Getting a grip on the philosophies of Thomas Aquinas: A defense of systematic reconstruction

Faith and Philosophy 18 (1):50-60 (2001)

Abstract

Because many of Aquinas’s most distinctive philosophical claims are embedded in theological works, in order to see what his philosophy comes to it is necessary to do a great deal of extracting and reconstructing. A major school of interpretation, however, cautions that such efforts are misguided, since Aquinas’ philosophy and theology are inextricably bound together. We respond that some versions of this inseparability thesis are too strong to be true and the remainder too weak to stand in the way of renewed efforts to identify Aquinas’ pure philosophical systems. Nonetheless, a good deal is to be learned about Aquinas (and about other religious philosophers) by pondering the inseparablist challenge to rational reconstruction

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