Metaphysical Themes in Thomas Aquinas II

Metaphysical Themes in Thomas Aquinas II

John F. Wippel
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt284x88
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  • Book Info
    Metaphysical Themes in Thomas Aquinas II
    Book Description:

    This volume contains eleven articles and book chapters written by John Wippel since the publication of his Metaphysical Themes in Thomas Aquinas in 1984.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1667-6
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    This volume includes a number of articles and book-chapters which have appeared since 1984 when my Metaphysical Themes in Thomas Aquinas was first published.¹ Many of them have also appeared since 1999 when I completed my work on The Metaphysical Thought of Thomas Aquinas: From Finite Being to Uncreated Being.² Since in various ways the present studies complement work contained in the two volumes just mentioned, I trust it will be helpful to interested readers for me to gather them together in one place rather than simply leave them in the scattered publications where they originally appeared. I have updated...

  6. Chapter I THE POSSIBILITY OF A CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHY: A Thomistic Perspective
    (pp. 11-30)

    In addressing myself to this issue, I have chosen to concentrate on what one might call a “Thomistic” perspective for at least two reasons: first in order to bring some historical background to bear on this topic; and secondly, because in my opinion today’s believing Christian who would engage in philosophizing about certain questions of relevance to his religious belief may find something useful in Aquinas’s approach. At the same time, I am only too aware that the proper interpretation of Aquinas’s thinking on this matter has been subject to considerable debate during the twentieth century, and especially during the...

  7. Chapter II THE LATIN AVICENNA AS A SOURCE FOR THOMAS AQUINAS’S METAPHYSICS
    (pp. 31-64)

    As is well known, those seeking to study philosophy in the Arabic-speaking world during the tenth and eleventh centuries were better positioned to do so than were their Latin counterparts during that same period. This was so because a very small portion of classical Greek philosophical texts had been preserved in Latin translation, whereas a considerable amount of the Greek legacy had by then become available in Arabic translation. Moreover, an important philosophical movement had developed within the Arabic-speaking world. This included figures such as Al-Kindi, Al-Farabi, Avicenna, and in the twelfth century, Averroes. In the twelfth century a first...

  8. Chapter III TRUTH IN THOMAS AQUINAS
    (pp. 65-112)

    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 question 1 of his Disputed Questions on Truth (De veritate). 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 (what might be called “ontological truth”) along with truth of the intellect (what might be called “logical truth”).¹...

  9. Chapter IV THOMAS AQUINAS AND THE AXIOM “WHAT IS RECEIVED IS RECEIVED ACCORDING TO THE MODE OF THE RECEIVER”
    (pp. 113-122)

    On many occasions in his writings, Thomas Aquinas appeals to the principle that whatever is received in something is received in accord with the mode of that which receives it. He seems to regard this as so evident that he easily turns to it to resolve other problems. These problems range widely. Thus Thomas uses this principle to explain fundamental issues at the metaphysical level; for instance, that the act of being (esse) is present in caused or created beings only to a finite degree, or that form is present in matter-form composites only in finite or limited fashion.¹ He...

  10. Chapter V THOMAS AQUINAS AND THE AXIOM THAT UNRECEIVED ACT IS UNLIMITED
    (pp. 123-151)

    Among twentieth-century students of Thomas Aquinas, different aspects of his thought have been singled out as central to, indeed as holding the key to, his metaphysics. Thus his metaphysics of essence and existence, his theory of act and potency, his views concerning the analogy of being, his stress on the primacy of existence (esse), his metaphysics of participation—each has been emphasized in due course. Recently Jan Aertsen has greatly stressed the importance of the transcendentals in his thought in a series of articles and in an important book. Each of these aspects does play a significant role in his...

  11. Chapter VI THOMAS AQUINAS ON OUR KNOWLEDGE OF GOD AND THE AXIOM THAT EVERY AGENT PRODUCES SOMETHING LIKE ITSELF
    (pp. 152-171)

    As is well known, Thomas Aquinas states that when it comes to our knowledge of God, by reasoning philosophically we can know that God is, and what he is not, but not what he is. In light of this, Aquinas goes on to apply many names to God by following the way of negation. Not only this, but in many instances the very content of the names he predicates of God is negative, not positive. To describe God as infinite is really to say that he is not finite. To refer to him as eternal is to say that he...

  12. Chapter VII THOMAS AQUINAS ON CREATURES AS CAUSES OF ESSE
    (pp. 172-193)

    Among students of Thomas Aquinas, it is well known that he reserved the act of creating to God alone. Apart from some slight hesitation concerning this in his Commentary on the Sentences, owing perhaps to his youthful deference to Peter the Lombard, he also denied that any creature could serve as a minister or as an instrumental cause of God in his creative activity.¹ For instance, in Summa theologiae I, q. 45, a. 5 he writes: “To produce the act of being (esse) in the unqualified sense, and not insofar as it is this or such, belongs to the nature...

  13. Chapter VIII THOMAS AQUINAS ON DEMONSTRATING GOD’S OMNIPOTENCE
    (pp. 194-217)

    In recent times much research has been devoted to the distinction between God’s absolute and ordained power in various thirteenth- and fourteenth-century authors.¹ In the present chapter I would like to concentrate on a related but perhaps even more fundamental question in the thought of Thomas Aquinas: How do we know that God is omnipotent? Did Aquinas think that God’s omnipotence can be demonstrated philosophically, or did he regard it as an article of faith, something that can be accepted solely on the grounds of religious belief?

    Interestingly enough, so far as I have been able to determine, most contemporary...

  14. Chapter IX THOMAS AQUINAS ON GOD’S FREEDOM TO CREATE OR NOT
    (pp. 218-239)

    For those not familiar with a long-running controversy concerning the consistency of Thomas’s Aquinas’s thought on this point, I would like to begin by noting that in his two recent and important volumes on Thomas’s Summa contra Gentiles, the late Norman Kretzmann has raised this issue again. In brief, no one doubts that in fact Aquinas defended God’s freedom to create or not to create at all and, moreover, God’s freedom to create this particular universe or any other. For Thomas this is required by orthodox Catholic belief, but is also something that can be established and defended on philosophical...

  15. Chapter X THOMAS AQUINAS’S COMMENTARY ON ARISTOTLE’S METAPHYSICS
    (pp. 240-271)

    Thomas Aquinas spent a considerable amount of time and effort during the final years of his career writing detailed commentaries on twelve works by Aristotle as well as on the Liber de causis. Indeed, the latter work had also been mistakenly regarded by some thirteenth-century thinkers as written by Aristotle, although others had attributed it to Al-Farabi or to some other unknown Arabic author. But with the translation in 1268 of Proclus’s Elementatio theologica from the Greek, Aquinas quickly recognized that the Liber de causis had been excerpted from this work.¹

    The question has often been raised as to why...

  16. Chapter XI PLATONISM AND ARISTOTELIANISM IN AQUINAS
    (pp. 272-290)

    As is well known, Aquinas’s philosophy has traditionally been closely associated with the philosophy of Aristotle. Textbooks have been written whose very titles bring out this intimate relationship, such as one used at The Catholic University of America in Washington during my undergraduate days there in the 1950s written by Iosephus Gredt and entitled Elementa philosophiae aristotelico-thomisticae.¹ And other more scholarly books and articles developed this theme in the twentieth century.² But another side of Aquinas’s thought also came to be examined by various twentieth-century students of his thought, what might be called, loosely speaking, his Platonism.

    Thus a collection...

  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 291-304)
  18. Index of Topics
    (pp. 305-312)
  19. Index of Names
    (pp. 313-316)