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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 83, Issue 3, Summer 2009
Contemporary Thomisms

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1. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 83 > Issue: 3
Peter M. Candler, Jr. Introduction
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2. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 83 > Issue: 3
Ralph McInerny Why I Am a Thomist
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Like any other product of human thought, a philosophical system is conditioned by the contingent circumstances of its origins, and especially by sense experience, the origin of all human cognition. Catholic philosophy, moreover, is conditioned by the doctrine of the Church. Because both sense experience and the Catholic faith are true to their respective objects, and because truth for one is truth for all, the conditioning of Catholic philosophy by its contingent origins does not entail a lack of universal validity. Such validity is in fact possessed by St. Thomas’s system, which is faithful both to Catholic doctrine and to the concrete facts of everyday experience.
3. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 83 > Issue: 3
David Burrell, C.S.C. A Postmodern Aquinas: The Oeuvre of Olivier-Thomas Venard, O.P.
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The oeuvre of Olivier-Thomas Venard, O.P. offers a sensitive delineation of the central role which Aquinas gives to language and its careful composition in pursuing his intellectual inquiry. By suggesting a way of aligning “medieval” modes of inquiry with “postmodern,” this study brings to light the inescapable role which the language of religious expression plays in Aquinas’s manner of leading us to understand recondite matters which he avows we are able at best to “imperfectly signify.” All of this contributes to the strategy of manuductio for which his work is celebrated, as well as accounting for the chiseled clarity of expression which continues to impresscommentators on his work and clearly distinguishes him from erstwhile peers. This manner of expression itself offers witness to that radical intellectual asceticism celebrated by Pierre Hadot: a benignly “postmodern” expression.
4. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 83 > Issue: 3
Matthew Levering Biblical Thomism and the Doctrine of Providence
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How should contemporary Thomistic theologians speak of providence and predestination? This essay suggests that St. Catherine of Siena’s approach to the doctrine provides a model for Thomistic theology today. After examining biblical teaching and the guidelines proposed by the Catechism of the Catholic Church, I explore in some detail the positions of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Jacques Maritain, both of whom sought to overcome what they perceived to be difficulties in the Thomistic account of predestination. I conclude by proposing a retrieval of the perspective of St. Catherine of Siena.
5. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 83 > Issue: 3
Fred Lawrence Lonergan’s Retrieval of Thomas Aquinas’s Conception of the Imago Dei: The Trinitarian Analogy of Intelligible Emanations in God
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This paper sets forth and advocates Bernard Lonergan’s understanding of Aquinas’s use of “intelligible emanations” as an analogy for processions in the Trinity. It argues that some of Lonergan’s views on consciousness, understanding, phronesis, and judgement are similar to views expressed in Hans-Georg Gadamer’s Truth and Method and John Henry Newman’s An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent.
6. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 83 > Issue: 3
Eileen C. Sweeney Seeing Double: Thomas Aquinas and the Problem of Modernity through the Continental Lens
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This essay focuses on three interpretations of Aquinas influenced by Continental philosophy, those of John Caputo, Jean-Luc Marion, and John Milbank/Catherine Pickstock. The essay considers the well-worn question, whether Aquinas is an onto-theologian in Heidegger’s sense, but looks more broadly at the point of contact common to these interpretations: Aquinas’s relationship to modernity.As Continental thought has put into question the nature of philosophy through a critical look at modern philosophy—questioning its self-representation as progress and characterizing the present as post-modern—Aquinas is of interest to Continental thought in his anti-modernity. The author considers three issues: (1) What does Continental philosophy bring to the study of Aquinas missing from analytic approaches? (2) What is highlighted about Aquinas as he is seen by Caputo, Marion, and Milbank/Pickstock? (3) Can Aquinas escape both the limitations of modernism and the deconstruction of postmodernism, as some claim, and would he want to?
7. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 83 > Issue: 3
Kevin L. Flannery, S.J. The Division of Action in Thomas Aquinas
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Aquinas accepts that (i) some kinds of voluntary action are (qua voluntary) “basic,” not divisible into (non-fictional) further kinds; (ii) a concrete individual action may belong to more than one basic kind; (iii) the basic kinds to which it belongs are determined by the agent’s intentions qua performing the action; (iv) some intentions may stand to others as means to ends; (v) there can be concrete individual actions in which the agent’s intended means are disordered with respect to the ends; (vi) such actions are morally wrong; (vii) whether a given intention is disordered as means to a given end is determined solely by the natures of the agent and of the intended means or ends. Together, these propositions entail that, pace many analytic philosophers, concrete individual actions can have a moral wrongness that consists neither in expectation of disutility nor in violation of the pure logic of practical reason.
8. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 83 > Issue: 3
Tracey Rowland Augustinian and Thomist Engagements with the World
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Neither Augustine nor Aquinas can accept a political order in which religious doctrine as such is barred from serving as an explicit basis of political, legal, and economic norms. Certain twentieth-century commentators indebted (wittingly or not) to Kantianism or to other Enlightenment ideologies ignored this fact, or minimized its importance. Aquinas was misread as a forerunner of modern liberal democracy; Augustine was portrayed, with equal injustice, as seeking to dissuade Christians from participation in the political arena. In reality, the political philosophy of each is consistent with a robust Christian presence in the public square, and is incompatible both with theocracy and with the modern secular state. A better understanding of the distance separating these philosopher-theologians from some of their prominent twentieth-century commentators may shed light on the history of the reception of Vatican II’s Gaudium et spes.
9. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 83 > Issue: 3
Books Received
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