Idealistic Ontological Arguments in Royce, Collingwood, and Others

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This essay examines how, in the early twentieth century, ontological arguments were employed in the defense of metaphysical idealism. The idealists of the period tended to grant that ontological arguments defy our usual expectations in logic, and so they were less concerned with the formal properties of Anselmian arguments. They insisted, however, that ontological arguments are indispensable, and they argued that we can trust argumentation as such only if we presume that there is a valid ontological argument. In the first section I outline the history of this metalogical interpretation of the ontological argument. In the subsequent sections I explain how Royce and Collingwood each developed the argument, and how this impacted their respective conceptions of both logic and metaphysics.
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