Published by the Center for the Study of The Great Ideas (founded in 1990 by Mortimer J. Adler and Max Weismann)
In association with the The Adler-Aquinas Institute and Aquinas School of Leadership
Member of the Alliance for Liberal Learning

Sunday, January 7, 2018

John Deely on 'How to Think about God' by Mortimer Adler

"Mortimer Adler came to the University of Dubuque sometime in the 1970s as part of a lecture tour on 'How To Think about God'. Subsequently he published a book on the subject in which the first part claimed to be based on Anselm and the second part (which someone failed to proofread) based on Aquinas. Overall the book was actually not all that great, but the point of the first part captured the situation exactly. If we are to think clearly about God, we must indeed think of God as existing actually and not merely in thought. But clear thinking on our part is not sufficient to prove, even in the unique case of God, that God actually exists. For that, appeal must be made to the nature of actual existence, whence, if at all, some proof or other might be derived.

"Descartes, as mentioned above, later would compare the situation to that of a triangle. Existence is to God as having three sides and three angles is to a triangle. As we cannot think of a triangle unless we think of it as having three sides and three angles, so we cannot think of God unless we think of God as actually existing. But this argument makes the point of Adler and Aquinas, not the one Descartes or Anselm before him hoped to make.

Four Ages of Understanding: The First Postmodern Survey of Philosophy from Ancient Times to the Turn of the Twenty-first Century (2001), by John Deely, p. 241

#being #god #MortimerAdler

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