PHIL249 Study Guide - Determinative, Anything Else, Proslogion
SchoolUniversity of Alberta
DepartmentPhilosophy at St Joseph's College
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ST. ANSELM of CANTERBURY
AUGUSTINIAN CHRISTIAN NEO-PLATONIST
didn't have aristotle...
THE CLAIM: IT IS INCONCEIVABLE THAT GOD DOES NOT EXIST
The category of argument for the existence of god that the Proslogion fits into is:
A PRIORI (before experience)
as opposed to an a prosteriori which starts with observations and effects and traces
it back to a first cause. an a priori argument doesnt rest on an experiential thing.
it is something about the very concept of god that means that god does not exist.
God is something than which nothing greater can be thought.
We start with faith: Therefore, Lord, you who grant understanding to faith, grant
we start with faith and then ask god to help us understanding it.
today we usually think that in order to believe something i have to first understand
it. according to anselm, the project of the christian is to first have faith, a faith
that seeks understanding.
FAITH THAT SEEKS UNDERSTANDING
it could be said that that is what modern man does too, that all humans must do.
we must know that anselm approaches the problem with a faith in god presupposed.
"for i do not seek to understand in order to believe; I believe in order to
understand. For I also believe that "Unless I believe, I shall not understand.""
we don't want to reduce what anselm is doing to a set of propositions, we will do that
soon, but first we want to realize that this is a prayer.
GOD IS THAT WHICH NOTHING GREATER CAN BE THOUGHT. IT IS BETTER TO EXIST IN
REALITY THEN IN THE MIND ALONE. IF HE EXISTED ONLY IN THOUGHT AND NOT IN REALITY,
I COULD THINK OF SOMETHING GREATER.
what is the difference between UNDERSTANDING and THOUGHT in this text:
UNDERSTANDING - intellectus, a FACULTY that produces thought
THOUGHT - just thinking a thought.
any thought i have of god cannot be god, because god is better than my thought...
he at no point says that god is perfect, because that would be an absolute statement,
a positive statement.
that than which nothing greater can be thought is understood by the fool. the fool
understands this proposition.
but can this be understood without the thing understood existing in reality... the
painter can think up the painting before it is painted.
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