This lively and highly accessible introduction to the thought of Thomas Aquinas focuses on his philosophy while making clear its openness to theology as reflection on Revelation. Introduces students this great philosopher of the middle ages in one short book. Brings together alternative approaches to Aquinas’ thought. Uses key texts to describe the trajectory of Aquinas’ philosophy and the legacy it left behind. This is the first title in a new Polity series, Classic Thinkers.
While many 20th-century fads in philosophy and theology have come and gone, McInerny's faith in Aristotelian-Thomism was boldly prophetic. His defenses of natural theology and law helped to create dialogue between theists and non-theists, and to provide a philosophical basis for Catholic theology.
_Distinguer pour unir, ou Les degrés du savoir_ was first published in 1932 by Jacques Maritain. In this new translation of _The Degrees of Knowledge_, Ralph McInerny attempts a more careful expression of Maritain's original masterpiece than previous translations. Maritain proposes a hierarchy of the forms of knowledge by discussing the degrees of rational and suprarational understanding. Nine appendices, some longer than the chapters of the book, advance Maritain's thought, often by taking on criticism of earlier editions of the work. (...) Rightly called Maritain's cardinal work, _The Degrees of Knowledge_ is a magnificent and sagacious achievement. Jacques Maritain's masterpiece proposes a hierarchy of forms of knowledge that culminate in mystical experience and wisdom, which is a gift of the Holy Ghost. Maritain argues that the intellectual life is meant to be complemented by the spiritual life and should culminate in sanctity. (shrink)
v. 1. Beginnings to Plotinus.--v. 2. Philosophy from St. Augustine to Ockham.--v. 3. Renaissance to the Romantic Age.--v. 4. Philosophy from the Romantic Age to the Age of Positivism.--v. 5. Philosophy from the Age of Positivism to the Age of Analysis.
Examines these questions: Who is a philosopher? Can philosophical thought be avoided? What have philosophers written over the ages? And why should we care? In this critical essay, these and other questions are posed and answered by one of America's leading philosophers, Ralph McInerny. Schools of thought are examined with humour and verve, and the principal works of philosophers and scholars are recommended.
Published in 1913 as _La Philosophie Bergsonienne_, this incisive critique of the thought of Henri Bergson was Jacques Maritain's first book. In it he shows himself already to have an authoritative grasp of the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas and an uncanny ability to demonstrate its relevance to alternative philosophical systems such as that of Henri Bergson. Volume 1 in the series _The Collected Works of Jacques Maritain_, this edition faithfully reproduces the 1955 translation published by the Philosophical Library. It (...) would be difficult to overestimate Bergson’s role in extricating French philosophy from the deadening materialism that dominated the Sorbonne. It was that cultural milieu that brought Maritain and his wife Raïssa to the brink of suicide. They drew back for two major reasons. First were the lectures of Henri Bergson at the Collège de France, in which the Maritains found a defense of metaphysics, of the transcendent beyond the material, within which they could find meaning in life. The second reason was their conversion to Catholicism, a move they and many of their contemporaries made after being introduced to Bergson’s work. Soon after his conversion, Jacques Maritain immersed himself in the thought of Thomas Aquinas and was struck by the comparative weaknesses of Bergson. This book is Maritain’s relentless criticism of the philosophy of the man whose lectures had meant so much to him. Its ferocity marks it as a young man’s book, written in part to exorcize the defects of Bergson’s philosophy as they were understood by one now schooled in Thomism. Twenty-five years later, Maritain, while not retracting his criticisms, regretted their intemperance and, as a result, moderated his assessment of Bergson in a long preface to the second edition. In it, we find a philosopher who mastered his craft and a critic of rare perception and refinement. (shrink)
Is the conviction that there is a God the default position of the human mind? This is the suggestion of Vatican II’s _Gaudium et spes_, as well as Cardinal Newman and even St. Thomas Aquinas. But however natural it is for human beings to acknowledge their maker, it seems almost as natural to throw up obstacles between man and God. _Characters in Search of Their Author, _the Gifford Lectures delivered by Ralph McInerny in Glasgow in 1999–2000, is devoted to clearing (...) away some of these impediments, mainly those fashioned by philosophers. The first series of lectures traces the progressive dismissal of natural theology by modern and contemporary philosophers. Are all intellectual difficulties intellectual in origin? McInerny invites his reader to consider the ordinary acknowledgment or denial of God as analogous to falling into or out of love. The upshot may be a simple judgment, but the way to it is through the emotions and types of discourse that seldom appear in logic books. The recovery of natural theology is the theme of the second series of lectures. Making critical use of philosophers from Kierkegaard and Newman to Thomas Aquinas, McInerny brings us to the point where the age-old task can once more begin. (shrink)
__Dante and the Blessed Virgin __is distinguished philosopher Ralph McInerny's eloquent reading of one of western literature's most famous works by a Catholic writer. The book provides Catholic readers new to Dante's _The Divine Comedy _ with a concise companion volume. McInerny argues that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the key to Dante. She is behind the scenes at the very beginning of the _Commedia_, and she is found at the end in the magnificent closing cantos of the _Paradiso_. McInerny (...) also discusses Dante's _Vita Nuova_, where Mary is present as the object of the young Beatrice's devotion. McInerny draws from a diverse group of writers throughout this book, including Plato, Aristotle, St. Bernard, St. Bonaventure, St. Thomas Aquinas, and George Santayana, among others. It is St. Thomas, however, to whom McInerny most often turns, and this book also provides an accessible introduction to Thomistic moral philosophy focusing on the appetites, the ordering of goods, the distinction between the natural and the supernatural orders, the classification of capital vices and virtues, and the nature of the theological virtues. This engagingly written book will serve as a source of inspiration and devotion for anyone approaching Dante's work for the first time as well as those who value the work of Ralph McInerny. "Dante was a literary genius with a profound understanding of St. Thomas Aquinas and the _philosophia perennis_ that structured and permeated the _Divina Commedia_. Who better to help us get beyond the surface to the depths of Dante than the most literarily genial of Thomas' twentieth century disciples, the indefatigable Ralph McInerny? Dante needed guides, from Vergil to Beatrice, to reach the summit of _Paradiso_. Fortunately, we have Ralph McInerny to accompany us on the same journey." --_Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J., Founder and Editor, Ignatius Press_ "Weaving together poetry, philosophy and theology, Ralph McInerny shows that 'the Blessed Virgin Mary is the key to Dante.' Starting with the _Vita Nuova _and the beginning of the _Divine Comedy_, this becomes ever more explicit throughout the great poem, till the magnificent closing cantos of the _Paradiso_. The book is beautifully written, making sense of every step, however complex at times, of the great journey to the gate of heaven described by Dante in the _Commedia_, drawing on Scripture, on Aquinas, on philosophers like Aristotle, on a medley of modern and contemporary writers, with immense learning, always worn lightly and made easily accessible. Dominant are themes that concern everyone, such as love or happiness, are treated with freshness and clarity so the reader is made to feel he or she is discovering them anew. The total effect is joy induced by the incredible wealth of content of this little book and by the light it sheds on so many vital issues." --_Thomas De Koninck, Laval University_. (shrink)
n this article the author analyzes the different ways in which one can speak of an end of philosophy. He (she) shows the way in which the key to the continuation of philosophy in our days is only attainable through the overcoming of sophistry and skepticism.
Two scholars at the University of Notre Dame compete bitterly for a tenure position, much to the dismay of Roger Knight, who is friends with them both, and when one ends up dead, Knight must solve the mystery.