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1. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 92 > Issue: 2
Beau Branson Ahistoricity in Analytic Theology
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Analytic theology has sometimes been criticized as ahistorical. But what this means, and why it is problematic, have often been left unclear. This essay explicates and supports one way of making that charge while simultaneously showing this ahistoricity, although widespread within analytic theology, is not essential to it. Specifically, some analytic theologians treat problematic doctrines as metaphysical puzzles, constructing speculative accounts of phenomena such as the Trinity or Incarnation and taking the theoretical virtues of such accounts to be sufficient in themselves to defend traditional doctrines with no need for additional, historical premises. But due to the different epistemic structures of metaphysical and theological puzzles, I argue that importing this methodology into philosophical theology results in invalid or question-begging arguments, and it is unclear how a virtue-centric methodology could be repaired without collapsing into a more historical methodology, which some of the best (but unfortunately not all) analytic theologians follow.
2. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 92 > Issue: 2
Brian T. Carl The Transcendentals and the Divine Names in Thomas Aquinas
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Interpreters of Aquinas tend to posit a seamless transition from knowledge of the transcendentals in the abstract to naming God as one, true, and good. Some even suggest that the convertibility of the transcendentals with being implies the unity, truth, and goodness of esse divinum. Others hold simply that the meaning and order of these divine names is founded upon the meaning of the transcendentals. This study: (1) explains why Aquinas avoids “transcendental arguments” for these divine names; (2) argues that truth and goodness, as divine names, are derived not only from the transcendental meanings of these terms but also from specific perfections: namely, truth of intellect and moral goodness; (3) shows that the order of these divine names in the two Summae (being, good, one, true) better reflects the order of the transcendentals as received perfections than their more familiar order in the abstract (being, one, true, good).
3. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 92 > Issue: 2
Matthew Kent Siebert Testimonial Trustworthiness: Truthfulness and Trust
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Believing someone is, as Elizabeth Anscombe said, “trusting him for the truth.” Recent accounts of how we trust speakers for the truth have given a central role to speaker trustworthiness but have said little about what speaker trustworthiness is. I argue that it is best to think of speaker trustworthiness as the virtue of truthfulness. I give an account of truthfulness, show how that account solves problems for other accounts of speaker trustworthiness, and then use my account to explain the epistemic benefits of trusting a truthful speaker.
4. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 92 > Issue: 2
Matthew Shea Aquinas on God-Sanctioned Stealing
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A serious challenge to religious believers in the Abrahamic traditions is that the God of the Old Testament seems to command immoral actions. Thomas Aquinas addresses this objection using the biblical story of God ordering the Israelites to plunder the Egyptians, which threatens to create an inconsistency among four of Aquinas’s views: (1) God did indeed command this action; (2) God is perfectly good and cannot command any evil actions; (3) the objective moral goodness or badness of actions is not based on arbitrary divine commands; and (4) the prohibition of theft is an immutable principle of the natural moral law. I examine Aquinas’s views on metaethics, stealing, justice, property, and collective responsibility to show that there is not a genuine inconsistency in his position, and that his strategy provides a helpful model for responding to the objection from divinely-sanctioned evil.
5. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 92 > Issue: 2
Daniel J. Simpson Reframing Aquinas on Art and Morality
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Can a work of art be defective aesthetically as art because it is defective morally? Étienne Gilson and Jacques Maritain both develop Thomistic accounts of the arts based on Aquinas’s distinction between the virtues of art and prudence, but they answer this question differently. Although their answers diverge, I will argue that both accounts make a crucial assumption about the metaphysics of goodness that Aquinas denies: that moral and aesthetic goodness are distinct species, not inseparable modes, of metaphysical goodness. I propose a new way to develop a Thomistic account of the arts that begins with Aquinas’s treatment of the three inseparable modes of metaphysical goodness: the virtuous, the useful, and the pleasant. This foundation seems metaphysically, methodologically, and explanatorily prior to the accounts of Gilson and Maritain, because art is a virtue, and virtue is related to goodness, and goodness is “divided” into three inseparable modes.
disputed question: are names said of god and creatures univocally?
6. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 92 > Issue: 2
Richard Cross Are Names Said of God and Creatures Univocally?
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7. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 92 > Issue: 2
Brian Davies, OP Are Names Said of God and Creatures Univocally?
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8. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 92 > Issue: 2
Richard Cross Richard Cross’s Response to Brian Davies
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9. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 92 > Issue: 2
Brian Davies, O.P. Response to Richard Cross on “Are Names Said of God and Creatures Univocally?”
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cepos discussion
10. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 92 > Issue: 2
Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco, OP Defending Adam After Darwin: On the Origin of Sapiens as a Natural Kind
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For many contemporary Christian theologians, evolutionary biology rules out any account of an Adam and Eve that would explain the origin of our species. In response, I propose that they have uncritically embraced the anti-essentialist presuppositions of the dominant scientific narrative for the origins of our kind. In fact, there are sound and robust reasons to think that human beings share an intrinsic essence that puts them into a natural kind. I also propose that our natural kind can be defined by our developmental capacity for language, which I suggest is needed for abstract thinking. Thus, it is still reasonable to trace the origins of our natural kind to an original individual. He would have been the first anatomically modern human to have evolved this capacity for hierarchical and non-linear language that allowed him to construct an abstract internal map of the world.