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1

life

- 1033: Born in Aosta
- 1059: joins Benedictine Abbey of Bec, Normandy under Lanfranc, an Italian jurist and subsequently Archbishop of Canterbury after the Norman landings in 1066
- 1063: Prior of Bec
- 1093: Archbishop of Canterbury
- Defends interests of church in Investiture Controversy over right of secular powers to appoint local church officials against William II and Henry I (exiled twice as a result)
o Clash between Church and state = turmoil
- A had a staggering intellect given he was operating in an intellectual vacuum

2

augustine and fides quarens intellectum

♣ Augustine, De Ordine II.9 §26:
• authority and reason are two ways of learning:
• authority has priority insofar as it precedes reason in the learning process; but reason has priority in terms of leaming itself
♣ Augustine, Retractiones, I.3:
• pulls back to some degree, claiming he had overemphasized role of liberal arts in De Ordine

3

augustine and legitimacy of dialectical method

♣ De Doctrina Christiana, II.32 §50:
• dialectic not just a human invention but reflects the ‘divinely instituted system of things’
♣ Contra Cresconium, I.17:
• identifies the Greek word dialectica (probably coined by Plato) with the Latin word disputatio and states that Paul is a disputator and a dialecticus
♣ De Doctrina Christiana II.31 §48:
• disputation (dialectic) (disputationis disciplina) is valuable as a means of resolving difficulties in biblical exegesis

4

Anselm pros 1 vs. augustine de trinitate

♣ Proslogion 1, §34: ‘I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but I believe in order that I may understand. For this I also know: that unless I believe, I shall not understand’

♣ Augustine, De Trinitate, XV.2 §2: ‘Faith seeks, understanding finds: for which reason the prophet says [Isaiah 7:9] unless you believe, you will not understand’
• Note: Anselm does not use the Vulgate translation of Isaiah 7:9, suggesting direct influence of Augustine, who uses this particular translation frequently

5

augustine and Anselm doxological register

• Rhyme
• Assonance
• Antithesis
• Parallel constructions of words expressing opposing or complementary ideas
• ‘(Stylistic antithesis) expresses the tug of war between good and evil in even the most minute particles of reality; it stresses the way in which words imitate reality’ (Richard Southern)
♣ Augustine’s
• ‘Great are you, O Lord, and surpassingly worthy of praise. Great is your goodness, and your wisdom is incalculable.’ (Confessions I, §1)
♣ Anselm’s
• ‘Lord you are my God and never have I seen you. You have made and remade me and you have granted me all good thing and I have not yet known you. In short, I was made to see you and I have not yet done that for which I was made’ (Proslogion, 1, §12)

6

the trivium in liberal arts

- grammar - knowledge - facts, data, terms, basic skills
- logic - understanding - what and why
- rhetoric - wisdom - proper use of knowledge and understanding

middle = true learning

7

quadrivium in liberal arts

o Pythagorean background: number or ‘quantity’ fundamental:
¥ Arithmetic (number)
¥ Music (number in time)
¥ Geometry (number in space)
¥ Astronomy (number in space and time)

8

original title of proslogion

Fides quarens intellectum

9

platonic ideas

- Reality of (platonic) universals e.g. justice. Defended against nominalist objections of Roscellin
- Convenientia (fittingness) = describes ‘necessity’ of Incarnation and Atonement
- Platonic ideas ‘baptised’ (via Aug and others) as God’s thoughts:
o Ideas more real than sense-experience
o Ideas more real than mere concepts
- Style of writing of Plato’s Euthyphro dialogue underpins Monologion

10

participation in monologion

- Doctrine of participation is a crucial hermeneutical key to Anselm’s thought, especially the Monologion and the Proslogion
- Hierarchy of quality, ladder of value
- Monologion, Chapter 1: just things are just in virtue of participation in justice itself
- Monologion, Chapter 16: a human being can have justice but cannot be justice, whereas a supremely perfect being could not have justice (i.e., could not participate in justice or derive justice from anything else) but would have to be justice itself
- A person is good or an action is just in virtue of participating in goodness itself and justice itself
- degrees of perfection mirrors allegory of cave and ladder like structure of progression to ultimate source of good

11

general on proslogion

- Natural Theology = focus of argument. A proceeds as if there is no Revealed Theology
- Nature of God = a priori
- Argument rooted in thought
- The Proslogion is an exercise in internal exploration, specific reliance on Scripture
o Enquiry involves the ‘soul in search of God’
- It is an alloquium i.e. an address to God
- Uses poetic Latin e.g. ‘let my mind meditate on it, my tongue speak of it’ (Chapter 26)

12

impact of Augustine on proslogion

- Augustine, On Christian Teaching, I.15: ‘For when that one God of gods is conceived, even by those who form an idea of, invoke, and worship other gods ... He is thus conceived as something than which nothing is better or more sublime’)
- Augustine, On the Morals of the Manichees, 11: ‘That God is the supreme good, and that than which nothing can be or can be conceived better, we must either understand or believe ...’

Augustine, On the Free Choice of the Will, II.6,12,15

13

platonic inheritance in proslogion

- Platonic intuition: ideas more real than mere concepts

- Platonic inference: idea of TTWNGCBC is instantiated in the reality of TTWNGCBC
- A brilliant development of Platonic assumptions?
- For Anselm, ontological argument not an argument so much as obviously true

14

difference between monologion and proslogion form of argument

- Monologion proceeds ‘by necessity of reason’ (rationis necessitas) and ‘by reason alone’ (sola ratione)
- Proslogion is an exercise in the internal exploration of a conceptual scheme, though specific reliance on Scripture limited to metalevel prayer and commentary rather than philosophical argument
- Monologion – a generic inquiry for ‘the soul in search of goodness’
- Proslogion – a specific inquiry involving ‘the soul in search of God, the good that satisfied’

15

double aim in proslogion

o Stirring of the believer’s mind to contemplate and worship God
o Understanding what it is that the believer believes

16

form of proslogion

- Not a meditation addressed by the soul to itself (as in the Monologion)
- Nor a dialogue (as in Cur Deus Homo or De Grammatico)
- Instead: alloquium in which the soul addresses (ad-loqui) God
- Soul that prays the Proslogion is analogous to student seeking teacher’s help in philosophical dialogue

17

first argument

1. It is true by definition that God is a being than which none greater can be imagined.
o i.e. a supremely perfect being that people will devote their lives to
o axiomatic principle in Xian tradition
o similarly reflecting Platonic thought i.e. searching for truth
2. God exists as an idea in the mind.
o Even the fool who says in their heart that there is no God has conceived of God in the mind
3. A being that exists as an idea in the mind and in reality is greater than a being that exists only as an idea in the mind.
4. Thus, if God exists only as an idea in the mind, then we can imagine something that is greater than God (that is, a greatest possible being that does exist).
o That is, a greatest possible being that does exist
5. But we cannot imagine something that is greater than God, since it is a contradiction to suppose that we can imagine a being greater than the greatest possible being that can be imagined.
6. Therefore, God exists.

18

second argument?

1. By definition, God is a being than which none greater can be imagined.
2. A being that necessarily exists is greater than a being that might not exist.
3. Thus, by definition, if God exists as an idea in the mind but does not necessarily exist in reality, then we can imagine something that is greater than God.
4. But we cannot imagine something that is greater than God.
5. Thus, if God exists in the mind as an idea, then God necessarily exists in reality.
6. God exists in the mind as an idea.
7. Therefore, God necessarily exists in reality.

19

my thoughts on the sense of empiricism in Anselm

♣ ontological argument = a priori
♣ yet its complexity lies in Anselm’s recognition of the important role of the senses in discerning ontological truths
♣ it is this meditative quality which adds an empirical aspect to an a priori argument

20

if the question asks about 'proof', question the very definition of proof

probare = latin for test/proof

it is an intellectual exercise/prayer rather than an argument for god's existence??