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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 93, Issue 1, Winter 2019

Michael Barnwell
Pages 147-160

The Root of Sin is Still Undiscovered
A Counter-reply to Jensen

In “Aquinas’s Original Discovery: A Reply to Barnwell,” Steven Jensen offers five objections to my earlier claim that Aquinas’s explanation of the origin of sin, also known as his “original discovery,” does not succeed. In this paper, I quickly summarize Aquinas’s putative discovery and my initial criticism. I then begin to address Jensen’s five objections. The issue at hand between Jensen and myself largely rests upon disagreeing over the truth of a particular conditional; I claim the conditional is true whereas Jensen must hold it is false. I argue that Jensen’s five objections either fail to demonstrate the falsity of that conditional or pose other problems (such as limiting the scope of Aquinas’s discovery). I thus conclude that Jensen fails to vindicate Aquinas’s explanation of a sin’s origin as a viable, original discovery against my earlier critique.

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