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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

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published on December 24, 2019

William A. Frank

Aesthetic Rationality
Notes on an Affinity between Newman and Scotus

Despite Newman’s negligible direct familiarity with the works and thought of John Duns Scotus, there has been recent discussion of affinities between the two along a range of philosophical approaches and sensibilities. These notes introduce the thesis that both Scotus and Newman share a disposition to appeal to aesthetic rationality when it comes to asserting certain basic truths critical to Christian understanding. Recent Scotus studies have demonstrated the deep and pervasive presence of the aesthetic dimension in Duns Scotus’s thought. In the latter half of this paper I argue for the importance of aesthetic rationality in understanding Newman’s illative sense, which is perhaps his most important contribution to philosophical thought.

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