Source: 5 minutes 20 seconds juncture; Lecture 1, Video 4 (transcription);
MITx: 24.00x Introduction to Philosophy; by MIT Associate Prof Caspar Hare PhD (Princeton)
[...] Suppose God existed in the understanding, but not in reality. Here He is-- God, there in the understanding but not in reality. How great would He be? Well, pretty great. After all, we're thinking about God. It's a pretty great thing.
But now suppose that God existed in the understanding and in reality. How great would God be then? God would then be extraordinary. After all, God, if He existed in the understanding and in reality, would have created us all, would have truly true omnipotence, would have made the universe around us, would be interfering-- well, how much he interferes, of course, depends on your theology-- but would be the kind of creature who we should think of as really, really, really great. God would be better if He existed in the understanding and in reality than if He just existed in the understanding.
But what does that mean? It means that God can't exist in the understanding, because remember, Anselm said it's part of our idea of God that we can't imagine Him being any better than He actually is. If you're thinking of something that could be better than it is, then you're not thinking of God. So for example, if a fool says, I'm thinking of God as existing in the understanding but not in reality, then the fool is not thinking of God. God can't be in the understanding but not in reality.
But God, of course, is in the understanding. The fool claims to be thinking of God. We can think of God. It's easy to think of God. We just think of a being such that no greater being can be imagined. And so God must be there in the understanding and in reality. He must be real.
Call the premise below (h). Notice that it doesn't appear in the above transcript.
Is h) cogent or not? Does (h) explain the bolded above? How does the bolded above follow?
[Source:] At this point Anselm wields what is perhaps his most controversial premise. It is hard to know exactly how to formulate it. But something like the following seems to be what Anselm has in mind.
(h) If something exists in the understanding alone, but can be conceived to exist in reality, then that thing can be conceived to be greater than it actually is.
The idea seems to be: if we compare two things that are alike in all respects, except that one exists in the understanding alone and the other exists in reality, then the one that exists in reality is clearly greater, better, more perfect.