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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 94, Issue 1, Winter 2020

The Philosophical Legacy of John Henry Newman

John F. Crosby
Pages 5-26

What Newman Can Give Catholic Philosophers Today

In this article I explain various points of contact between Newman and the Catholic philosophical tradition. I begin with Newman’s personalism as it is found in the Grammar of Assent, especially in the distinction between notional and real assent, and in the distinction between formal and informal inference. Then I proceed to Newman’s personalism as it is found in his teaching on conscience and on doctrinal development. I then consider Newman as proto-phenomenologist and also as an Augustinian thinker. Finally, I discuss Newman’s teaching on moral and intellectual virtue in The Idea of a University. If I had to pick one utterance of Newman that epitomizes his philosophical thought in a way that engages Catholic philosophers, I would pick the motto of the Grammar of Assent: “Non in dialectica complacuit Deo salvum facere populum tuum.”