Aquinas on the Divine Ideas as Exemplar Causes

Aquinas on the Divine Ideas as Exemplar Causes

GREGORY T. DOOLAN
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 296
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt284wgq
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  • Book Info
    Aquinas on the Divine Ideas as Exemplar Causes
    Book Description:

    Gregory T. Doolan provides here the first detailed consideration of the divine ideas as causal principles. He examines Thomas Aquinas's philosophical doctrine of the divine ideas and convincingly argues that it is an essential element of his metaphysics

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1842-7
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. xiii-xviii)

    In Le Thomisme, Étienne Gilson observes that “exemplarism is one of the essential elements of Thomism.”¹ Such a claim might take the reader by surprise: if we consider medieval philosophy, it is not Thomas Aquinas who is commonly associated with the doctrine of exemplarism but Bonaventure. Indeed, for Bonaventure exemplarism is the defining characteristic of any true metaphysics.² To make the same statement of Thomas would be to exaggerate the significance of this doctrine for him. Nevertheless, a reading of his corpus reveals that exemplarism is an important element in his philosophy: the word exemplar and variations thereof occur more...

  6. ONE IDEAS AS EXEMPLAR CAUSES
    (pp. 1-43)

    “[I]n the divine mind,” Thomas Aquinas tells us, “there are exemplar forms of all creatures, which are called ideas, as there are forms of artifacts in the mind of an artisan.”¹ Time and again throughout his career, Thomas affirms the existence of such forms in the mind of God, and time and again he presents these ideas as the exemplars of created things.² The type of causality that the divine ideas exercise can thus be described as exemplar causality, or exemplarism. Exemplarism, however, is not limited to the divine ideas. As the above quotation suggests, the ideas of a human...

  7. TWO THE EXISTENCE OF DIVINE IDEAS
    (pp. 44-82)

    Thomas’s analogy between human art and divine exemplarism is a useful one for understanding the metaphysical role that he assigns to the divine ideas. Taken alone, however, the analogy presumes two things: first, that God does in fact exist and second, that he indeed possesses ideas. Regarding the first point, we find in Thomas’s ex professo treatments of the divine ideas that the existence of God is either taken for granted or has already been proven earlier in the relevant work. As regards the divine ideas themselves, however, he is not content in these treatments merely to presume their existence....

  8. THREE THE MULTIPLICITY OF DIVINE IDEAS
    (pp. 83-122)

    The arguments that we considered in the last chapter present the divine ideas as principles accounting for the order of the created universe. As we saw, Thomas argues that from the ideas, the diverse things of our experience receive their determinate forms. That there is a diversity of formed beings suggests that there must also be a corresponding diversity of divine ideas. Indeed, this is Thomas’s very position. It is a position, however, that presents a philosophical problem: If God is a perfectly simple being (as Aquinas holds), how can a multiplicity of ideas exist within his mind?¹

    From his...

  9. FOUR IDENTIFYING GOD’S EXEMPLAR IDEAS
    (pp. 123-155)

    On more than one occasion, Thomas asks the question whether there are divine ideas for everything God knows, and he answers this question in the affirmative.¹ The very phrasing of the question, however, raises a further one: what precisely does God know? Only by answering this question will we be able identify the various types of divine ideas. Thomas himself examines a list of things for which God might have ideas—things such as genera, species, individuals, prime matter, accidents, evil, and even pure possibles. Not all of these things, he concludes, have an idea in the mind of God....

  10. FIVE THE CAUSALITY OF THE DIVINE EXEMPLARS
    (pp. 156-190)

    We have thus far determined the sense in which Thomas considers ideas to act as causes, namely, as exemplars. We have also determined which of the divine ideas he identifies as causal principles: those of individual things that God creates at some point in time. But simply determining all of this does not reveal to us precisely how Thomas considers these divine ideas to act as exemplar causes. Thus, to understand better his account of the nature of this divine exemplarism, it will be useful for us to examine in more detail his analogy between the human artisan and God.¹...

  11. SIX PARTICIPATION AND THE DIVINE EXEMPLARS
    (pp. 191-243)

    The theory of exemplarism is one that is closely related to the theory of participation; to mention the former is to call to mind the latter. Any discussion of exemplarism, therefore, would be incomplete without a consideration of participation. Beginning with Plato’s theory of the ideas, a doctrine of participation has been offered by philosophers as an explanatory account of the dependence that things have upon their exemplars. Thus, it is no surprise to find that in treating of the divine ideas, Thomas too addresses the notion of participation.

    In this chapter, we will examine Thomas’s doctrine of participation in...

  12. CONCLUSION
    (pp. 244-252)

    Thomas’s doctrine of the divine ideas touches upon some of the most fundamental elements of his metaphysical thought. In the course of exploring his doctrine, we examined such issues as the nature of causality, the real distinction between essence and existence, and the theory of participation, to name a few. As a result, we have a fuller picture of Thomas’s doctrine of divine ideas and can understand why exemplarism is indeed an essential element of his philosophy. Central to Thomas’s notion of exemplarism is the characteristic of similitude or likeness (similitudo). As we saw in chapter 1, Thomas commonly describes...

  13. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 253-264)
  14. INDEX OF SUBJECTS
    (pp. 265-274)
  15. INDEX OF NAMES
    (pp. 275-277)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 278-278)