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A NEW INTERPRETATION OF SAINT ANSELM’S “FIDES QUAERENS INTELLECTUM” Anselmo d’Aosta, “La fede cerca la comprensione”     The most famous Anselm of Canterbury’s work, the Proslogion, has been object of many different interpretations from the Middle Ages to our times. Almost all those interpretations deal with the sense and the goal of what Anselm called an «unum argumentum» for proving that God exists. Unfortunately, all major commentaries on Anselm’s argument ― especially those formulated by modern and contemporary philosophers ― are founded on an interpretation of it as an «ontological argument». Now, this  interpretation is quite wrong, since it implies the theory of «ideae innatae», a doctrine which is typical of  Descartes but could not absolutely be attributed to Anselm. In this book a quite new interpretation is proposed by Antonio Livi. This new interpetation is founded on the acknowledgement of the real intention that moved Anselm to write his work, whose former title was Fides quaerens intellectum, that is, Christian faith needs understanding. Anselm was concerned with the theological search of a deeper and more clear  knowledge of what divine revelation says about God’s existence and God’s attributes, like potency, wisdom, mercy, and justice. Anselm realizes that divine truth  is more and more comprehensible if the believer takes in account the very reasons of his believing and uses his reason for making his belief stronger. So, just in the first age of Scholasticism, using pure reason in the theological search is recognized as absolutely necessary for Christian faith. The teaching of Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century will be only a development of Anselm’s genial intuition.

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Posted by admin | Posted in Philosophers who wrote about common sense | Posted on 02-07-2009







H. Arendt, The Life of the Mind


F. Armengaud, Paradoxe et sens commun: G.E. Moore et la genèse de la philosophie analytique (Paris, 1986).

            To be reviewed in a next issue


A. J. Ayer, Metaphysics and Common Sense (London, 1969). 


R. J. Bogdan, ed., Mind and Common Sense: Philosophical Essays on Common Sense Psychology (Cambridge, UK, 1991).


 F. Castellani and L. Montecucco, eds., Normatività logica e ragionamento di senso comune (Bolonia, 1998).

            Reviewed by L. Duacastella in Sensus communis, 1 (2000), pp. 576-580. 


E. Castelli, I paradossi del senso comune (Padova 1970).

Reviewed by Marco M. Olivetti in Sensus communis, 2 (2001), pp. 576-580. 

-  ,ed. Il senso comune (Padua, 1970) 

J. Coates, The Claims of Common Sense: Moore, Wittgenstein, Keynes and the Social Sciences, Cambridge University  Press, Cambridge.


H.-G. Gadamer, Wahrheit und Methode (Tubingen, 1960). 


R. Garrigou-Lagrange, Le Sens commun, la philosophie de l’etre et les formu,les dogmatiques (Paris, 1909).


T.A.F. Kuipers and A.R. Mackor, eds., Cognitive Patterns in Science and Common Sense (Groninger Studies in Philosophy of Science, Logic, and Epistemology) (Amsterdam, 1965)


A. Livi, Filosofia del senso comune (Milan, 1990).


- Il senso comune tra razionalismo e scetticismo: Vico, Reid, Jacobi, Moore (Milan, 1992).


- Il principio di coerenza (Roma, 1997).

Reviewed by P. Manganro, M. A. Mendosa, V. Possenti, and J. J. Sanguineti in Sensus communis, 1 (2000), pp. 105-117.

- Verità del pensiero: fondamenti di logica aletica


E. Lobkowicz, Common Sense und Skeptizismus: Studien zur Philosophie von Thomas Reid und David Hume (Weinheim, 1986).


D. Lories, Le Sens commun et le jugement du “phronimos”: Aristote et le Stoiciens (Louvain, 1998).


L. Marcil-Lacoste, Claude Buffier and Thomas Reid: two Common-Sense Philosophers (Montreeal, 1982)

M. A. Mendosa, Un sentiero interrotto: il “cogito” cartesiano e il suo impossibile esito realistico (Rome, 1999).

Reviewed by G. Zarmati in Sensus communis, 2 (2001), pp. 319-327.


M.  Marsonet, I  limiti del  realismo: filosofia, scienza e senso comune (Milan, 2000).


G. Modica, La filosofia del “senso comune”  in Giambattista Vico (Caltanissetta, 1989).


G. E. Moore, A Defense of Common Sense (London, 1925).


A. Musgrave, Common Sense, Science and Scepticism  Cambridge, UK, 1993).


D.F. Norton, From Moral Sense to Common Sense: an Essay on the development of Scottish Common Sense Philosophy (San Diego, CA, 1966).


A. d’Ors, Dercho y sentido comun: siete lecciones de derecho natural como limite del derecho positivo (Madrid, 1995).


L. Pareyson, Verità e interpretazione (Milano 1971).


M. Polanyi, Tacit Dimension (New York, 1966).

Reviewed by P. Manganaro in Sensus communis, 2(2001), pp. 568-599.


F. Restaino, Scetticismo e senso comune: la filosofia scozzese da Hume a Reid (Bari 1974).


Paolo Terenzi, La sociologia del senso comune in Hannah Arendt (Soveria Mannelli, 2002).

Marina Savi, Il concetto di senso comune in Kant (Milan, 1998).

            Reviewed by A. Acerbi in Sensus communis, 1 (2000), pp. 571-575.


J. D. Schaeffer, Sensus communis: Vico, Rhetoric amd the Limits of Relativism (London, 1990).


L. Turco, Dal sistema al senso comune (Studi sul newtonismo e gli illuministi britannici) (Bonomia, 1974).


L. Wittgenstein , Über Gewissheit (London, 1980).


I. Yarza, La razionalità dell’etica di Aristotele (Uno studio su “Etica nicomachea” I) (Rome, 2001).

            Reviewd by A. Livi  in Sensus communis , 2(2001), pp. 342-343.








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