Aquinas on Mind (Topics in Medieval Philosophy)

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Joseph W. Hwang - - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 35 1 Aquinas: A Collection of Critical Essays. Aquinas on Being.

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Body, Soul, and Intellect in Aquinas. Anthony Kenny - - In M. James C. Crabbe ed.

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Added to PP index Total views 51 , of 2,, Recent downloads 6 months 5 , of 2,, How can I increase my downloads? Sign in to use this feature. Applied ethics. ISBN: hardback. Reviewed by: Anthony Lisska Denison University lisska denison. This is a modestly revised monograph on Aquinas's philosophy originally published a bit more than a decade ago Westview, and written by two of the foremost Greek and medieval scholars working today, Chris Shields and Bob Pasnau. When these guys write something, it's always worth reading and taking seriously, even if one might disagree with a particular position articulated.

There are nine chapters in this monograph, the first one a rather good biography of Aquinas, and then eight more dealing with important philosophical topics in the corpus of Aquinas's writings. This book would probably fit under what today is often referred to as "Analytical Thomism. As a sidelight, this reviewer has found that the best overall intellectual biography of Thomas is found in Simon Tugwell's Albert and Thomas Shields and Pasnau work structurally with Aquinas's writings using as an interpretative paradigm--what the authors refer to as "Aquinas's Explanatory Framework"--Aristotle's four-fold theory of causality, the ever-famous "material, formal, efficient and final causes.

Following a chapter elucidating the "Explanatory Framework," the remaining seven chapters treat substantively a the metaphysical account of being, b the existence and nature of God, c the order of the universe, d the human person with a soul and a body, e the philosophy of mind with sense and intellect, f the overall goal of living a human life, and g moral theory with a consideration of natural law and the virtues.

A History of Philosophy - 22 Early Medieval Philosophy

One notices that the thrust of this text focuses attention on the philosophical themes found in Aquinas and not on the more theological issues contained in the biblical commentaries or in, for instance, the Tertia Pars of the Summa Theologiae. One interpretive principle that Aquinas used throughout is the phrase: "Seldom affirm a proposition, never deny a proposition, always make a distinction.

For example, in the discussion of matter and form, a distinction is offered regarding the concept of "matter as potency" between a "potency" and a "possibility.

Robert Pasnau (University of Colorado, Boulder): Publications - PhilPeople

Another conceptual confusion often rendered about medieval philosophers--and Aquinas in particular--concerns the ontological structure of an Aristotelian primary substance. The structure of such an entity is in terms of matter and form. The form provides the structure or organization for the material objects that make up the house.

Yet part of this footnote is a promissory note for a more developed analysis in a later chapter. For Aquinas, a primary substance--the individual of a natural kind that is the principal ontological category in Aquinas's world--is always a living thing and never an artifact. Too often commentators on Aquinas argue as if there is no difference between a structured pile of bricks made into a house and a living daffodil bulb or a prancing Morgan horse.

Aquinas on Mind (Topics in Medieval Philosophy)

Aquinas argues that only the latter living entities are primary substances. This squares with what Aristotle wrote in the Posterior Analytics about a predicate "said of" a subject and another predicate "found in" a subject. Only the former part of this distinction describes a real primary substance; the other part of this distinction accounts for a bunch of objects with material properties--a pile of bricks--with no organic structure.

An artifact--a table, chair or beer can--is nothing more than a bundle of material properties. The similarities with Berkeley and Hume are obvious. Emphasis in this book on the concept of "being" depends upon Aquinas's early text, De Ente et Essentia. Aquinas is a realist, so these authors argue, and not a conventionalist.

This is in opposition to several Post-Modern Thomists like Pickstock who wish to render Aquinas's positions closer to conventionalism. Diagrams in this chapter on these ontological issues are most useful. This review places emphasis on the metaphysical, epistemological and moral issues treated by Thomas and skips over the chapter devoted to Aquinas's proofs for God's existence.

The chapter on the order of the universe rightly places emphasis on the Neoplatonic character of much of Aquinas's metaphysical theory: while Aquinas is certainly an Aristotelian at heart, nonetheless the fundamental ontological issues associated with the nature of "being" move consistently towards Neoplatonism.

These foundational issues are spelled out nicely in this text. What this reviewer found interesting is the authors' almost total metaphysical direction towards the texts of Aquinas found in the Summa Contra Gentiles. The explicatio textus of Aquinas's treatment of the problem of universals is very useful for students of Aquinas digging into the rich lode that is Aquinas's ontology.