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International Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 58, Issue 2, June 2018

Gaven Kerr
Pages 175-189

The Immediate Realism of Léon Noël

After the emergence of the neo-Thomist movement in the early twentieth century, the question of how best to present Aquinas’s latent epistemological realism came to the fore. Léon Noël was an important contributor to this area of neo-Thomism, but his work has unfortunately been eclipsed by that of other more recognizable authors such as Etienne Gilson and Jacques Maritain. Noël argued that Aquinas’s realism is a form of immediate realism that recognizes the challenge of modern representationalist epistemologies but does not succumb to non-realist ways of thinking. Hence Noël presented immediate realism as an epistemological position that is inspired by Aquinas but also capable of addressing philosophical concerns that emerged after his death. In this article I present Noël’s view as interesting in its own right and capable of engaging with contemporary non-Thomist trends in epistemology.

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