Written by a highly respected scholar of Thomas Aquinas's writings, this volume offers a comprehensive presentation of Aquinas's metaphysical thought. It is based on a thorough examination of his texts organized according to the philosophical order as he himself describes it rather than according to the theological order. -/- In the introduction and opening chapter, John F. Wippel examines Aquinas's view on the nature of metaphysics as a philosophical science and the relationship of its subject to divine being. Part One (...) is devoted to his metaphysical analysis of finite being. It considers his views on the problem of the One and the Many in the order of being, and includes his debt to Parmenides in formulating this problem and his application of analogy to finite being. Subsequent chapters are devoted to participation in being, the composition of essence and esse in finite beings, and his appeal to a kind of relative nonbeing in resolving the problem of the One and the Many. Part Two concentrates on Aquinas's views on the essential structure of finite being, and treats substance-accident composition and related issues, including, among others, the relationship between the soul and its powers and unicity of substantial form. It then considers his understanding of matter-form composition of corporeal beings and their individuation. Part Three explores Aquinas's philosophical discussion of divine being, his denial that God's existence is self-evident, and his presentation of arguments for the existence of God, first in earlier writings and then in the "Five Ways" of his Summa theologiae. A separate chapter is devoted to his views on quidditative and analogical knowledge of God. The concluding chapter revisits certain issues concerning finite being under the assumption that God's existence has now been established. -/- John F. Wippel, professor of philosophy at The Catholic University of America, was recently awarded the prestigious Aquinas Medal by the American Catholic Philosophical Association. In addition to numerous articles and papers, Wippel has coauthored or edited several other works, including Metaphysical Themes in Thomas Aquinas and The Metaphysical Thought of Godfrey of Fontaines, both published by CUA Press. (shrink)
This article focuses on Cornelio Fabro’s understanding and presentation of Thomas Aquinas’s argumentation for a real distinction and composition of essence and an act of existing in finite beings, a theory that is closely connected with Aquinas’s notion of transcendental participation. It examines Fabro’s division of Aquinas’s arguments into five gradually developing major approaches. Fabro offers an interesting interpretation of the argument offered by the youthful Aquinas in the often discussed De ente et essentia, c. 4, and finds that in (...) his mature writings Aquinas developed and relied ever more heavily on a proof based on participation. (shrink)
This is a critical examination of a recent book by David Piche, which contains a new edition of the sweeping and influential condemnation by Bishop Stephen Tempier of 219 propositions on March 7,1277 at the University of Paris. In addition to the Latin text, Piche's book includes a French translation of the text of the condemnation, an introduction to the Latin text and translation, and his historico-doctrinal interpretation of the condemnation and the events leading up to it. This condemnation has (...) deservedly received considerable attention from scholars during the past twenty-five years or so, and Piche's new edition of the text is a valuable contribution to this ongoing research. His historico-doctrinal commentary on the condemnation incorporates and builds upon much of this more recent material. Without agreeing with his interpretation on every point, my overall evaluation of his book is quite positive. (shrink)
Some attention has also been devoted to a particular kind of judgment or a particular form of the intellect’s second operation, sometimes named separatio by Thomas. Important editions of questions 5 and 6 of Thomas’s commentary on the De Trinitate of Boethius in 1948 and 1955 and the groundbreaking study by L. B. Geiger in 1947, all have set the stage for further emphasis on this distinctive type of intellectual operation when it comes to one’s discovery of being, or better, (...) of that notion of being that can serve as subject of a science of being as being rather than a science of being as material or as quantified. While this new development has remained largely unnoticed in certain regions of Thomistic scholarship for a number of years, it has been pursued in depth by other writers. At the same time, investigation of the same nicely dovetails with the renewed emphasis on existence and on judgment as the process required to discover being as existing to which we have referred above. For as will be seen below, at least one passage in Thomas’s commentary reinforces the contention that one must pass beyond simple apprehension to the mind’s second operation or to judgment if one is to grasp being explicitly as existing. This particular point, however, is not our primary concern here. (shrink)
IN THIS study I shall concentrate on three leading philosophical and theological thinkers of the thirteenth century: Thomas Aquinas, Henry of Ghent, and Godfrey of Fontaines. Of these, Thomas Aquinas is surely the best known. But I have selected these three because their discussions of nonexisting possibles are sufficiently different from one another to illustrate some of the major solutions proposed to this issue at that time.
THOMAS AQUINAS IS WELL-KNOWN for having defended the view that truth consists of an adequation between the intellect and a thing. Perhaps no discussion of this within his literary corpus is better known than that offered in qu. 1 of his Disputed Questions on Truth. Even so, in addition to describing truth as an adequation of the intellect and a thing, he there considers a number of other definitions. Most importantly, he develops a notion of truth of being along with (...) truth of the intellect. As various scholars have pointed out, prior to Thomas's time two general traditions regarding the nature of truth had already appeared. One is heavily neoplatonic and emphasizes truth of being. It was known to Aquinas especially through the writings of Augustine, Anselm, and Avicenna. The other, more Aristotelian, stresses truth as an adequation of mind and reality, or truth of the intellect. Both of these traditions deeply influenced Aquinas's own thinking, as we shall see. But he could and did appeal to a variety of earlier definitions of truth in developing his own view, and this suggests that the two traditions were not so opposed to one another in Thomas's mind as one might think. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to discuss Norman Kretzmann's account of Aquinas's discussion of will in God. According to Kretzmann, Aquinas's reasoning seems to leave no place for choice on God's part, since, on Aquinas's account, God is not free not to will Himself. And so this leads to the problem about God's willing things other than Himself. On this, Kretzmann finds serious problems with Thomas's position. Kretzmann argues that Aquinas should have drawn necessitarian conclusions from his account of (...) divine will. Moreover, in light of one reading of De veritate, q. 24, a. 3, but one not accepted by the Leonine edition, Kretzmann also maintains that Aquinas practically conceded this necessitarian view of God's creative activity in that text. My purpose will be, after presenting Kretzmann's presentation and defence of Aquinas's attribution of will to God, to examine critically his claim that Thomas should have concluded that God is not free not to create, and to determine whether a stronger argument can be made in support of Aquinas's position in light of his texts. (shrink)
Both Aquinas and Siger were familiar with a fundamental disagreement within the earlier philosophical tradition concerning the subject of metaphysics: Is it being as being, or is it divine being? If Avicenna represented one approach to this issue, and Averroes another, both Thomas and Siger were closer to Avicennathan to Averroes in their respective solutions. Nonetheless, each resolved the issue in a distinct way. Also contested in the earlier tradition was the question of whether it belongs to physics or to (...) metaphysics to demonstrate the existence of God. Again, Avicenna represents one side on this issue, and Averroes the other. Thomas’s personal position continues to be debated by contemporary scholars, and Siger’s seems to fall between those proposed by Avicenna and Averroes.Finally, Aquinas is credited with having developed a new and unique way of accounting for the discovery of being as being, through a process known as separatio; though there are antecedents for this in Avicenna. (shrink)
IN A STUDY PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED in this journal, I concentrated on Thomas Aquinas's theory of truth of being. Using a text from book 1, dist. 19, qu. 5, art. 1 of the commentary on the Sentences as my point of departure, I attempted to discern Thomas's answer to this question: If truth is assigned to things only analogically because of their ability to cause truth in the intellect, is truth formally and intrinsically present in things themselves or only in the (...) intellect? Without repeating the details of my analysis here, my conclusion was that, having introduced appropriate distinctions, Thomas holds that truth is formally and intrinsically present in things themselves. But this applies to truth only when it is taken broadly, not when it is taken strictly. (shrink)
This volume contains a series of papers which were presented at the 22nd Mediävistentagung held at Cologne, 3-6 September, 1980. It includes a forward by A. Zimmerman, and the following studies: W. P. Eckert, on legends about Albert the Great; F. J. Kovach, on the infinity of the divine essence and divine power according to Albert; J. I. Saranyana, on Albert's contribution to the doctrine of actus essendi; R. McInerny, on Albert and Thomas on Theology; W. J. Hoye, on salvation (...) and resurrection in Albert; A. Zimmerman, on Albert's critique of an argument to prove that the world began to be; S. Ebbesen, on Albert's Companion to the Organon; I. Craemer-Ruegenberg, on Albert's teaching concerning the soul and the intellect; A. Goddu, on Albert's contribution to discussions of natural and violent motions; G. C. Anawati, on Albert and alchemy; K. Bernath, on Albert's views concerning education as presented in his Commentary on the Politics; A. Cazenave, on some European views of the exotic at the time of Albert; G. Federici Vescovini, on some witnesses to Albert's influence at Padua at the end of the fourteenth century--Angelo of Fossombrone and Biagio Pelacni of Parma; M. Markowski, on Albert and Albertism at Krakow; S. Wlodek, on Albert and the Albertists of the fifteenth century and the problem of universals; J. Korolec, on Heymeric de Campo and his Neoplatonic vision of God; H. G. Senger, on Albertism and some reflections on the via Alberti in the fifteenth century; G. Piaia, on the historical and philosophical interpretations of Albert which developed from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries; M. Borzyszkowski, on Albert and his influence in Ermland, Pomesanien, and Pommerellen ; H. Kümmerling, "'Das muss alles einen andern geistlichen Sinn haben'. De concordiae mundanae rationibus," a contribution to the history of music. While limitations of space preclude detailed discussions of these articles, their variety in terms of the particular issues treated reflects both the interdisciplinary character of the original meeting which occasioned them and the breadth of vision and talent of the volume's focal point-Albert the Great. Among articles of interest to students of Albert's philosophical thought are, to mention but a few, those by Kovach, Saranyana, Zimmermann, Ebbesen, Craemer-Ruegenberg, and Goddu. Zimmermann not only presents Albert's critique of argumentation intended to prove that the world began to be, but after noting Albert's agreement on this point with the view defended by Thomas Aquinas, Zimmermann then resumes his continuing discussion with another twentieth-century scholar--Fernand Van Steenberghen of Louvain-concerning the merits of the argumentation rejected by Thomas and by Albert. Zimmermann defends the view developed by Albert and by Thomas, while Van Steenberghen favors the position associated especially with Bonaventure--that one can demonstrate the temporal origin of the universe.--John F. Wippel, The Catholic University of America. (shrink)
IN his commentary on the De Trinitate of Boethius, Thomas Aquinas uses a statement taken from this Boethian treatise as the occasion to develop some personal views concerning the distinction and derivation of the many from the one. According to this statement, found in chapter 1 of the Boethian work, the principle of plurality is otherness. It is to this statement and its implications that Thomas directs his attention in qu. 4, art. 1 of his commentary.
The studies contained in this volume range widely and include the following: K. Bormann, on the concept of truth and the doctrine concerning Nous in Aristotle and some of his commentators; K. Jacobi, on "good" and "evil" and their opposition in Aristotle, some Aristotelian commentators, and Thomas Aquinas; P.-B. Lüttringhaus, on God, freedom, and necessity in Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy; G. Vuillemin-Diem, a long study concerning William of Moerbeke's translation into Latin of Aristotle's Metaphysics; R. Wielockx, on Godfrey of Fontaines (...) as a witness in support of the authenticity of Albert the Great's Summa theologiae; R. Hissette, on Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas and the Paris Condemnation of 1277; A. Zimmermann, on Thomas Aquinas's De veritate, qu. 1; C. Kopp, an edition and study of the fallaciae breves contained in a British Museum manuscript; I. Craemer-Ruegenberg, a study on the terminatio materiae primae as found in a commentary on Aristotle's Physics dating from the second half of the fourteenth century; H. G. Senger, a study of a question by Lambert of Heerenberg, concerning whether Aristotle's soul was saved. Limitations of space will force me to confine my remarks to only a few of these carefully researched investigations. In the first study Bormann seeks to determine Aristotle's views concerning the ultimate ground for universally valid propositions and Aristotle's justification for his belief that certain of these are valid for all men and at all times in spite of the differences in human language. This quickly leads him to consider Aristotle's views concerning mind as active and mind as passive, especially as found in De anima III, 5. Mind as active is not to be identified with Aristotle's Unmoved Mover of Metaphysics XII; it unites with the soul of the individual man during the latter's lifetime, is free from all potentiality, is never acted upon, and exists in separation from the individual human being with the death of the latter. Mind as passive passes away with the individual soul when a particular man dies. Bormann then examines subsequent efforts to clarify Aristotle's thought concerning this by Alexander of Aphrodisias, Themistius, John Philoponus, Averroes, Albert the Great, and Thomas Aquinas. Lüttringhaus introduces his discussion of Boethius's views on God, freedom, and necessity by drawing an interesting contrast between freedom as found in the One of Plotinus and freedom in Boethius. Given his Christian Neoplatonism, Boethius must reconcile human freedom with an omnipotent and omniscient God. His efforts to do so in the Consolatio are then carefully analyzed by Lüttringhaus. As Lüttringhaus points out, Boethius's distinction between absolute necessity and hypothetical necessity in Bk. V is crucial for his defense of human freedom, along with his distinction between divine eternity and human temporality. G. Vuillemin-Diem's study offers new and valuable information concerning Moerbeke's revision and translation of the Metaphysics. Contrary to the long held view that Moerbeke had only newly translated one book and had simply revised an earlier translation for the others, she shows that he newly translated Bks. XI, XIII, and XIV. Moreover, she reveals that a long overlooked surviving Greek manuscript may have served as the model for Morebeke's revision and translation, either directly or through a copy. R. Wielockx turns to three manuscripts from Godfrey of Fontaines' library which still survive in order to cast some new light on the disputed authenticity of Albert the Great's Summa theologiae. The manuscripts contain a number of excerpts taken from the first part of Albert's Summa; many of those contained in the two last-mentioned manuscripts are explicitly attributed to Albert by Godfrey's own hand, according to Wielockx. Given this and the relatively early dating Wielockx has established for the copying of these excerpts into the manuscripts in question, he has here discovered a valuable external and positive indication pointing to the authenticity of at least this earlier part of Albert's Summa. Having already published an important book in 1977 on the Paris Condemnation of 1277, R. Hissette here returns to the disputed issue whether some of these condemned propositions were directly aimed at Thomas Aquinas or at Albert the Great. Hissette acknowledges that a number of positions held by Aquinas and by Albert were in fact touched on by various condemned propositions. He also notes that the authors of the decree itself must have known that the condemned propositions were held by Aquinas and by various Masters from the Arts Faculty at Paris. But given the statement in the prologue of the decree to this effect that it was aimed at members of the Arts Faculty, Hissette continues to deny that either Thomas or Albert was a direct target of this condemnation; they were only indirectly implicated. Some may wonder whether this distinction defended by Hissette is real or only verbal. In his careful analysis of Thomas's De veritate, 1, 6, Zimmermann draws some interesting comparisons and contrasts between Thomas's views concerning whether any created truth is immutable and Anselm's De veritate, on the one hand, and Bertrand Russell's "Truth and Falsity," on the other.--John F. Wippel, The Catholic University of America. (shrink)
In addition to the above Aquinas notes that there are other objects of theoretical knowledge that do not depend on matter for their being, since they can exist apart from matter. Some of these are never found in matter, such as God or an angel. Others, such as substance, quality, being, potency, act, the one and the many, etc., exist in matter in certain cases although not in others. The fact that such objects exist without matter in certain instances suffices (...) to establish Thomas’ point here, that they do not depend on matter in order to exist. Such objects, therefore, those that do not depend on matter for their being, will be treated by a third theoretical science, sometimes known as theology or divine science, sometimes as metaphysics, and sometimes as first philosophy. (shrink)