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1. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 89 > Issue: 2
Patrick Toner On Departing Hominization
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It is a matter of dispute whether St. Thomas Aquinas accepted the doctrine of “departing hominization.” Departing hominization is the view that in the process of human death, the rational soul departs first, leaving a mere animal ensouled by a sensitive soul, and then the sensitive soul departs, leaving a corpse. This would be a surprising thing for St. Thomas to believe, but he does appear to endorse the view in at least one place. I argue that he does not, in fact, accept departing hominization, and explain how the recalcitrant text should be understood.
2. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 89 > Issue: 2
Paul Symington The Analogical Logic of Discovery and the Aristotelian Epistemic Principle: A Semantic Foundation for Divine Naming in Aquinas
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In this paper, I focus on the important semantic components involved in analogy in hopes of providing an epistemic ground for predicating names of God analogously. To this task, I address a semantic/epistemic problem, which concludes that the doctrine of analogy lacks epistemological grounding insofar as it presupposes a prior understanding of God in order to sufficiently alter a given concept to be proportionate to God. In hopes of avoiding this conclusion, I introduce Aquinas’s specifically semantic aspects that follow after the real distinction between a thing’s esse and its essence or form in the context of analogy and show that the ratio of a term can be altered in a way proportionate to a consideration of the mode of being of God.
3. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 89 > Issue: 2
Matthew Schaeffer The Thick-Esse /Thin-Essence View in Thomistic Personalism
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The thick-esse /thin-essence view asserts that esse—the act of existing—constitutes all of the ontological positivity, perfection, and intelligibility of a being, while essence is simply an internal limitation or mode of the esse of a being. In this paper I (i) explain why Fr. W. Norris Clarke’s Thomistic personalism relies on the thick-esse /thin-essence view; (ii) acknowledge three objections to the thick-esse /thin-essence view; (iii) reply to these objections; and (iv) provide a positive argument (or case) for the thick-esse /thin-essence view. I conclude that Clarke’s reliance on a thick-esse /thin-essence view does not militate against his Thomistic personalism; on the contrary, it militates in its favor. In order to reach this conclusion, though, I make it clear that the details of Clarke’s thick-esse /thin-essence view must be modified to fall in line with the details of William E. Carlo’s thick-esse /thin-essence view.
4. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 89 > Issue: 2
Hans Feichtinger “Nothing Rash Must Be Said”: Augustine on Pythagoras
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Augustine comments on Pythagoras in many of his works. The early dialogues can speak very positively about the ancient philosopher; later, Augustine’s remarks become more nuanced. Still, he always reserves a certain respect for Pythagoras, which is significant as Pythagoras was a symbolic figure in Neoplatonic attempts to provide a philosophical understanding of Greco-Roman religion. Despite the differences between Christian and Pythagorean theology (understood as philosophical way of speaking about God), Augustine underlines those traits in Pythagoras’s thinking that distinguish him from other philosophical and popular views on questions of religion and “natural theology.” In accordance with his own Christian concept of the need for mediation and grace, Augustine appreciates in particular Pythagoras’s humility, best expressed in not calling himself “wise” but rather a “philosopher.” Augustine’s views on Pythagoras, while evolving, always remain balanced and provide a good example of how he relates to pre-Christian philosophers in general.
5. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 89 > Issue: 2
Michael Barnwell The Problem with Aquinas’s Original Discovery
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Jacques Maritain asserted that Aquinas’s explanation of sin’s origin is “one of the most original of his philosophical discoveries.” In this explanation, Aquinas traces the origin of sin back to the will’s defect of failing to consider or use the rule of divine law. To succeed, Aquinas must show how this defect is both voluntarily caused by the agent and non-culpable despite its serving as the origin for sin. (If it were culpable, a non-explanatory regress would ensue.) Aquinas’s “original” solution hinges on his claim that the will is not always morally obligated to consider or use the rule. When Aquinas’s texts are closely examined, it becomes apparent that his explanation admits of two different interpretations. In this paper, both interpretations are scrutinized and found to be problematic. Despite its originality and courage in addressing what many consider inexplicable (namely, sin), Aquinas’s attempt seems not to be a successful discovery.
6. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 89 > Issue: 2
Lynda Gaudemard Disposition and Latent Teleology in Descartes’s Philosophy
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Most contemporary metaphysicians think that a teleological approach to mereological composition and the whole-part relation should be ignored because it is an obsolete view of the world. In this paper, I discuss Descartes’s conception of individuation and composition of material objects such as stones, machines, and human bodies. Despite the fact that Descartes officially rejected ends from his philosophy of matter, I argue, against some scholars, that to appeal to the notion of disposition was a way for him to maintain teleological reference within a mechanistic conception of nature. Through a study of Descartes’s texts, I also want to make clear why it might be difficult to entirely ignore teleological notions, when one wants to account for composition and unity of material objects.
7. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 89 > Issue: 2
Samuel Kahn Is the Final Chapter of the Metaphysics of Morals also the Final Chapter of the Practical Postulates?
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In this paper I trace the arc of Kant’s critical stance on the belief in God, beginning with the Critique of Pure Reason (1781) and culminating in the final chapter of the Metaphysics of Morals (1797). I argue that toward the end of his life, Kant changed his views on two important topics. First, despite his stinging criticism of it in the Critique of Pure Reason, by the time of the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant seems to endorse the physico-theological argument. Second, some time around the publication of the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant seems to move away from the argument for the practical postulates.
book reviews
8. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 89 > Issue: 2
Dennis L. Sepper Imagination and Postmodernity. By Patrick L. Bourgeois
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9. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 89 > Issue: 2
Philip Rolnick Unlocking Divine Action: Contemporary Science and Thomas Aquinas. By Michael J. Dodds, O.P.
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10. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 89 > Issue: 2
Patrick Toner Scholastic Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction. By Edward Feser
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