Review of Metaphysics 57 (3):608-610 (2004)

Authors
Simon Lumsden
University of New South Wales
Abstract
The argument of the book develops through four chapters, all of which are heavily reliant on Hegel’s Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion. There is little engagement with Hegel’s systematic works, the Phenomenology of Spirit and the Science of Logic. Instead, Hegel’s thought of god and religion is determined almost entirely by his lectures on religion, and the argument is largely constructed through a detailed use of quotations from these lectures. The first chapter is concerned to position Hegel in relation to the traditional defenses and critiques of the ontological proof of god’s existence. Calton argues that Hegel agrees with many of Kant’s criticisms of the ontological proof, though he transforms them to give his own critique of Anselm’s ontological proof, all of which is leading to his own formulation of the ontological proof, which is outlined in chapter 2. The form that this proof takes is the development of “a self-grounding concept of god”, which would demonstrate that being is necessarily entailed by the concept of god. What distinguishes Hegel’s ontological proof from earlier attempts is the development of an objective concept of god. The concept of an objective god entails being as our knowledge of the world is in fact knowledge of a “creative and self-communicating mind of which the world is an expression”. Being is a type of consciousness writ large of which we have experience and knowledge because we are participants in it. The next two chapters illustrate the nature of that participation. In the third chapter Calton argues that this ontology shows itself to have a Trinitarian structure, as only such a structure allows for knowledge of god, a knowledge which god’s self-expression requires. The fourth chapter discusses various forms of community required for such a knowledge and the developmental stages of human history required for this knowledge and ultimately for the reconciliation of humans with god.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph200457310
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