Studia Neoaristotelica

Volume 5, Issue 2, 2008

A Journal of Analytic Scholasticism

Petr Dvořák
Pages 185-196

Thomas Aquinas on Contingency in Nature
A Journal of Analytic Scholasticism

The paper deals with Aristotle’s argument against determinism and in favor of contingency in nature as interpreted by Thomas Aquinas. The case against determinism is based on the idea that there are properly uncaused accidental events in reality. This means that in case there is some coincidental future event e, one cannot trace an unbroken causal chain leading to e back to the present or the past. For a Christian Aristotelian, such as Aquinas, there arises a difficulty concerning divine foreknowledge and volitional determination of events of this sort. Thomas’s solution is based on the claim that the latter divine acts are not within the scope of modal determination (necessity/contingency).