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Flashcards in Anselm secondary Deck (42)
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1

Barth - why does A want understanding

♣ A wants understanding because of his faith. Faith is not even a question in A’s thought
♣ For A, believing is ‘striving of the human will into God and so a participation’ (17)
♣ ‘if intelligere does not reach its goal… then in the place of the joy of knowing there remains reverence before Truth itself, which is no less Truth because this is so’ (18)
♣ the nature of faith (rather than its sole existence) desires understanding
♣ God = key to Truth as he is the creator as well as the source of truth itself (link to Platonic ideas)
♣ Faith exists without needing conception – it is taken for granted in A’s thought

2

Barth - progress/ascent

o ‘we are… justified in ascribing to Anselm the explicit notion of progress in theology, in so far as he thought of the scientific process as an ascent from one ratio to an ever higher ratio’ (32)

3

Barth - proslogion vs. monologion and prayer

♣ Rewrote Monologion in the form of Proslogion – a direct address to God.
♣ The Proslogion manifests an attitude ‘whose significance for his whole inquiry transcends matters of style and indeed things human’ (36)

4

barth - rejection of speculation

o ‘even in the Monologion we are confronted by a very pronounced rejection of speculation that does not respect the incomprehensibility of the reality of the object of faith… and also, though more clearly than in the Proslogion, by the reference to the Pattern of faith which is the basis of everything’ (57)

5

barth - audience

o ‘the readers whom he visualises and for whom he caters are the Christian theologians, or more exactly, the Benedictine theologians of his day’ (63)

6

barth - god and noeticism

o God = ‘a concept of strict noetic content’ (75)
o God = the source of Anselm’s thought. He is not inventing God’s revelation, but has received it.
o ‘he can conceive of nothing greater, to be precise, ‘better’, beyond God without lapsing into the absurdity, excluded for faith, of placing himself above God in attempting to conceive of this greater’ (77)

7

barth - rejection of gaunilo point

♣ ‘if he had understood Anselm then he must have been aware that not even Anselm is trying with his Name of God to produce knowledge of the Nature and Existence of God out of a vacuum… but that for Anselm it is axiomatic’ (81)

8

barth - use of prayer

♣ ‘Anselm thinks and proves in prayer and therefore not on logical presuppositions but by acceptance in practice of the existence of the one whose existence he undertakes to think out and prove’ (101)
♣ ‘Anselm speaks about God while speaking to him’ (102)
♣ A’s argument can only be made in faith, hence why it must be sought in prayer

9

barth - conclusions on Anselm

- concludes with a rejection of the following ideas
o that a’s argument is referred to as the ‘ontological’ proof of God
o that people continue to put A’s argument in the same category as Descartes’ and Leibniz’s
o that the argument is affected by Kant’s criticisms

10

logan, Anselm relationship with dialectic

- ‘Unsurprisingly, given the apparent conflicts that could arise between dialectic and Catholic doctrine, dialectic was viewed with suspicion by some. Nevertheless, dialecticians such as Boethius and Anselm were men of faith, and it is the balance between reason and faith that Anselm is at pains to maintain in a way that is faithful to the authority of scripture and the church.’ (19)

11

logan, what the response to gaunilo shows

o (i) the Proslogion was intended as a 'philosophical' argument, the understanding of which was accessible to anyone who possessed the power of understanding;

o (ii) the identity of God and X is central to the argument of the Proslogion;
o (iii) God as X is a special case, which creates a problem for objections employing a similar logical form;
o (iv) terms which are perfectly legitimate in themselves when applied to God, e.g. 'greater than everything' and 'necessarily existent', cannot be substituted for the terms that Anselm uses, such as X and 'that which cannot be thought not to exist'; and
o (v) the argument of the Proslogion is concerned with the act of thinking about God and not merely with an analysis of the concept of God.

12

logan on two arguments

o Thus P2 and P3 (and the remainder of the Proslogion) do not constitute alternative versions of Anselm's argument, but rather the task of finding and justifying the middle term, as the predicate of the minor premise and as the subject of the major premise. Anselm's argument is, as he says, unum argumentum, and to misunderstand this point is to misunderstand the Proslogion.’ (180)

13

webb interpretation

- Some interpret his fides quarens intellectum as ‘belief in search of rational self-justification’ (C.C.J. Webb)

14

campbell - 3 stages to the pros

o 1 – proves that something than which nothing greater can be conceived must exist in reality
o 2 – deduction that this same nature cannot be thought not to be. God is not explicit focus
o 3 – more theological
♣ Second half of Pros 3 – Anselm goes back to language of address
♣ Presents two independent pieces of argumentation
• Absurd to think of anything superior to one’s creator (theological)
• Everything that is not God can be thought of as contingent (metaphysical)

15

campbell on whether it is a proof

- not a proof but this does not mean that it is written for closed circle of faith
o ‘The first two stages of the argument are expressed in language even the fool can understand, and they can be examined for their cogency independently of any peculiarly religious premise.’ (546)

- ‘That is, Anselm interprets his own argument to be that the significance of what is said is such that, as a necessary consequence of the fact that it is understood or thought, certain matters are proved. We have seen the same concern with what
is said in his other works. Within that domain he constructs 'proofs', i.e. sound arguments. But he is not trying to construct proofs in the stronger, rationalist sense.’ (557)

16

campbell on whether Anselm is a fideist

- Campbell argues that Anselm draws out the implications of the language of faith but is not therefore a fideist
o Key to this = idea of fool.
o A is praying to God
o Direct address is dropped when fool is introduced as if he has been ‘eavesdropping on his prayer’ (547)
o ‘Since the fool does not believe that there is a God to whom prayer could ever be addressed, an analysis of God-talk would be to no avail. But—and this gets to the heart of Anselm's methodology—the language of faith is not entirely esoteric. Believers both use distinctively religious referring expressions and use words which are part of the public language, shared and understood by believers and unbelievers alike. So even the fool understands what he hears when Anselm uses ordinary familiar words in speaking of such a nature. And it is those public words whose proper usage Anselm then proceeds to investigate.’ (547)
o he thus resumes his prayer

17

mccord adams - bipartite description of project

o To contemplate god
o To understand what he/she believes

18

mccord adams - length of proslogion vs. monologion

- ‘whereas the Monologion argues from effects discernible by the senses or reason and requires the work of eighty chapters to conclude to the existence of God, Proslogion arrives at the necessary existence of God in fewer than three short pages’ (22)

19

mccord adams - different audience of mono and pros

- Monologion = addressed to brothers, excludes mere appeals to authority and includes deductive arguments and reasoning by analogy
- Pros = only for believers, no mention of sola ratione, unless I believe I will not understand, puzzle of the fool saying in his heart there is no God, many allusions to Scripture

20

mccord adams - prayer and philosophy

- ‘Anselm’s method sees philosophising as a way of praying, and praying as a way of philosophising’ (37)
- it is through transforming meditation into direct prayer that our philosophical questions will be answered

21

rist - neoplatonic and augustinian idea of being

- Anselm ‘knows Augustine and Boethius, and we may therefore assume in the P a familiarity with the Neoplatonic and Augustinian notion of ‘real being’. So according to the chapter heading one thing at least which Anselm wants to indicate in chapter 2 is that God is, in the Neoplatonic sense, a ‘real existent’’. (110)

22

rist - proof?

- ‘God exists in the sense that whatever is the greatest object of thought exists and may be called God. Anselm has not proved, nor is there any evidence that he has so far attempted to prove, that any particular kind of God exists; only that God is the name we give to the greatest possible existent’ (114)

23

rist - acceptance of chapter 2 conclusion in chapter 3

- chapter 3 begins with acceptance of chapter 2 conclusion
o Unnecessary to make assumption that chapter 3 relies on belief in God as necessary
o Conclusion = greatest possible being cannot be thought to not exist as it must always exist (logical necessity)
o God exists = analytically true

24

koyré on Anselm and Platon

o ‘L’un-Premier, qui n’est plus, comme chez Platon, une idée, l’idée du Bien, mais qui est même plus haut que le Bien, qui est la plenitude de la Perfection, inconnaissable et ineffable, c’est le Dieu que nous retrouverons chez Saint Augustin et chez Saint Anselme’ (75)
o theory of participation

25

koyré sur les spectateurs

o written ‘pour des croyants, méditant au fond de leurs cellules sur les mystères de la foi’ (195)

26

koyré sur le pros comme demonstration

o ‘C’est une demonstration indirecte: il ne démontre pas directement que Dieu exist, mais confound et refute l’insensé qui nie son existence. C’est de l’impossibilité de la nier qu’il déduit l’existence réelle de Dieu’ (196)

27

koyré sur form of argument

o not ontological, but rather logical – not a proof for existence as it is impossible for God not to exist. Proof through contradiction
o argument = indirect and negative

28

campbell on defining god

- needs to establish existence of something than which nothing greater can be conceived before he can identify it with God
- argument is only reductio ad absurdum if rejection of everything premise is logically incoherent – is the idea of existence as reality > mind necessarily true?
- A is not arguing from a definition of God – he himself recognises that God is beyond the realms of understanding/definition

29

J. Brenton stearns - two arguments?

- In P2, existence = predicate. Perfection of God means that he must exist
- P3, necessary existence = perfection
- ‘my position is that although Anselm introduces from time to time new ways of stating his case, the argument of PII is never substantially changed, and that all formulations of the proof, including those in the Reply, share the defects of the argument of PII’ (222)
- PII simply ‘draws out the consequences of the proof of PII’ (222)

30

Nancy kendrick - context that might substantiate aim with proslogion

o Turbulent time for Xianity – great schism of Eastern with Western Church, 1054
o Debate surrounding eucharist etc. e.g. Lanfranc advanced transubstantiation. Others said the Eucharist was symbolic
o Potential threats from Jews and Muslim e.g. Pope Urban II preached crusade in Clermont in 1095