A REPLY TO THE FOREGOING BY A CERTAIN WRITER ON BEHALF OF THE FOOL By Gaunilo . . . they say that…

A REPLY TO THE FOREGOING BY A CERTAIN WRITER ON BEHALF OF
THE FOOL

By Gaunilo

. . . they say that there is in the ocean somewhere an
island which, because of the difficulty (or rather the impossibility) of
finding that which does not exist, some have called the Lost Island. And the
story goes that it is blessed with all manner of priceless riches and delights
in abundance, much more even than the Happy Isles, and, having no owner or
inhabitant, it is superior everywhere in abundance of riches to all those other
lands that men inhabit. Now, if anyone tell me that it is like this, I shall
question

A REPLY TO THE FOREGOING BY A CERTAIN WRITER ON BEHALF OF
THE FOOL

By Gaunilo

. . . they say that there is in the ocean somewhere an
island which, because of the difficulty (or rather the impossibility) of
finding that which does not exist, some have called the Lost Island. And the
story goes that it is blessed with all manner of priceless riches and delights
in abundance, much more even than the Happy Isles, and, having no owner or
inhabitant, it is superior everywhere in abundance of riches to all those other
lands that men inhabit. Now, if anyone tell me that it is like this, I shall
easily understand what is said, since nothing is difficult about it. But if he
should then go on to say, as though it were a logical consequence of this: You
cannot any more doubt that this island that is more excellent than all other
lands truly exists somewhere in reality than you can doubt that it is in your
mind; and since it is more excellent to exist not only in the mind alone but
also in reality, therefore it must needs be that it exists. For if it did not
exist, any other land existing in reality would be more excellent than it, and
so this island, already conceived by you to be more excellent than others, will
not be more excellent. If, I say, someone wishes thus to persuade me that this
island really exists beyond all doubt, I should either think that he was
joking, or I should find it hard to decide which of us I ought to judge the
bigger foolI, if I agreed with him, or he, if he thought that he had proved
the existence of this island with any certainty, unless he had first convinced
me that its very excellence exists in my mind precisely as a thing existing
truly and indubitably and not just as something unreal or doubtfully real. . .
.

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