A summary of Gaunilo’s perfect island objection to Anselm’s ontological argument . argument for the existence of the perfect island in his On Behalf of the Fool. Gaunilo of Marmoutiers’ criticism of Anselm’s ontological argument present in his On Behalf of the Fool. From On Behalf of the Fool, Gaunilo, a Monk of Marmoutier 1. IF one doubts or denies the existence of a being of such a nature that nothing greater.
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For instance, who even if he does not believe that what he conceives of exists in reality supposing that there is some good which has a beginning and an end, does not conceive that a good is much better, which, if it begins, does not cease to be?
This, in the mean time, is the answer the fool could make to the arguments urged against him. Or, if at some times its existence is denied, because only to a certain extent is it understood, and that which is not at all understood is the same to him: God is not compassionate, in terms of his own being, because he does not experience the feeling affectus of compassion.
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Indeed, the ontological argument would be conclusive, only in case the idea of God and the existence of God in the human mind were identical. Such things are dependent upon other things for their existence. There is, then, necessarily some nature which is so superior to some nature or natures, that there is none in comparison with which it is ranked as inferior. Therefore, whatever at any place or at any time does not exist as a whole, even if it is existent, can be conceived not to exist.
Or, if such a man is found, not only ought his words to be rejected, but he himself should be contemned.
Sin is an offence against the majesty of God. But since the world belongs to the Creator, and nothing can be added to its treasures, the recompense which by right belongs to Christ Edition: For if I had said that the object itself cannot be understood not to exist, possibly you yourself, who say that in accordance with the true meaning of the term what is unreal cannot be understood, would offer the objection that nothing which is can be understood not to be, for the non-existence of what exists is unreal: How is it, then, that other spirits also are said to be uncircumscribed and eternal?
When wilt thou enlighten our eyes, and show us thy face? Etext with permission from the Christian Classics Ethereal Libraryhere modernized in some spellings. Why, except that he is dull and a fool? For what is more just than that the good should receive goods, and the evil, evils? But, when thou dost bestow goods on the evil, and it is known that the supremely Good hath willed to do this, we wonder why the supremely Just has been able to will this.
It is dazzled by the brightness, it is overcome by the greatness, it is overwhelmed by the infinity, it is dazed by the largeness, of the light. Nor do I concede to it any other existence than this if it should be called existence which it has when the mind, according to a word merely heard, tries to form the image of an object absolutely unknown to it.
He finally named it Proslogium,—that is, A Discourse. Gaunilo invited his readers to think of the greatest, or most perfect, conceivable island.
What dost thou desire, my soul? Your idea of a perfect island might not be my idea of a perfect island. It was my intention to consider, on these grounds, whether this being is in the understanding alone, like an unreal object, or whether it also exists in fact, as a real being. Everywhere thou art wholly present, and I see thee not. In this way, therefore, without contradiction thou dost justly punish and justly spare.
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This article needs ggaunilo citations for verification. So that, as reason leads the way and follows up these considerations, he advances rationally to those truths of which, without reason, he has no knowledge.
If power, they shall have all power to fulfil their will, as God to fulfil his. For I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. Exhortation of the mind to the contemplation of God.
So that this metaphysical argument already gives a morally demonstrative conclusion, which declares that according to the present state of our knowledge we must judge that God exists, and act in conformity thereto. For we attribute to the divine substance anything of which it can be conceived that it is better to be than not to be that thing. He was born at AostaEdition: A discussion of Gaunilo’s argument, that any unreal beings can be understood in the same way, and would, to that extent, exist VII.
And, after frequent consideration, I have not been able to find that I have made in it any statement which is inconsistent with the writings of the Catholic Fathers, or especially with those of St. And the proof of this is as follows. For, whatever is not this is less than a thing which can be conceived of. But uncircumscribed is that which is, as a whole, at the same time everywhere. Therefore, life and wisdom and the rest are not parts of thee, but all are one; and each of these is the whole, which thou art, and which all the rest are.
If it is wisdom that delights thee, the very wisdom of God will reveal itself to them. If it is satisfaction of hunger, they shall be satisfied when the glory of the Lord hath appeared Psalms xvii.
The Scholastics, not excepting even their Doctor Angelicus, have misunderstood Edition: Unless indeed it is shown that this being is of such a character that it cannot be held in concept like all unreal objects, or objects whose existence is uncertain: But whatever can be conceived not to exist, if it exists, is not a being than which a greater cannot be conceived; but if it does not exist, it would not, even if it existed, be a being than which a greater cannot be conceived.
Gaunilo of Marmoutiers – Wikipedia
Seeing, however, that the author of these objections is by no means a fool, and is a Catholic, speaking in behalf of the fool, I think it sufficient that I answer the Catholic. Only God, as Anselm defines him, meets all of those criteria and can, therefore, be dubbed a necessary being. And so much the behwlf if I should be deceived, as often happens, and believe in them: