This overview proceeds by outlining, albeit very briefly, something of the historical growth of Thomism, turning then to a brief account of how analytic philosophy in the twentieth century can be viewed in relation to that history, before finally turning to a further consideration of what the phrase “Analytical Thomism,” can be taken to mean in light of this brief historical account.
This paper reports some attempts undertaken in Poland in the 1930s to modernize Thomism by means of modern logic. In particular, it concerns J.M. Bocheski and J. Salamucha, the leading members of the CracowCircle. They attempted to give precise logical form to the Five Ways of Thomas Aquinas. Other works concerned the concept of transcendentals, the levels of abstraction, and the concept of essence.
Jacques Maritain tells us that, apart from St. Thomas himself, his “principal teacher” in Thomism was John Poinsot. Poinsot, like Maritain and Thomas, expressly teaches that the basis of “Thomist realism” lies in the distinction between sentire, which makes no use of concepts, and phantasiari and intelligere, which together depend essentially on concepts. O’Callaghan makes no discussion of this point, resting his notion of realism rather on the widespread quo/quod fallacy, that is, the misinterpretation of concepts as the id (...) quo of knowing. Poinsot demonstrates that this view conflates the distinct notions of species expressae and species impressae, demonstrating further that concepts as such cannot provide the cognitive basis of realism. O’Callaghan in effect suppresses the distinction betweenobjects and things in his effort to achieve the impossible. In this review, I show that it is a question of semantics vs. semiotics over which O’Callaghan stumblesin misrepresenting “Thomist realism.”. (shrink)
William Norris Clarke, S.J., one of the leading Thomist scholars in the United States, came to the Philippines recently and delivered a series of lectures in the Ateneo de Manila University and the University of Santo Tomas on various philosophical topics inspired by the thought of St. Thomas. Fr. Clarke is now a Professor Emeritus of Philosophy in Fordham University. He was co-founder and editor (l961-85) of the International Philosophical Quarterly and is the author of some 60 articles, plus the (...) following books: The Philosophical Approach to God, The Universe as Journey, Person and Being, Explorations in Metaphysics: Being—God—Person, and The One and the Many: A Contemporary Thomistic Metaphysics (Fall, 2000).He continues to fulfill his mission of propagating the thoughts of St. Thomas—-the “creative retrieval of St. Thomas,” as he puts it—-in and out of the U.S.An brief excerpt from this interview was originally published in Budhi: A Journal of Ideas and Culture1/3, 1997. (shrink)
This paper attempts to show that Charles Taylor’s persuasive and expansive phenomenology, developed primarily in his Sources of the Self, ultimately depends upon an ontology of the human person that remains undeveloped, as he often admits. His fundamentalphilosophical claims stand finally as postulates of practical reason, which nevertheless depend upon a dialogical practice that is grounded in the dialogical nature of the human person. This phenomenological and ethical approach raises persistent epistemological and metaphysical questions. What Taylor does not admit, and (...) what this paper will propose in his stead, is that a more systematic metaphysics in the existential Thomist tradition can help support philosophically both his explicit and implicit ontological claims regarding the nature of the human person. (shrink)
Mark Jordan’s recent book, Rewritten Theology, challenges the way in which the achievement of Thomas Aquinas has been both received and reformulated,often in order to serve particular theological and philosophical ends. It helps to unmask the often hidden presuppositions behind efforts to “police” Thomism, efforts which frequently require a revision and a rewriting of the texts of Aquinas themselves. At a time when it appears that there is a repristinization of the Thomistic “synthesis” reminiscent of Garrigou-Lagrange, this book is (...) an auspicious reminder that such “synthesis” often comes at the cost of fidelity to theMaster in whose name it is fashioned. (shrink)
John F. X. Knasas has issued a series of philosophical and exegetical critiques of what he presents as the Cartesian subjectivism of “transcendental Thomism” in general and Bernard Lonergan in particular. But Professor Knasas’s spontaneous assumptions about knowing, objectivity, and reality are those of Descartes and Kant, not St. Thomas. He thus misinterprets St. Thomas and Fr. Lonergan and misconstrues the nature of knowing. The roots of the differences between Professor Knasas and Fr. Lonergan are exposed by contrasting two (...) radically opposed accounts of knowing, two correlative meanings of the term ‘real’, and two correspondingly divergent interpretations of St. Thomas. In the process, Professor Knasas’s repeated misrepresentation of Fr. Lonergan is corrected. (shrink)
Troubadour of truth, by R. E. Brennan.--Reflections on necessity and contingency, by Jacques Maritain.--Intellectual cognition, by Rudolf Allers.--The problem of truth, J. K. Ryan.--The ontolgical roots of Thomism, by Hilary Carpeuter.--The role of habitus in the Thomistic metaphysics of potency and act, by V. J. Bourke.--The nature of the angels, by J. O. Riedl.--The dilemma of being and unity, by A. C. Pegis.--Prudence, the incommunicable wisdom, by C. J. O'Neil.--A question about law, by M. J. Adler.--The economic philosophy of (...) Aquinas, by J. A. Ryan.--Beyond the crisis of liberalism, by Y. R. Simon.--The fate of representative government, by Walter Farrell.--The Thomistic concept of education, by R. J. Slavin.--The perennial theme of beauty, by Immanuel Chapman.--Epilogue, by H. T. Schwartz.--Bibliography (p.-419). (shrink)
In this chapter I seek to examine the credibility of Finnis’s basic stance on Aquinas that while many neo-Thomists are meta-ethically naturalistic in their understanding of natural law theory (for example, Heinrich Rommen, Henry Veatch, Ralph McInerny, Russell Hittinger, Benedict Ashley and Anthony Lisska), Aquinas’s own meta-ethical framework avoids the “pitfall” of naturalism. On examination, the short of it is that I find Finnis’s account (while adroit) wanting in the interpretation stakes vis-à-vis other accounts of Aquinas’s meta-ethical foundationalism. I think (...) that the neo-Thomists are basically right to argue that for Aquinas we cannot really understand objective truths about moral standards unless we derive them from our intellective knowledge of natural facts as given to us by the essential human nature that we have. While I find Finnis’s interpretative position on Aquinas wanting, I go on to argue that his own attachment to non-naturalism is justified and should not be jettisoned. Because I think non-naturalism important to the future tenability of a viable natural law ethics (an ethics that is both cognitive and objectivist), I argue that Finnis should, so to speak, “beef up” his “fundamental option” for non-naturalism and more fully avail himself of certain argumentative strategies available in its defense, argumentative strategies that are inspired by the analytical philosophy of G.E. Moore. (shrink)
How should contemporary Thomistic theologians speak of providence and predestination? This essay suggests that St. Catherine of Siena’s approach to the doctrine provides a model for Thomistic theology today. After examining biblical teaching and the guidelines proposed by the Catechism of the Catholic Church, I explore in some detail the positions of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Jacques Maritain, both of whom sought to overcome what they perceived to be difficulties in the Thomistic account of predestination. I conclude by proposing (...) a retrieval of the perspective of St. Catherine of Siena. (shrink)
Arguments that Aquinas’s literal commentaries on Aristotle present his own philosophy are often proxies for larger claims about the relation of philosophy to theology. While trying to secure a place for Thomas in philosophic conversation, such arguments impose modern notions of an autonomous and apodictic philosophy, with fixed genres of declarative speech. The result is neither a plausiblereading of the Thomistic corpus nor a helpful exemplar for contemporary Catholic philosophy.
MalebrancheÃs doctrine of the will can be illuminated by consideration of the views both of Aquinas and early modern would-be Thomists. Three Malebranchian themes are considered here: his conception of the will as an inclination toward general and indeterminate good, his intellectualism (the view that that the locus of morality lies ultimately with the intellect), and his attempt to avoid the extreme views of Jansenism and Quietism, both condemned in the period as theologically unacceptable. Two little-known Thomists in particular are (...) examined: Antonin MassouliÅ½, whose work helps to explain why Malebranche rejected Quietism and the libertarian view of the will typical of it, and Laurent-Franï¿½ois Boursier, whom Malebranche criticized for failing to provide a conception of the will and its freedom that avoids Jansenism. (shrink)
Neither Augustine nor Aquinas can accept a political order in which religious doctrine as such is barred from serving as an explicit basis of political, legal, and economic norms. Certain twentieth-century commentators indebted (wittingly or not) to Kantianism or to other Enlightenment ideologies ignored this fact, or minimized its importance. Aquinas was misread as a forerunner of modern liberal democracy; Augustine was portrayed, with equal injustice, as seeking to dissuade Christians from participation in the political arena. In reality, the political (...) philosophy of each is consistent with a robust Christian presence in the public square, and is incompatible both with theocracy and with the modern secular state. A better understanding of the distance separating these philosopher-theologians from some of their prominent twentieth-century commentators may shed light on the history of the reception of Vatican II’s Gaudium et spes. (shrink)
St. Thomas Aquinas is generally seen as having an anthropocentric and instrumentalist view of nature, in which the rational human is the point of the universe for which all else was created. I argue that, to the contrary, his metaphysics is consistent with a holistic ecophilosophy. His views that natural things have intrinsic value and that the world is an organic unity in which diversity is itself a value requiringrespect for being and life in all their manifestations.
Like any other product of human thought, a philosophical system is conditioned by the contingent circumstances of its origins, and especially by sense experience, the origin of all human cognition. Catholic philosophy, moreover, is conditioned by the doctrine of the Church. Because both sense experience and the Catholic faith are true to their respective objects, and because truth for one is truth for all, the conditioning of Catholic philosophy by its contingent origins does not entail a lack of universal validity. (...) Such validity is in fact possessed by St. Thomas’s system, which is faithful both to Catholic doctrine and to the concrete facts of everyday experience. (shrink)
The first three sections of this study explain the debt that Karl Rahner’s metaphysics of symbol owes to the influence of Maurice Blondel and Joseph Maréchal. The concluding section suggests that a Blondel-inspired renewal of the metaphysics of symbol could challenge the restricted claim for reason offered by secular and religious post-modernity.