Anselm’s Argument: Divine Necessity




2023.03.2 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews

Brian Leftow, Anselm’s Argument: Divine Necessity, Oxford University Press, 2022, 317pp., $85.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780192896926.

Reviewed by Gaven Kerr, St Patrick’s Pontifical University

Anselm’s Argument: Divine Necessity is a sequel to Brian Leftow’s earlier work, God and Necessity. In Leftow’s own words, he takes Anselm’s Argument to be a sequel in a twofold manner: (i) because it develops the powers-based modal metaphysics he presented in God and Necessity, and (ii) because he uses material from God and Necessity to defend Anselm’s thought in Anselm’s Argument.

What Leftow wishes to defend in Anselm’s Argument is something that comes out of Anselm’s reply to Gaunilo. In this reply, Anselm argues that God’s perfection entails his necessity; in other words, if a perfect being exists, it would be absolutely necessary. The necessity involved here is absolute necessity; and part of the function of Leftow’s reconstruction of Anselm’s…

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