St. Anselm

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St. Anselm Not every great writer can be correct in what he or she is saying. This is the idea that Gaunilo had in mind when he wrote his criticism to St. Anselm’s Ontological Argument which states that if something greater than anything else that could be thought of is conceived in the understanding then it must exist. Gaunilo says it is foolish to believe in the existence of something just because it is understood. He says there must be some kind of other explanation. In this paper, I will try to explain both Anselm’s theory and Gaunilo’s argument by first breaking each of them down in simpler terms. I will attempt to show what Gaunilo is trying to discredit with his objection. One of St. Anselm’s theological topics deals with the Ontological Argument in which discusses the idea of existence. He gives a definition of God as “that than which nothing greater can be conceived” (69). His idea being that God is the ultimate being or “the greatest possible being” (68). He says there is nothing anyone can possibly imagine that could be better than Him. This argument gives God the highest human qualities possible. He is omnipotent as well as omniscient. Anselm suggests that there is no one or nothing in this world that is greater than God is (69). This perfection that God possesses leads into the fact that He must exist. He is trying to create the idea that God exists and nothing can be better than he can be. However, one must ask where Anselm gets his proof. What evidence does he have to back up his argument? If nothing greater than God can be conceived in anyone’s understanding, God is said to be humanly perfect. Since to be perfect, in part, is to exist; something that does not exist cannot be perf... ... middle of paper ... ...n the existence of God does not mean you doubt that He really does exist. If you disagree with his method, like Gaunilo, you simply want more accurate evidence to support the idea. God, like your island or toy, is not just there because you wished it to be or because it would be better and more perfect if these things did exist. If you agree with his method, you understand that you do not always have to touch everything you conceive of in your mind. Things in life exist for a reason. The question remains: whose reason are you going to believe? Bibliography: Bibliography · Gaunilo. “Gaunilo’s Criticism.” Philosophy The Quest for Truth Louis P. Pojman ed.: Wadsworth Publishing Company. USA. 1999: 70. · St. Anselm. “St. Anselm’s Presentation.” Philosophy The Quest for Truth Louis P. Pojman ed.: Wadsworth Publishing Company. USA. 1999: 68-69.
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