Reading Anselm: Context and Criticism

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Saturday, 17 September 2011

Recent Publications - September 2011


C. Heathwood, 'The relevance of Kant's objection to Anselm's ontological argument' in Religious Studies, 47 (2011) 345-357.
Ian Logan comments: Oops! This paper shifts from (i) Kant's objection undermines Anselm's argument (btw Kant had not read Anselm), to (ii) a plausible reading of Kant's objection undermines Anselm's argument to (iii) a plausible reading of Kant's objection is relevant to at least one popular and defensible reading of Anselm's argument. In fact, as a reading of Anselm it is not defensible (whether or not it is a defensible ontological argument is a different matter). From the very beginning of this article, the author goes astray - misled as are many non-Latinists by the appalling translation of S.N. Deane, so beloved of American philosophers of religion. The motto is 'Read Anselm before you write about him!' Another suggestion is that before you start taking too seriously the notion that 'existence is not a predicate' (or a first order concept/predicate, etc.) you really ought to read Colin McGinn's Logical Properties, in particular the chapter on 'Existence'.