Date of Award

Spring 1953

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Philosophy

Abstract

"Credo ut intelligam." This was the motto of Saint Anselm of Canterbury. In respect to Anselm himself, it may be added "Intelligo ut amem," for truly, to know Saint Anselm is to love him. A humble, studious monk, his life and his work are manifestations of one who carried his love for Christ and for His Church into every phase of his busy life. Living in an age which historians have erroneously labeled the "Dark Ages," Anselm, along with many other great sons of the Church, is a complete refutation of this charge. Intelligent historians are in accord with the Church which realizes the important part which Anselm played in the continuum of religious, philosophical, and political thought. To most historians of philosophy, the name, Saint Anselm, means merely the ontological argument. Perhaps no other great philosopher was so neglected in his own day; certainly few are more neglected in modern times. While it is true that he is remembered by most students for his unique ideological argument for the existence of God, it must be understood that this was only one of his four arguments. Long before he began to write his Proslogium. he had formulated three non-ideological arguments in the Monologium: one based on the need of a standard, one from gradation in being, and one which was based on design, or order. In addition to these works, he wrote many treatises on theological and philosophical matters, among the most famous of which are Cur Deus Homo and Meditationes. To believe that Anselm's contribution to philosophy was limited to the ontological argument is the same as believing that Saint Thomas wrote one argument for God's existence, and nothing more. Since this work is necessarily limited to the proofs for the existence of God according to Saint Anselm, it is not the author's intention to treat all of his philosophy; rather, it is intended that Anselm's proofs, both ideological and non-ideological, be clearly set forth and explained. This necessitates an understanding of his basic philosophy, as well as an insight into Anselm, the philosopher, and Ids times. It was with these facts in mind that Chapter One was written. Further, since no philosophy is without its effects, it has also been necessary to follow Anselm's works, so fas as is possible, to comparatively recent times. It is to be hoped that the reader of this work will realize the importance of Anselm in a study of philosophy. By studying Anselm's works, an insight may be gained into the life of a man who bore his faith zealously into every one of his diverse activities, in a time and in a capacity in which this was very difficult. This having been done, the reader will gain, as the author has, a new love and respect for the runaway boy from Aosta who grew up to be the Archbishop of Canterbury, and what is greater, a Saint and Doctor of the Church.

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