Moreau sketches here with enthusiasm the large features of Aquinas’s epistemology. He is not, as he makes clear, a Thomist either by training or by avowal. The book is not, then, a specialist’s monograph or dogmatic treatise. It is Moreau’s attempt to hear what Aquinas will say to the great questions. The attempt is largely successful in attending to Aquinas’s remarks, though it does not catch their ambiguities.
This "little brochure," as Gilson himself imagined it, belongs to a book, The Philosophical Constants of Being, which he had in draft at his death. Gouhier has followed Gilson's suggestions in detaching these two chapters from the draft in order to publish them as Difficult Atheism. The first chapter, which carries the same title, is a much revised version of an essay which appeared in The Great Ideas Today. The second chapter, entitled "On Behalf of the Handmaid," is the French (...) translation of a piece read before a theological conference in 1967. A brochure containing occasional pieces might not seem to promise much. But Gilson does think seriously in these two essays about the converse questions, whether atheism is philosophically tenable and whether believing philosophers can appropriately be asked to combat it with proofs. (shrink)
The core of Lescoe’s new book is a critical edition of the first treatise of book 4 from Ulrich of Strasbourg’s Summa de bono. After Aquinas, Ulrich is Albert the Great’s best known disciple; he was certainly the more faithful. Ulrich’s Summa is, indeed, an enormous treatise built along Albertinian lines, mirroring in its eclecticism and its extent the range of Albert’s own concerns. "It is very apparent," Lescoe writes, "... that Ulrich depended on his master for much of his (...) doctrinal and even literal inspiration. His merit lies not so much in his originality of thought as in the work of synthesis and organization". Perhaps partly because of this, and given the ascendancy of Thomism among the Dominicans from an early date, the Summa de bono lies mostly unedited. A critical edition of book 1 was published in 1930 by Daguillon and a few other sections have been transcribed in unpublished dissertations and theses. But even with Lescoe’s present contribution, three-quarters of the Summa remains untranscribed and almost ninety-five percent of the work remains unprinted. (shrink)
In his struggle to vindicate the religious enterprise from the charge that it is unfalsifiable and meaningless, McKinnon reduces both science and religion to distorted caricatures, ignores the centrality of the problems of evil, anguish, absurdity, and the egocentric predicament for religion, and asserts that religion and science are fundamentally one and the same. He builds his thesis on a distinction between "assertional," "self-instructional," and "ontological-linguistic" intentionality of utterances. By equivocating about whether these usages are logically independent, McKinnon holds that, (...) as "self-instructional," utterances are outside the positivist's arena. He presses the noteworthy point--that utterances sometimes are intended to report an existential stance--in such a way as to divert attention from the vast differences between religious and scientific methods and subject matter. Not content with leaving religious utterances restricted to mere reporting, McKinnon builds a case for bypassing positivistic attack under the other two usages by trading on a supposed incommensurability between particulars and universals. E.g., he holds that "God is love" must be indeterminate and unfalsifiable since both nouns are universals and since God is incomprehensible. And so it goes, a battle between straw men on a shifting field of honor for a prize of dubious worth. Notwithstanding, this is a thought provoking treatment of a difficult topic.--M. D. P. (shrink)
This collection of reprinted social philosophy broadly surveys and introduces problems and positions vis-à-vis the concept of right. Using the tools of ordinary language analysis, M. MacDonald evaluates the attempts of other writers to resolve the tensions between civil and moral responsibility. H. L. A. Hart argues that "... if there are any moral rights at all, it follows that there is at least one natural right." His laudatory deductive exercise and categorization of rights suggests no leads for answering the (...) hypothetical he poses. While MacDonald and Hart raise no gut issues, G. Vlastos gives a common sense analysis of the main stream of classical debate, couching his inquiry in terms of conflicts between collective and distributive justice. His article both includes the scope and surpasses the stopping points of the earlier selections. Through leading to a philosophical discussion of the workings of the denial of human rights within the segregationist position, R. Wasserstrom unmasks the practical stakes involved in what the others leave as an academic problem. H. Morris's witty analysis of a hypothetical "right to be punished" lays bare the fact that social institutions embody some concept of right, duty, and obligation. He leaves the reader with the unanswered but clearly indicated question of which concept of right does one want society to sanction. Also included are: J. Locke's The Second Treatise of Civil Government, Chapters two and five; J. Bentham's Anarchical Fallacies; The Virginia Declaration of Rights ; Declaration of the Rights of Man and of Citizens ; Universal Declaration of Human Rights ; and a portion of the Declaration of Independence of the U.S.A.--M. D. P. (shrink)