After Aquinas: versions of Thomism by Fergus Kerr

By Fergus Kerr

This consultant to the main fascinating paintings that has lately seemed on Aquinas displays the revival of curiosity in his paintings. Written by way of one of many most suitable Roman Catholic theologians at the moment writing in English. bargains a consultant to the main attention-grabbing paintings that has lately seemed on Aquinas, reflecting the revival of curiosity in his paintings. Brings jointly in a single quantity, a number perspectives that experience formerly purely been available via assorted books, articles, and periodicals. Represents a huge revisionist therapy of Thomism and its importance, combining helpful exposition with unique, inventive pondering. deals scholars, in a single quantity, all of the fabric invaluable for a rounded knowing of Aquinas.

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Descartes did not go nearly far enough. We can be certain of the ‘presupposition’ that we are real only because God has been revealed to us as our Creator. Neither Cartesian doubt nor Cartesian certainty goes anything like deep enough. But the question is whether by accepting the problem of the existence of the external world in these terms (presupposition, hypothesis, consciousness, the first person viewpoint, certainty and all the rest) – without the slightest protest or even under erasure – Barth has not conceded everything to Descartes already.

In retrospect, indeed even at the time, the course was obviously designed to overcome the Cartesian/empiricist inheritance with which budding theologians were assumed to be burdened; explicitly, Ernst sought to retrieve the premodern understanding of the soul to be found in Thomas. We were invited, at the start, to write an essay on ‘the visibility of the soul’. This trapped us into arguing, on introspectionist grounds, that a human being’s soul is naturally invisible – visible only to God. 9 In short, it would take the discipline of being subjected to Wittgenstein’s exposure of the absurdities of assuming that the interior life is radically private to prepare us to understand Thomas Aquinas’s pre-Cartesian account of the human mind and will.

Looking for a way out of this ‘egocentric predicament’, Putnam appeals to a statement by John McDowell: ‘We need to stand firm on the idea that the structure of elements that constitutes a thought, and the structure of elements that constitutes something that is the case, can be the very same thing’. 27 Many others speak in similar terms. Long ago, in a pioneering and now classic study, Bernard Lonergan spoke of ‘knowing by identity’ as the ‘theorem of immaterial assimilation’. 98). M. 30 In brief, looking for an alternative to modern philosophical claims to the effect that we never see the world immediately but always through intervenient entities of some kind (thus opening scepticism about whether things really are as they appear to us), these philosophers look to the natural or naive realism which sees no need for any such intermediaries between us and the world.

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