Written by a highly respected scholar of Thomas Aquinas's writings, this volume offers a comprehensive presentation of Aquinas's metaphysical thought. It is based on a thorough examination of his texts organized according to the philosophical order as he himself describes it rather than according to the theological order. -/- In the introduction and opening chapter, John F. Wippel examines Aquinas's view on the nature of metaphysics as a philosophical science and the relationship of its subject to divine being. Part One (...) is devoted to his metaphysical analysis of finite being. It considers his views on the problem of the One and the Many in the order of being, and includes his debt to Parmenides in formulating this problem and his application of analogy to finite being. Subsequent chapters are devoted to participation in being, the composition of essence and esse in finite beings, and his appeal to a kind of relative nonbeing in resolving the problem of the One and the Many. Part Two concentrates on Aquinas's views on the essential structure of finite being, and treats substance-accident composition and related issues, including, among others, the relationship between the soul and its powers and unicity of substantial form. It then considers his understanding of matter-form composition of corporeal beings and their individuation. Part Three explores Aquinas's philosophical discussion of divine being, his denial that God's existence is self-evident, and his presentation of arguments for the existence of God, first in earlier writings and then in the "Five Ways" of his Summa theologiae. A separate chapter is devoted to his views on quidditative and analogical knowledge of God. The concluding chapter revisits certain issues concerning finite being under the assumption that God's existence has now been established. -/- John F. Wippel, professor of philosophy at The Catholic University of America, was recently awarded the prestigious Aquinas Medal by the American Catholic Philosophical Association. In addition to numerous articles and papers, Wippel has coauthored or edited several other works, including Metaphysical Themes in Thomas Aquinas and The Metaphysical Thought of Godfrey of Fontaines, both published by CUA Press. (shrink)
THOMAS AQUINAS IS WELL-KNOWN for having defended the view that truth consists of an adequation between the intellect and a thing. Perhaps no discussion of this within his literary corpus is better known than that offered in qu. 1 of his Disputed Questions on Truth. Even so, in addition to describing truth as an adequation of the intellect and a thing, he there considers a number of other definitions. Most importantly, he develops a notion of truth of being along with (...) truth of the intellect. As various scholars have pointed out, prior to Thomas's time two general traditions regarding the nature of truth had already appeared. One is heavily neoplatonic and emphasizes truth of being. It was known to Aquinas especially through the writings of Augustine, Anselm, and Avicenna. The other, more Aristotelian, stresses truth as an adequation of mind and reality, or truth of the intellect. Both of these traditions deeply influenced Aquinas's own thinking, as we shall see. But he could and did appeal to a variety of earlier definitions of truth in developing his own view, and this suggests that the two traditions were not so opposed to one another in Thomas's mind as one might think. (shrink)
IN THIS study I shall concentrate on three leading philosophical and theological thinkers of the thirteenth century: Thomas Aquinas, Henry of Ghent, and Godfrey of Fontaines. Of these, Thomas Aquinas is surely the best known. But I have selected these three because their discussions of nonexisting possibles are sufficiently different from one another to illustrate some of the major solutions proposed to this issue at that time.
This article focuses on Cornelio Fabro’s understanding and presentation of Thomas Aquinas’s argumentation for a real distinction and composition of essence and an act of existing (actus essendi) in finite beings, a theory that is closely connected with Aquinas’s notion of transcendental participation. It examines Fabro’s division of Aquinas’s arguments into five gradually developing major approaches. Fabro offers an interesting interpretation of the argument offered by the youthful Aquinas in the often discussed De ente et essentia, c. 4, and finds (...) that in his mature writings Aquinas developed and relied ever more heavily on a proof based on participation. (shrink)
The author presents and compares Maritain’s and Aquinas’s accounts of our discovery (1) of being as existing; and (2) of being as being (ens inquantum ens or the subject of metaphysics). He finds that especially in his final discussion of how one discovers being as being, Maritain’s account suffers greatly from the absence of any appeal to Aquinas’s negative judgment of separation and also from the omission of reference to the role of judgments of existence in one’s discovery of a (...) premetaphysical notion of being. Wippel finds no evidence in Aquinas’s texts for Maritain’s defense of an intuition of being or of existence. (shrink)
Some attention has also been devoted to a particular kind of judgment or a particular form of the intellect’s second operation, sometimes named separatio by Thomas. Important editions of questions 5 and 6 of Thomas’s commentary on the De Trinitate of Boethius in 1948 and 1955 and the groundbreaking study by L. B. Geiger in 1947, all have set the stage for further emphasis on this distinctive type of intellectual operation when it comes to one’s discovery of being, or better, (...) of that notion of being that can serve as subject of a science of being as being rather than a science of being as material or as quantified. While this new development has remained largely unnoticed in certain regions of Thomistic scholarship for a number of years, it has been pursued in depth by other writers. At the same time, investigation of the same nicely dovetails with the renewed emphasis on existence and on judgment as the process required to discover being as existing to which we have referred above. For as will be seen below, at least one passage in Thomas’s commentary reinforces the contention that one must pass beyond simple apprehension to the mind’s second operation or to judgment if one is to grasp being explicitly as existing. This particular point, however, is not our primary concern here. (shrink)
IN A STUDY PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED in this journal, I concentrated on Thomas Aquinas's theory of truth of being. Using a text from book 1, dist. 19, qu. 5, art. 1 of the commentary on the Sentences as my point of departure, I attempted to discern Thomas's answer to this question: If truth is assigned to things only analogically because of their ability to cause truth in the intellect, is truth formally and intrinsically present in things themselves or only in the (...) intellect? Without repeating the details of my analysis here, my conclusion was that, having introduced appropriate distinctions, Thomas holds that truth is formally and intrinsically present in things themselves. But this applies to truth only when it is taken broadly, not when it is taken strictly. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to discuss Norman Kretzmann's account of Aquinas's discussion of will in God. According to Kretzmann, Aquinas's reasoning seems to leave no place for choice on God's part, since, on Aquinas's account, God is not free not to will Himself. And so this leads to the problem about God's willing things other than Himself. On this, Kretzmann finds serious problems with Thomas's position. Kretzmann argues that Aquinas should have drawn necessitarian conclusions from his account of (...) divine will. Moreover, in light of one reading of De veritate, q. 24, a. 3, but one not accepted by the Leonine edition, Kretzmann also maintains that Aquinas practically conceded this necessitarian view of God's creative activity in that text. My purpose will be, after presenting Kretzmann's presentation and defence of Aquinas's attribution of will to God, to examine critically his claim that Thomas should have concluded that God is not free not to create, and to determine whether a stronger argument can be made in support of Aquinas's position in light of his texts. (shrink)
Both Aquinas and Siger were familiar with a fundamental disagreement within the earlier philosophical tradition concerning the subject of metaphysics: Is it being as being, or is it divine being? If Avicenna represented one approach to this issue, and Averroes another, both Thomas and Siger were closer to Avicennathan to Averroes in their respective solutions. Nonetheless, each resolved the issue in a distinct way. Also contested in the earlier tradition was the question of whether it belongs to physics or to (...) metaphysics to demonstrate the existence of God. Again, Avicenna represents one side on this issue, and Averroes the other. Thomas’s personal position continues to be debated by contemporary scholars, and Siger’s seems to fall between those proposed by Avicenna and Averroes.Finally, Aquinas is credited with having developed a new and unique way of accounting for the discovery of being as being, through a process known as separatio; though there are antecedents for this in Avicenna. (shrink)
The third collection of Msgr. Wippel's essays on the metaphysical thought of Thomas Aquinas, covering topics such as the discovery of metaphysics by a special form of judgment, the relationship between faith and reason in the preambles of faith, the distinction between essence and "esse," and participation.
Both Aquinas and Siger were familiar with a fundamental disagreement within the earlier philosophical tradition concerning the subject of metaphysics: Is it being as being, or is it divine being? If Avicenna represented one approach to this issue, and Averroes another, both Thomas and Siger were closer to Avicenna than to Averroes in their respective solutions. Nonetheless, each resolved the issue in a distinct way. Also contested in the earlier tradition was the question of whether it belongs to physics or (...) to metaphysics to demonstrate the existence of God. Again, Avicenna represents one side on this issue, and Averroes the other. Thomas’s personal position continues to be debated by contemporary scholars, and Siger’s seems to fall between those proposed by Avicenna and Averroes. Finally, Aquinas is credited with having developed a new and unique way of accounting for the discovery of being as being, through a process known as separatio; though there are antecedents for this in Avicenna. (shrink)
This volume contains a series of papers which were presented at the 22nd Mediävistentagung held at Cologne, 3-6 September, 1980. It includes a forward by A. Zimmerman, and the following studies: W. P. Eckert, on legends about Albert the Great; F. J. Kovach, on the infinity of the divine essence and divine power according to Albert; J. I. Saranyana, on Albert's contribution to the doctrine of actus essendi; R. McInerny, on Albert and Thomas on Theology; W. J. Hoye, on salvation (...) and resurrection in Albert; A. Zimmerman, on Albert's critique of an argument to prove that the world began to be; S. Ebbesen, on Albert's Companion to the Organon; I. Craemer-Ruegenberg, on Albert's teaching concerning the soul and the intellect; A. Goddu, on Albert's contribution to discussions of natural and violent motions; G. C. Anawati, on Albert and alchemy; K. Bernath, on Albert's views concerning education as presented in his Commentary on the Politics; A. Cazenave, on some European views of the exotic at the time of Albert; G. Federici Vescovini, on some witnesses to Albert's influence at Padua at the end of the fourteenth century--Angelo of Fossombrone and Biagio Pelacni of Parma; M. Markowski, on Albert and Albertism at Krakow; S. Wlodek, on Albert and the Albertists of the fifteenth century and the problem of universals; J. Korolec, on Heymeric de Campo and his Neoplatonic vision of God; H. G. Senger, on Albertism and some reflections on the via Alberti in the fifteenth century; G. Piaia, on the historical and philosophical interpretations of Albert which developed from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries; M. Borzyszkowski, on Albert and his influence in Ermland, Pomesanien, and Pommerellen ; H. Kümmerling, "'Das muss alles einen andern geistlichen Sinn haben'. De concordiae mundanae rationibus," a contribution to the history of music. While limitations of space preclude detailed discussions of these articles, their variety in terms of the particular issues treated reflects both the interdisciplinary character of the original meeting which occasioned them and the breadth of vision and talent of the volume's focal point-Albert the Great. Among articles of interest to students of Albert's philosophical thought are, to mention but a few, those by Kovach, Saranyana, Zimmermann, Ebbesen, Craemer-Ruegenberg, and Goddu. Zimmermann not only presents Albert's critique of argumentation intended to prove that the world began to be, but after noting Albert's agreement on this point with the view defended by Thomas Aquinas, Zimmermann then resumes his continuing discussion with another twentieth-century scholar--Fernand Van Steenberghen of Louvain-concerning the merits of the argumentation rejected by Thomas and by Albert. Zimmermann defends the view developed by Albert and by Thomas, while Van Steenberghen favors the position associated especially with Bonaventure--that one can demonstrate the temporal origin of the universe.--John F. Wippel, The Catholic University of America. (shrink)