Many questions have been raised concerning the logical validity of Aquinas's Fourth Way. Some commentators judge the Fourth Way to be problematic while others find it delightful. In this paper, the Fourth Way is understood as a reflection on what it is to attribute to things around us scalar predicates. Does the Fourth Way not resemble what Wittgenstein observes when speaking about ‘the standard meter’? If so, is the Fourth Way significantly different from what might be called a ‘mystical’ line (...) of thinking? If not, it would be this mystical meaning that is used in the Way with respect to ‘God exists’. How should we understand this mystical meaning? By noting that beauty appears as a response-dependent property and by stressing that in order to attribute it to something we must possess certain virtues. Beauty would then be relative to virtues which are linked to the mystical meaning of ‘God’. Why could such a use, concerning the predicate ‘beautiful’ (even if that is not mentioned in the Fourth Way) not constitute an explanation of ‘what we call God’? This is a question to which the reading of the Fourth Way might lead. (shrink)
Aquinas holds that after death, the human soul can no longer change its basic orientation either toward God or away from him. He takes this to be knowable not only from divine revelation but by purely philosophical reasoning. The heart of his position is that the basic orientation of an angelic will is fixed immediately after its creation, and that the human soul after death is relevantly like an angel. This article expounds and defends Aquinas's position, paying special attention to (...) the action theory underlying it. (shrink)
The topic of wisdom attracted much less attention in modern thought than in ancient and medieval times. However, there has been a renewal of interest in it in recent psychology and philosophy, and a variety of questions has emerged from this current work. Aquinas has a detailed and elaborate account of the wisdom which pervades his oeuvre. This paper explores that and seeks to answer some of these contemporary questions from Aquinas's perspective.
Aquinas's views about the morality of lying are well known and often discussed by commentators. But his views about the nature of lying have yet to receive the attention they deserve. In this article, I take some of the first steps necessary to correct this state of affairs by clarifying and offering a limited defense of the account of lying that Aquinas presents in in his Summa Theologiae—more specifically, in that portion of it known as the treatise on truth (Part (...) 2-2, Questions 109–113). (shrink)
Agrippa was the main expounder of the occult philosophy, which is the knowledge of the hidden causes of things and is finalized to their manipulation by magic. Magic, in turn, is the highest form and the end of philosophy. According to his De occulta philosophia, magic is threefold: natural (concerning sublunar world), celestial (concerning stars and heavenly intelligences), and divine (concerning God and higher angels). It consists of the manipulation of concrete objects and of the summoning of intelligences and God, (...) which is performed on the basis of the precepts of the Kabbalah. Agrippa’s overall aim was to purify magic from its necromantic and irrational components: this would enable the restoration of the prelapsarian condition of man (in accordance with the Hermetic ideal of deification) and a Christian reform of culture. The critique of philosophical knowledge and of every science, presented in Agrippa’s De vanitate, and his critique to the subordination of woman typical of Scholastic theology, contained in the De nobilitate foeminei sexus, are functional to these ends. (shrink)
Concerning Nicolaus Cusanus’ (Nicholas of Cusa, 1401–1464) mysticism of the intellect, his approach to the problem of ineffability deserves the special attention of researchers. Preceded by a general exposition on the topic of the inconceivability of the experience of the foundational autopoietic self-reference of thinking and speaking, this article shows how Nicolaus Cusanus has developed a complex approach to the problem of an “ineffable way of speaking” (ineffable fari). Cusanus developed a set of approaches to non-negatable cataphatic “pointing rods” (Max (...) Scheler) and apophatic ways of thinking about what is to be understood as ineffable in the sense of a philosophical form of mysticism. Both are still inspiring and highly relevant for the discussion today. In terms of the overall interior development of his philosophical way of “eloquent silence” (German: beredtes Schweigen), it is notable that Cusanus eventually referred to both ways of affirmative and negative theology in their dialectic interdependence. Eventually, he found increasingly simple ways to point the way towards the “likeness of the path along which the seeker must walk.” In his later works, Cusanus developed a unique understanding of the problem of ineffability about philosophical mysticism, the potential of which remains to be explored further in the future. (shrink)
The mirror metaphor has been an essential asset especially during the pre-modern history of philosophy. The present article is concerned with its use in the philosophy of the German thinker Nicolas of Cusa (1401-1464). Being rooted in the intellectual traditions of Greek antiquity and Medieval Christian philosophy, Nicolas of Cusa has also been hailed as one of the first modern European philosophers. Long before other occidental thinkers, Nicolas of Cusa used the mirror metaphor to describe the foundational logic of self-consciousness (...) on his own terms and in the context of his time and his cultural environment. This article presents the most important passages where Nicolas of Cusa uses the images of the mirror and of mirroring to explain the creative self-relation of consciousness as well as to hint at a way of a transformation of the common forms of reflexivity of the epistemological functions of the mind into its complete form of existence as absolute self-consciousness. In this context, Nicolas of Cusa’s use of the mirror metaphor is also concerned with the question of an all-encompassing humanistic self-perfection, practice as well as with basic anthropological considerations. (shrink)
Alsted was a foremost encyclopedist of the early seventeenth century. He provided both a complete presentation of all the subjects of philosophy (of which encyclopedia consisted) and a method to learn them. This method was an original synthesis of the dialectic of Petrus Ramus, the combinatorial art of memory of Raimond Lull and Giordano Bruno, and the method of presentation of philosophical disciplines of Bartholomäus Keckermann. Alsted’s encyclopedism was intended as a remedy to the postlapsarian condition of man and was (...) functional to the pedagogical reform pursued at the Academy of Herborn; this was, in turn, an essential part of the Calvinist state reform of the county of Nassau-Dillenburg. In theology, the importance of Alsted consists of having introduced millenarianism in the Reformed Europe, though his early, optimistic views on the imminent end of the world would change to pessimistic as a consequence of the Thirty Years’ War. (shrink)
Johann Sturm was a Reformed pedagogic innovator, who established a teaching curriculum for gymnasia in order to provide an education based on the humanist ideals and on evangelical piety. This model described the contents and the method of learning for boys from 7 to 16 years and consisted mainly of the study of grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic (based on Cicero and on classic literature). His method of learning was based on memorization and imitation rather than on the understanding of formal (...) rules of reasoning. This model, rather than to introduce students to religion, was intended to prepare them to the autonomous understanding of Scripture. Sturm was important also as he contributed to the innovation of biography as a genre, which he intended as more realistic than the typified premodern biographies. (shrink)
Despite rarely explicitly thematizing the problem of dirty hands, this essay argues that Merleau-Ponty’s political work can nonetheless make some important contributions to the issue, both descriptively and normatively. Although his political writings have been neglected in recent times, his interpretations of Marxism and Machiavelli enabled him to develop an account of political phronesis and virtù that sought to retain the strengths of their respective positions without succumbing to their problems. In the process, he provides grounds for generalizing the problem (...) of “dirty hands” beyond Michael Walzer’s influential understanding that pertains primarily to “emergencies” and singular time-slice actions, and addresses concerns about the coherence of the very idea that there is justified action that one ought to do which remains wrong. Merleau-Ponty does this by emphasizing the diachronic relationship between theoretical principles and concrete political action over a period of time, thus imbuing the problem of dirty hands with a historicity that is not sufficiently recognized in the more static and action-focused discussions. (shrink)
How can something finite mediate an infinite God? Weaving patristics, theology, art history, aesthetics, and religious practice with the hermeneutic phenomenology of Hans-George Gadamer and Jean-Luc Marion, Stephanie Rumpza proposes a new answer to this paradox by offering a fresh and original approach to the Byzantine icon. She demonstrates the power and relevance of the phenomenological method to integrate hermeneutic aesthetics and divine transcendence, notably how the material and visual dimensions of the icon are illuminated by traditional practices of prayer. (...) Rumpza's study targets a problem that is a major fault line in the continental philosophy of religion – the integrity of finite beings I relation to a God that transcends them. For philosophers, her book demonstrates the relevance of a cherished religious practice of Eastern Christianity. For art historians, she proposes a novel philosophical paradigm for understanding the icon as it is approached in practice. (shrink)
Moral education requires interdisciplinary engagement across philosophy, psychology, and education. Positive psychologists regularly acknowledge the breadth and depth of wisdom regarding the cultivation of virtues present in philosophical and religious texts and consult such writings when creating constructs, but they are less prone to integrate scientific findings with historical texts as inquiry proceeds. Thus, we provide a comparative analysis of the advice given in Lorenzo Scupoli’s The Spiritual Combat, from traditional Christian moral wisdom literature and the research findings from positive (...) psychology on the cultivation of the virtue of patience. Points of convergence relate to the utility of engaging activities that include cognitive reappraisal, habit formation through daily practice, activating positive motivation, prayer, mantra/transcendental meditation, and cultivating elevation through meditation on moral exemplars. Areas of divergence include the advisability of suppression, the role of motivation, and necessity of spiritual intervention, which suggest areas for future inquiry in moral education. (shrink)
This paper explores William Ockham's account of memory with a view to understanding its implications for his account of the nature and persistence of human beings. I show that Ockham holds a view according to which memory (i) is a type of self-knowledge and (ii) entails the existence of an enduring psychological subject. This is significant when taken in conjunction with his account of the afterlife. For, Ockham holds that during the interim state—namely, after bodily death, but prior to bodily (...) resurrection—we retain and recall our embodied experiences. This entails that the subject of our embodied psychological states can survive in a disembodied state and continue to engage in characteristic rational activities—a claim that appears to run against Ockham's own commitment to a hylomorphic conception of human beings (as essentially material). A central aim of this paper is to explore the prospects for reconciling Ockham's account of interim memory with his account of human beings. (shrink)
This book addresses the mid-rank of the soul theme as it emerges in Plotinus and Augustine in the context of their respective interpretations of universal order. They both use the journey metaphor to describe the soul’s progress through the turbulent “sea” of earthly existence.
This paper investigates Ockhamism from a metaphysical point of view. Its main point is that the claim that future contingents are true or false is less demanding than usually expected, as it does not require particularly contentious assumptions about the future. First it will be argued that Ockhamism is consistent with a wide range of metaphysical views. Then it will be shown that each of these views leaves room for the claim that the future is open, at least on some (...) plausible interpretations of that claim. (shrink)
According to a standard interpretation of Aristotle, a material substance, like a dog, is a hylomorphic composite of matter and form, its “essential” parts. Is such a composite some thing in addition to its essential parts as united? The moderate reductionist says “no,” whereas the anti-reductionist says “yes.” In this paper, I will clarify and defend Durand of St.-Pourçain’s surprisingly influential version of moderate reductionism, according to which hylomorphic composites are nothing over and above their essential parts and the union (...) of those parts, where this union is explained by the presence of two modes: a mode of inherence on the side of form and a mode of substanding on the side of matter. (shrink)
Historically, secular humanism has been in conflict with religious thought in the academic and social spheres. This article supports the thesis that in modern times pseu-dosciences and pseudoscientific thinking are a threat to the humanist project, comparable to religious fundamen-talism. To prove it, the concept of Secular Humanism and how it is threatened by religious fundamentalism is explai-ned. This is followed by the definition of what pseudos-ciences are and what pseudoscientific thinking is. Subse-quently, the way how pseudosciences threaten the secular (...) humanist project is described. The conclusion states that pseudoscientific thought and religious fundamentalism are equally dangerous for social coexistence. (shrink)
The coherence objection to the doctrine of the Incarnation maintains that it is impossible for one individual to have both the attributes of God and the attributes of a human being. This article examines Thomas Aquinas’s answer to this objection. I challenge the dominant, mereological interpretation of Aquinas’s position and, in light of this challenge, develop and defend a new alternative interpretation of Aquinas’s response to this important objection to Christian doctrine.
This study locates Aquinas's theory of infused and acquired virtue in his foundational understanding of nature and grace. Aquinas holds that all the virtues are bestowed on humans by God along with the gift of sanctifying grace. Since he also holds, with Aristotle, that we can create virtuous dispositions in ourselves through our own repeated good acts, a question arises: How are we to understand the relationship between the virtues God infuses at the moment of grace and virtues that are (...) gradually acquired over time? In this important book, Angela McKay Knobel provides a detailed examination of Aquinas's theory of infused moral virtue, with special attention to the question of how the infused and acquired moral virtues are related. Part 1 examines Aquinas's own explicit remarks about the infused and acquired virtues and considers whether and to what extent a coherent "theory" of the relationship between the infused and acquired virtues can be found in Aquinas. Knobel argues that while Aquinas says almost nothing about how the infused and acquired virtues are related, he clearly does believe that the "structure" of the infused virtues mirrors that of the acquired in important ways. Part 2 uses that structure to evaluate existing interpretations of Aquinas and argues that no existing account adequately captures Aquinas's most fundamental commitments. Knobel ultimately argues that the correct account lies somewhere between the two most commonly advocated theories. Written primarily for students and scholars of moral philosophy and theology, the book will also appeal to readers interested in understanding Aquinas's theory of virtue. (shrink)
Obraz jako pojęcie filozoficzne ma długą i złożoną historię, która ma swój początek już w starożytności. Uczeni chrześcijańscy włączyli je do swoich badań filozoficznych w postaci imago Dei. W niniejszej pracy autor dokonał analizy dzieł św. Tomasza z Akwinu w celu ustalenia, jakie konsekwencje antropologiczne wynikają z idei stworzenia człowieka na obraz Boży. W pierwszej kolejności ustalono, że człowiek jako istota stworzona na obraz Boga uczestniczy poprzez swój intelekt w naturze Bożej. Dodatkowo przedstawione zostały trzy etapy uczestnictwa człowieka w Bogu. (...) Następnie autor bronił klasycznej teorii Akwinaty przeciwko współczesnym reinterpretacjom jego myśli. Argumentowano, iż Akwinata słusznie utrzymuje, że jedynie intelektualna część duszy ludzkiej jest, ściśle rzecz biorąc, stworzona na Obraz Boży, natomiast ciało ludzkie (i inne stworzenia irracjonalne) upodabnia się do Boga na podobieństwo śladu. (shrink)
Erasmus was one of the most widely read and controversial authors of the early modern period, inspiring a broad range of reader reactions. The present volume addresses various aspects of Erasmus's reception, including how the author's name was sometimes used to bolster decidedly "un-Erasmian" ideals.
This article examines Niccolò Machiavelli’s account of virtues in his famous work The Prince. The Italian philosopher uses three different stages or steps of argumentation. All these steps are analyzed in this paper. It is argued that in each step, Machiavelli makes partial conclusions which are neglected in the next step. In the last step, Machiavelli concludes that not only some virtues lead to failure, but all virtues are harmful to a successful leader. Instead of an honest and just way (...) of acting, Machiavelli proposes the slyness of a fox – the most effective and successful way of acting. Cicero’s De Officiis effectively helps to understand the radicality of Machiavelli’s account of virtues. Cicero’s work enables one to explain all the central metaphors and analogies used in Machiavelli’s The Prince. Comparing Cicero’s and Machiavelli’s radically different accounts of the same virtues and vices shows that Machiavelli changed the traditional understanding of virtues, thus refuting traditional moral and political philosophy. -------------------------- Received: 05/01/2023. Reviewed: 20/02/2023. Accepted: 30/03/2023. (shrink)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Reviewed by:Eric Doyle OFM: Hidden Architect of the Retrieval of the Franciscan Charism by Brenda AbbottRobert J. Karris, OFMBrenda Abbott, Eric Doyle OFM: Hidden Architect of the Retrieval of the Franciscan Charism. Durham, UK: Franciscan Publishing, 2021. Pp. vii + 388. 16 photos. £15.00. ISBN: 9781915198013.Father Eric Doyle, OFM, a member of the Province of the Immaculate Conception, UK, was born in 1938 and died in 1984. He was (...) highly talented and educated, steeped in the Franciscan tradition, a superb and humorous communicator. He was just right for his time, he was ahead of his time, and he may be just what Franciscans need today in their time as they continue to renew themselves in the spirit of St. Francis and in Franciscan Christology and spirituality.Abbott sets down her goal: "My purpose and goal in publishing this book is that something of the man and his vision will be communicated here, and that a new generation of Franciscan friars and scholars, as well as believers and unbelievers more widely, may be inspired by this vision and become aware of Doyle's enduring and precious legacy" (ii). She accomplishes her goal through an introduction, fifteen chapters which mainly delve into Doyle's Franciscan Christology and spirituality, and a conclusion. Endnotes follow each chapter. The book, which is very well-researched and written, ends with two appendices and a bibliography. Abbot has marvelously achieved her goal.The introduction is followed by: chapter 1, "Early Life: 1938–1970"; chapter 2, "The Friar"; chapter 3, "The Teacher"; chapter 4, "The Shepherd and Evangeliser"; chapter 5, "The Scholar"; chapter 6, "The Mystic"; chapter 7, "The Franciscan Theologian (Part 1)"; chapter 8, "The Franciscan Theologian (Part 2)"; chapter 9, "The Franciscan Theologian (Part 3)"; chapter 10, "The Franciscan Theologian (Part 4)"; chapter 11, "The Ecologist: Our Sister Mother Earth"; chapter 12, "The Ecumenist: Our Brothers and Sisters in Christ"; chapter 13, "The Post–Vatican II Theologian"; chapter 14, "The Prophet: A Franciscan Legacy (Part 1)"; and chapter 15, "The Prophet: A Franciscan Legacy (Part 2)."In the space allotted me, I provide three snapshots of Eric Doyle. First is the assessment of Doyle from an outside source, Bishop Thomas McMahon, who in his eulogy said: "He put profound truths in a very [End Page 249] simple way and conveyed always a sense of the numinous. … [He was] vivid, articulate, deeply learned, intensely human, hugely alive, full of mischief, unsparing of self … a contemporary Francis. His Franciscan spirituality permeated his total thinking" (174). I underscore Bishop Mc-Mahon's emphasis on St. Francis and his spirituality. I see implied here Doyle's teaching about the Absolute Primacy of Christ—that Christ is head of all creation and conqueror of sin and death, and that the reason for Christ's incarnation is not sin but love—demonstrating Doyle's retrieval of the best from the Franciscan tradition.The second snapshot points to two areas where Doyle was ahead of his time. First, he was a TV personality. Abbott dedicates pages 117–23 to Doyle as a wonderful TV presence. From 1971 to 1984 he was on four hundred programs of The Big Question. One reviewer noted: "The length, breadth and width of his discourse … is colossal … This man is an original, a non-pareil; before they made him, they broke the mould" (121). Second, in his book on Francis's Canticle of Brother Sun, first published in 1980, Doyle anticipated many of Pope Francis' teachings in Laudato Si'. As Abbott says: "Foreshadowing much of Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si', Doyle demonstrates how belief in the universal brotherhood and sisterhood of creation can help us create a better world" (270).The third snapshot is an indication of how Doyle's legacy continues in print. Doyle's St Francis and the Song of Brotherhood has been reprinted a number of times, most recently in 1997 by Franciscan Institute Publications as St. Francis and the Song of Brotherhood and Sisterhood. It has been translated into five languages: Italian, German, Portuguese, Korean, and Japanese. Under the imprint of Tau Publications is My Heart's Quest: Collected Writings of Eric Doyle, Friar Minor, Theologian, edited by Josef Raischl... (shrink)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Reviewed by:Bonaventure's Aesthetics: The Delight of the Soul in Its Ascent into God by Thomas J. McKennaDennis P. BrayThomas J. McKenna, Bonaventure's Aesthetics: The Delight of the Soul in Its Ascent into God. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2020. 186 pp. $100. ISBN: 978-1-4985-9765-4.It has been just over three decades since the last book-length engagement with aesthetics in Bonaventure's work (S. McAdams, "The Aesthetics of Light: A Critical Examination of (...) Bonaventure's Doctrine of Light in View of His Aesthetics," [PhD diss., Pontifica Universitas Gregoriana, 1991]). Heartily welcome, then, is Thomas McKenna's Bonaventure's Aesthetics. The purpose of the book, in McKenna's words, is "to provide a comprehensive analysis of Bonaventure's aesthetics, that is, his philosophy, theology, and mystical theology" (2). In so doing, he intends also to argue for a resolution to a list of disputed questions raised by contemporary voices – most famously that of Balthasar – in the debate on Bonaventure's aesthetics. Put another way, McKenna's project has two aims: first, to understand Bonaventure's aesthetics on its own (historical, theological, philosophical) terms; second, to determine whether that aesthetic connects significantly to contemporary questions in the field of aesthetics. In this review I will detail and engage critically with some of the foundational methodological moves McKenna makes in the book's introduction. I will then summarize the big themes of the book's four chapters, and conclude with a few evaluative remarks.However extensive their merits, earlier studies on Bonaventure's aesthetics are not as thorough as McKenna's and, more problematically, are limited by their investment in predominantly Enlightenment-era concerns. What I mean is that thinkers such as Shaftesbury, Baumgarten, and Kant were absorbed with matters such as the immediacy of the aesthetic experience, disinterest, the role of the affect, freedom of the imagination, and the categorization of les beaux arts. It is this trajectory (call it "the standard paradigm," using McKenna's terminology) that the field of aesthetics, as we know it, has largely followed. Early historians of aesthetics viewed, and often evaluated, medievals through the standard paradigm. Even later, more revisionist historical work sought to understand medieval thought in distinction from the paradigm. In most instances, [End Page 243] though, it is the Enlightenment-era list of concerns that serves as the fulcrum on which historical work has tended to swing. Our understanding of Bonaventure, then, is limited to the extent that we take the standard paradigm as guide.Bonaventure's Aesthetics is so compelling, in part, because it does not begin with the standard paradigm, but rather a more historically sound (and frankly, more interesting) list of research questions. This is not to say that McKenna rejects the standard paradigm. It is simply too deeply embedded in how we conceive of such matters to naively ignore. Instead, McKenna works to situate these later concerns as secondary, or parallel, to Bonaventure's concerns and interests. McKenna realizes that he faces a difficulty at this juncture, one that must be addressed by anyone aiming for historical sensitivity regarding their object of study. The difficulty is what McKenna calls "the hermeneutical crisis," and he formulates the key issues by quoting Jean Grondin: "The basic doctrine…is that every particular phenomenon must be conceptualized within the context of its age" to avoid anachronism. But if so, this "raises a striking epistemological problem…Our view of earlier ages must itself be produced by reference to our present, and is thereby relativized." Thus Grondin asks, "how if at all, is it possible to escape from the hermeneutic circle of our historicity?" (9, quoting J. Grondin, Introduction to Philosophicaal Hermeneutics [New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997], 76).Restricted to Bonaventure studies, McKenna poses the worry this way: "is it possible to accurately recover the conceptualization of beauty and, perhaps, the arts of any age – ancient, medieval, or modern – with a reasonable degree of accuracy? If so, does it remain relevant to current aesthetic theory and practice?" (9).In sum, the apparent dilemma is between, on the one hand, "a historically accurate conceptualization of the aesthetic sympathies of the past," and on the other hand, "a... (shrink)
Drawing on modern responses to Scotus made by Heidegger, Peirce, Arendt, Leibniz, Hume, Reid, Derrida and Deleuze, John Llewelyn explores Scotus' influence on 19th-century poet and philosopher Gerard Manley Hopkins.