of truth. ”

( Weber, V )

In chapters 2-4 of his Proslogium, Anselm summarizes the statement. A

sap is one who

denies the being of God. But even that sap understands the definition of God, “ a

being than

which nil greater can be conceived. ” But the sap says that this definition

exists merely in his head,

and non in world. But, Anselm observes, a being which exists in both world and in the

understanding

would be greater than one that simply exists merely in the apprehension. So the definition

of God, one

that points to “ a being than which nil greater can be conceived ” , points

toward a being which

exists both in world and in the apprehension. It would be impossible to keep the

construct of God

in this mode, and yet deny that He exists in world.

The statement was criticized by one of Anselm & # 8217 ; s coevalss, a monastic

named Gaunilo,

who said, that by Anselm & # 8217 ; s logical thinking, one could conceive of a certain island, more perfect

than any other

island. If this island can be in the head, so harmonizing to Anselm, it would

needfully exist in

world, for a & # 8216 ; perfect & # 8217 ; island would hold this quality. But this is evidently false ; we

can non do

things exist simply by conceive ofing them.

Anselm replied, continuing his statement ( in many, many words ) by stating

that they are

comparing apples and oranges. An island is something that can be thought of non to be,

whereas

the non-existence of “ that than which a greater can non be conceived is

impossible. ” ( Reply, ch..

3 ) Merely for God is it impossible non to be ; mere islands or other things do non suit

this quality.

Copleston amounts it up compactly ( for Anselm doesn & # 8217 ; t ) : “ it would be absurd to talk of

a simply

possible necessary being ( it is a contradiction in footings ) , whereas there is no

contradiction in speech production

of simply possible beautiful islands.

St. Thomas Aquinas rejects the statement, stating that the human head

can non perchance

conceive of the thought of God by ground entirely ( a-priori ) , as Anselm might. The statement does

non

do sense by itself, and must first supply an thought of the being of God with an

analysis of God & # 8217 ; s

effects ( a-posteriori ) , to which Thomas turns. I think there is grounds in Anselm & # 8217 ; s

Hagiographas that he

would differ, stating that the thought of God is an unconditioned one given to us by God, and demands

no other

disclosure to convey it approximately. “ Hence, this being, through its greater similitude, assists the

look intoing head in the attack

to supreme Truth ; and through its more first-class created kernel, teaches the more

right what

sentiment the head itself ought to organize sing the Creator. ” ( Monologium, ch. 66 ) Although St. Thomas was evidently a truster, he was non swayed by the

thought of ground

entirely being sufficient to turn out God & # 8217 ; s being. His expostulation of the human head & # 8217 ; s

capableness to

ascertain God is echoed by other philosophers such as Kierkegaard ( who was besides a

Christian ) :

“ The self-contradictory passion of the Reason therefore comes repeatedly into hit with the

Unknown & # 8230 ; and

can non progress beyond this point. [ Of God: ] How make I cognize? I can non cognize it, for in order

to

cognize it, I would hold to cognize the God, and the nature of the difference between God and

adult male ; and

this I can non cognize, because the Reason has reduced it to compare with that from which it

was

unlike. ” ( Kierkegaard, 57 )

Anselm disagrees, and explains why light of God through rational

discourse brings

Man closer to God. “ So, doubtless, a greater cognition of the originative Being is

attained, the

more about the animal through which the probe is made attacks that

Bing. ”

( Monologium, ch. 66 )

Descartes restates Anselm & # 8217 ; s statement for his ain intents, which

include specifying what

kinds of cognition is around that is grounded in certainty. Most ulterior philosophers tend

to utilize

Decartes & # 8217 ; preparation of the statement in their analyses. Required for Descartes & # 8217 ; undertaking

is God, who

granted worlds the concluding capableness with which we can cognate truths. The signifier of

Anselm & # 8217 ; s

statement he uses involves specifying & # 8216 ; being & # 8217 ; as one of God & # 8217 ; s many flawlessnesss.

“ Being is a portion

of T

he construct of a perfect being ; anyone who denied that a perfect being had the belongings

being

would be like person who denied that a trigon had the belongings three-sidedness & # 8230 ; the

head

can non gestate of triangularity without besides gestating of three-sidedness & # 8230 ; the head

can non

conceive of flawlessness without besides gestating of being. ” ( Fifth Meditation )

Several philosophers ask what belongingss needfully should be ascribed

to God, and if

being is one of them. Lotze asks how a being & # 8217 ; s existent being logically follows from

its

perfectness. This tax write-off, Lotze says, satisfies our sentimental values that our ideals

must be.

“ Why should this thought [ a perfect being ‘s unreality ] disturb us? Obviously for this

ground, that it is an

immediate certainty that what is greatest, most beautiful, most worthy, is non a mere

idea, but must

be a world, because it would be unbearable to believe [ otherwise ] . If what is greatest

did non be,

so what is the greatest would non be, and it is non impossible that that which is

greatest of all

imaginable things should non be. ” ( Lotze, 669 ) The head can plan fantastic and

antic

things. Where is the false belief in thought of a perfect, unreal something?

Descartes & # 8217 ; preparation which ascribes & # 8216 ; being & # 8217 ; to a most perfect

being leads us to the most

celebrated expostulation to Anselm & # 8217 ; s statement, from Kant. Kant has a job with handling

& # 8216 ; being & # 8217 ; as

a belongings of a thing, that it makes no sense to speak of things which have the belongings of

being

and others which do. See the plausible state of affairs of inquiring my roomie Matthew to acquire

me a

beer. “ What sort of beer? ” he replies. “ Oh, Budweiser. And a cold one, at

that. Besides an bing

one, if you & # 8217 ; ve got any, ” I might stipulate. Something merely seems awry.

For Kant, when you take off & # 8216 ; being & # 8217 ; from a construct of a thing,

there is nil left to

trade with. It makes no sense to speak of an omniscient, almighty, all-good God, nor of

a red-and-

white, cold, non-existent Budweiser. A thing either exists, with belongingss, or it

doesn & # 8217 ; t. Where

Descartes and Anselm would state you are doing a logical contradiction by stating “ God

does non

exist ” because of the fact that this statement conflicts with the really construct of God

including the

belongings of being, with Kant, doing this kind of a statement involves no

contradiction. For

contending non-existence as a portion of a thing & # 8217 ; s concept kind of negates any argumentative

power that

the construct & # 8217 ; s other qualities might hold had. A construct of a thing should concentrate on its

specifying

qualities, such as cold and Budweiser, instead than on its being.

Anselm & # 8217 ; s original answer to Gaulino might be applicable here in a

defence against Kant.

Possibly it is possible to deny the being of mere things ( be they islands or

Budweisers ) without

logical contradiction, but in the instance of a most-perfect being, & # 8216 ; being & # 8217 ; must be portion

of its construct.

Possibly it is possible that an island can be said non to hold existed, possibly if tectonic

home bases hadn & # 8217 ; T

shifted in a certain manner. But God is non bound by the restraints of causality ; God

transcends cause,

bing throughout all clip. So in the construct of God is & # 8216 ; being & # 8217 ; , every bit good as His

assorted other

properties. So to state “ God does non be ” is contradictory, after all.

Kant counters this with a lay waste toing blow. He reduces the ontological

statement to a

tautology: ” The construct of an all-perfect being includes being. ”

“ We hold this construct in our heads, hence the being must be. ”

“ Therefore, an existent being exists. ”

Even if we grant the statement legion favours, allowing it flight from

plentifulness of idiosyncrasies, in the

terminal, it still doesn & # 8217 ; t truly state us anything uncovering. “ All the problem and labor

bestowed on the

celebrated ontological or Cartesian cogent evidence of the being of a supreme Being from constructs

entirely is

problem and labor wasted. A adult male might every bit good anticipate to go richer in cognition by the

assistance of

mere thoughts as a merchandiser to increase his wealth by adding some zeros to his

cash-account. ” ( Kant,

630 )

Anselm & # 8217 ; s statement was non designed to convert disbelievers, but to be

nutrient for trusters

like Gaunilo who wished see what consequences the tool of dialectic will convey if applied to

the inquiry of

God. While today the statement seems weak, or even capricious, it is a courageous effort to travel

without

tenet in explicating God. The statement “ must stand or fall by its sheer dialectical

force. A principal

ground of our trouble in appreciating its power may good be that pure dialectic makes

but a weak

entreaty to our heads. ” ( Knowles, 106 )

I think I stand with St. Thomas and Kierkegaard in this affair, for it

seems that a strictly

logical statement of God & # 8217 ; s being is slightly out of topographic point. One must be in a place of

“ religion

seeking apprehension ” , in an a-posteriori province of head to appreciate an a-priori

cogent evidence such as this.

This is slightly uneven and unsettling, for I tend to hold with logically sound statements at

all other

intersections of my life. It seems as if Church tenet these yearss accentuates the enigma

of God,

remaining off from concluding such as Anselm & # 8217 ; s to pull followings. For to hold faith in

the enigma is

what is admirable. One should non be tempted to go to church smugly because it is

unlogical non to.

Anselm. Proslogium, Monologium, Cur Deus Homo. with debut by Weber, translated by

S.

N. Deane. Open Court, La Salle, 1948.

Copleston, Frederick. A History of Philosophy. Image Books, New York, 1994.

Honderich, Ted ( editor ) . The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Oxford University Press, New

York, 1995.

Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Pure Reason. Translated by N. K. Smith. London, 1933 ( 2nd

edition ) .

Kierkegaard, Soren. Philisophical Fragments. Translated by D. F. Swenson. Princeton

University

Imperativeness, 1962.

Knowles, David. The Development of Medieval Thought. Random House, New York, 1962.

Lotze, Rudolf. Microcosmus. Translated by Hamilton and Jones. Edinburgh, 1887.

Southern, Richard. Saint Anselm. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1990.

Van Inwagen, Peter. Metaphysics. Westview Press, Boulder, 1993.

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