anselm


Anselm is concerned with the existence of God. He has put into writing his proof for the existence of God, so as to aid others that have the same desire.
Chapter II – That God truly exists.
Existence in understanding vs. existence in reality. The question is whether God exists "in reality" (apart from our minds), as well as "in our understanding."
Anselm defines God as the greatest conceivable being, not just the greatest being that happens to be around, but the greatest possible being. Even an atheist, Anselm believes, must have the idea of God, but he is a "fool" because he denies that there is anything in reality corresponding to his idea of God.
Anselm conceives of God as the perfect being, "that-than-which-a-greater-cannot-be-thought". He argues that when the fool says that God does not exist , the fool is thinking of God as being that-than-which-something-greater-can-be-conceived.Anselm then argues that the fool only has the idea of the GPB in his mind, and because he is not able to understand it to exist in reality he is not truly thinking of the GPB. To correctly think the idea of the GPB, the mind must conceive of that being as existing both in understanding and in reality.Anselm argues that if the GPB exists in the understanding alone, the very being, than which nothing greater can be conceived, is one, that which a greater can be conceived, and to quote Anselm, "obviously this is impossible." (Stumpf 663)
Anselm's aim is to refute the fool who says in his heart that there is no God. He understands the claim that God exists however he does not believe that god exists. Anselm uses the analogy of a painter who has not yet created the picture that exists in his mind. Once the painting has actually been painted, he then both has it in his mind and understands that it exists because he has now produced it.
Chapter III – That God cannot be thought not …

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