Analytical Thomism

Last updated

Analytical Thomism is a philosophical movement which promotes the interchange of ideas between the thought of Thomas Aquinas (including the philosophy carried on in relation to his thinking, called 'Thomism'), and modern analytic philosophy.

Contents

Scottish philosopher John Haldane first coined the term in the early 1990s and has since been one of the movement's leading proponents. According to Haldane, "analytical Thomism involves the bringing into mutual relationship of the styles and preoccupations of recent English-speaking philosophy and the ideas and concerns shared by St Thomas and his followers". [1]

History

The modern revival of Aquinas's thought can be traced to the work of mid-19th Century thomists, such as Tommaso Maria Zigliara, Josef Kleutgen, Gaetano Sanseverino, and Giovanni Maria Cornoldi. This movement received an enormous impetus by Pope Leo XIII's encyclical Aeterni Patris of 1879. In the first half of the twentieth century, Edouard Hugon, Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, Étienne Gilson, and Jacques Maritain, among others, carried on Leo's call for a Thomist revival. [2] Gilson and Maritain in particular taught and lectured throughout Europe and North America, influencing a generation of English-speaking Catholic philosophers. Some of the latter then began to harmonize Thomism with broader contemporary philosophical trends.

Similarly, the Kraków Circle in Poland used mathematical logic in presenting Thomism, which the Circle judged to have "a structured body of propositions connected in meaning and subject matter, and linked by logical relations of compatibility and incompatibility, entailment, etc." [3] The Circle has been said to be "the most significant expression of Catholic thought between the two World Wars". [4]

Recent philosophical reception of Aquinas

By the middle of the 20th century Aquinas's thought came into dialogue with the analytical tradition through the work of G. E. M. Anscombe, Peter Geach, and Anthony Kenny. Anscombe was Ludwig Wittgenstein's student, and his successor at the University of Cambridge; she was married to Geach, himself an accomplished logician and philosopher of religion. Geach had converted to Roman Catholicism while studying at Oxford, Anscombe had converted before she came up, and both were instructed in the Faith in Oxford by the Dominican Richard Kehoe, who received them both into the Church before they met one another. Kenny, an erstwhile priest and former Catholic, became a prominent philosopher at the University of Oxford and is still portrayed by some as a promoter of Aquinas (Paterson & Pugh, xiii-xxiii), though his denial of some basic Thomist doctrines (e.g. divine timelessness) casts doubt on this.

Anscombe, and others such as Alasdair MacIntyre, Philippa Foot, Mortimer Adler, and John Finnis, can largely be credited with the revival of "virtue ethics" in analytic moral theory and "natural law theory" in jurisprudence. Both movements draw significantly upon Aquinas.

Notable analytical Thomists

Philosophers working in the intersection of Thomism and analytic philosophy include:

See also

Related Research Articles

Scholasticism Predominant method of critical thought in academic pedagogy of medieval European universities, circa 1100–1700

Scholasticism was a medieval school of philosophy that employed a critical method of philosophical analysis predicated upon a Latin Catholic theistic curriculum which dominated teaching in the medieval universities in Europe from about 1100 to 1700. It originated within the Christian monastic schools that were the basis of the earliest European universities. The rise of scholasticism was closely associated with these schools that flourished in Italy, France, Spain and England.

Anthony Kenny British philosopher

Sir Anthony John Patrick Kenny is an English philosopher whose interests lie in the philosophy of mind, ancient and scholastic philosophy, the philosophy of Wittgenstein and the philosophy of religion. With Peter Geach, he has made a significant contribution to analytical Thomism, a movement whose aim is to present the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas in the style of analytic philosophy. He is one of the executors of Wittgenstein's literary estate. He is a former President of the British Academy and the Royal Institute of Philosophy.

Peter Geach

Peter Thomas Geach was an English philosopher who was Professor of Logic at the University of Leeds. His areas of interest were philosophical logic, ethics, history of philosophy, philosophy of religion and the theory of identity.

G. E. M. Anscombe British analytic philosopher

Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe, usually cited as G. E. M. Anscombe or Elizabeth Anscombe, was a British analytic philosopher. She wrote on the philosophy of mind, philosophy of action, philosophical logic, philosophy of language, and ethics. She was a prominent figure of analytical Thomism, a Fellow of Somerville College, Oxford and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge.

Thomism Philosophical school based on the work of Thomas Aquinas

Thomism is the philosophical school that arose as a legacy of the work and thought of Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274), philosopher, theologian, and Doctor of the Church. In philosophy, Aquinas' disputed questions and commentaries on Aristotle are perhaps his best-known works.

Józef Maria Bocheński was a Polish Dominican, logician and philosopher.

Étienne Gilson French historian and philosopher (1884–1978)

Étienne Henri Gilson was a French philosopher and historian of philosophy. A scholar of medieval philosophy, he originally specialised in the thought of Descartes, yet also philosophized in the tradition of Thomas Aquinas, although he did not consider himself a Neo-Thomist philosopher. In 1946 he attained the distinction of being elected an "Immortal" (member) of the Académie française. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

John Finnis Australian legal scholar and philosopher

John Mitchell Finnis,, is an Australian legal philosopher, jurist and scholar specializing in jurisprudence and the philosophy of law. He is currently the Biolchini Family Professor of Law at Notre Dame Law School and Permanent Senior Distinguished Research Fellow at the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture. He was Professor of Law & Legal Philosophy at the University of Oxford from 1989 to 2010, where he is now professor emeritus. He acted as a constitutional adviser to successive Australian Commonwealth governments in constitutional matters and bilateral relations with the United Kingdom.

David Braine was a British analytic philosopher with interests in analytic Philosophy of religion and Metaphysics, who sought to marry the techniques and insights of analytical philosophy and Phenomenology to the Metaphysics of classical Thomism. His The Reality of Time and the Existence of God set out to prove the existence of God from the fact that the world enjoys continuity in time. He argued that nothing in the world could be the cause of this continuity, whence God came into the picture.

Aeterni Patris was an encyclical issued by Pope Leo XIII in August 1879,. It was subtitled "On the Restoration of Christian Philosophy in Catholic Schools in the Spirit of the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas". The aim of the encyclical was to advance the revival of Scholastic philosophy.

John Francis Xavier Knasas is an American philosopher. He is a leading existential Thomist in the Neo-Thomist movement, best known for engaging such thinkers as Bernard Lonergan, Alasdair MacIntyre and Jeremy Wilkins in disputes over human cognition to affirm a Thomistic epistemology of direct realism and defending the thought of Jacques Maritain, Étienne Gilson and Fr. Joseph Owens. He holds the Bishop Wendelin J. Nold Endowed Chair as Professor of Philosophy at the Center for Thomistic Studies at the University of St. Thomas in Houston and earned his doctorate at the University of Toronto, under the direction of Fr. Joseph Owens.

Joseph Maréchal

Joseph Maréchal, SJ was a Belgian Jesuit priest, philosopher, theologian and psychologist. He taught at the Higher Institute of Philosophy of the University of Leuven and was the founder of the school of thought called transcendental Thomism, which attempted to merge the theological and philosophical thought of St. Thomas Aquinas with that of Immanuel Kant.

Neo-scholasticism Scholasticism revival

Neo-scholasticism, is a revival and development of medieval scholasticism in Roman Catholic theology and philosophy which began in the second half of the 19th century.

Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange French theologian

Réginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange was a French Catholic theologian and Dominican friar. He has been noted as a leading neo-Thomist of the 20th century, along with Jacobus Ramírez, Édouard Hugon, and Martin Grabmann. He taught at the Dominican Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelicum, in Rome from 1909 to 1960. There he wrote his magnum opus, The Three Ages of the Interior Life in 1938.

John Joseph Haldane is a Scottish philosopher, commentator and broadcaster. He is a former papal adviser to the Vatican. He is credited with coining the term 'Analytical Thomism' and is himself a Thomist in the analytic tradition. Haldane is associated with The Veritas Forum and is the current chair of the Royal Institute of Philosophy.

Columba Ryan was a British priest of the Dominican Order and a philosophy teacher, university chaplain, and pastor. He was the brother of John Ryan, the British animator and cartoonist.

Charles De Koninck was a Belgian-Canadian Thomist philosopher and theologian. As director of the Department of Philosophy at the Université Laval in Quebec, he influenced Catholic philosophy in French Canada and also influenced Catholic philosophers in English Canada and the United States. The author of many books and articles in French and English, he contributed to a variety of philosophical fields including natural philosophy, philosophy of science, philosophy of mathematics, and political philosophy, but he also wrote on theology, especially Mariology.

Giovanni Ventimiglia is a Swiss–Italian philosopher. He is full Professor of Philosophy at the University of Lucerne (Switzerland) and Vice Dean of its Faculty of Theology. He is director of the new Centre for Theology and Philosophy of Religions. He is Visiting Professor of Medieval Philosophy in philosophy at the University of Italian Switzerland. He is (founding) President of the Reginaldus Foundation, Switzerland.

<i>The Degrees of Knowledge</i> 1932 book by Jacques Maritain

The Degrees of Knowledge is a 1932 book by the French philosopher Jacques Maritain, in which the author adopts St. Thomas Aquinas’s view called critical realism and applies it to his own epistemological positions. According to critical realism, what we know is identical with what exists, and to know a thing is for its ‘essence’ to exist immaterially in the mind. In The Degrees of Knowledge, Maritain applies this view as he seeks to explain the nature of knowledge, not only in science and philosophy, but also in religious faith and mysticism. Maritain argues that there are different ‘kinds’ and ‘orders’ of knowledge and, within them, different ‘degrees’ determined by the nature of the thing to be known and the ‘degree of abstraction’ involved. The book is divided into two parts: Part one discusses the degrees of knowledge for science and philosophy – or ‘rational knowledge,’ and part two discusses the degrees of knowledge for religious faith and mysticism – or ‘super-rational knowledge.’

Denis John Bernard Hawkins was a British philosopher and Roman Catholic priest.

References

Citations

  1. Haldane 2004, p. xii.
  2. Paterson & Pugh 2006, pp. xiii-xxiii.
  3. Simons 2003, pp. 281-297.
  4. Murawski 2014, pp. 359-376.

Sources

  • Haldane, John (2004). Faithful Reason: essays Catholic and Philosophical. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Paterson, Craig; Pugh, Matthew S., eds. (2006). "Introduction" (PDF). Analytical Thomism: Traditions in Dialogue. Aldershot and Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-05-26.
  • Simons, Peter (2003). "Bocheński and Balance: System and History in Analytic Philosophy". Studies in East European Thought. 55 (4): 281–297. doi:10.1023/A:1025344204927. hdl: 2262/61823 . ISSN   0925-9392. S2CID   142830603., reprinted in Edgar Morscher, Otto Neumaier, and Peter Simons (2011), Ein Philosoph mit "Bodenhaftung": Zu Leben und Werk von Joseph M. Bocheński, Sankt Augustin: Academia, pp. 61-79.

Further reading

  • Alfred Freddoso, Two Roles for Catholic Philosophers
  • Brian J Shanley, OP, The Thomist Tradition (Dordrecht/Boston/London: Kluwer, 2002).
  • Entries by Stephen Theron in Haldane (ed.) (1997) and Paterson & Pugh (eds.) (2006).
  • Entries by Shanley and John Knasas in Paterson & Pugh (eds.) (2006).
  • "Tomismo analitico" [Analytical Thomism] (in Spanish).
  • John C. Cahalan, Causal Realism: An Essay on Philosophical Method and the Foundations of Knowledge (Routledge, 1985)
  • John Finnis, Aquinas: Moral, Political, and Legal Theory (Oxford, 1998).
  • John Haldane (ed.), "Analytical Thomism" volume of Monist 80 (4) October, 1997.
  • Anthony J Lisska,Aquinas's Theory of Natural Law: An Analytic Reconstruction (Oxford: New York, 1996).
  • Pérez de Laborda, Miguel, "El tomismo analítico", Philosophica: Enciclopedia filosófica on line 2007
  • Roger Pouivet, Après Wittgenstein, saint Thomas (PUF, 1997).