Reading Anselm: Context and Criticism

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Saturday, 20 August 2011

Recent Publications - August 2011 - Updated


Y. Nagasawa, 'Anselmian Theism' in Philosophy Compass, 6 (2011) 564-571.
Ian Logan comments: In this defense of what Nagasawa refers to as 'Anselmian Theism', he writes: "Anselm deļ¬nes God as ‘something than which no greater can be thought (conceived)’." Well, Anselm didn't think he had defined God. For the dialectical tradition in which Anselm operated, if God could be defined, He would be the differentiated species of a genus and therefore would not be God. The key feature of Anselmian theism (if there were such a thing) would be the notion that God is greater than whatever we can think about Him. In fact, He must be greater than can be thought, if He is that than which a greater cannot be thought, since otherwise we could think of something greater than Him, i.e. something that is so great it is greater than can be thought. If we are going to discuss Anselm then we need to take account of such points. Otherwise, I'm not sure what the term 'Anselmian' should be taken to mean.

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