A summary of Gaunilo’s perfect island objection to Anselm’s ontological argument . argument for the existence of the perfect island in his On Behalf of the Fool. Gaunilo of Marmoutiers’ criticism of Anselm’s ontological argument present in his On Behalf of the Fool. From On Behalf of the Fool, Gaunilo, a Monk of Marmoutier 1. IF one doubts or denies the existence of a being of such a nature that nothing greater.

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Of such things, they see that those which quickly come to pass—that is, quickly come into existence—quickly also disappear; whereas they regard as more difficult of accomplishment—that is, not so easily brought into existence—those things which they conceive as more complicated.

Very few scholars [12] [ not in citation given ] engage with the remaining sections of Gaunilo’s text. It is shown that a being than which a greater cannot be conceived exists in reality.

But I do not mean physically great, as a material object is great, but that which, the greater it is, is the better or the more worthy,—wisdom, for instance. But whatever exists through another is less than that, through which all things are, and which alone exists through itself.

The non-existence, then, of that than which a greater cannot be conceived is inconceivable. Hence, if that, than which nothing greater can be conceived, can be conceived not to exist, it is not that, than which bhalf greater can be conceived. For, he who doubts that the horse is superior in its nature to wood, and man more excellent than the horse, assuredly does not deserve the name of man.

What shall thy servant do, anxious in his love of thee, and cast out afar from thy face? Little beyond this essay is known of Gaunilo; no other extant writings bear his name.

If it is melody, there the choirs of angels sing forever, before God. For thou wouldst be less good if thou wert not kind to any wicked being.

But if he does conceive, he certainly conceives of a being which cannot be even conceived not to exist. But, is there any reason why it is not also just, according to thy nature, O Lord, that thou shouldst punish the wicked?

Philosophy of Religion

God can do nothing by virtue of impotence, and nothing has power against foo. In what way dost thou transcend those beings which will have no end? But what, or how great, is the joy, where such and Edition: For, it is not just that those whom thou dost will to punish should be saved, and that those whom thou dost will to spare should be condemned.

In this brief work the author aims at proving in a single argument the existence of God, and whatsoever we believe of God —The difficulty of the task —The author writes in the person of one who contemplates God, and seeks to understand what he believes.

Online Library of Liberty

This very good is the one love common to thee and to thy Son, that is, the Holy Spirit proceeding from both. For it is not so evident that what can be conceived not to exist is not greater than all existing beings, as it is evident that it is not a being than which a greater cannot be conceived.

Without God it is ill with us Our labors and attempts are in vain without God. For, when thou punishest the wicked, it is just, because it is consistent with their deserts; and when, on the other hand, thou sparest the wicked, it is just, not because it is compatible with their deserts, but because it is compatible with thy goodness. Or is not this to form a notion from objects than which a greater is conceivable, of the being than which a greater cannot be conceived?

If it is a long and gaynilo life that pleases thee, there a healthful eternity is, and an eternal health. But what the theologian aims to prove is not the existence of the God-Idea of Plato and Hegel, but the existence of the personal God.

For if it exists even in the understanding alone, can it not be conceived also to exist in reality? But, assuredly, in no understanding is a being than which a greater is conceivable a being than which a greater is inconceivable.

That is the notion of God. Not irrationally, then, has the hypothesis of a being a greater than which cannot be conceived been employed in controverting the fool, for the proof of the existence of God: Why, except that he is dull and a fool?

Gaunilo of Marmoutiers – Wikipedia

Of supreme simplicity nothing can be born, and from it nothing can proceed, except that which is this, of which it is born, or from which it proceeds. If any of these arguments is sound, it seems, then they must all be sound.

This, of course, is merely a direct application of Anselm’s own premise that existence is a perfection.

But that this being must exist, not only in the understanding but also in reality, is thus proved to me: I sought blessings, and lo! Or, if at some times its existence is denied, because only to a certain extent is it understood, and that which is not at all understood is the same to him: But he is himself everywhere and always He alone not only does not cease to be, but also does not begin to be.