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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 94
The Philosophical Legacy of John Henry Newman

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1. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 94 > Issue: 1
John F. Crosby Preface to Special Issue: The Philosophical Legacy of John Henry Newman
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2. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 94 > Issue: 1
John F. Crosby What Newman Can Give Catholic Philosophers Today
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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.”
3. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 94 > Issue: 1
Keith Beaumont “Real” and “Notional” in Newman’s Thought
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Newman’s constant preoccupation with “connectedness” leads him to explore and to insist upon the importance of the relationship between the “notional” and the “real,” and therefore of that between theology and philosophy, on the one hand, and spirituality (in the sense of lived spiritual experience) and morality or ethics, on the other. This paper explores Newman’s expression of these ideas, firstly in his sermons and theological writings, and finally in the more philosophical context of the Grammar of Assent.
4. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 94 > Issue: 1
Robert E. Wood The Heart in Newman’s Thought
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Newman’s view of the heart corresponds with the recent Catechism of the Catholic Church. His motto, Cor ad cor loquitur, exhibits his central religious preoccupation. There are three factors involved in religious existence: intellectual apprehension, emotional realization, and moral action. The center, located in the heart, is typically considered secondary: clear conception and moral action are all that is required. For Newman, this is truncated religion, for religion has its deepest root in the heart. Here is where he considers conscience. Like taste and common sense, it is an intellectual virtue; but unlike the former, it is always emotional. It is a privileged place of relation to God, the Supreme Judge. A peculiar set of emotional matters cluster around this relation. It plays in relation to the work of intellect as theology in relation to devotion. This exhibits an instance of the larger relation between notional and real assent. The latter deals with concrete matters and is a relation of “the whole person.” Its aim is to realize what we already accept. That may occur organically through experience, but it can also be invoked meditatively in solitude. Imagination is the chief vehicle of that realization.
5. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 94 > Issue: 1
Timothy B. Noone St. John Henry Newman, Cardinal Matthew of Aquasparta, and Bl. John Duns Scotus on Knowledge, Assent, Faith, and Non-Evident Truths
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While working on various medieval philosophers, I have noticed an affinity between their remarks on the reasonableness of accepting propositions that are not matters of proof and strict deduction and St. John Henry Newman’s remarks that we accept unconditionally and rightly everyday ordinary propositions without calibrating them to demonstrable arguments. In particular, Cardinal Matthew of Aquasparta and Blessed John Duns Scotus both claim there is a sense in which assent to everyday propositions is tantamount to knowledge (scientia), even though there is no adequate argumentation or demonstrative reasoning compelling us to assent to such propositions. Newman’s distinction between notional and real apprehension of propositions, notional and real assents, and his insistence on the existence of real assents to propositions that are not necessarily proved, or in some cases provable, seem, at first glance, a case parallel to that of the medieval philosophers we have mentioned.
6. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 94 > Issue: 1
William A. Frank Aesthetic Rationality: Notes on an Affinity between Newman and Scotus
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Despite Newman’s negligible direct familiarity with the works and thought of John Duns Scotus, there has been recent discussion of affinities between the two along a range of philosophical approaches and sensibilities. These notes introduce the thesis that both Scotus and Newman share a disposition to appeal to aesthetic rationality when it comes to asserting certain basic truths critical to Christian understanding. Recent Scotus studies have demonstrated the deep and pervasive presence of the aesthetic dimension in Duns Scotus’s thought. In the latter half of this paper I argue for the importance of aesthetic rationality in understanding Newman’s illative sense, which is perhaps his most important contribution to philosophical thought.
7. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 94 > Issue: 1
Joe Milburn Newman’s Skeptical Paradox: Certainty, Proof, and Fallibility
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John Henry Newman starts the second half of the Grammar of Assent by laying out a “paradox,” and he announces that the purpose of the following chapters of the book is to resolve it. Surprisingly, recent scholarship has tended not to question the nature of this paradox. In this paper, I argue that we should understand Newman’s paradox to be a kind of skeptical paradox that arises when we accept “Lockean rationalism.” I then show how Newman deals with the paradox. One of the upshots of this reading is that “naturalism” plays a smaller role in Newman’s anti-skepticism than previous commentators have suggested. Another is that we should understand Newman to be a kind of infallibilist.
8. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 94 > Issue: 1
Frederick D. Aquino Towards a Broader Construal of Evidence: A Constructive Look at John Henry Newman
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John Henry Newman’s philosophical reflection on the nature of faith and its relation to evidence is fascinating, complex, and slightly misleading; yet it shows constructive promise. In particular, I argue that his broader construal of reason should concomitantly play out in a broader construal of evidence. Accordingly, I show how Newman’s distinction between different modes of reasoning informs his understanding of the relationship between faith and evidence. I conclude with three areas that deserve further epistemological attention and development: namely, a more expansive construal of evidence in light of Newman’s broader account of reason, a more constructive understanding of the relationship between his cumulative, though informal, approach and natural theology, and whether his account of faith and evidence operates with a kind of phenomenal conservatism.
9. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 94 > Issue: 1
Logan Paul Gage Newman’s Argument from Conscience: Why He Needs Paley and Natural Theology After All
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Recent authors, emphasizing Newman’s distaste for natural theology—especially William Paley’s design argument—have urged us to follow Newman’s lead and reject design arguments. But I argue that Newman’s own argument for God’s existence (his argument from conscience) fails without a supplementary design argument or similar reason to think our faculties are truth-oriented. In other words, Newman appears to need the kind of argument he explicitly rejects. Finding Newman’s rejection of natural theology to stem primarily from factors other than worries about cogency, however, I further argue that there is little reason not to pursue design arguments in order to save the argument from conscience.
10. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 94 > Issue: 1
Cyril O’Regan Newman on Natural and Revealed Religion
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This essay reflects on Newman’s famous analyses of natural and revealed religion and their relation in the tenth and final chapter of the Grammar of Assent. There are two lines of reflection, the first internalist, the second externalist. On the first front, the essay draws attention to how conscience plays a foundational role in Newman’s discussion of natural religion and how it helps to distinguish it from the “religion of civilization,” which Newman considers to be a rationalist substitute for the real religion. If natural religion is structurally grounded in conscience, it is historically illustrated in paganism and primitive religions to the extent to which these come to light in the modern age. Crucially, natural religion has significant content that is endorsed and recalibrated in revealed religion. It uncovers God as Judge and discloses humanity both to be under judgment and hoping for reconciliation through a mediator. The second and more externalist line of reflection draws attention to how Bishop Joseph Butler’s classic Analogy of Religion (1736) provides the basic frame for Newman’s reflection on natural and revealed religion and their relation.