Re-tracing the Five Famous Ways of 'Summa theologiae' I.2.3

International Philosophical Quarterly 51 (204):437 - 450 (2011)
Abstract
Aquinas’s ’five ways’ are not to be understood as demonstrative proofs, successful or not, for the existence of God. Rather, they provide a necessary step towards supplying licensable surrogates for the essential predications that cannot logically be drawn from the incomprehensible nature of God, yet would seem needed for the ’Summa‘s declared genre of argued theology. (Predication ’secundum analogiam’ provides surrogates for nonrelational accidental predications, likewise unavailable.) What Aquinas is proving in arguing ’deum esse’ in ’St’ I.2.3 is not God’s actual existence (see ’St’ I.3.4 ad 2) but an alternative interpretation of "God’s being something" where "God is something" is a placeholder for, say, "God is prime mover" or, more explicitly, for such (necessary) identities as "The prime mover is the necessitated necessitator," an identity whose necessity depends at more than one place on the assumption of God’s existence from faith, not on demonstrative proof of God’s existen
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