Tag Archives: AIME

Anslem’s Argument for the Proof of the Existence of God, the Disruption of Time, and the Categorization of Philosophical Behavior.

I seem to have found a significance for Anslem’s proof. It may be that it is not significance for whether God might exist, but, as I have said, significance for how I present ideas.

We will start with the rendition from Princeton’s site. I think they have a pretty good rendition there.

Without all the strict logical hoopla, I think the simple way to put Anslem’s idea is that God exists because we can think of It.

The significance of this notion appears to disrupt what we generally consider of time, it’s ‘natural and directional’ progress.

The Princeton site says that Anslem was addressing a particular issue that, actually, we still find totday in atheism. Basically, Anslem is confronting two ideas:

1.He understands the claim that God exists.
2.He does not believe that God exists.

Now, I have done only the most preliminary research into Anslem and his ideas. I am just taking the very popular simple version, and considering these two situations. There is no ‘hidden’; whatever Anslem’s results most probably are quite apparent, and the ones that are not – well, what point am I trying to make here? I have already said in my earlier post that there is no logical argument that sways me in any direction or causes me to believe something I didn’t before. So any extension of argument must be involving something else; perhaps I am attempting to get at what this something could be.

I think the main point Anslem makes is that, as Princeton puts it, this is an inherently unstable condition of being. What we might call the ‘founding essence’ can be understood to be responsible for this instability. Somewhat similar to a ‘thing-in-itself’, this founding essence would be a kind of gravity well, if you will, of mental activity. The instability arises because of the knowledge (the known-ness) of what something is able to be. The question arises: How can I know what something is if it doesn’t exist? The basic assumption in this question, what philosophers tend to lump into the category called ontology, is that existence is, that there is no need to discern what existence is because to argue for or against the being of existence does nothing to displace the argument except as much as it merely denies existence. The point of saying something exists thus should equate with what can be known, and so the instability of the situation is found in the human ability to choose on whether what exists is actually true. In this case, though, Anslem is dealing with the basis of all that exists as a category, namely, God; God, in this sense, as we cannot but apply our modern sense to consideration of it, is merely the name of the category that contains all that can exist as an active element, the element by which all else can be said to be. The extension in time to Heidegger’s ‘Being and Time’ can be understood as a factual description of this situation, and thus, rather than an opening up unto Being, ironically as a closing of Being unto itself and thus a factual description of what human beings do: The identification of the in-itself of human Being. More on that elsewhere.

The resolution that Anslem posits of this unstable situation occurs because of the foundational nature of the knowledge itself. In this Medieval Christian context (which I argue is still a modern context), the resolution (the clarity, the definition) that must be referred to must be understood in a context not so much of mind, but of the essential God-inundated mind that is able to uphold and entertain knowledge, which for our context might be the mind that exists. In short, the condition of knowledge is/was such that all things referred or otherwise are established in existence due to an absolute situation, a situation whereby all things gain their status in the universe, what we usually index by the idea of an absolute ethics, in a manner of speaking. In this condition it thus appears that a reflective mind will naturally be drawn into the the contradiction involved in making a choice as to the (true or false) existence of something that (already) exists (in essence), and will therefore correct (or become the correction) the instability by virtue of their own existence (in the absolute universe, or the universe that is indexed by absolution). The question of whether something actually, or physically, biologically exists, such as a race of human beings that live in the midieval antipodes, e2c1fd0e8fc468d9d55d018231578e47

unicorns, dragons, spirits, extraterrestrial aliens, etcetera, has no baring upon existence because of the absolute reference and access of mind to God (existence). What can be incorrect of knowledge as to what is true of existence finds its resolution in the posited (assumed) basis of existence. 

The Medieval as well as Modern mind is consistent in this ideal of progressive understanding of the universe. What is significant of this orientation upon progress is the mind’s innate access to what is true of the universe with reference to an assumed basis of that truth, what we can say is an assumption of stability unto which all knowledge will inevitably resolve; despite whether we posit that there is no actual resolution or that everything is flux, or whatever conditional conditions we define, the result of any positing is always toward ends, toward a resolution. Even if we say that the universe and the knowledge of that universe is completely and utterly contingent, this contingency must be absolute; hence we say that the effect of such terms within any scheme of knowledge or organization of definitions is what we can call a “founding term”. 


Oddly enough, we are able to find purchase into understanding what human beings do by looking at what philosophy does. Not, as Graham Harman might have it, that everything we might do automatically falls into a subjective appropriation of semantics that defies our attempt to locate such philosophical behavior. Rather, at some point we should be able to locate a mark by which we are able to be dismissed from this correlational philosophy that wants to avoid any critical gaze upon its method.

Once we find this mark (which I do not go into here), we can extend this situation (of existence and deferment) to apply to everything that might exist: Within this situation, a person can understand and then decide upon it. There is no thing that escapes this formula, and Anslem is making an accusation about it: It is unstable, and it will eventually resolve itself to the conclusion that the thing in question exists, in his Medieval case, God, and in our Modern case, perhaps, the object of empirical physics.

The point he relies upon is the idea that God is the greatest being or thing that can exist, for, so long as we can conceive of something greater, then that is not God. Similarly, we can use this conversely and say that because we can conceive of ‘that which nothing is greater’, this greatest thing exists as a foundational ontological ground of Modern effort as well: The ‘greatest’ thing is the most substantial. 


What interests me is that this simple notice occurred late in the 11th century. Here, already, is a situation made notice that no one noticed until very recently, like 10-20 years ago with the philosophers such as Alain Badou, Francois Laruelle, an then for the younger folks (of the time), of the Speculative Realist Conference. In particular, the idea is that there may be something that exists outside of our knowledge (not necessarily our ability to know), and as for in this situation, that which is greater than the greatest thing we can know. This category has brought modern philosophy (again) to consider things like voidnothingnesschaos and such things, and the corresponding ideal that whatever works to create identity is all good. But if we are honest, we might be able to glimpse the same ruminations of Scholasticism (St. Anslem is said to be one of the founders of the Medieval Scholasticism), occurring in our Modern philosophies, but under different terms. Indeed; I argue (along with Jean-Francois Lyotard apparently) elsewhere that Postmodern scholarship is really a religious apology for Modernity.

In this post I confront the veracity of some of our current philosophical modes and arguments by asking what seems to me to be a most obvious and significant question, a similar question that Graham Harman asks of Heidegger’s “tools“: Why did no-one  notice what Anslem had opened up until now, some 1000 years later? We are able to understand Anslem’s argument to this day; no one proposes that the thinkers 1000 years ago were any less astute than our thinkers today. Why is it only now that we are addressing the possibility of what might be ‘beyond’ or ‘at root but not part of’ (Badou’s consideration of set theory) knowledge? And then we might even ask more confounding question if we find that philosophers during the interim of the thousand years also considered the same question over and over. 

I submit for consideration that we have gotten not very far in philosophy. We might begin to understand the vastness of time and how slowly and incrementally human beings, as a group, accomplish knowledge, and how it is much more like a science than philosophers are capable of arguing. Indeed, if we think into this situation, we can then find often the situation that we have already come across elsewhere; namely, that on one hand philosophy is the way we situate the conditions of our times, how we work out logistical problems of being in a semantic world, and on the other, merely reflections of people (the authors) in-themselves. But if this is all philosophy does and is doing, then we also might see that we are actually merely re-contextualizing not what what has already been contextualized (as thus a re-contextualization), but in actually what we’ve already done, making the same arguments over and over but under different terms. We are reminded of Shakespeare’s “a rose by any other word…“.

Upon this conclusion, we are careful to not move too fast as we might then jump to the conclusion that such an idea should negate the ontological status of what I am calling conventional philosophy, as though such a proposal should then move beyond what we have and what we get through philosophical method. This is not the case. It seems near ridiculousness to figure that we can commandeer reality by a stroke of the pen (or a keystroke) except that we might be involved in such philosophical endorsement; we should then ask how is it that am I to get beyond it merely saying something in a particular manner? No. We cannot ‘turn’ the truth of the matter; we have but to see the power that is invested in the leviathan of religious interests, of maintaining a particular formation and method to know that, as the philosophers have argued, I cannot escape it unless I wish to perform some magic, perhaps some discursive slight of hand. We should ask if we can be done with all this trickery of the ontological police. Then, all we have to do is speak of facts instead of the essential Being of things, to speak teleologically instead of ontologically. We can argue the conditional nature of real essence for the rest of eternity and never get anywhere further than circling back and forth away from and back into Medieval type scholarship. And thats fine, and thats the point: This is the factual nature of reality, the impossible aspect of what we have to deal with in reality. Of course there will be those who will argue that what the philosophers are doing now days is not Scholasticism and who will produce all sorts of argumentative and ultimately circumstantial evidence to support their claim. Great! Perfect! Does this sway me to believe something that I don’t already know?  The proper response, in this case then, is that this is not a proposal toward any popular or social change, and in fact it has little to do with how political ideology might be at any moment; we can of course use it for such purposes (identifying our moment from the past conditional moments of history, for example, etcetera…), thats what Badiou and Zizek tell us…

We are not so much learning anything new as much as we are justifying our limited manner of Being in the world, and this is an end in itself that should be heeded but not as a call for change, as though we can somehow transcend what we are — we can only transcend was we identify with as political and ideological subjects. Rather, we should see this situation as a mark of what is true of being human, as a mark of significance, which is to say, a mark of fact. So another of my indictments of philosophy: Despite all the great discursive gymnastics and the twistings of subtle argumentative semantic juxtapositions, philosophy works to avoid having to look at itself as a human behavior. Conventional philosophy refuses to allow itself to be seen as an indicator of behavior, perpetually argues itself as an exceptional incarnation of divine intuition and inspiration, a blank spot of Being, and then uses this fact as a means to absorb all activity under its purview back into the real political and ideological limit — to say that this is all there is. I see the constant and basically automatic referral of all things ‘thought’ back into this kind of philosophical pond is self defeating to the effort of progress, even as progress itself is routed back into this (touted) ‘speculative’, or ‘realist’, or  ‘post-post-modern’ maxim. It is no wonder outside of capitalism is so difficult to think!

As Amoreinblog has argued somewhere, perhaps anthropology is the way out of this philosophical conundrum; despite all the philosophical misappropriations of ideas involved with the AIME (An Investigation into Modes of Existence) project of Bruno Latour (even by Latour himself, lol), his book can be read as an argument for the need to open up a space (perhaps, in his terms, create a pass) whereby we can avoid this modern philosophical whirlpool that we have been involved with for at least 1000 years. It seems that only now, with Postmodernism, but as of late Post-postmodnerism (must we find a Post-Post-Postmodernism also?) do we really get an idea, but also an actual way to understand and realize what human beings are doing.


Time itself may be the issue that is involved with Modernity invading as it usurps all discourse into its machinery. The issue that opens up after Postmodernism (but is not itself Postmodern scholarship) is the break from Enlightenment Ontology. So it may not be so much that we have to philosophically get out of this temporal mode — that kind of move would be philosophy attempting to avoid itself through arguing itself out of itself, redundantly, establishing as it maintains reality for everyone. It may be as simple as admitting that there is no escaping the philosophical limit, and realizing a kind of anti-Husserlian manner: Of finding the independent object in the bare fact that we know that there is an independent object, and perhaps that we need not speculate about how it can be so in order for it to be so. Of course we can discuss how it can be so…and indeed we will, but that does not mean that we cannot stay where we are at and let the pagan-Christian rollercoaster come around again and again.

Maybe we need to make a clean break.

All is Vanity, for Real…Kant, Latour and the Pass, part 2.


Ok; here is the post I meant to put:

So we come to Bruno Latour, and his notion of the pass. What is it that allows for the repetition whereby self-fulfillment is denied? This is the question of ‘what happened’. We will never get to answer the question of what ‘is happening’ until we answer the question of ‘what happened’. This is because if we do not find out what happened, then it will happen again. We are then keen to Kierkegaard’s “Repetition”, for the question that most everyone wants to answer is the subsequent question, the question of Being, “What is happening”, why is there what is and not what is not? This question, though, denies its own bases and so asks upon itself without ever even looking for, let alone being able to see, what it lacks. What ontology always finds then is itself, or an other (an other and self are constituents of the real state). All is indeed vanity.

Further; philosophy as an ontological practice cannot escape the political, ideological and in general social dynamics. It is a simple thing to see the reason why I call such conventional philosophical method real. What is real is what is happening. But because thinkers, as opposed to Beings, but consistent with being real, take the products of themsleves as indication of the potential involved with other beings, and take this as evidence of not a whole, but actually The only whole, they thus always (1) take everything real as a product of some sort, be-caused of some thing or other, and (2) take as an automatic demand upon all things within their field their proof toward what is happening, and this, even to the extent that they demand that the question of ‘what happened’ must conform to the state of Being that is happening.


Bruno Latour begins his book “An Inquiry into Modes of Existence” with a description of what a pass is with an analogy. I don’t have the book right with me, but he writes about a mountain trail or path that goes from the base to its peak. Note that I will not here follow his description exactly; I am not putting forth a strict analysis of his book and what it means in this post. It is enough that he came up with a pretty good analogy, a good term that can indicate the issue and the way it is dealt with. What is significant with Latour, at least in his AMIE project , is that he sees the need for an opening. It is clear from visiting his webpage that he understands the problem of a multi-vocalized reality similar to the type that Lyotard suggested in the conditions of the post-modern moment . Namely, the problem of communication between worlds. The salient question of every significant philosopher worth considering is “Is communication taking place?” For it is from this pivotal question that the world manifests in its ways.

So, if we can understand what this question means, which is to say, if communication has taken place through this one phrase, then we have found a common pass (a given ontological base). It doesn’t really matter too much if we identify it with Latour’s scheme (supposedly he describes 15 types of passes, 15 ‘modes of existence’; hence the book’s title “Inquiry into Modes of Existence”). What is significant is that he saw the need not so much for another reconciliation, not another philosophical reduction to some essential truth for which the author is trying to gain traction for through their communion with the intuition god, but rather some way to relieve the reduction from being the responsibility of one authors’ intuitive argumentative assertion. What is significant is that he sees that the method is at issue, the philosophical reductive method and its associated (and invisible) givens are at issue, and that the only way to get past this method is to somehow poke a hole in it! Instead of giving into the nihilism that arises in conventional minds, we need to create an opening whereby people can begin to communicate.

In my upcoming book, we might get into the complicity of needs that relates François Laruelle and Bruno Latour’s works; I am getting off the track of this post. The upcoming book probably will answer all the stray ponderings and vectored analyses.

For now, it is enough to understand the simplicity of the idea. First off, ontological foundations must be admitted given. If a traveler does not admit to an already given ontological truth that has already been explored, then the significance of the pass will make no sense; the trail will be missed and avoided. In order to pass, we must set aside the want to apply redundant deconstructivist techniques to every clause. This is because only once we understand the ontological foundations of existence, only once we admit to that truth, can we begin to see the passes. While I see really only one effective pass, Latour sees this pass as expressed in different ways.

The first kind of pass (probably not in the same order or number that Latour notes) is just this: Where a particular methodological application accounts for all that is allowed, a pass has occurred in the scheme of meaning that accounts for real estimations. We might even call this kind of pass a ‘given’, because it functions to allow reasoning to grant reality despite the problem it poses upon that reason to attach to real things. For example: If there is a question of the truth of Being, for which a particular formula answers this question, whether is be God, or whether it be a series of philosophical arguments, such as Deleuze’s Rhizomes, or various ‘arrived-at’ states or situations that we can associate with metaphorical ‘plateaus’ – where such an explanation of what is happening routes all occurrence back into its logic or reasoning such that every event is account for or deflected within that scheme, a pass has occurred to ‘miss’ the meaning of an alternate suggestion. The person effectivly ‘passes over’ the situation where someone is expressing a different reality because everything is making sense to the logic of the first person’s ‘total’ explanation of the situation. This is the post-modern condition.

But lets back up. Latour uses the analogy of a mountain pass. The meaning of the forgoing paragraph is that first we have to admit that there is a mountain in front of us. I show you a mountain and say that we are going to hike that mountain, and I start to walk. But you don’t move; you stand there pondering whether or not there is indeed a mountain. I tell you to come on, lets go, there are great views at the top of this mountain. But you stand there and reflect upon the possible aesthetics involved in being at the top of an epistemoloigcal situation that we cant agree upon.

This is the very problem we face when a philosopher will not admit ontological foundations as true. But I am not going to go into all the ramifications of this discussion here.

Again, enough to say that Latour’s analogy is of a mountain and a way to hike to the top. There are all sorts of dangers on this trail though. We will have to cross some fast streams and climb some crazy rocks, some steep terrain, but it is navigable, we just have to follow the route.

Now; the problems that Latour comes across and discusses in his book are due to the issues of this same type; he is still justifying the situation ontologically and thus has to address, and or finds, 15 types of passes that represent 15 types of manners or ‘modes’ that account for reality for the various types of people (various people use various modes so reality stays ‘whole’ –for those of the particular modes). This is why his gets sticky; because as soon as he attempts to justify something that is passing ontological constructions, he then has to use a pass that somehow avoids any of the passes he lists, or incorporates. Ironically, the need he notices gets set aside as another ‘religious’ dogma, another philosophical reductive scheme, accepted by some and rejected by others.

The point that he himself misses (and we will discuss somewhere the duplicity involved with conventional significance) is that in order to be able to see a pass one has to admit that ontological justifications rely themselves upon a pass. Simply speaking, Latour is attempting to answer a teleological question through ontological justifications.

Another kind of pass, a good one, and I think one of the first passes that Latour notes, is: Say we have a map of the mountain and the route leading up to the top. We mark our progress along the trail by markers in the map that indicate, like ‘when you get to a big dead oak jetting out of a rock, then you go east for two miles until…’ or symbols or pictures that say just as much. How are we able to transpose or translate the actual mountain to the map of it or vice-versa? The map itself looks nothing like the mountain, and in fact is nothing like the mountain. Yet there is some sort of resemblance between the two, and indeed, provided that something has not happened to have changed or altered the actual physical landmarks that the map notes, we are able to stick to the directions on the map and get to the top. In this kind of transferal there is a pass enacted in our understanding of reality. While I am not here addressing all the peculiarities of the situation, it is a simple thing to see that there is an obstruction in the actual Being of things to get around or past, and this can be analogous to two Beings attempting to communicate. In order for us to be able to follow the map of the course up the mountain, there has to be a sort of pass that allows us to ignore the problem that occurs in between the actual physical mountain and the small paper drawing of symbols that describe how to get up the mountain. This pass thus marks a particular manner of coming upon reality, a particular ‘mode of existing’.

The significant point, though, of noticing this situation is that in order to get beyond the dead end that is the modern-post-modern obstruction where no communication takes place (again: what do I mean by this? Read my past posts and my books to find out!, (and maybe check out some killer tunes to boot!)) is that an opening is needed through which people can be free to describe, what frankly amounts to, the ‘insane realties’ that actually occur in the meaningful life, but without fear of judgment of reprisal. Yet, this is not so much some sort of auto-biographical non-fiction or something, nor some authorial-fantasy of artistic license. It is more a manner by which we might be able to find out some facts about what reality really is.

At least, this is the idea behind Latour’s vision.

While I do enjoy the idea and see the need for a pass, I am not so optimistic as Latour.