The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 17, 1998

Philosophical Methodology

Josef Seifert
Pages 70-78

Der Vergessene Protophänomenologe Anselm
Anselm von Canterburys‚ Ontologisches Argument’ und die Methode der Realistischen Phänomenologie bon Edmund Husserl bis zur Gegenwart

In the ontological argument and the method of Anselm, we find many phenomenological elements. The proximity of the ontological argument to phenomenology shows itself especially from a parallel between Anselm's and Husserl's deriving a necessity of thinking from a necessity of being. But, Medieval proofs for the existence of God appear to contradict the principles of phenomenological method, particularly the 'bodily self-givenness,' the epoché as bracketing the real existence as well as the transcendence of essence vis-àvis consciousness. The phenomenological method must indeed be rethought and reformulated to allow a transition from returning to 'things themselves' to a philosophical knowledge of God. It must be freed from Husserl's subjectivistic theory of 'constitution' and from any generalization of the methodological principle of epoché. In this way, Anselm's position contains the germ for a critical rethinking of the phenomenological method in the vein of realist phenomenology.