Recontextualizing the Ontological Argument

Edith Wyschogrod

in Crossover Queries

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9780823226061
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235148 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

Recontextualizing the Ontological               Argument

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This chapter applies Jacques Lacan's techniques to one of Western theology's most frequently and strenuously examined texts, Anselm of Canterbury's ontological argument. By remapping the proof, the chapter hopes, with Lacanian audacity, to bring forth unforeseen significations and a new approach to the psychoanalytic interpretation of religious texts. The chapter interprets the argument as Anselm's expression of the Christian's love of God and shows how these ends have been achieved to Anselm's satisfaction. A Lacanian analysis unfolds in accordance with its own lines of force, which Jacques Lacan thinks of as truth, the truth of the patient's desire. The patient cannot grasp the meaning of the symbols in which his desire has become alienated. Interpretation consists in restoring to each significant language fragment the chain of meanings from which it has slipped, so that step by step, through the course of the analysis, a complex but coherent associative fabric of unconscious thoughts is woven together.

Keywords: Anselm of Canterbury; ontological argument; Christian; God; Jacques Lacan; truth

Chapter.  6909 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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