This book is a revised and expanded edition of three lectures delivered by the author at Wake Forest University in 1979. Long out of print, in its new edition it should be a valuable resource for scholars and teachers of the philosophy of religion. The first two lectures, after a critique of the incompleteness of St. Thomas Aquinas's famous Five Ways of arguing for the existence of God, explore lesser-known resources of Aquinas's philosophical ascent of the mind to God: the (...) unrestricted dynamism of the human spirit as it reaches toward the fullness of being, and the strictly metaphysical ascent to God from finite to infinite, in the line of Aquinas's later, more Neoplatonically inspired, metaphysics of participation. The third, and most heavily revised, lecture is a critique of Whitehead's process philosophy, distinguishing Aquinas more sharply and critically from Whitehead than in the first edition. (shrink)
W. Norris Clarke's metaphysics of the universe as a journey rests on six major positions: the unrestricted dynamism of the mind, the primacy of the act of existence, the participation structure of reality, and the person, considered as both the starting point of philosophy and the source of the categories needed for a flexible contemporary metaphysics. Reflecting on his conscious life and the universe around him, the finite person mounts by a two-fold path to its Infinite source, who, though immutable (...) in His natural being, is mutable in the intentional being of His personal knowledge and love. The personal God is the efficient cause from whom the universe comes and the final cause to whom it returns.Less optimistic than Norris Clarke, John Caputo wonders about his metaphysics of the person. In a hermeneutical interpretation of the human face, the person through whom Being "sounds" discloses an ambiguous Being that both reveals and conceals itself. Far from grounding a casual ascent to God, hermeneutical phenomenology allows us no more than the right to interpret the world and its transcendent source through our own free decision.Although impressed by Norris Clarke's attempt to introduce mutability into God, Lewis Ford still finds Clarke's Thomistic God unacceptable. As a Whiteheadian, he proposes in place of Thomas' God, whose perfection consists in static unity, a God whose perfection consists in a never-ending process of unification. John Smith argues against the traditional dichotomy made between the ontological and cosmological arguments. Rather than opposed methods of proving God's existence, they should be taken as complementary journeys to the divine presence which discloses itself, although diversely, in the soul and in the world. There are parallels between Smith's historical study of two arguments and Clarke's two-fold path to God. Yet Smith is critical of Thomas' cosmological journey to God and does not share Clarke's confidence in its validity. Significant studies in their own right, the three essays as a group challenge Clarke's whole metaphysics of the universe as a journey. Meeting the challenge, Clarke clarifies and refines his own thought.An account of Clarke's philosophy by Gerald A. McCool, S.J. preceds this unified and stimulating philosophical discussion. (shrink)
When what is known as the Thomistic Revival began in the latter part of the nineteenth century, it was first the Aristotelian content and attitudes of St. Thomas's philosophy, so explicit and obvious all through his texts, that received the dominant stress. The commentaries on Aristotle were drawn on heavily as a source of Thomistic doctrine and the continuity between the two thinkers was emphasized in every way.