This volume contains eleven articles, one on each chapter of book Lambda and two on chapter 9, all by eminent scholars who were all participants at the fourteenth Symposium Aristotelicum. The resultant articles contain close textual analysis, discussions of scholarly debates, and philosophical argument.
Albert the Great does not regard the creation of the world as philosophically demonstrable. In this article, it is shown why this is so: because Albert regards the temporal beginning of the world as essential to the meaning of creation, and because he holds that it is impossible to demonstrate the temporal beginning of the world, he concludes that the creation of the world is philosophically indemonstrable. Albert insists that creation must imply a temporal beginning because he thinks that temporal (...) duration can only be created if it is created at a first instant. Albert’s position necessitates a sharp distinction between creation and conservation. Particular attention is given to Albert’s De causis et processu universitatis and Summa theologiae. (shrink)
This book, written by well-known students of Étienne Gilson and especially dedicated to Armand A. Maurer, helps inaugurate a long-overdue special series in philosophy honoring Gilson’s legendary scholarship. It presents wide-ranging expositions of Thomist realism in the tradition of Gilsonian humanism covering themes related to philosophy in general, historical method, aesthetics, metaphysics, epistemology, and politics.
A Catholic philosophy requires an account of God as the first cause of all being. Descartes provides this, but he does so at a high price, for his Creator of ontologically and causally independent moments of creaturely existence precludes all secondary causes. Descartes’s philosophy thus results in occasionalism, which I try to show is the unhappy result of errors in natural philosophy concerning material forms and duration. Suarez provides a contrasting scholastic account of creation, showing how novel, and problematic, Descartes’s (...) position is. (shrink)
Thomas Aquinas recognizes natural inclination to be present everywhere in nature, and this inclination is always toward what is good both for the natural thing itself and also for the universe as a whole. Thomas’s primary example of natural inclination is found in the four simple elements, which have natural inclinations to their natural places. The inclination of these non-living elements is then the basis for understanding that natural human inclinations are towards goods for the human person and that the (...) whole world shows a universal intelligent ordering toward what is good. I argue, however, that the natural inclination of non-living, natural bodies to ends that are good for the elements themselves makes good sense in Thomas’s cosmology, but not in ours. Natural substances still show finality in our cosmos, but in a more restricted way than what Thomas was able to find. (shrink)
Thomas and Suarez understand God’s creation and conservation in a similar way: as God’s continually giving being to all creatures. The two philosophers also try to explain the way in which creaturely, secondary causality is guaranteed, but they do so in radically different ways. Suarez’s doctrine of concurrence is not a progressive development of Thomas’s doctrine of secondary, instrumental causality, with which this Suarezian innovation is incompatible. I try to show how different concurrentism is from Thomas’s doctrine of secondary causality (...) and to offer some criticism of the former by the latter. (shrink)
This volume contains new translations of the essential philosophical writings of Thomas Aquinas, from the _Summa Theologiae_ and _The Principles of Nature_. The included texts represent the breadth of Aquinas’s thought, addressing causality, the fundamental principles of nature, the existence of God, how God can be known, how language can be used to describe God, human nature, happiness, ethics, and natural law. The goal of these translations is twofold: to allow Aquinas to speak for himself, but also to make his (...) thought accessible to the contemporary reader without the burden of unnecessary adherence to convention. A thorough introduction to Aquinas and his ideas is included, as is a series of useful appendices connecting Aquinas’s arguments to those of Anselm, Scotus, Ockham, and others. (shrink)