Anselm's Proslogion And Thomas Aquinas Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

If we were to consider it a philosophical argument, then we would understand that Anselm is trying to convince us of the validity of his thesis. If we were to look at it as a personal declaration of faith, then we are likely to detect no persuasion effort whatsoever. In fact, Anselm is far from convincing non-believers of the necessity to believe. His argumentation is not directed at having people believe in god. The manner in which he establishes the relation between faith and understanding is a clear sign in this direction. One can understand what Anselm is saying and be convinced of it only if he is a believer. At this point, it is safe to say that the importance of faith is fundamental. Under these circumstances, it becomes difficult to accept the view according to which the Proslogion is a philosophical argument. Were it such, its goal would be to persuade and it would definitely be impossible for it to rely so much an a variable that is so subjective, namely faith. This does not means that the strength of the logical argumentation is not relevant. It actually is. And what becomes even more striking is the power of persuasion that the argumentation in endowed with once the reader does not perceive it as a philosophical argument.

The ontological question is situated in a whole new dimension, in which the intellect is given the possibility to fulfill its capacities only once it has been contaminated with the spiritual. It is true that people are tempted to search for a logical demonstration of god's existence and Anselm's is somewhat convincing. However, he addresses an audience of believers. Therefore, the believers, being what they are, do not really need the logical demonstration in order to justify their faith (otherwise, they would not call themselves in that way).

The last issue of interest for the present discussion is the following: Hence he who possesses the more charity, will see God the more perfectly, and will be the more beatified.(- Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae I, q. 12, a. 6, resp.) Our goal is to explain the relationship between knowledge and love according to Thomas.

Looking at the
If love is the basis for knowledge, then we are brought to understand one more thing. Since love is irrational, then so is the knowledge of god. In other words, god is beyond the powers of the intellect. This is why he can be known only through faith or manifestations of him, such as love.

Last, but not least we might wonder about the reason for which one might choose to love the others. One might argue that this is one of god's teachings, but this is not enough in order to make love actually exist. It could be stated that it is an irrational choice as well and that it has no other end but itself. Which is exactly god's
teaching. It is in this very choice that the divine essence is manifested, hence the possibility for its comprehension.

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