What are the epistemological problems in Anslem

What are the epistemic jobs in Anslem ofCanterbury’s duologue, ‘On Truth? ’ Can they be resolved?

In De Veritate Anslem presents his theory of truth. He says that truth whether it is said to in statements, sentiments, volitions, actions, the being of things etc, that this truth is rectitude ( rightfulness ) . In what follows in this essay I will analyze Anslem’s theory in which he speaks of truth as uprightness. I will so travel on to show how Anslem’s claims relies upon a correspondence theory that yields a figure of expostulations.

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In De Veritate Anslem foremost makes the connexion between truth and rightfulness in Chapter 2, when looking into the instance of truth statements. A statement is true he says when it corresponds to the manner things are in world, and the intent for doing a statement. So for Anslem the truth of statements will depend on partially the correspondence of the statement to the province of personal businesss signified, and besides on the meaning itself. Where meaning can be seen as the sense, or the significance of the statement. Hence the statement ‘it is raining’ will ever possess the latter type of truth since it conveys a significance, but whether it has the former truth will depend upon whether it is really raining in world. So we can see Anslem taking an Aristotelean stance here, whereby a proposition is true when what it affirms is, and what it negates is non. Thus the truth of a statement will therefore prevarication in ‘rectitude, ’ or in meaning what it ought to mean. Anslem so goes on to discourse other signifiers of truth found in idea, in the will, in action, in senses and in the being of things. Using a similar scheme to his claim on true statements, he says that truth in idea will be rectitude if it corresponds to existent provinces of personal businesss, and in so making so is carry throughing its intent by believing what it ought to believe of ( De Ver 3 ) . While truth will be found in the rightfulness of the will and action when one volitions and does what he ought to will and make.

What I find to be of farther involvement in Anslem’s treatment of the truth of the will, is that he reveals portion of his position on justness and its differentiation to goodness. In De Veritate 12 Anslem addresses the inquiry of justness which he views as being specific and appropriate to worlds. He says that all justness is rightness and deserves congratulations, while its opposite unfairness deserves reproach. This type of justness will merely be possessed by rational existences that know justness and can therefore will it. In add-on justness he says will non be found in cognition or action but in the will, so that rightfulness of this kind must be identified with rightness of the will ( De Ver. 12: S I:193. 4-15 ) . This allows for the fact that the rightfulness of the will is non merely about willing what ought to be, which is willing the supreme good, but willing for the right ground. As Jerry E. Brower( Anslem on Ethical motives )points out the truth in the will has both a ‘“what” and a “why” – that is an object and a motor – and that a rightness of will requires the rightness of both.’ [ 1 ] This helps extinguish instances, whereby one wills what they ought to will, without desiring to be in such a state of affairs, or where one does desire to be, but wills the right object for a bad motivation. A differentiation hence seems to be made between justness and goodness, as Brower explains, ‘between rightness possessed by the will – that is justice – and the rightness possessed by everything else, lies in the fact that, in the particular instance of the will, it is possible for fulfillment of intent ( i.e. the conditions for possessing rightness ) to come apart from complete realization ( i.e. the status for possessing goodness ) .’ [ 2 ]

I think is besides of import to observe briefly the troubles that arise when Anslem looks into the truth of the being of things. In Chapter 7 of De Veritate he finds that uprightness will be within all things, because all things will harmonize with God’s program. And in Chapter 8 Anslem goes on to reason that from looking at the truth of the being of things we can see anything that God allows to be or do ought to be. But this seems debatable when we look at actions deemed evil, are we stating that a state of affairs where person murders an guiltless individual, ought to be? Hence the pupil asks, ‘But how can we state, with regard to the truth of a thing, that whatever is ought to be, since there are many evil workss that certainty ought non to be? ’ ( See De Veritate Chapter 8 for full statement ) . The job arises when we see that to state on one manus something ought non to be, we are sing a certain statement, action, thought etc in more than one manner. More clearly, we are looking at peculiar facets and considerations of the same state of affairs and stating that it ought to be, but so taking other facets and considerations of the same state of affairs and stating that it besides ought non to be. But since as we have seen from the above that everything that exists does so needfully as portion of God’s program, so everything that exists ought to be. There being no possible agencies of claming a certain state of affairs ought non to be, without rejecting the being of Gods program. We are in a place where we have to state that the slaying of an guiltless individual ought to hold been. But as Visser and Williams points out Anslem wouldn’t have wanted to take power off from moral opinions ( e.g. where we say that an evil action is incorrect and should non hold occurred ) . So in the terminal Visser and Williams say that ‘we are left with a theory of truth harmonizing to which one and the same statement is true and false depending on the context of assessment.’ [ 3 ]

We are so eventually take into Anslem’s concluding subject of the De Veritate, the integrity of truth. After holding discussed the scope of truths with uprightness, he goes on to see the supreme Truth, God. He says that this supreme truth will differ, in that although being rectitude it will non be rectitude in the same manner that all other truths are rectitude. This difference can be explained more clearly looking at Anslem’s treatment of the uprightness of meaning in Chapter 9 where he says that the uprightness of meaning will non depend on meaning but depends upon a timeless and unchangeable uprightness. Similarly, the uprightness of idea or will, the will non depend on uprightness of idea or will but from an foolproof uprightness that Anslem sees as God, the Supreme truth. Anslem hence seems to be taking on a Platonic place, in seeing truth as a Platonic signifier ( facet of God ) in which all true things ( and hence uprightness ) will take part in. So that as Brower points out ‘the truth ( or rightness ) of statements, on this position, is nil but their standing in an appropriate relation to the Form or criterion of Truth, which is God Himself.’ [ 4 ] I think it of import to observe that Anslem’s solution to the job of integrity does non purely fall on Platonic lines, i.e. in the manner we view Plato’s instructions on goodness. More clearly, Anslem ne’er claims as Plato would that since many things are true and uprightness, so they gain this truth and uprightness by take parting in something that is true and uprightness in the highest signifier. And this highest signifier of truth and uprightness will derive its truth from itself instead than any other thing. Visser and Williams in support make clear that for Anslem the integrity of truth, was non the integrity of a belongings in its assorted cases, in relation to its highest signifier. But instead a rigorous numerical individuality. There will be merely one truth, being the Supreme truth, God. And since God is one, this truth will be one besides. Whom the other truths will depend upon for being. [ 5 ]

Now Anslem’s theory of truth can be seen to depend upon the premise of a correspondence theory. Where a proposition will be counted as true in so far as it corresponds to world or the existent province of personal businesss. In add-on as we have seen above, idea ( every bit expressed as propositions ) and being will be straight linked, the former being caused by true objects in world, which will in bend be caused by the Supreme truth. It being with this trust of the correspondence theory where we can see Anslem’s theory of truth become vulnerable to assail.

The first statement I will see claims that one can non travel from an thought or thought as conveyed in a proposition, to world. Since we are non able to compare our ideas to world, we can non specify truth in footings of a proposition in relation to the universe of world. The strength behind this stance seems to rest on the fact that it is impossible to step outside our heads and compare our ideas with mind-independent world. But in order to see whether a proposition corresponds to the existent province of personal businesss, or whether true objects cause true propositions we would hold to see world as it is in itself, independent of our knowledge of it. And from this determine whether there is any direct relation between idea and being. The 2nd expostulation I want to set frontward is the statement that sees the correspondence theory put frontward by Anslem as being really cryptic in footings of the nature of the relation claimed within it. It being really hard to see how a proposition can be linked to a signifier of truth, and this in bend to the Supreme Truth which is a timeless, unchangeable entity ( intending that this correspondence theory is unrestricted by clip and alteration ) . But how would be able to account for this within a realistic model. How is it possible to be able to understand this physical relation?

In response to the expostulations Anslem can reason for the noticeability of such a theory. As Descartes so showed in his Meditations ‘I have ne’er had any uncertainties about truth, because it seems a impression so transcendentally clear that cipher can be nescient of it…the word ‘truth’ , in the rigorous sense, denotes the conformance of idea with its object’ ( 1639, AT II 597 ) . And this noticeability can be demonstrated in the really fact that those who deny it frequently presuppose the correspondence theory in propositions, even. So that for illustration to state ‘that the correspondence theory is false, ’ is to accept their proposition to be true from a correspondence sense, or non to accept the proposition. Taking the proposition as true in the correspondence significance would do the proposition self-defeating. While rejecting the claim would give us no ground to accept what the dissenters have to state, since accepting them would be accepting them as true. So more clearly we can see a quandary, whereby those who reject the correspondence theory of truth will depend either straight or indirectly on the correspondence relationship in making so.

Now these two differing positions towards the correspondence theory are the consequence of the opposing position of a positivist and empiricialist background. Anslem believing that truth can be derived from rational penetration as shown through our ideas and into the universe of world, independently from any esthesis experience. Empiricist on the other manus ( such as Kant and Locke ) , believe that cognition of being comes from the experience of the perceptual experience of the reasonable things and non entirely from the head. We non being able to cognize about world without an empirical model. Thus it seems that whether we accept Anslem’s correspondence theory or non, will depend on whether we take an empiricists or rationalistic position.

In decision we have seen that Anslem sets out his truth theory in De Veritate in which he says that truth whether we say it be in statements, ideas, volitions, actions, senses, and the being of things, that this truth is uprightness. Where uprightness can be viewed as truth ( found its assorted signifiers ) matching to world, or the existent province of personal businesss. And in the instance of the will and therefore uprightness of justness, uprightness will besides rest upon holding the right motives. Such a theory has been shown to be vulnerable by its trust on a correspondence theory. But in the terminal, whether one accepts or culls Anslem’s theory will depend on whether one takes an empirical or rationalist place.


Anslem of Canterbury, Vol 2. Philosophic fragments ; De grammatico ; On truth ; Freedom of pick ; The autumn of the Satan ; The harmoniousness of the precognition, the predestination, and the grace of God with free pick. Edited and translated by Jasper Hopkins and Herbert Richardson. London ; S. C. M. Press 1974.

Evans, G. R. 1978. Anslem and Talking about God. Oxford Clarendon Press.

Morris, Thomas V. 1987. Anslemian Explorations: Essaies in Philosophical Theology. Notre Dame, Ind: University of Notre Dame Press.

Jeffrey E. Brower,‘Anslem on Ethical motives, ’Cambridge Companion to Anslem

Sandra Visser and Thomas Williams,‘Anslem on truth, ’Cambridge Companion to Anslem

J. Cottingham, Descartes: Selected Hagiographas, ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988 ) ,

David, M. , 1994, Correspondence and Disquotation: An Essay on the Nature of Truth, Oxford: Oxford University Press.



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