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Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109) was a medieval theologian.

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Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109) was a medieval theologian. [#permalink]

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Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109) was a medieval theologian. According to the Anselm's ontological argument for the existence of God, "accidental beings" are all those things --- essentially all sense object ---- whose non-existence could be imagined without inherent contradiction, and "necessary beings" are those things whose existence is guaranteed precisely by what they are. Because accidental beings could not have guaranteed that they ever would come into existence, there must be a necessary being upon whom all the accidental beings depends to bring them into existence; and this necessary being Anselm identifies with God, who therefore clearly must exist.

In our modern analysis, this eleventh century argument is most vulnerable to what criticism?

A) It establishes an effect that must exist well before its cause.
B) It completely depends on a definition of a term that stands in stark contrast to the everyday understanding of the term.
C) The conclusion supports facts that directly contradict the evidence given to support it.
D) It makes a distinction that presupposes the truth of the conclusions that is to be established.
E) It presents as evidence in support of a claim information that is inconsistent with other evidence presented in support of the same claim.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109) was a medieval theologian. [#permalink]

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New post 20 Sep 2015, 12:34
Excellent I got it wrong again :-D.
Now I'll try to explanation why I got wrong .

Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109) was a medieval theologian.
(Looks like Anselm be a human being since birth and death dates are mentioned and theoligian is a person doing study on god as per this passage)
According to the Anselm's ontological argument for the existence of God,(he defines two terms here accidental beings and necessary beings)
"accidental beings" are all those things --- essentially all sense object ---- whose non-existence could be imagined without inherent contradiction,
and
"necessary beings" are those things whose existence is guaranteed precisely by what they are.

Because accidental beings could not have guaranteed that they ever would come into existence, there must be a necessary being upon whom all the accidental beings depends to bring them into existence; and this necessary being Anselm identifies with God, who therefore clearly must exist.

Conclusion: God must exist( :roll: Oh god help me to understand this god theory :wink: )

In our modern analysis, this eleventh century argument is most vulnerable to what criticism?
(Flaw question)

A) It establishes an effect that must exist well before its cause.
(This is just a theoretical hypotheses and there is no cause effect scenario here)

B) It completely depends on a definition of a term that stands in stark contrast to the everyday understanding of the term.
(This argument contains n=only Anselm's theory and everyday understanding of the term is mentioned or referred in the argument.)

C) The conclusion supports facts that directly contradict the evidence given to support it.
(There is no mention of any facts beside the hypothesis.)

D) It makes a distinction that presupposes the truth of the conclusions that is to be established.

E) It presents as evidence in support of a claim information that is inconsistent with other evidence presented in support of the same claim.
(There are no two evidences which are inconsistent woth each other in claim by Anselm)

I did not understand completely how D explained the flaw.
can u please explain Harley1980

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Last edited by Nevernevergiveup on 20 Sep 2015, 14:22, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109) was a medieval theologian. [#permalink]

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New post 20 Sep 2015, 14:03
Mechmeera wrote:
Excellent I got it wrong again :-D.

This approach is much better ;)

Hello Mechmeera

This is really convoluted question and I spent a lot of time when I firstly saw it and I didn't solve it correctly.

Firstly it says that in the world present a distinction between objects:
1) objects without which world can easily exist
2) objects that should exists because without them world can't exist

Secondly it says that there is should be one necessary object that created all objects from first group (nonessential objects)

So for me it looks like we made a conclusion that
"there is must be one necessary object" [because] "nonessential objects must be created by essential object"

So this conclusion based on the theory that should be proved and this conclusion is used for proving this theory. This is vicious circle.
This is wrong because if conclusion is correct than theory is correct but if conclusion is wrong then theory is wrong too.
So we can't do final conclusions about essential object and God on the basis of this distinction between the two types of objects.
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Re: Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109) was a medieval theologian. [#permalink]

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New post 20 Sep 2015, 14:31
Harley1980 wrote:
Mechmeera wrote:
Excellent I got it wrong again :-D.

This approach is much better ;)

Hello Mechmeera

This is really convoluted question and I spent a lot of time when I firstly saw it and I didn't solve it correctly.

Firstly it says that in the world present a distinction between objects:
1) objects without which world can easily exist
2) objects that should exists because without them world can't exist

Secondly it says that there is should be one necessary object that created all objects from first group (nonessential objects)

So for me it looks like we made a conclusion that
"there is must be one necessary object" [because] "nonessential objects must be created by essential object"

So this conclusion based on the theory that should be proved and this conclusion is used for proving this theory. This is vicious circle.
This is wrong because if conclusion is correct than theory is correct but if conclusion is wrong then theory is wrong too.
So we can't do final conclusions about essential object and God on the basis of this distinction between the two types of objects.


Thanks for the response as I felt that I understood some part of it.
But the whole argument is really confusing and I could not get a complete clarity even now.
This sounds like Alchemist theory. :(
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Re: Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109) was a medieval theologian. [#permalink]

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New post 21 Sep 2015, 02:41
Mechmeera wrote:
Thanks for the response as I felt that I understood some part of it.
But the whole argument is really confusing and I could not get a complete clarity even now.
This sounds like Alchemist theory. :(


Hello Mechmeera
I have another idea maybe it helps.

Let's pretend that we want to prove existence of God to somebody.
We say that all objects are divided ontwo groups: one group can be not existed and it's okay and another group this is crucial objects.
We can infer that all this life should be started by somebody and this object is essential for life. And this is God.

Actually this is quite usual explanation in a lot of religions.

Maybe it is true but this is non scientific approach to approvement. Because we actually say that God should exist because somebody should create all this from scratch.

So let's back to our argument: this distinction of all objects on two group is correct if God exist but this distinction is incorrect if God not exist so we can not use this distinction to prove existence of God.
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Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109) was a medieval theologian [#permalink]

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Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109) was a medieval theologian. According to the Anselm's ontological argument for the existence of God, "accidental beings" are all those things --- essentially all sense object ---- whose non-existence could be imagined without inherent contradiction, and "necessary beings" are those things whose existence is guaranteed precisely by what they are. Because accidental beings could not have guaranteed that they ever would come into existence, there must be a necessary being upon whom all the accidental beings depends to bring them into existence; and this necessary being Anselm identifies with God, who therefore clearly must exist.

In our modern analysis, this eleventh century argument is most vulnerable to what criticism?

(A) It establishes an effect that must exist well before its cause.

(B) It completely depends on a definition of a term that stands in stark contrast to the everyday understanding of the term.

(C) The conclusion supports facts that directly contradict the evidence given to support it.

(D) It makes a distinction that presupposes the truth of the conclusions that is to be established.

(E) It presents as evidence in support of a claim information that is inconsistent with other evidence presented in support of the same claim.
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Re: Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109) was a medieval theologian [#permalink]

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New post 13 Oct 2015, 15:47
tuanquang269 wrote:
Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109) was a medieval theologian. According to the Anselm's ontological argument for the existence of God, "accidental beings" are all those things --- essentially all sense object ---- whose non-existence could be imagined without inherent contradiction, and "necessary beings" are those things whose existence is guaranteed precisely by what they are. Because accidental beings could not have guaranteed that they ever would come into existence, there must be a necessary being upon whom all the accidental beings depends to bring them into existence; and this necessary being Anselm identifies with God, who therefore clearly must exist.

In our modern analysis, this eleventh century argument is most vulnerable to what criticism?

(A) It establishes an effect that must exist well before its cause.
(B) It completely depends on a definition of a term that stands in stark contrast to the everyday understanding of the term.
(C) The conclusion supports facts that directly contradict the evidence given to support it.
(D) It makes a distinction that presupposes the truth of the conclusions that is to be established.
(E) It presents as evidence in support of a claim information that is inconsistent with other evidence presented in support of the same claim.

Dear tuanquang269,
I'm happy to respond. :-) This is a question I wrote, and this is the very first time someone has posted this very difficult question here in GC.

The argument is drawn from the historical figure, Anselm of Canterbury, a figure who lived before Thomas Becket, the figure on whose cult The Canterbury Tales are based.

Let's look at these definitions given in the prompt.

"accidental beings" --- "all those things whose non-existence could be imagined without inherent contradiction" --- in other words, X is an "accidental being" if we could imagine an alternate world in which X didn't exist.

For example, we could imagine a world without the GMAT, some alternate world in which some other means was used to demonstrate admissibility to business school. The GMAT is an an accidental being.

We could imagine any city, any mountain, any person, any idea, and imagine an alternate world in which this didn't exist. All of these are accidental beings.

We could easy imagine a world with, say, an ocean of water or an atmosphere of air. We don't even have to imagine it, because the planet Mars provides a perfect example. These two are accidental beings. Or a world with a moon -- Mercury. etc. etc.

OK, we could go on and on, but pretty much anything we could name or conceive is an accidental being.

Now, the second term:
"necessary being" --- "those things whose existence is guaranteed precisely by what they are"

Now, the obvious question is: what on earth would be an example of this? What is an example of something that has a guaranteed existence, such that we couldn't even imagine a world without it? Hmm. It's not immediate obvious than anything falls in this category.

Some might argue that mathematical ideas, the ideas of pure mathematics, would be in this category. In other words, there would be fundamental mathematical statements that would be true of any imaginable world, even if the folks in that world never figured out anything about mathematics. This is conceivable, but debatable.

What it comes down to is that we cannot be sure whether there actually is anything that would qualify as a "necessary being." Hmm. That is awfully problematic for the argument as a whole, because if we are not sure whether there is any "necessary being" in the first place, then we can't use this supposition to prove anything else.

OK, now we are ready to look at the answers:
(A) It establishes an effect that must exist well before its cause.
This argument is not really about cause and effect. This is not correct.

(B) It completely depends on a definition of a term that stands in stark contrast to the everyday understanding of the term.
Hmm. The actual words are used in more or less their ordinary senses. It's just that the ideas are questionable, not the words themselves. This is not correct.

(C) The conclusion supports facts that directly contradict the evidence given to support it.
There's no logical contradiction without the argument presented. It has holes, but it doesn't contradict itself. This is incorrect.

(D) It makes a distinction that presupposes the truth of the conclusions that is to be established.
The argument does make the distinction of "accidental being" vs. "necessary being," and we are not sure that anything would actually qualify as the latter. In a way, the assumption that there is a unique "necessary" being is tantamount to the assumption of the existence of God, which the argument is trying to prove. This is a promising answer.

(E) It presents as evidence in support of a claim information that is inconsistent with other evidence presented in support of the same claim.
The argument doesn't really present evidence per se. It presents ideas and definitions. Again, everything here is self-consistent, just not consistent with our more modern way of thinking.

The best answer here is the OA, (D).

Does this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109) was a medieval theologian. [#permalink]

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New post 08 Oct 2017, 10:23
Harley1980 wrote:
Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109) was a medieval theologian. According to the Anselm's ontological argument for the existence of God, "accidental beings" are all those things --- essentially all sense object ---- whose non-existence could be imagined without inherent contradiction, and "necessary beings" are those things whose existence is guaranteed precisely by what they are. Because accidental beings could not have guaranteed that they ever would come into existence, there must be a necessary being upon whom all the accidental beings depends to bring them into existence; and this necessary being Anselm identifies with God, who therefore clearly must exist.

In our modern analysis, this eleventh century argument is most vulnerable to what criticism?
So, this is a 700 level question as the para itself is quite tricky."necessary beings" exists was the supposition the author made even before proving that points. It is like saying, "hey! I am assuming that statement X is valid and I am proving it now"
A) It establishes an effect that must exist well before its cause. Nothing to do with the timings.
B) It completely depends on a definition of a term that stands in stark contrast to the everyday understanding of the term.Close call. One who will restrict his understanding to the facts given in the para and will not let his own viewpoint collude, will not choose B
C) The conclusion supports facts that directly contradict the evidence given to support it.Wrong | No reference to facts
D) It makes a distinction that presupposes the truth of the conclusions that is to be established. Explained above
E) It presents as evidence in support of a claim information that is inconsistent with other evidence presented in support of the same claimI couldn't find two evidences.

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Re: Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109) was a medieval theologian. [#permalink]

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New post 09 Oct 2017, 21:59
Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109) was a medieval theologian. According to the Anselm's ontological argument for the existence of God, "accidental beings" are all those things --- essentially all sense object ---- whose non-existence could be imagined without inherent contradiction, and "necessary beings" are those things whose existence is guaranteed precisely by what they are. Because accidental beings could not have guaranteed that they ever would come into existence, there must be a necessary being upon whom all the accidental beings depends to bring them into existence; and this necessary being Anselm identifies with God, who therefore clearly must exist.

In our modern analysis, this eleventh century argument is most vulnerable to what criticism?

This question can be best solved by POE.

A) It establishes an effect that must exist well before its cause. Eliminate because there is no cause and effect present in the argument.
B) It completely depends on a definition of a term that stands in stark contrast to the everyday understanding of the term. Eliminate because we do not for sure what is the everyday understanding of the term.
C) The conclusion supports facts that directly contradict the evidence given to support it.
There are no evidence in the argument. Eliminate.
D) It makes a distinction that presupposes the truth of the conclusions that is to be established.
E) It presents as evidence in support of a claim information that is inconsistent with other evidence presented in support of the same claim.
One evidence is in-consistence with the other. But where are these evidences. Eliminate.

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Re: Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109) was a medieval theologian. [#permalink]

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New post 10 Oct 2017, 20:25
What a convoluted passage. Took sometime to understand the initial wordings of the premise. Thanks for the question.

Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109) was a medieval theologian. According to the Anselm's ontological argument for the existence of God, "accidental beings" are all those things --- essentially all sense object ---- whose non-existence could be imagined without inherent contradiction, and "necessary beings" are those things whose existence is guaranteed precisely by what they are. Because accidental beings could not have guaranteed that they ever would come into existence, there must be a necessary being upon whom all the accidental beings depends to bring them into existence; and this necessary being Anselm identifies with God, who therefore clearly must exist.

In our modern analysis, this eleventh century argument is most vulnerable to what criticism?

A) It establishes an effect that must exist well before its cause. -It is establishing the cause (God) and not the effect (accidental beings). This choice is inverse of what is given in the passage
B) It completely depends on a definition of a term that stands in stark contrast to the everyday understanding of the term. -We don't need to bring in any outside knowledge. Irrelevant
C) The conclusion supports facts that directly contradict the evidence given to support it. -The whole argument is structured in a very good manner. There is no contradiction present in the passage
D) It makes a distinction that presupposes the truth of the conclusions that is to be established. -Correct. The argument seeks to establish that God exists. For this purpose, the argument starting from the very first line takes into account that accidental beings are dependent on necessary beings. And the necessary being as per the Anselm is God, so the argument depicts that God must exist. Thus from the starting itself, it assumes that God exists
E) It presents as evidence in support of a claim information that is inconsistent with other evidence presented in support of the same claim. -There is just a definition of the two terminologies and a evidence that supports the theory of God's existence. There is no inconsistency in the passage
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Re: Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109) was a medieval theologian.   [#permalink] 10 Oct 2017, 20:25
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