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Articles

A Brilliant Masterpiece

To be or not to be brilliant? Miriam Abbott on the ontological argument for God’s existence.

More than most people, academic types are mindful of an unfortunate truth: There is nothing new under the sun. A few moments of deliberation can turn a seemingly revolutionary idea into Descartes redux, and when that happens, it’s personally humbling and disheartening. Which is why it is perversely cheering to learn that one of the most famous philosophical arguments is actually a rerun too.

Labeled as the first ontological proof of God’s existence, St Anselm’s argument is a classic. It’s well-known (if not well-loved) to every scholar of theology, philosophy and world civilization.