This book re-examines Anselm’s famous arguments for the existence of God in his
Proslogion, and in his
Reply. It demonstrates how he validly deduces from plausible premises that God so truly exists that He could not be thought not to exist. Most commentators, ancient and modern, wrongly located his argument in a passage which is not about God at all. It becomes evident that, consequently, much contemporary criticism is based on misreading and misunderstanding his text. It reconstructs his reasoning through three distinct but logically connected stages. It shows that, even if Anselm’s crucial premises are sceptically interpreted, his conclusions still follow. Properly understood, this argument is not vulnerable to the standard criticisms, including Gaunilo’s ‘Lost island’ counter-example.
Edited and introduced by Robert Arp,
Revisiting Aquinas’ Proofs for the Existence of God is a collection of new papers written by scholars focusing on the famous Five Proofs or Ways (
Quinque Viae) for the existence of God put forward by St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) near the beginning of his unfinished tome,
Summa Theologica. It is not an exaggeration to say that not only is Aquinas’
Summa a landmark text in the history of Western philosophy and Christianity, but also that the Five Proofs discussed therein—namely, the arguments that conclude to the Unmoved Mover, Uncaused Cause, Necessary Being, Superlative Being, and Intelligent Director—are as compelling today as they were in the 13th Century. Written in a debate format with different scholars arguing for and against each Proof, the papers in the book consist of arguments utilizing various combinations of contemporary science and philosophical ideas to bolster the positions. The result is a revisiting of Aquinas’ Proofs that is relevant, stimulating, enlightening, and refreshing.