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Anselm's Ontological Argument: Its Meaning and Significance.

Brecher, Robert (1977) Anselm's Ontological Argument: Its Meaning and Significance. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94231) (KAR id:94231)


Much of the difficulty surrounding Anselm's ontological argument has been generated by ignoring its metaphysical framework. Examination of the Proslogion and Monologion shows it to be a platonic argument, thus disposing of the 'Lost Island' objection, among others. Contemporary modal interpretations are neither correct versions of, nor advances upon, the original: Hartshorne confuses modal status with truth-value.

The Proslogion II argument is valid; it is the sense of Anselm's definition and conclusion which is at issue. Since the argument explicates why God, defined as that which is maximally real, must be real, questions of the logic of 'existence' are irrelevant; however, what 'x is real' means depends on what sort of entity x is, so that Anselm's conclusion remains uncertain until and unless it can be shown in what the non-fictionality of God might consist. Indeed, can God be anything but a fiction? If he can, then he must be real, for, I contend, 'God is eternal and self-sufficient' (which Anselm, as a platonist, claims for him) entails that 'God is real' is necessary.

Whether it is necessarily true or necessarily false, then, depends on the coherence of otherwise of 'God', a coherence Anselm assumes. The assumption is disguised by his - and his commentators' - failure to distinguish between the bearer of the name 'God', and the supreme reality described as 'god'. We may thus ask, Can God be god? To discover what sort of entity God is, we must see what may be predicated of him: but neither analogia entis, the language-game theory, nor analogia fidei solve the problem of how attributes may be predicated of a being who is god. The question of God's reality remains unresolved; but Anselm's argument at least shows how and why it is a conceptual question.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94231
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Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > Department of Philosophy
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2023 09:56 UTC
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2023 15:33 UTC
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