Thomas Aquinas on Transcendental Unity: Scholastic and Aristotelian Predecessors

Dissertation, University of Toronto (Canada) (1981)

Rollen Edward Houser
University of St. Thomas, Texas
This dissertation is a study of the Scholastic and Aristotelian sources of Thomas Aquinas' doctrine of transcendental unity. Those sources are considered for the sake of the light they throw on Aquinas' own doctrine. Appreciation of both the influence Aquinas' predecessors had on him and his own originality, however, requires that the various components of the doctrines of unity in his predecessors be considered, not as isolated bits of information which somehow entered Aquinas' doctrine, but as themselves parts of a larger whole, a habit of science in the classical sense. Consequently, for each "predecessor" we consider both the place the doctrine of unity holds in his own thought, as well as the major features of his doctrine which are relevant to Aquinas. This study, therefore, is neither an exhaustive history of the doctrines of Aquinas' predecessors considered in their own right, nor a systematically complete consideration of all the Angelic Doctor's texts. Rather, it is an investigation of the major themes of his predecessors' doctrines undertaken for the sake of illuminating the primary components of Aquinas' own teaching. ;The study begins with an overview of certain key Thomistic texts on unity. Each of these presents one or more questions which can be answered by consideration of Aquinas' sources. Since the Angelic Doctor's thought found its immediate context among his fellow scholastics in the Latin West, we first treat the two Western medieval figures who have significant parts to play in his doctrine of unity: Peter Lombard and Albert the Great. Then we turn to the more remote but even more important predecessors, first of whom is Aristotle himself. The Aristotle whom Thomas Aquinas knew, however, was an Aristotle with Islamic disciples. Two of them, Avicenna and Averroes, are the primary sources of Aquinas' doctrine. Finally, we attempt to answer the questions formulated in the first chapter, in light of the doctrines of Aquinas' predecessors. These answers show that the Angelic Doctor's own doctrine of unity emerged gradually from the creative confrontation of a master philosopher with a mare's nest of contrary doctrines he had inherited from his predecessors. It is the story of that confrontation and emergence which constitutes this study.
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Tomášovo pojetí čísla.P. Sousedík & D. Svoboda - 2010 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 17 (1):53-69.

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