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The Modern Schoolman

Volume 89
Theological Themes in Medieval Philosophy

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Displaying: 1-17 of 17 documents

1. The Modern Schoolman: Volume > 89 > Issue: 3/4
Jonathan D. Jacobs A Note from the Editor
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2. The Modern Schoolman: Volume > 89 > Issue: 3/4
Marilyn McCord Adams Evil as Nothing: Contrasting Construals in Boethius and Anselm
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Anselm inherited a Platonizing approach to philosophy from Augustine and Boethius. But he characteristically reworked what he found in their texts by questioning and disputing it into something more rigorous. In this paper, I compare and contrast Anselm’s treatment of the trope ‘evil is nothing, not a being’ withBoethius’s use of it in The Consolation of Philosophy. In the first section, I expose a fallacious argument form common to them both: paradigm Fness is identical with paradigm Gness; X participates in paradigm Fness and so is F; therefore, X participates in paradigm Gness and so is G. In the second section, I contrast Philosophy’s “strong medicine”—‘evil is nothing,’ ‘evil-doings are nothing,’ ‘evil humans do not exist’—with Anselm’s development of the point that injustice is a privation and so parasitic on the beings that are deprived. By contrast with Boethius, Anselm emphasizes that the willinstrument, will-power, the will’s action and turnings are something and so from God. Likewise, Anselm insists—pace Boethius—that Adam’s fallen race is still the human race. In the final section, I turnto Anselm’s distinction between injustice (iniustitia) and disadvantage (incommoda), his concession that some disadvantages are something, and his explanation of happiness in terms of advantage or bona sibi. For Anselm, happiness and justice break apart, so that it is possible in this world for the just to lack advantage. Moreover, in the world to come, the damned will suffer radical deprivation—not only of the justice, which they deserted, but of advantages. I contrastthis with Boethius’s insistence (based on the argument in section I) that virtue suffices for happiness and vice for unhappiness, and that there is no such thing as bad fortune. I conclude by pondering why Anselm treated disadvantage as a something rather than as a misfit between somethings.
3. The Modern Schoolman: Volume > 89 > Issue: 3/4
Richard Cross Duns Scotus and Analogy: A Brief Note
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Duns Scotus defends the view that we can speak univocally of God and creatures. When we do so, we use words in the same sense in the two cases. Scotus maintains that the concepts that these univocal words signify are themselves univocal: the same concept in the two cases. In this paper, I consider a related question: does Duns Scotus have the notion of analogous concepts—concepts whose relation to each other lies somewhere between the univocal and the equivocal? Using some neglected texts from Scotus’s attempt to refute Henry of Ghent’s rejection of univocity, I argue that he does, and that he uses his account of univocity to ground the relation of analogy between two concepts. According to Scotus, analogous concepts are compositional, and overlap at a univocal concept.
4. The Modern Schoolman: Volume > 89 > Issue: 3/4
John Kronen, Sandra Menssen Hylomorphism and Design: A Reconsideration of Aquinas’s Fifth Way
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Aquinas’s Fifth Way is usually taken to be an adumbration of Paley-like design arguments. Paley-like design arguments have fallen on hard times over the past few centuries, and most contemporary defenders of design arguments in support of theism favor some version of the fine-tuning argument. But fine-tuning designarguments, like Paley’s design argument, are consistent with atomism. And all such arguments are vulnerable to the objection that, given a long enough stretch of time and a sufficient number of universes, there would be no need to posit a designer. In this paper we argue that a deep understanding of Aquinas’s Fifth Way depends upon understanding his hylomorphic account of the nature of composite substance, an account that is inconsistent with atomism. We argue that if one grants hylomorphism, Aquinas’s Fifth Way is difficult to resist. And we defend Aquinas’s hylomorphism against several common objections.
5. The Modern Schoolman: Volume > 89 > Issue: 3/4
Thomas Williams Credo ut mirer: Anselm on Sacred Beauty
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Anselm had a particular interest in the art of painting. He saw a close analogy between physical beauty and rational beauty. Both can be represented—physical beauty by paintings, rational beauty through discourse—and Anselm was especially attentive to the possibility of misrepresentation. Deceptive rhetorical coloring can mislead; unworthy discourse can obscure the truth’s inherent beauty. Yet even when discourse does justice to the beauty it is intended to represent, Anselm places strict limits on the appeal to beauty. For beauty by itself is not reliably persuasive. To one who is already persuaded, however, an appreciation of the rational beauty of the truth strengthens understanding, giving the believer a first-hand feel for the truth that is unmediated by argument. Just as Anselm says Credo ut intelligam, I believe in order that I might understand, so too he could say Credo ut mirer, I believe in order that I might be awe-struck.
6. The Modern Schoolman: Volume > 89 > Issue: 3/4
Andreas Speer The Double Truth Question and the Epistemological Status of Theology in Late 13th Century Debates at Paris
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The double truth question is located at the center of an extensive debate on the relationship of theology and philosophy—on the epistemic order of reason and scientific knowledge on the one hand and revelation and faith on the other. While this field of tension has been a crucial topic for the self-perception of Christian theology ever since, the disputes largely intensified in the 13th century within the scope of both the growing influence of the rediscovered Aristotelianepistemology and the condemnation of 219 articles by the Parisian bishop Étienne Tempier. In this context, the present article investigates the accounts offered by Thomas Aquinas, Henry of Ghent, and Meister Eckhart, discusses their mutual relation, and traces significant aspects in their interpretation of the Early Christian authors Augustine and Boethius.
7. The Modern Schoolman: Volume > 89 > Issue: 3/4
Patrick Toner St. Thomas Aquinas on the Problem of Too Many Thinkers
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It has been argued that St. Thomas Aquinas’s anthropological views fall prey to the problem of “Too Many Thinkers.” The worry, roughly, is that his views entail that I—a human person—am able to think, but that my soul—which is not a human person—is also able to think. Hence, too many thinkers: there are too many ofus having my thoughts. In this paper, I show why this is not a problem for St. Thomas. Along the way, I also address Peter Unger’s argument for substance dualism.
8. The Modern Schoolman: Volume > 89 > Issue: 3/4
Giorgio Pini Scotus on Hell
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The existence of everlasting punishment has sometimes been thought to be incompatible with God’s goodness and omnipotence. John Duns Scotus focused on the key issue concerning everlasting punishment, i.e., the impossibility for the damned to repent of their evil deeds and so to obtain forgiveness. Scotus’s claimwas that such an impossibility is not logical but nomological, i.e., it depends on the rules God established to govern the world, specifically on what I call ‘the rule of the permanence of the last volition.’ Scotus does not try to defend God’s decision to implement the rule of the permanence of the last volition. I suggest, however, that that decision can be taken as an indication of God’s preference for a world where this life is given unique value as the only test rational creatures have to prove themselves as moral agents.
9. The Modern Schoolman: Volume > 89 > Issue: 3/4
Christina Van Dyke The End of (Human) Life as We Know It: Thomas Aquinas on Persons, Bodies and Death
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Is the being in an irreversible persistent vegetative state as the result of a horrible accident numerically identical to the human person, Lindsay, who existed before the accident? Many proponents of Thomistic metaphysics have argued that Aquinas’s answer to this question must be “yes.” In particular, it seems that Aquinas’s commitment to both Aristotelian hylomorphism and the unity of substantial form (viz., that each body/soul composite possesses one and only one substantial form) entails the position that the human person remains alive as long as biological life persists. I argue, however, that although Aquinas does possess a deeply integrated account of human nature and is indeed committed to the claim that the person, Lindsay, exists as long as Lindsay’s body lives, there is good reason to suppose that he also holds that the body in the PVS is not Lindsay’s body in anything more than an equivocal sense.
book review
10. The Modern Schoolman: Volume > 89 > Issue: 3/4
Steven J. Jensen The Problem of Negligent Omissions: Medieval Action Boethius and Anselm, Michael Barnwell
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11. The Modern Schoolman: Volume > 89 > Issue: 1/2
Jonathan D. Jacobs A Note From the Editor
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12. The Modern Schoolman: Volume > 89 > Issue: 1/2
Daniel Heider The Variety of Second Scholasticism: Introduction
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13. The Modern Schoolman: Volume > 89 > Issue: 1/2
Alfredo Culleton Second-Scholastic Philosophy of Economics: Tomás Mercado’s Theory of Just Price
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This article discusses the intricate relationship between moral theology and economics of the Second Scholasticism developed in the colonies. Its concrete topic is the theory of just price of Tomás de Mercado, who became a classic because of his direct and at the same time scholarly language. The topic of fair or just price, which is not new in scholastic moral theology, is treated by him in a philosophical manner, using an original view based on practical rationality which caused his work to be reprinted several times.
14. The Modern Schoolman: Volume > 89 > Issue: 1/2
Sydney Penner Rodrigo de Arriaga on Relations
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Arriaga is an early modern scholastic who recognizes the importance of relations to philosophical discussions. He offers a classification of different kinds of relations, focusing on the distinction between categorial relations and transcendental relations. I suggest that this distinction might be seen as akin to one version of the modern distinction between external and internal relations. Like Suárez, whom he characterizes as a “giant among the scholastics,” Arriaga offers a reductionist account of categorial relations. He criticises Suárez’s account, however, for formally identifying a relation with the foundation in one relatum, something Suárez does in order to preserve a real distinction between converse relations. Arriaga, in contrast, argues that a categorial relation is formally identical to the foundation and terminus. Arriaga gives less attention to transcendental relations, even though he thinks they are real relations, but I offer some suggestions for how he may be thinking about them.
15. The Modern Schoolman: Volume > 89 > Issue: 1/2
Daniel Heider John Poinsot (1589–1644) on the Universale Materialiter Sumptum: A Dual Viewpoint
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The paper deals with Poinsot’s ontology of universals presented not only in the Material Logic but also in the volume devoted to the Natural Philosophy of his Thomistic Philosophical Course. Currently, it takes into account also the often neglected Theological Course. The author states that there are two different positions as far as the issue of the ontology of universals is concerned, which prima facie lead to the doctrinal tension in Poinsot’s corpus. On one hand, in the Ars Logica, the extramental nature is said to be particularized and only virtually distinct from the individuating (metaphysical) grade. On the other, in the Philosophia Naturalis and the Cursus Theologicus, it is supposed to be common to the numerically different singulars and thus really different from individuation. The authorsolves this seeming contradiction by referring to two different levels of the analysis implicit in Poinsot’s treatment of the issue.
16. The Modern Schoolman: Volume > 89 > Issue: 1/2
Roberto Hofmeister Pich Alfonso Briceño (1587–1668) and the Controversiae on John Duns Scotus’s Philosophical Theology: The Case of Infinity
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The paper presents some basic tenets of the works by the Franciscan Friar Alfonso Briceño (1587–1668), as well as of his metaphysical thought. After offering the basic structure and purpose of his monumental Controversiae, we focus on a more specific way of seeing his philosophical and theological approach, namely Controversy 5 on the infinity of God. This will allow us to see the structure of his argumentation in philosophy and theology: after putting the formulation of controversial points between the Scotist and the Thomist school, he analyzes arguments against the Thomist position both in the Medieval and Baroque traditions, trying then to defend Duns Scotus’s account by a careful and articulated interpretation of his texts.
17. The Modern Schoolman: Volume > 89 > Issue: 1/2
Anna Tropia McCaghwell’s Reading of Scotus’s De Anima (1639): A Case of Plagiarism?
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In this paper the authors deals with the relation between the Irish Franciscan Hugh McCaghwell’s commentary on Scotus’s De anima (1639) and Suárez’s (1621). It is shown that the latter provided a model and a reference text for McCaghwell who reproduces the philosopher’s thought within his commentary. Moreover, the explicit and implicit quotations of Suárez are taken into account: far from admitting his debt, McCaghwell criticizes the philosopher when he does not seem to follow the Scotist path. The commentary’s sections analysed are those concerning the Scotist account of abstraction and the cognition of material substances.