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Aquinas Against the Averroists

Aquinas Against the Averroists: On There Being Only One Intellect

Ralph McInerny
Copyright Date: 1993
Published by: Purdue University Press
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  • Book Info
    Aquinas Against the Averroists
    Book Description:

    The introduction places the work historically and sketches the controversy to which it was a contribution. Part 2 includes the Latin Leonine text and McInerny's translation. Part 3 analyzes the basic arguments of Thomas's work and provides a series of interpretive essays meant to make Thomas accessible to today's readers.

    eISBN: 978-1-61249-048-9
    Subjects: Philosophy, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. PART ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    Thomas Aquinas’s polemical workOn There Being Only One Intellectwas written in Paris in 1270 and may be said to concern the correct reading of Aristotle. Aristotle and Paris are, respectively, continuous and recurrent factors in the life of Thomas Aquinas (1225–74). Thomas was convinced of the complementarity of Aristotelian philosophy and his Christian faith. How could truths revealed by God conflict with the truths gained by our God-given intellect? The philosophy of Aristotle enabled Thomas to fashion an understanding of the human person that departed in significant ways from the Augustinian view that had dominated Christian thought...

  5. PART TWO Text
    (pp. 17-146)

    Thomas’s Latin is not easily altered; therefore, I have taken few liberties for the sake of style in the translation. I only hope that the result is intelligible English. C. S. Lewis has observed that medieval Latin was a living language, unlike the closet classicism of the Renaissance with its sterile attempts to mimic the style of a long-gone day. In reviving Latin, the men of the Renaissance managed to make it a dead language. The language of our text, on the other hand, is alive and lively. Thomas obviously wrote his attack on the “Averroists”—all Christian contemporaries of...

  6. PART THREE Analysis
    (pp. 147-154)

    The claim that the intellect is a substance existing apart from the body is in conflict not only with Christian faith but also with philosophy. Thomas will not argue here that the claim is incompatible with Christian faith, although he says that this argument can be easily made. Rather, he sets forth the philosophical untenability of the claim in two ways. First, by appeal to authority, Thomas shows that it was not taught by the philosophers, most notably not by Aristotle, whom Thomas’s opponents invoked. Second, Thomas fashions philosophical arguments to prove that the intellect is the substantial form of...

  7. PART FOUR Interpretive Essays
    (pp. 155-214)

    As the text of this polemical opusculum makes clear, while Thomas is outraged that fellow Christians should take the position he attacks to be compatible with their faith, his chief concern is to discuss the status of the human soul on a terrain that the believer can share with the nonbeliever, the mere philosopher. The whole of the first and longest chapter turns on the text of Aristotle: What precisely is Aristotle’s teaching? Is Aristotle’s teaching true?

    The text in question is Aristotle’sOn the Soul. We saw in the Introduction that Thomas composed a commentary on that work—perhaps...

    (pp. 215-218)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 219-225)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 226-227)