Summary #1: Saint Anselm, Gaunilo, William L.Rowe
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• Definition of God:”something than which nothing greater can be though”.
• He was a Christian philosopher and theologian.
• He was theism.
• His argument is a priori truth.
• His argument is mainly for atheists “the fool” which is someone who doubts or
denies the existence of God
• Proves God’s existence by saying if you believe and understand the concept of
“something than which nothing greater can be though”, then the concept exists
within your mind. If the concept can exist within your mind, then it can exist in
reality also (God).
-God Exists in the mind;
-If God exists only in the mind, then something greater than God can be though-namely a
being that exists in reality;
-I God exists only in the mind, then we can think of a being that is greater than the being
than which none greater can be though;
-Therefore it is not the case that God exists only in the mind;
-Therefore God exists in reality.
• He was a Benedictine monk.
• He lived around the same time as Saint Anselm.
• Gaunilo offers a reply to Anselm on behalf of the “fool”- a person who doubts or
denies the existence of God and who remains unconvinced by Anselm’s
• Gaunilo is saying that just because something exist in your mind, doesn’t mean it
ought to exist in reality. If this is the case then, one could think that something
“unreal” has to exist in reality and in the mind, just because we understand
whatever is being said.
• Therefore Gaunilo disagrees with Anselm’s theory, because he thinks that it takes
a lot more than to think something in the mind to believe it, you have to also see it
in reality to know that it exists.
William L. Rowe
• A professor of philosophy.
• A committed atheist.
• Tried to say that Saint Anselm’s argument “begs the question”, because it uses its
conclusion as its premises and proof. That God exists, and that some existing
thing is supremely great.
• Due to the fact that he feels Anselm’s argument begs the question, then Anselm’s
proof of God’s existence has failed, because begging the question, is a fallacy,
which is an error in reasoning.
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