Studia Neoaristotelica 14 (2):167-188 (2017)

Authors
Ben Page
Oxford University
Abstract
Thomas Aquinas a quodam nostri temporis viro docto de potentiis inquirenti “dispositionalis modalitatis propugnator fortissimus” nominatus est. Huius tractationis scopus est, hanc assertionem criticae subicere analysi. Imprimis autem nonnulla Aquinatis de potentiis doctrinae elementa exponuntur, ea disceptationibus, quae nostro tempore aguntur, conferendo. Deinde duae de potentiarum modalitatis natura sententiae contrariae explicantur: scil. “modalitas dispositionalis” et “necessitas conditionata”. Quo exacto Aquinatis textus examinantur inquirendo, utram illarum sententiarum ille docuerit. Testimonia demum postremae faventia inveniuntur. Loco conclusionis auctor suadet, quomodo Aquinas exempla a “modalitate dispositionali” sectatoribus proposita explicare posset. Ad quaestionem in titulo positam igitur auctor respondit opinionem de Aquinate ut fortissimo modalitatis dispositionalis propugnatore esse falsam, idque tropaeum cuidam alteri esse tribuendum.Aquinas has been labelled “the greatest advocate of dispositional modality”, by one contemporary power theorist. This paper’s goal is to critically analyse this claim. Before doing so, however, it first explicates some components of Aquinas’s ontology of powers, putting him in dialogue with contemporary discussions. Next it explicates the two competing views of the modality of powers, dispositional modality and conditional necessity, and proceeds to examine the textual basis as to which of the two Aquinas held. Ultimately the paper finds evidence in favour of the latter. The paper then concludes with a suggestion as to how Aquinas would explain examples given by those who advocate the dispositional modality position. In answer to the title, therefore, the paper argues that thinking of Aquinas as the greatest advocate of dispositional modality is a fiction, and that this award belongs to someone else.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  History of Philosophy  Philosophy and Religion
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ISBN(s) 1214-8407
DOI 10.5840/studneoar20171428
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