Semantyka anzelmiańskiego Imienia Boga
THE SEMANTICS OF ST. ANSELM`S NAME OF GOD
Languages of publication
My paper considers the meaning of St. Anselm's Name of God: quo maius cogitari nequit. The definition is used in the ontological proofs in Proslogion 2 and 3 but, paradoxically, it is claimed to be inconceivable in chapter 15. I believe that Anselm realized the problem during his discussion with Gaunilo, who questioned Anselm's assumption that one can have in mind something than which nothing greater can be conceived. In his reply Anselm defended his assumption and finally changed his earlier theory of what it means to have a concept in mind. The new theory distinguishes vox ipsa (the mere word), res significata (the thing indicated), and intelligere aut cogitare quod dicitur (understanding or conceiving what is said). I call the latter the procedural meaning to distinguish it from the direct meaning which is res significata, because by it Anselm means a procedure for obtaining a thing. The procedure, however, is infinite and will never give us any thing. I thus conclude that quo maius cogitari nequit is a pseudo-definition which gives us pseudo-understanding. It allows us but does not force us, leaving the issue open to further considerations.
5 - 22
Publication order reference