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Profile: Thomas Williams (University of South Florida)
  1. Thomas Williams, Augustine's Intellectual Conversion: The Journey From Platonism to Christianity.
    I regarded my Lord Christ as a man of surpassing wisdom whom no one else could equal. . . . I did recognize in Christ a complete human being -- not merely a human body, or a soul with a body but no mind -- but I thought that this human being was to be preferred to others, not as the Person of Truth, but because of some great excellence of his human nature and his more complete participation in wisdom. (...)
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  2. Thomas Williams, Credo Ut Mirer: Anselm on Sacred Beauty.
    When I was first invited to present a paper at the conference out of which this volume grew, I knew immediately what I wanted to talk about. Anselm, who had been my constant companion for the previous three years or so, has a peculiar fascination with the art of painting. It is a favorite source of analogies for him, some of them illuminating but others noticeably strained. His most famous use of painting as an analogy, in the widely anthologized and (...)
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  3. Thomas Williams, God Who Sows the Seed and Gives the Growth.
    (This is a slightly fuller version of the paper than appeared in Anglican Theological Review.) So Moses having giving us an intimation of God, and the three Persons altogether in that Bara Elohim, before, gives us first notice of this Person, the Holy Ghost, in particular, because he applies to us the Mercies of the Father, and the Merits of the Son, and moves upon the face of the waters, and actuates, and fecundates our soules, and generates that knowledge, and (...)
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  4. Thomas Williams, John Duns Scotus.
    John Duns Scotus (1265/66-1308) was one of the most important and influential philosophertheologians of the High Middle Ages. His brilliantly complex and nuanced thought, which earned him the nickname "the Subtle Doctor," left a mark on discussions of such disparate topics as the semantics of religious language, the problem of universals, divine illumination, and the nature of human freedom. This essay first lays out what is known about Scotus's life and the dating of his works. It then offers an overview (...)
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  5. Thomas Williams, Augustine and the Platonists.
    ’m not really sure what they were after when they asked me to talk to you about Augustine and the Platonists. Maybe they wanted me to talk about some specific Platonists, and the elements of Augustine’s views that he adopts or adapts. And no doubt I should at least mention a couple of names. There’s Plato himself, of course (428-348 BC). The thing is, it’s pretty clear that Augustine had never read Plato directly, whether in Greek (which Augustine couldn’t actually (...)
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  6. Thomas Williams, Aquinas and the Ethics of Virtue.
    Thomas Williams Note: This is a preprint of my introduction to the forthcoming translation by Margaret Atkins of Thomas Aquinas’s Disputed Questions on the Virtues (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy). The basic procedure was simple. The topic would be announced in advance so that everyone could prepare an arsenal of clever arguments. When the faculty and students had gathered, the professor would offer a brief introduction and state his thesis. All morning long an appointed graduate student would take (...)
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  7. Thomas Williams, Anselm on Freedom.
    In Anselm on Freedom Katherin Rogers investigates Anselm's attempt to provide room for genuine creaturely freedom in a world in which a perfect being is altogether sovereign. She begins with two chapters of general background. Chapter 1, "Anselm's Classical Theism," reads like a grab bag of brief essays on Anselm's account of the divine nature, the relationship between Creator and creature, theological semantics, the problem of evil, and the relationship between God and the moral order. Chapter 2, "The Augustinian Legacy," (...)
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  8. Thomas Williams, Anselm on Truth.
    A good place to start in assessing a theory of truth is to ask whether the theory under discussion is consistent with Aristotle’s commonsensical definition of truth from Metaphysics 4: “What is false says of that which is that it is not, or of that which is not that it is; and what is true says of that which is that it is, or of that which is not that it is not.”1 Philosophers of a realist bent will be delighted (...)
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  9. Thomas Williams, Describing God.
    The philosophical problem of describing God arises at the intersection of two different areas of inquiry. The word ‘describing’ makes it clear that the issue is in part a logical one – in the broad medieval sense of ‘logic,’ which includes semantics, the philosophy of language, and even some aspects of the theory of cognition. It is the problem, first, of forming an understanding of some extramental object and, second, of conveying that understanding by means of verbal signs. But the (...)
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  10. Thomas Williams, God Who Sows the Seed and Gives the Growth Anselm's Theology of the Holy Spirit.
    So Moses having giving us an intimation of God, and the three Persons altogether in that Bara Elohim, before, gives us first notice of this Person, the Holy Ghost, in particular, because he applies to us the Mercies of the Father, and the Merits of the Son, and moves upon the face of the waters, and actuates, and fecundates our soules, and generates that knowledge, and that comfort, which we have in the knowledge of God.
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  11. Thomas Williams, History and Philosophy of Logic 18 (1997): 55-59. Review of T.J. Holopainen, Dialectic & Theology in the Eleventh Century . Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1996. [REVIEW]
    A venerable story in the history of medieval philosophy has it that the eleventh century saw a debate between certain 'dialecticians', who exalted the role of reason and disdained theological authority, and 'anti-dialecticians', who carefully limited—or even rejected—the application of dialectical reasoning to Christian doctrine. A number of authors have called into question certain details of this story, but in..
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  12. Thomas Williams, Sin, Grace, and Redemption in Abelard.
    "From time to time some of my friends startle me by referring to the Atonement itself as a revolting heresy," wrote Austin Farrer, "invented by the twelfth century and exploded by the twentieth. Yet the word is in the Bible." (1) Farrer is referring to Romans 5:11 in the Authorized Version: "we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." Here the word 'atonement'--literally, the state of being "at one"--translates the Greek (...)
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  13. Thomas Williams, Some Reflections on Method in the History of Philosophy.
    Imagine that someone has just finished giving a talk on some historical figure in philosophy — say, Aristotle. Someone in the audience raises her hand and says, “But you’ve got Aristotle wrong. His actual view is . . .” and then she offers some textual evidence or what have you for the claim that the lecturer has Aristotle wrong.
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  14. Thomas Williams, Transmission and Translation.
    As I write these words, I can see on my shelves an attractively bound set of sixteen volumes, each bearing on its spine the words “J. Duns Scotus Opera Omnia.” One would be tempted to assume that these are The Complete Works of John Duns Scotus. Unfortunately, in medieval philosophy things are rarely so simple. Some of the works included in this set are not by Scotus at all, but were once attributed to him. Some of Scotus’s genuine works, including (...)
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  15. Thomas Williams, The End of Human Action.
    Aquinas opens the second part of the ST by arguing, in a series of careful steps, that there is one and only one ultimate end for all human actions. The placement of this argument is no accident, since the notion of an end is of fundamental importance not only in Aquinas’s theory of human action but in his accounts of practical reasoning, law, and the virtues. Yet the interpretation of Aquinas’s argument in ST 1a2ae, q.1, is a matter of considerable (...)
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  16. Thomas Williams (forthcoming). Anselm's Proslogion. Topoi:1-4.
    Up to this point, Anselm has been known for two quite different kinds of work: his devotional writings, which aim to move and inspire the reader and are marked by an ornate style that relies heavily on alliteration and antitheses and suchlike ornaments, and his Monologion, a work of what has come to be known as analytic theology, written in straightforward, unadorned, philosophical prose that aspires only to clarity and precision. In his new work, Proslogion, Anselm attempts to combine the (...)
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  17. Jantina de Vries, Thomas N. Williams, Kalifa Bojang, Dominic P. Kwiatkowski, Raymond Fitzpatrick & Michael Parker (2014). Knowing Who to Trust: Exploring the Role of 'Ethical Metadata' in Mediating Risk of Harm in Collaborative Genomics Research in Africa. BMC Medical Ethics 15 (1):62.
    The practice of making datasets publicly available for use by the wider scientific community has become firmly integrated in genomic science. One significant gap in literature around data sharing concerns how it impacts on scientists’ ability to preserve values and ethical standards that form an essential component of scientific collaborations. We conducted a qualitative sociological study examining the potential for harm to ethnic groups, and implications of such ethical concerns for data sharing. We focused our empirical work on the MalariaGEN (...)
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  18. Vicki Marsh, Francis Kombe, Raymond Fitzpatrick, Thomas N. Williams, Michael Parker & Sassy Molyneux (2013). Consulting Communities on Feedback of Genetic Findings in International Health Research: Sharing Sickle Cell Disease and Carrier Information in Coastal Kenya. [REVIEW] BMC Medical Ethics 14 (1):41.
    International health research in malaria-endemic settings may include screening for sickle cell disease, given the relationship between this important genetic condition and resistance to malaria, generating questions about whether and how findings should be disclosed. The literature on disclosing genetic findings in the context of research highlights the role of community consultation in understanding and balancing ethically important issues from participants’ perspectives, including social forms of benefit and harm, and the influence of access to care. To inform research practice locally, (...)
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  19. Vicki Marsh, George Mocamah, Emmanuel Mabibo, Francis Kombe & Thomas N. Williams (2013). The “Difficult Patient” Conundrum in Sickle Cell Disease in Kenya: Complex Sociopolitical Problems Need Wide Multidimensional Solutions. American Journal of Bioethics 13 (4):20 - 22.
    (2013). The “Difficult Patient” Conundrum in Sickle Cell Disease in Kenya: Complex Sociopolitical Problems Need Wide Multidimensional Solutions. The American Journal of Bioethics: Vol. 13, No. 4, pp. 20-22. doi: 10.1080/15265161.2013.767960.
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  20. Thomas Williams (2013). 9.1 General Characteristics of Franciscan Moral Thought. In Roger Crisp (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the History of Ethics. Oxford University Press. 167.
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  21. Thomas Williams & Bonnie D. Kent (2013). The Franciscans. In Roger Crisp (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the History of Ethics. Oxford University Press.
  22. Vicki M. Marsh, Dorcas M. Kamuya, Albert M. Mlamba, Thomas N. Williams & Sassy S. Molyneux (2012). Benefits and Payments for Research Participants: Experiences and Views From a Research Centre on the Kenyan Coast. BMC Medical Ethics (1):13-.
    Background: There is general consensus internationally that unfair distribution of the benefits of research is exploitative and should be avoided or reduced. However, what constitutes fair benefits, and the exact nature of the benefits and their mode of provision can be strongly contested. Empirical studies have the potential to contribute viewpoints and experiences to debates and guidelines, but few have been conducted. We conducted a study to support the development of guidelines on benefits and payments for studies conducted by the (...)
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  23. Thomas Williams (2012). Credo Ut Mirer. Modern Schoolman 89 (3-4):181-188.
    Anselm had a particular interest in the art of painting. He saw a close analogy between physical beauty and rational beauty. Both can be represented—physical beauty by paintings, rational beauty through discourse—and Anselm was especially attentive to the possibility of misrepresentation. Deceptive rhetorical coloring can mislead; unworthy discourse can obscure the truth’s inherent beauty. Yet even when discourse does justice to the beauty it is intended to represent, Anselm places strict limits on the appeal to beauty. For beauty by itself (...)
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  24. Thomas Williams (2011). Human Freedom and Agency. In Brian Davies & Eleonore Stump (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Aquinas. Oxford University Press.
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  25. Thomas Williams (2011). John Duns Scotus. In H. Lagerlund (ed.), Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy. Springer. 611--619.
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  26. Thomas D. Williams, Personalism. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  27. Sandra Visser & Thomas Williams (2009). Anselm. Oxford University Press.
    The reason of faith -- Thought and language -- Truth -- The Monologion arguments for the existence of God -- The Proslogion argument for the existence of God -- The divine attributes -- Thinking and speaking about God -- Creation and the word -- The Trinity -- Modality -- Freedom -- Morality -- Incarnation and atonement -- Original sin, grace, and salvation.
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  28. Thomas Williams (2009). Anselm of Canterbury. In Graham Robert Oppy & Nick Trakakis (eds.), The History of Western Philosophy of Religion. Oxford University Press. 3--73.
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  29. Thomas Williams (2009). Review of Katherin Rogers, Anselm on Freedom. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2009 (2).
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  30. Thomas Williams (2008). Review of Ronald Cole-Turner, Ed., Design and Destiny: Jewish and Christian Perspectives on Human Germline Modification. [REVIEW] American Journal of Bioethics 8 (10):84-85.
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  31. Thomas Williams, Saint Anselm. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Saint Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) was the outstanding Christian philosopher and theologian of the eleventh century. He is best known for the celebrated “ontological argument” for the existence of God in chapter two of the Proslogion, but his contributions to philosophical theology (and indeed to philosophy more generally) go well beyond the ontological argument. In what follows I examine Anselm's theistic proofs, his conception of the divine nature, and his account of human freedom, sin, and redemption.
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  32. Thomas Williams (2008). Thomas Aquinas and John Duns Scotus: Natural Theology in the High Middle Ages (Review). Journal of the History of Philosophy 46 (3):pp. 483-485.
  33. Thomas D. Williams (2008). Knowing Right From Wrong: A Christian Guide to Conscience. Faith Words.
    Father Williams explains how the conscience is formed through our training and experiences and informed by the Holy Spirit, making it an essential tool for daily living. He uses familiar and surprising characters to illustrate the positive choices conscience can direct--and the disaster that results when a conscience is undeveloped or ignored. Questions he tackles include "Is it more important to be smart or good?""Is there a morally right thing to do in every situation?" and "Is the Christian moral life (...)
     
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  34. Thomas Williams (2007). Anselm: Basic Writings. Hackett Pub.
    Ranging from his early treatises, the ’Monologion’ (a work written to show his monks how to meditate on the divine essence) and the ’Proslogion’ (best known for its advancement of the so-called ontological argument for the existence of God), to his three philosophical dialogues on metaphysical topics such as the relationship between freedom and sin, and late treatises on the Incarnation and salvation, this collection of Anselm’s essential writings will be of interest to students of the history of philosophy and (...)
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  35. Thomas Williams (2007). Review of James J. O'Donnell, Augustine: A New Biography. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2007 (2).
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  36. Thomas S. Williams (2006). The Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Oceania: 22 November - 12 December 1998. Australasian Catholic Record, The 83 (4):422.
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  37. John Porter, Peter Arzberger, Hans-Werner Braun, Pablo Bryant, Stuart Gage, Todd Hansen, Paul Hanson, Chau-Chin Lin, Fang-Pang Lin, Timothy Kratz, William Michener, Sedra Shapiro & Thomas Williams (2005). Wireless Sensor Networks for Ecology. BioScience 55 (7):561.
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  38. Thomas Williams (2005). Aquinas in Dialogue with Contemporary Philosophy. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 79 (3):483-491.
    In her volume on Aquinas for Routledge’s “Arguments of the Philosophers” series, Eleonore Stumps aims at an interpretation of Aquinas that is historically faithful but also responsive to the concerns of contemporary philosophers. I assess her success in attaining this twofold aim by examining in detail Stump’s overview of Aquinas’s metaphysics, which engages with contemporary debates over constitution and identity, and her interpretation of Aquinas’s account of justice, which brings Aquinas into dialogue with Annette Baier and Thomas Nagel. I conclude (...)
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  39. Thomas Williams (2005). Nad metodou historie filosofie. Studia Neoaristotelica 2 (2):214-218.
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  40. Thomas Williams (2005). The Doctrine of Univocity is True and Salutary. Modern Theology 21 (4):575-585.
    I shall confine my attention to the one Scotist doctrine that seems to be singled out as especially worrisome, the doctrine of univocity. In the first part of the paper I argue that the doctrine of univocity is true. So even if the doctrine has unwelcome consequences, we ought to affirm it anyway; it is not the job of the theologian or philosopher to shrink from uncomfortable truths. In the second part I argue further that the doctrine of univocity is (...)
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  41. Thomas Williams (2004). Tobias Hoffmann, Creatura intellecta: Die Ideen und Possibilien bei Duns Scotus mit Ausblick auf Franz von Mayronis, Poncius und Mastrius. (Beiträge zur Geschichte der Philosophie und Theologie des Mittelalters, n.s., 60.) Münster: Aschendorff, 2002. Paper. Pp. 356; black-and-white figures. [REVIEW] Speculum 79 (1):206-208.
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  42. Thomas Williams (2003). 11 From Metaethics to Action Theory. In , The Cambridge Companion to Duns Scotus. Cambridge University Press. 332.
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  43. Thomas Williams (2003). Introduction–The Life and Works of John Duns the Scot. In , The Cambridge Companion to Duns Scotus. Cambridge University Press. 1--14.
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  44. Thomas Williams (2003). Moral Vice, Cognitive Virtue. Philosophy and Literature 27 (1):223-230.
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  45. Thomas Williams (ed.) (2003). The Cambridge Companion to Duns Scotus. Cambridge University Press.
    Each volume in this series of companions to major philosophers contains specially commissioned essays by an international team of scholars, together with a substantial bibliography, and will serve as a reference work for students and non-specialists. One aim of the series is to dispel the intimidation such readers often feel when faced with the work of a difficult and challenging thinker. John Duns Scotus (1265/6-1308) was (along with Aquinas and Ockham) one of the three principal figures in medieval philosophy and (...)
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  46. Thomas Williams (2002). Augustine Vs Plotinus the Uniqueness of the Vision at Ostia. In John Inglis (ed.), Medieval Philosophy and the Classical Tradition in Islam, Judaism and Christianity.
    Every reader creates a personal version of what is read....This is often the very opposite of what might at first blush be expected: but on consideration it is exactly the way in which a writer of genius should — we perhaps suddenly realise — respond. It is, in short, creative rather than passively parallel, and a matter of unobtrusive decisive omissions followed by the flow of new matter, of demarcation rather than of imitation.
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  47. Thomas Williams (2002). Review of Ralph McInerny, Characters in Search of Their Author: The Gifford Lectures, 1999-2000. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2002 (1).
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  48. Thomas Williams (2002). Two Aspects of Platonic Recollection. Apeiron 35 (2):131 - 152.
    Notwithstanding considerable disagreement over certain details, writers on Plato’s theory of recollection are broadly in agreement regarding some of the main features. Setting aside for the moment those who doubt that Plato ever held any considered doctrine so well‐developed as to constitute a theory of recollection at all, we can find a substantial scholarly consensus in favor of the following account: In the Phaedo Plato argues that all human beings recollect the Forms. Such recollection is meant to account for the (...)
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  49. Thomas Williams (2002). The Cambridge Translations of Medieval Philosophical Texts, Vol. 2. Philosophical Review 111 (4):576-578.
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  50. Thomas D. Williams (2002). Some Ethical Reflections on Reproductive and Therapeutic Cloning. Alpha Omega 5 (3):391-396.
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