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Displaying: 1-10 of 27 documents


presidential address
1. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 80
Anthony J. Lisska A Look at Inner Sense in Aquinas: A Long-Neglected Faculty Psychology
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This paper investigates Aquinas’s thought on the vis cogitativa, in order to determine whether Aquinas’s use of the inner sense of the vis cogitative is an embarrassment (as Dorothea Frede recently suggested), or whether it is rather an important element in Aquinas’s philosophy of mind that calls for serious study (as John Haldane argued several years ago in an ACPA plenary address). An examination of Aquinas’s theory of inner sense (as found in the Commentary on Aristotle’s De Anima) reveals that, for Aquinas, the vis cogitativa has two cognitive functions: (1) to be aware of an individual as an individual, and (2) to recognize an individual as a member of a kind. If Aquinas’ philosophy of mind did not include some account of the vis cogitativa, then it would not be able to accommodate what for Aquinas is a principal ontological category (namely, primary substance).
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2. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 80
Alexander Eodice Presentation of the Aquinas Medal
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3. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 80
Anthony Kenny Aquinas Medalist’s Address
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The author begins by observing that he has often been described as an analytical Thomist. He proceeds to argue that—regardless of what school one belongs to—genuine philosophical engagement with Aquinas’s texts means one should be both reverent and critical. If we are to consider the relevance of Aquinas’s thought for contemporary philosophy, the author suggests, the best way for us to write about Aquinas is the way in which he wrote about Aristotle: stating his views as clearly and sympathetically as possible, showing their connection with current concerns, and contesting them politely but firmly if they appear to be erroneous.
plenary sessions
4. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 80
Anthony Kenny The Beginning of Individual Human Life
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This paper explores the issue of when human life begins, giving special attention to the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas’s position is contrasted with the position defended by many Catholics today. After considering the evidence and a variety of arguments, the paper suggests that the individuated human being begins to exist at roughly fourteen days after the moment of conception.
5. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 80
John Haldane The Metaphysics of Intellect(ion)
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In the heyday of conceptual analysis philosophical psychology was practised without regard to the ontology of mind as that was associated with disputes between materialism and non-materialism. The rise of functionalism, however, led philosophical psychology in the direction of materialism, though with a residue deriving from phenomenal consciousness. This is now widely viewed as ‘the hard problem’ for physicalism and probably an insuperable one for it, raising the spectre of epiphenomenalism. I argue that in fact sensory consciousness is not the greatest challenge to materialism, for that lies with the conceptual intentionality of abstract thought. I make these points in connection with the views of Aquinas and consider two of his arguments (from ST, Ia, q. 75) for the immateriality ofintellectual acts. While finding one inadequate for reasons internal to the Thomist account of cognition, I defend the second against recent critics.
6. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 80
Kurt Pritzl The Place of Intellect in Aristotle
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This paper explores Aristotle’s account of the human intellect, with special emphasis on how this account relates to Aristotle’s treatment of nature. In his complex account of the intellect, Aristotle distinguishes very broadly between two types of intellection. One type (nous) involves the reception of what things are and is non-discursive in character, while the other type (dianoia) is the result of intellectual activity and is discursive in character. While Aristotle affirms that both types of thinking are distinctive and essential functions of the intellect, it is also clear that dianoia presupposes nous, insofar as dianoia assumes as given what nous has received. This paper also investigates Aristotle’s account of truth, arguing that the very principles of the intellect’s functioning are naturally given to the intellect. Given Aristotle’s account of the intellect as well as his account of truth and the principle of non-contradiction, one can see that, for Aristotle, nature has a primacy relative to the intellect.
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7. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 80
Jonathan J. Sanford Aristotle’s Divided Mind: Some Thoughts on Intellectual Virtue and Aristotle’s Occasional Dualism
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In this paper I focus on a few of the passages in the Nicomachean Ethics that challenge the standard hylomorphic interpretation of Aristotle’s anthropology. I proceed by reflecting on the manner in which Aristotle’s two ways of characterizing the human person follow from his accounts of the two most important intellectual virtues, phronesis and sophia. I attempt to argue for the following three points: first, that Aristotle’s presentation of a divided mind is the result of his consistency rather than inconsistency; second, that there is not a clear way found in his Nicomachean Ethics to overcome this dual anthropology without doing violence to his account of intellectual virtue; and third, that there are several reasons why this dual anthropology should not be regarded as an aporetic failure.
8. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 80
Jean De Groot A Husserlian Perspective on Empirical Mathematics in Aristotle
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Examples are presented of Aristotle’s use of non-idealized mathematics. Distinctions Husserl makes in Crisis help to delineate the features of this empiricalmathematics, which include the non-persistence of mathematical aspects of things and the selective application of mathematical traits and proper accidents. In antiquity, non-abstracted mathematics was involved with practical sciences that treat motion. The suggestion is made that these sciences were incorporated by Aristotle into natural philosophy without first being abstracted as pure mathematics—a state of affairs not envisioned by Husserl, for whom science recast natural ontology by means of the idealization of pure mathematics. The relation of empirical mathematics to life-world ontology is considered.
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9. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 80
Gloria Wasserman Thomas Aquinas on Truths About Nonbeings
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In De veritate I.2, Thomas Aquinas claims that “to every true act of understanding there must correspond some being and likewise to every being there corresponds a true act of understanding.” For Aquinas, the ratio of truth consists in a conformity between intellect and being. This account of truth, however, doesnot appear to allow for a certain class of truths, namely those that are about nonbeings. Many think that it is true that ‘no chimeras exist,’ that ‘blindness can becaused by exposure to bright lights,’ and that ‘evil should be avoided.’ Yet, in each of these cases of truth, there does not appear to be a being to which the intellectconforms. In this paper, I will explore the ways in which Aquinas’s notion of truth as “conformity to being” is able to accommodate truths about nonbeings.
10. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 80
Stephen Pimentel Formal Identity as Isomorphism in Thomistic Philosophy of Mind
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A central problem within an influential strand of recent philosophy of mind has been to explain the “conformity of mind to thing” that characterizes knowledge. John Haldane has argued that this problem can be best addressed by a development of Thomas Aquinas’s account of the “formal identity” of the knowing subject with the object known. However, such a development is difficult to present in a manner perspicuous to a contemporary audience. This paper seeks to present a persuasive account of formal identity, taking sensory cognition of the individual object as the primary case for examination. Formal identity is initially explored usingthe notion of encoding, or the systematic transfer of information reflecting efficient and formal causal processes. The mathematical notion of “isomorphism” is thenemployed to describe precisely the features of encoding needed for formal identity. Forms are defined as formally identical if and only if they are isomorphic.