Author: Denis J. M. Bradley
Publisher: CUA Press
Release Date: 1997
For many years, philosophers have read Aquinas's ethical writings as if his moral doctrine ought to make sense completely apart from the commitments of Christian faith. Because Aquinas relied heavily upon rational arguments, and upon Aristotle in particular, scholars have frequently attempted to read his texts in a strictly philosophical context. According to Denis J. M. Bradley, this approach is misguided and can lead to a radical misinterpretation of Aquinas's moral science. Here, Bradley sets out to prove that Aquinas was a theologian before all else and that any systematic Thomistic ethics must remain theological--not philosophical. Against the background of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, the author provides a detailed differentiation between Aristotle's and Aquinas's views on moral principles and the end of man. He points out that Aquinas himself provided a powerful critique of remaining within the limits of Aristotelian philosophical naturalism in ethics. Human nature's openness to its de facto supernatural end, which is the focal point of Thomistic moral science, obviates any attempt to reconstruct a systematic, quasi-Aristotelian ethics from the extracted elements of Aquinas's moral science. Aquinas's critique of Aristotle leads to a paradoxical philosophical conception of human nature: short of attaining its ultimate supernatural end, the gratuitous vision of the divine essence, human nature in history and even in eternity is naturally endless. In concluding, Bradley suggests that it is the Christian philosopher who, by explicitly embracing the theological meaning of man's paradoxical natural endlessness, can best engage a postmodernism that repudiates any ultimate rational grounds for human thought and morality. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Denis J. M. Bradley is a member of the department of philosophy at Georgetown University and a former fellow of the American Academy in Rome. PRAISE FOR THE BOOK: "Bradley's contribution to the study of Aquinas is important. From the standpoint of a historian, his main achievement is to clarify the 'dialogue' between Aquinas and Aristotle. This fulfills a long-time desideratum: the subject has been treated by many scholars . . . but Bradley is the first who has studied virtually all relevant texts in detail, with convincing results. He establishes a new status quaestionis from which all further research must start."-- Prof. Wolfgang Kluxen, University of Bonn "A helpful introduction to some of the main themes of Thomistic and Aristotelian morality."--Choice
It seems quite natural to explain the activities of human and non-human animals by referring to their special faculties. Thus, we say that dogs can smell things in their environment because they have perceptual faculties, or that human beings can think because they have rational faculties. But what are faculties? In what sense are they responsible for a wide range of activities? How can they be individuated? How are they interrelated? And why are different types of faculties assigned to different types of living beings? The six chapters in this book discuss these questions, covering a wide period from Plato up to contemporary debates about faculties as modules of the mind. They show that faculties were referred to in different theoretical contexts, but analyzed in radically different ways. Some philosophers, especially Aristotelians, made them the cornerstone of their biological and psychological theories, taking them to be basic powers of living beings. Others took them to be inner causes that literally produce activities, while still others provided a purely functional explanation. The chapters focus on various models, taking into account Greek, Arabic, Latin, French, German and Anglo-American debates. They analyze the role assigned to faculties in metaphysics, philosophy of mind and epistemology, but also the attack that was often launched against the assumption that faculties are hidden yet real features of living beings. The short "Reflections" inserted between the chapters make clear that faculties were also widely discussed in literature, science and medicine.
Author: Paolo Rubini
Release Date: 2015-01-15
In Pomponazzis Erkenntnistheorie, Paolo Rubini examines the radical views on human knowledge held by the Renaissance Aristotelian philosopher Pietro Pomponazzi (1462-1525), and interprets them in accordance with Pomponazzi’s ‘naturalistic’ conception of the mind as essentially corporeal.