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Is simply this, that, standing on one side of such a

whole, you find yourself moved necessarily towards the

other side. Mere thought, because incomplete, suggests

logically the other element already implied in it; and

that element is the Reality which appears in existence.

On precisely the same principle, but beginning from the

other end, the "Cosmological" proof may be said

to argue to the character of the Real. Since Reality is

qualified by thought, it therefore must possess whatever

feature thought's essence involves. And the principle

underlying these arguments--that, given one side of a

connected whole, you can go from this to the other sides

--is surely irrefragable.

The real failure of the ontological proof lies

elsewhere. For that proof does not urge merely that its

Idea must certainly somehow be real. It goes beyond this

statement, and qualifies it by "real as such." And here

the argument seems likely to deviate into error. For a

general principle that every predicate, as such, is true

of Reality, is evidently false. We have learnt, on the

contrary, that truth and reality are matter of degree. A

predicate, we may say, in no case is, as such, really

true. All will be subject to addition, to qualification

and re-arrangement. And truth will be the degree up to

which any predicate, when made real, preserves its own

character. In Chapter xiv., when dealing with the idea

of perfection, we partly saw how the ontological

argument breaks down. And the general result of the

present chapter should have cleared away difficulties.

Any arrangement existing in my head must qualify the

absolute Reality. But, when the false abstraction of my

private view is supplemented and made good, that

arrangement may, as such, have completely disappeared.

The ontological proof then should be merely another way

of insisting on this doctrine. Not every idea will, as

such, be real, or, as such, have existence. But the

greater the perfection of a thought, and the more its

possibility and its internal necessity are increased, so

much more reality it possesses. And so much the more

necessarily must it show itself, and appear somehow in

existence.

But the ontological argument, it will be rightly

said, makes no pretence of being applicable to every

finite matter. It is used of the Absolute, and,

if confined to that, will be surely legitimate. We are,

I think, bound to admit this claim. The idea of the

Absolute, as an idea, is inconsistent with itself; and

we find that, to complete itself, it is internally

driven to take in existence. But even here we are still

compelled to keep up some protest against the addition

of "as such." No idea in the end can, strictly as such,

reach reality; for, as an idea, it never includes the

required totality of conditions. Reality is concrete,

while the truest truth must still be more or less

abstract. Or we may put the same thing otherwise by

objecting to the form of the argument. The separation,

postulated in the premise, is destroyed by the

conclusion; and hence the premise itself could not have

been true. This objection is valid, and it is not less