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Abstracts (spring 2007)

Augustine and Anselm on the Essence of Moral Responsibility
Montague Brown
Saint Anselm College
ABSTRACT

In the first chapter of the Monologion, Anselm claims we can know that God exists through reason alone, as well as through faith. He says that, although this can be done in many ways, he will present the way most easily understood. He then goes on to present an argument based on the degrees of goodness found in the things of our experience and how this diversity in the goodness of things suggests a highest good, which is God. This argument is essentially the same as the fourth way of Aquinas. In this paper, the focus will be on those other "ways" to which Anselm refers. My questions are two: what basis can be found within Anselm's writings for these other ways, and how do they compare to the famous five ways of Aquinas?


Anselm on the Character Creation Theory of Punishment
Katherin A. Rogers
University of Delaware
ABSTRACT

How can we deal theoretically with the issue of forgiveness? I have found that when facing a philosophical puzzle here at the beginning of the 21st century, help is very likely to be found in the work of Anselm of Canterbury. It turns out that Anselm provides a series of plausible theses about human choice, action, and responsibility, out of which a viable theory of punishment, what I call the Character Creation Theory, can be constructed-a theory which satisfies our various intuitions about punishment at least as well as other retributivist views, but which can make sense of the appropriateness of forgiveness. In this paper I would like to set out the premises of the theory as they appear in Anselm's work.


Properties, Conflation, and Attribution: the Monologion and Divine Simplicity
Siobhan Nash-Marshall
University of St. Thomas
ABSTRACT

One of the crucial metaphysical issues that has proven to be a great stumbling block for so many contemporary thinkers in their understanding and appraisal of the doctrine of divine simplicity is central to what one might call the "property-based metaphysics" of a great many contemporary thinkers. It is the belief that properties are basic and invariant features of reality. This belief clearly makes the doctrine of divine simplicity seem irrational for if properties are indeed basic and invariant features of reality, then the claim that all of God's properties are identical to each other cannot but sound absurd. But this, of course, begs the question: need properties be thought of as basic and invariant features of reality? This is the question that will be discussed here.