Anselm Of Canterbury Analysis

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Saint Anselm of Canterbury was one of the foremost important Christian theologians and philosophers. In the Proslogion two and three, Anselm attempts to prove the existence of God in his so-called ontological argument. He brings forth two arguments, which are quickly criticized by Gaunilo and many others. In this essay we will look at the soundness of Anselm’s argument and whether it is right to truly disregard them.

Anselm begins his argument in proslogion two by stating that there is no greater being than God. This greatness does not necessarily mean large, but it entails that God is the most perfect conceivable being in every single way. Furthermore, Anselm does not say that God is the most perfect being in existence, but rather that God
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In this part, according to Neal (1990) “he is not interested in merely the existence of God, but in the sheer necessity of God's existence”. Anselm begins by stating that God cannot be conceived not to exist. He continues by arguing that “that than which a greater cannot be conceived (God)”, cannot be conceived not to exist, as being ‘conceived not to exist’ is ultimately less perfect than being ‘conceived to exist.’ This essentially boils down to the fact that ‘existing’ as a concept is more perfect that ‘not existing’, which leads Anselm to the conclusion that God must exist in reality. The alternative would exist of a being greater than God, who would ascend above God and pass judgement over him, and since God is the most perfect conceivable being, this is impossible. This argument is realised as…show more content…
His main argument replies to Anselm’s assumption of the fact that existing in reality is greater than existing in the intellect. This is called the ‘lost island’ argument. This argument follows Anselm’s set up of the Ontological argument in Proslogion two. Gaunilo begins his argument by stating that there is a perfect island somewhere, and no greater island can be conceived. This Island easily exists in the intellect, but when Gaunilo would be asked to accept that this island exists in reality, without a doubt, Gaunilo would think them the fool. This objection is slightly unsatisfying, as Gaunilo only provides us with a different analogy of Anselm’s first argument, and does not give us an explanation as to where it goes
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