Learning from Anselm’s argument



Anselm, Ontological argument, Conceptual possibility, God


Anselm’s original argument for the existence of God seems to pull in opposite directions. On the one hand, it is not easy to see what, if anything, is wrong with it; on the other, it seems incredible that the existence of a being like God could be proved entirely a priori. This paper presents a diagnosis of what seems to be wrong with Anselm’s original reasoning. The diagnosis is general enough to be of use elsewhere, and it is this: conceptual possibilities are inferential dead-ends, not free inference tickets to prove any substantial claim. It remains to be seen if other versions of Anselm’s original insight, both contemporary and not, fall into the same conceptual possibility trap


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Biografia do Autor

Desidério Murcho, Federal University of Ouro Preto

Master in Philosophy at the University of Lisboa. Professor of Philosophy at Federal University of Ouro Preto (MG).


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Klima, G. (2000) “Saint Anselm’s Proof: A Problem Of Reference, Intentional Identity And Mutual Understanding”, in Medieval Philosophy And Modern Times, ed. G. Holmström-Hintikka. Dordrecht: Kluwer, pp. 69-87.

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Plantinga, A. (1974a) God, Freedom, and Evil. New York: Harper and Row.

Plantinga, A. (1974b) The Nature of Necessity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.




Como Citar

MURCHO, D. Learning from Anselm’s argument. Manuscrito: Revista Internacional de Filosofia, Campinas, SP, v. 44, n. 4, p. 418–433, 2022. Disponível em: https://periodicos.sbu.unicamp.br/ojs/index.php/manuscrito/article/view/8668930. Acesso em: 26 set. 2022.