Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

Search:

Or browse the dictionary by selecting a letter!
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

ANSELMIAN ARGUMENT

The famous argument of St. Anselm (1033-1109) of Canterbury (1033-1109) for the existence of God. It is an argument a priori, drawn from the idea of God rather than a posteriori, from the works of God. Anselm used it to refute the fool who says there is no God (Psalm 13). He argues as follows: We call God a being so great that nothing greater can be conceived. This definition is accepted even by the atheist, who admits that God exists at least in the mind of the believer. But that which is so great that one cannot imagine anything greater, cannot exist only in the mind. why not? Because on this supposition one could think of something greater, namely, the same being existing outside the mind, i.e., in reality. Therefore, God exists both in mind and reality. Anselm's argument depends on the realistic metaphysics of Plato and has been the subject of learned discussion over the centuries.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Round Trip to the present moment: a Catholic jazz artist's latest offering April 22
Easter with the Pope April 21
Smaller Church, Bigger Faith, 3: Ecclesiastical Discipline April 17
The Holy Spirit and Evangelization: A Primer April 16
Journey to the Sun: A Strange Biography of Junípero Serra April 16

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Easter Vigil homily (full text) CWN - April 20
Pope Francis's Easter Message 'Urbi et Orbi' (To the City and the World): full text, link to video CWN - April 20