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Anselm’s Philosophy

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Anselm’s Philosophy

Anselm's definition of AGod starts by saying that God is the greatest being we

can possibly think of. When Anselm states this, it essentially means that it is not possible to think of a being greater than God. Anselm also states that if God is the greatest thinkable being, he is referring to the fact that it would be impossible to imagine or to create in ones mind someone or something being better than God. Therefore, it would be impossible to say that God only exists in ones mind because it is much greater to exist in reality than it is to exist only in ones mind. Anselm then suggests that God has many attributes which describe him. Among these being: self-existent, a necessary being, omnipotent, omniscient, completely just and timelessly eternal. After reading the Proslogion by Anselm, it gave me a greater understanding of these attributes listed above. Although, they are all of equal importance, I feel the most prominent of God's attributes is the fact that he is self existent. In essence, that means that God depends on nothing else for his existence, he is uncaused. Therefore, his existence is timelessly-eternal. This means that God cannot stop existing. On the other hand, contingent beings (such as ourselves) depend on something else for their existence. One example of this is, that as a child we utterly depended on our parents for food, clothing, and shelter. Contingent beings therefore can begin to be or cease to be at anytime. They can, unlike God, be here today and gone tomorrow.

Anselm uses the definition of God (the ontological argument), in which I have described above, to prove God's existence. As I mentioned, Anselm believes that God is the greatest being we can possibly think of. He does this by first trying to prove the

opposite of what he really wants to prove. For example, lets suppose God does not exist in reality. We then could think of something greater, a being that has all the same virtuous characteristics as we think God as having, but also being able to exist in reality. He then tries to prove that this supposition leads to a conclusion which cannot possibly be true.

Then the original God would not actually be the greatest thinkable being, this new

something else, that actually exists would be. This new God which actually exists would

then be able to be seen, heard and touched by the individuals...

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...that I have with Anselm's philosophy is that he believes that if you can imagine something existing then it defiantly does exist. In the book Anselm's critics state Athat someone who does not know the meaning of the word, who thinks only of the impression made on his mind by hearing the word and tries to imagine its meaning.

(Anselm P. 395) There is no way to use a word such as God as a being or an existence

because I believe that everyone has a different definition. I can understand the words

Agreatest possible being but understanding this does not necessarily mean that such a

being exists. For example, I understand the words Aflying car, but we all know that there are no flying cars. But Anselm argues that AI have the concept of this being in my mind, therefore this being exists. (Anselm p.395) I believe that this is where Anselm takes a giant leap of faith.

In conclusion to whether Anselm's definition of God gives actual proof of God's

existence, I believe that the only way to believe that God actually exists is by having true faith in him. Although, Anselm gives many possible reasons for God's existence. Most of these reasons are rather vague and unbelievable.
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