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Anselm of Canterbury on the fall of the devil: the hard problem, the harder problem, and a new formal model of the first sin

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 April 2015

Oriel College, Oxford, OX1 4EW, UK e-mail:


The fall of the devil poses two distinct philosophical problems. Only one of those problems has received sufficient scholarly attention. The hard problem asks how the devil's choice to disobey God can be both suitably free and morally significant. The harder problem asks how it can be subjectively rational. Explaining the former does not suffice for explaining the latter. Drawing on the thought of Anselm of Canterbury, I develop a model of the first sin that uses the framework of consumer preference theory to show how Satan's act of disobedience can be free, morally significant, and subjectively rational.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

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