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A Robust Realism for Mature Theories 4. Theory-Dependence Vs. Consciousness and Reality 2. Reality of a Paradox to a Paradoxical Consciousness 3. Anti-Phenomenological Footings of Neuroscience Philosophy 7. Consciousness of Aspects of Phenomena Seeing Non-Epistemologically in the Analytic Tradition Phenomenological and Logical Support of Realism 4. Scientific Significance of Aspects of Phenomena 5. A Phenomenological Explanation of Historical Developments 7. Theory Vs. Theory-Neutral Observation 2.

Theory-Laden Observation and Observational Consciousness 4. Metaphysics Vs. Modal Logic and a Phenomenology of Observation 6. How Falsificationism is Ungrounded by Observation 5. Conjectures Vs. Commensurability: A Presupposition of Scientific Progress 2. The restorative revelation in question is—and Schall unhesitatingly affirms that it can only be—Christian: for Schall, the West's struggle with an ideological Islam appealing to the arbitrary that is, non-rational will of Allah, is, first of all, a struggle within Islam about whether its own economic and political marginalization must be attributed to untrue religious beliefs and faulty intellectual foundations.

Thomas's death. In this essay, Maurer traces Descartes's dream of a systematic science of clear and distinct ideas so important for modern conceptions of science to its historical antecedents in the late medieval nominalists, notably William of Ockham, who rejected Aquinas's doctrine that a science is unified in reference to its abstracted formal object. Similarly, Joseph Califano singles out for praise Maurer's lucid English translation and helpful annotation of Aquinas's Commentary on the de Trinitate of Boethius : the fifth and sixth question of this commentary explicitly treat the division of the three theoretical sciences physics, mathematics, and metaphysics by detailing the three kinds of abstraction from matter that the intellect can effect.

The nominalists, after eliminating universal intelligible natures and thus abstracted formal objects , had to find a new ground for the unity of a science. The way back to pre-modern epistemic certitudes, however, may not be so straight as Redpath hopes, even for convinced Thomists: Raymond Dennehy, rehearses—syncretizing their positions rather than clearly resolving—the exact issue between Maritain and Gilson.

The issue inflamed neo-Thomists for almost a hundred years. This is not to deny that Thomists need a cognitive theory explaining how we know the extra-mental world ; it is to say that it should not be conflated with critique essaying to demonstrate the conclusion that we do know the world. While perhaps not conflating them, Maritain—with Dennehy in tow—seems to think that the former is somehow a suitable and necessary stand-in for the latter.

For a vastly more developed and sustainable version of the latter position, which really does sublate the now rather faded neo-Thomist controversy, one can recommend total immersion in Lonergan. The critical illusion, Gilson repeated incessantly, is to imagine that one can attain some greater epistemic certitude than what is actually available at the very beginning.

Immediate cognitive contact with the extra-mental world is either a self-evident first principle or, as the history of modern philosophy proved to Gilson at least, a radically shaky, impossible to preserve, and, finally, utterly unreachable conclusion. To the very end, Gilson scorned Maritain's whole epistemological anxieties. On the contrary, Gilson always insisted that we attain the actus essendi only through judgment. The book—I mean to say with benignity—is an in-house laudation of Gilson: genial, almost wistful in recalling the magnificent scholar, superb teacher, and deeply Christian man.

Who could deny—and why would one want to? No mere intellectual giant though: Gilson, in his own life and in the polis , was capable of applying luminous theory to opaque practice; in , he served as a member of the French delegation to the conference writing the charter for the United Nations. Desmond Fitzgerald recalls the droll incident of Gilson speaking Russian to Molotov and his fellow Soviets—slyly, and to their chagrin, only at the very end of the Conference. This profound humanist, then, was a giant in many senses. Nonetheless, Gilson's intellectual contemporaries are not our contemporaries; ours are no longer so intimidated by the deceased giant.

Gilson backed into the Middle Ages and he always read the mediaevals with his eye on his contemporaries as well as the moderns—some have said with an eye too fixed on Heidegger's dubious history of the forgetfulness of being. Well, I am still confident that Gilson's astonishing historical scholarship, like those of the unsurpassably erudite nineteenth-century German classicists, will remain for a very long time a touchstone for all latter-day medievalists. Say that is true. I think it is; I am a Thomist, or try to be, and I have no illusion about being unequivocally included in the "some" my "most" requires for contrast.

All right. For whatever comfort it provides, we could equally well and truly say that most philosophers are pretty miserable thinkers, not exactly electric in the classroom and painfully narrow in their interests and information. Furthermore, it could be truly claimed that Thomists have a penchant for dismissing, under the guise of refuting, positions they do not comprehend, for pigeonholding real or imaginary adversaries, for racking up cheap victories over absent and unmet rivals before classrooms of perhaps impressed students.


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But as much can be said of most philosophers without qualification of school and persuasion. Now I am not impressed with the force of this tu quoque; the "So's your old man" argument may make sibling rivals out of just plain rivals but it doesn't redeem dear old Dad. What I want to get out of this unsettling parallel is simply this.

The real or considered failure of one's philosophical seniors is not as such an argument against philosophy; indeed, seriously to make this appraisal requires that one perform, and perform well, the activity he judges to be performed badly by those he criticizes.

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This is the paradox of anti-philosophy, insisted on from the beginning. By the same token, if one feels that he can seriously and without rancor or superbia vitae make the judgment about Thomists stated above, the conclusion to be drawn, I should think, is not that we must bid a fond or unfond adieu to Thomas Aquinas. One would be better advised to ask what, in the species of Thomism one reacts against, has gone wrong, wherein has it failed, what ameliorations in the response to the Church's invitation that we take Thomas as our guide are possible and desirable.

My uncle claims Thomas Aquinas was an existential philosopher. : ExistentialChristian

In a word, it seems to me, that for the Catholic the only valid criticism of the Thomism that is the going concern of a given day is the initiation of a more adequate, less flawed, more defensible Thomism. That is a claim that requires more than my hearty assurance, to be sure, and I shall be trying later to show that alternatives to this suggestion are not true options for the Catholic. It used to be said, some years back, and this was a serious suggestion which I don't wish to lampoon, that the ecclesiastical directives having to do with the role of St.

Thomas referred to seminaries and not to Catholic colleges whose clientele are laymen. The reason for the directives, the suggestion continued, lay in the fact that seminarians had to learn the language of the Scholastic theology they would later study. Even in those days when I felt a good bit less ironic on this question than I have subsequently become, it struck me as an odd notion that what by implication was treated as an inferior philosophy might be good enough for future priests but would hardly do for the laity.

This was long before the current ascendancy of the layman. The judgment that Scholastic philosophy is at best a vocabulary for theology at least exhibited a laudable sensitivity to the need for a precise language with which to confess our faith and reason about its contents. But, as even the proponents of this suggestion would doubtless have agreed, this is a poor defense of the traditional Catholic philosophy. I mention it now for several reasons.


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First, I do not regard this as the Church's real reason for preferring the philosophy of St. Second, it serves as a preparation for our later discussion of the paradox of Thomistic terminology. Why is it that courses in Thomism have sometimes seemed very much like courses in a foreign language, a kind of church Esperanto to be learned like any jargon? That this should have come about is a profound betrayal of St.

Thomas; its remedy can be found by having recourse to what I at least take to be the true philosophical significance of some current inquiries which are called phenomenological. Another kind of discussion that went on in more halcyon days, when it was not considered gauche to admit that the Church had indeed expressed Herself on the role of St.

Thomas, had to do with the degree of the individual Catholic's obligation to abide by the Church's wish. It is only a suggestion, it used to be said, we don't have to do things that way. I was reluctant then, and I am equally reluctant now, to discuss the presence, let alone the degree, of guilt in this attitude.

Perhaps some will find it indicative of galloping docility on my part, but I did find that a strange reaction and, in my simplicity, likened it to a child's acting contrary to the wishes of its parents simply because the wish had not been stated in the form of a command. Whence the delight in saying the advice was not binding and obligatory when it emanated from a source whose only concern is our welfare? And in the case of philosophy, what else could the Church wish to have fare well than our reason?


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  4. Isn't it obvious that, if the Church suggests we begin the study of philosophy with St. Thomas, the first and obvious basis for this advice would be to achieve the desired term of philosophizing? Normally when parents suggest one route among many to their children, it is because that route leads more surely to the goal.

    The Thomist: A Speculative Quarterly Review

    To take delight in the fact that one is not prevented, under penalty, from taking the long way round or a cul-de-sac is an elation I find it difficult to share. For Thomism can become a shield and an excuse: a shield against disturbing novelties and an excuse for intellectual lethargy. The opera omnia of Aquinas -- and here and there a few Thomists contacted Thomistic texts elsewhere than in citations in manuals -- were treated as if they were an encyclopedia. Somewhere in the more manipulable Parma, if not in the sandwich-board size volumes of the incomplete Leonine edition, was the answer to any question you could succeed in framing; like a lawyer preparing a brief, the dutiful Thomist was assured of his precedents; he had only to marshal the material to fit the special difficulty.

    When one wasn't struck by their diversity, one was assailed by the thought that Thomists constituted a kind of international Mafia or Cosa Nostra; the invitation to philosophize which, in the beginning, its attraction undiminished by our vague conception of what it was, seemed a call to a solitary and lonely enterprise suddenly became more like an enrollment in a fraternal elite.

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    One half expected to be taught the special handclasp. Once at a convention, after I had been teaching for a few years, a nun I had never met before, discovering my past broke into the most conspiratorial smile and whispered, "Ah, you're one of Charlie's boys! Small wonder that it all appears less than enticing to many.

    The Metaphysics of Gender: A Thomistic Approach

    There are not a few anthologies containing sections entitled "Marxism and Thomism. In case it should need overt mention, I wish to make it clear that, with respect to Thomism, I stand no nearer the obscurantist devotees than I do the kookie critics of it. For that is simply not the option and it never was. What I shall be arguing for in what follows is not the "official view"; I am not sure what it is, or indeed if there is one, in the areas we shall explore.

    The Creative Retrieval of Saint Thomas Aquinas: Essays in Thomistic Philosophy, New and Old

    Thomism has become institutionalized, there is no doubt about that, and it is a matter we shall discuss. But what I shall be doing is expressing one man's response to the clear invitation of the Church that he begin the study of philosophy with St. Thomas Aquinas. That is the side of the matter I shall stress. The invitation is addressed to you and the question is, what will your response be? There is no sense thinking the matter can be dissolved by a sociological analysis of Thomism as an institution.

    You can't let the matter go by arch observations on how they reacted to it. If I wanted to be timely, I could say I am going to stress the existential side of the question. I speak without authority, save that of my arguments and interpretations; I am not attempting to wrap myself in the mantle of orthodoxy, a corner of which I offer you for salvific cover.

    But I do hope to dissipate some of the nonsense that has spread over the land. Paint as black a picture as you like of the current situation of Thomism and I feel confident a few more daubs could be added. But remember that the same thing could be done with philosophy, period. The question remains, what next? In recent years a distinction has been drawn between the teaching of St.

    Thomas and the Thomistic tradition. Gilson and Fabro, with somewhat different emphases, have insisted on the distinction, both feeling that over the centuries what St. Thomas taught tended to become obscured and distorted in the writings of his followers. This may not seem to be a serious matter, but the fact is that some followers of Thomas greet the eye within the Leonine edition of Aquinas' two summae. Cajetan's commentary on the Summa theologiae and Sylvester of Ferrara's commentary on the Summa contra gentes are printed along with the texts they comment.

    Furthermore, both the Cursus philosophicus and the Cursus theologicus of John of St. Thomas have taken on a privileged status as authoritative expositions of the thought of the Angelic Doctor. It is easy to appreciate the dismay felt by one who thinks these commentators have distorted the thought of Aquinas to find their writings almost as accessible and prominent as those of St.

    Thomas himself. He would prefer to separate Thomas from the Thomistic tradition, to rescue Aquinas from his followers. Now there can be no question of our entering into this criticism here, but there is a variation on the suggested separation that we can argue for. If it is true that the favor the Church has shown Aquinas does not transfer automatically to his friends and commentators, it is equally true that we need not equate the role Aquinas is meant to play in our intellectual life with past or present curricular interpretations and implementations of that role.

    Someday, no doubt, an intrepid historian will be found who will undertake to describe what has happened to St. Manuals almost as lengthy as the Summa theologiae , written in Latin less graceful, played the role of middleman between the student and St. To be sure, they all endeavored to proceed ad mentem Divi Thomae and to encapsulate the thought of the master.

    But why, one has to wonder, should Thomas have been treated as if his own as I hope will emerge from the sequel, the author of the present essay writings were lost and only some fragments in the form of quotes, shored against our ruin?