Students of Thomas Aquinas have so far lacked a comprehensive study of his doctrine of the transcendentals. This volume fills this lacuna, showing the fundamental character of the notions of being, one, true and good for his thought. The book inquires into the beginnings of the doctrine in the thirteenth century and explains the relation of the transcendental way of thought to Aquinas's conception of metaphysics. It analyzes 'Being', 'One', 'True', 'Good' and 'Beautiful' individually and discusses their importance for the (...) philosophical knowledge of God. Medieval Philosophy and the Transcendentals: The Case of Thomas Aquinas is intended as a contribution to the question 'What is philosophy in the Middle Ages?' It argues that the doctrine of the transcendentals is essential for understanding medieval philosophy. (shrink)
Aquinas presents his most complete exposition of the transcendentals inDe veritate 1, 1, that deals with the question What is truth?. The thesis of this paper is that the question of truth is essential for the understanding of his doctrine of the transcendentals.The first part of the paper (sections 1–4) analyzes Thomas''s conception of truth. Two approaches to truth can be found in his work. The first approach, based on Aristotle''s claim that truth is not in things but in the (...) mind, leads to the idea that the proper place of truth is in the intellect. The second approach is ontological: Thomas also acknowledges that there is truth in every being. The famous definition of truth as adequation of thing and intellect enables him to integrate the two approaches. Truth is a relation between two terms, both of which can be called true because both are essential for the conformity between thing and intellect. (shrink)
This essay examines Aquinas’s analysis of the human desire to know, which plays a central role in his thought. (I.) This analysis confronts him with the Aristotelian tradition: thus, the desire for knowledge is a “natural” desire. (II.) It also confronts him with the Augustinian tradition, which deplores a non-virtuous desire in human beings that is called “curiosity.” (III.) Aquinas connects the natural desire with the Neoplatonic circle motif: principle and end are identical. The final end of the desire to (...) know is the knowledge of God. (IV.) Aquinas also connects the end of the natural desire to know with Christian eschatology, teaching that man’s ultimate end is the visio Dei. This end, however, is “supernatural.” (V.) Duns Scotus severely criticizes central aspects of Aquinas’s account. (VI.) As a rejoinder to Scotus’s objections, we finally consider Aquinas’s view on the proper object of the human intellect. (shrink)
«Wer die heilige Schrift liebt, liebt auch die Philosophie, um durch sie den Glauben zu bestärken; aber die Philosophie ist der Baum der Erkenntnis von Gut und Böse, weil in ihr die Falschheit der Wahrheit beigemischt ist». Dieser Ausspruch Bonaventuras in einer Adventspredigt zu Joh 1,26-27 aus dem Jahre 1267 spiegelt die ganze Ambivalenz wider, die sich in seinen Schriften mit Bezug auf die Philosophie findet. Dem unverkennbaren philosophisch-spekulativen Impetus seines Denkens steht eine teilweise harsche Philosophen- und Philosophiekritik gegenüber. «Die (...) Philosophen gaben neun Wissenschaften und versprachen, eine zehnte zu geben, nämlich die Schau. Aber indem sich viele Philosophen von der Finsternis des Irrtums trennen wollten, verstrickten sie sich in größere Irrtümer; und indem sie sich weise nannten, wurden sie zu Toren; indem sie auf ihr Wissen stolz waren, wurden sie zu Gefolgsleuten Luzifers». (shrink)
Suarez's Disputationes metaphysicae, first published in 1597, is the first systematic treatise on metaphysics in the West, and it summarizes the metaphysical thought of medieval Scholasticism. Gracia and Davis present an English translation of Disputations X and XI which together provide us with a comprehensive analysis of good and evil. The text is not easy to understand for a modern reader. To facilitate its being understood, the translators have added a substantial introduction.
The focus of this article is on an ambivalent conception in medieval thought, namely the term ‘transcendens’, which on the one hand signifies a reality beyond created beings, i.e. God, and on the other hand signifies something common to all beings. Armandus de Bellovisu, in his Declaratio difficilium terminorum, has thematized exactly this difference between transcendence that follows from ‘nobility of being’ and that which follows from ‘commonness of predication’ . The medieval term ‘transcendens’, because of its ambiguity, thus includes (...) two fundamental concepts, which represent divergent philosophical tendencies concerning the specification of First Philosophy: the one understands it as «Philosophy of Transcendence», the other as «Transcendental Philosophy». The history of metaphysics is characterized by the tension between these two tendencies, but as we shall see, it also shows that they are intimately connected. (shrink)