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Encyclopedia > Thomism
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Thomism is the philosophical school that followed in the legacy of Thomas Aquinas. The word comes from the name of its originator, whose summary work Summa Theologiae has arguably been second to only the Bible in importance to the Catholic Church. Saint Thomas Aquinas [Thomas of Aquin, or Aquino] (c. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... For other uses, see Bible (disambiguation). ...

Contents

Thomistic philosophy

Generally

Aquinas worked to create a philosophical system which integrated Christian doctrine with elements taken from the philosophy of Aristotle. Generally, he augmented the Neo-Platonic view of philosophy which, after Augustine, had become tremendously influential amongst medieval philosophers, with insights drawn from Aristotle. In this he was greatly influenced by his reading of contemporary Arabic philosophers, especially Averroes, though he rejected Averroes' primary conclusions and themes. Aquinas, is, therefore, generally agreed to have moved the focus of Scholastic philosophy from Plato to Aristotle. The extent to which he was successful in doing this is, of course, still hotly debated. A Christian is a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, referred to as Christ. ... Aristotle (Greek: Aristotélēs) (384 BC – March 7, 322 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ... Neoplatonism (also Neo-Platonism) is an ancient school of philosophy beginning in the 3rd century A.D. It was based on the teachings of Plato and Platonists; but it interpreted Plato in many new ways, such that Neoplatonism was quite different from what Plato taught, though not many Neoplatonists would... For the first Archbishop of Canterbury, see Saint Augustine of Canterbury. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Aristotle (Greek: Aristotélēs) (384 BC – March 7, 322 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ... The Arabs (Arabic: عرب) are a heterogenous ethnic group who are predominantly speakers of the Arabic language, mainly found throughout the Middle East and North Africa. ... Ibn Rushd, known as Averroes (1126 – December 10, 1198), was an Andalusian-Arab philosopher and physician, a master of philosophy and Islamic law, mathematics, and medicine. ... Scholastic redirects here. ...


Distinctive ideas

  • Philosophical realism: Aquinas believed that humans were composed of two parts: "prime matter" and "substantial form." The prime matter of humans is our body, and the substantial form is our soul. The soul is therefore not made of matter. Our souls are unique; there can be no two angels or humans that bear the same substantial form, or soul.
  • Moral objectivism: The nature of the universe and essences of objects do not depend on the free will of God, but on His intellect, and ultimately on His essence, which is unchanging. The natural law, springing from the mind of God, is therefore immutable. Consequently, immoral acts are immoral not simply because God forbids them, but because they are inherently immoral. (Zigliara, "Sum. phil." (3 vols., Paris, 1889), ccx, xi, II, M. 23, 24, 25)
  • Teleology: the universe is guided by principles, purpose, and design beyond the universe itself; specifically, the principles and design of God.
  • Free will: Decisions are made by the interaction of the will and the intellect; the will presents objects to the intellect, and the intellect directs the will. Acts begin with the apprehension of the good in general by the intellect. We desire happiness naturally and necessarily, and not by free will; however, we choose particular goods freely. The will is a blind faculty, always following the past determination of the intellect. (Zigliara, 51).
  • Senses: The senses are passive, in that they perceive, rather than create, their objects. However, the will controls the exercise of the faculties, and thus determines and shapes what they perceive and how they perceive it.
  • Empiricism: Held to the Peripatetic axiom: "Nothing is in the intellect that was not first in the senses," modified by saying that the intellect can ascend to the knowledge of higher things from the basis of perception, even God, and that the soul knows of its existence by its action.
  • First principles: the basis for human knowledge is latent in the soul, not in the form of objective knowledge, but in the form of subjective inclination to believe them due to the evidentiary support: As soon as they are proposed they are known to be true. (Zigliara, op. cit., pp. 32-42).
  • Universals: Universals are the primary object of the intellect, and are formed by abstraction from sense perception. The process of abstraction is so elevated above material conditions as to prove that man is spiritual.
  • Immortality: The human soul is immortal by its very nature, because it has no principle of disintegration (Zigliara, p. 9).
  • Arguments for the existence of God are made a posteriori, rather than a priori. In other words, the existence of God can be proven through perceptions and reason, but cannot be known by any innate knowledge. Thus the ontological argument is rejected, but several other arguments are made for the existence of God; these are considered in the next section.

Contemporary philosophical realism is the belief in and allegiance to a reality that exists independently of observers. ... Moral objectivism is the position that certain acts are objectively right or wrong, independent of human opinion. ... Tommaso Maria Zigliara (baptismal name: Francesco) (end of October, 1833 - 11 May 1893) was a Roman Catholic cardinal, theologian, and philosopher. ... Teleology (telos: end, purpose) is the philosophical study of design, purpose, directive principle, or finality in nature or human creations. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... Free will is the philosophical doctrine that holds that our choices are ultimately up to ourselves. ... Senses Senses are a UK based alternative rock band from Coventry. ... In philosophy generally, empiricism is a theory of knowledge emphasizing the role of experience. ... The Peripatetic axiom is: Nothing is in the intellect that was not first in the senses. ... In a formal logical system, that is, a set of propositions that are consistent with one another, it is probable that some of the statements can be deduced from one another. ... Universal has several meanings: For the concept of a universal in metaphysics, see Universal (metaphysics). ... Immortality (or eternal life) is the concept of existing for a potentially infinite, or indeterminate, length of time. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Existence of God. ... A Posteriori is the title of the musical project Enigmas sixth studio album, released in September 2006. ... The terms A priori and a posteriori are used in philosophy to distinguish between two different types of propositional knowledge. ... In theology and the philosophy of religion, an ontological argument for the existence of God is an argument that Gods existence can be proved a priori, that is, by intuition and reason alone. ...

Thomistic Metaphysics

Proving God's Existence

In his Summa theologiae (Ia, q. 2, a. 3), Aquinas offers five "ways" of proving the existence of God. Since these ways are mere sketches, they are best understood within the context of his entire philosophical system. What follows below, therefore, is a mere summary of each way. Note well that he offers far more metaphysical explanations for the existence of God in his book, the De Ente et Essentia Bold textthis therefore proves that prime matter is most probably the physical form of the substance which aristotle describes.


The First Way

(Prime Mover) "It is clear that there are in this world things which are moved. Now, every object which is moved receives that movement from another. If the motor is itself moved, there must be another motor moving it, and after that yet another, and so on. But it is impossible to go on indefinitely, for then there would be no first motor at all, and consequently no movement" ("Contra Gentiles," ii. 33). This proof, like much of Thomas Aquinas's thought, is taken from Aristotle, whose "unmoved mover" forms the first recorded example of the cosmological argument for God's existence. For the philosophical/theological concept of a prime mover (that is, a self-existent being that is the ultimate cause or mover of all things), see cosmological argument. ... Saint Thomas Aquinas [Thomas of Aquin, or Aquino] (c. ... Aristotle (Greek: Aristotélēs) (384 BC – March 7, 322 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ... Aristotle, marble copy of bronze by Lysippos. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ...


The Second Way

"We discern in all sensible things a certain chain of efficient causes. We find, however, nothing which is its own efficient cause, for that cause would then be anterior to itself. On the other side, it is impossible to ascend from cause to cause indefinitely in the series of efficient causes....There must therefore exist one self-sufficient, efficient cause, and that is God" ("Contra Gent." i. 22).


The Third Way

"Find in nature things which may be and may not be, since there are some who are born and others who die; they consequently can exist or not exist. But it is impossible that such things should live for ever, for there is nothing which may be as well as not be at one time. Thus if all beings need not have existed, there must have been a time in which nothing existed. But, in that case, nothing would exist now; for that which does not exist can not receive life but from one who exists; . . . there must therefore be in nature a necessarily existent being."


The Fourth Way

Any category has its degrees, such as good and better, warm and warmer. Each also has one thing that's the ultimate of that measure, like good and "best", warm and "hottest". And whatever is the most of that category is the source of that category, as fire (or, in modern terms, energy itself) is the source of heat, and God must therefore be the source of goodness.


The Fifth Way

Everything, sentient or otherwise, progresses in an orderly way. Planets move in their orbits, light breaks from and combines into its spectrum, et cetera. Reality has a natural order, which could not have come from nothing, yet which precedes mere humans.


This is essentially the teleological argument for God's existence. Some believe that the Fifth Way is equivalent to what is now called Intelligent Design. However, this is not an accurate presentation of Aquinas' thought, and is subject to the Cosmogonical Fallacy[citation needed]. The deepest visible-light image of the cosmos. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... Intelligent design (ID) is the concept that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection. ...


Demonstrating God's creative power

In order to demonstrate God's creative power, Thomas says: "If a being participates, to a certain degree, in an 'accident,' this accidental property must have been communicated to it by a cause which possesses it essentially. Thus iron becomes incandescent by the action of fire. Now, God is His own power which subsists by itself. The being which subsists by itself is necessarily one" ("Summa Theol." i. 44, art. 1). This idea is also expounded by Bahya ibn Pakuda in his "Duties of the Heart."


Impact of Thomism

Saint Thomas was important in shifting the influence of medieval philosophy (also known as Scholasticism) away from Plato and towards Aristotle. In this he was influenced by contemporary Arabic philosophy, especially the work of Averroes. The ensuing school of thought, through its influence on Catholicism and the ethics of the Catholic school, is by any standard one of the most influential philosophies of all time, also significant due to the sheer number of people living by its teachings. The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... Scholasticism comes from the Latin word scholasticus, which means that [which] belongs to the school, and is the school of philosophy taught by the academics (or schoolmen) of medieval universities circa 1100–1500. ... For other uses, see Plato (disambiguation). ... Aristotle (Greek: Aristotélēs) (384 BC – March 7, 322 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ... Ibn Rushd, known as Averroes (1126 – December 10, 1198), was an Andalusian-Arab philosopher and physician, a master of philosophy and Islamic law, mathematics, and medicine. ... As a Christian ecclesiastical term, Catholic - from the Greek adjective , meaning general or universal[2] - is described in the Oxford Dictionary as follows: ~Church, (originally) whole body of Christians; ~, belonging to or in accord with (a) this, (b) the church before separation into Greek or Eastern and Latin or Western...


Thomism's affirmation was not at all easy and quick. Some theses of Thomas were condemned in 1277 by the ecclesistical authorities of Paris and Oxford (the most important theological schools in Middle Age Europe). The Franciscan Order vehemently opposed the ideas of the Dominican Thomas. But the canonization of Thomas in 1323 led to revoking the condemnation of 1277 and ended the controversy on Thomist theology.   City flag City coat of arms Motto: Fluctuat nec mergitur (Latin: Tossed by the waves, she does not sink) Coordinates Time Zone CET (GMT +1) Administration Country France Région ÃŽle-de-France Département Paris (75) Subdivisions 20 arrondissements Mayor Bertrand Delanoë  (PS) (since 2001) City Statistics Land area... Oxford is a city and local government district in Oxfordshire, England, with a population of 134,248 (2001 census). ... Canonization is the process of declaring someone a saint and involves proving that a candidate has lived in such a way that he or she qualifies for this. ...


Thomism remained for quite a long time a doctrine held by Dominican theologians only, such as Giovanni Capreolo (1380-1444) or Tommaso de Vio (1468-1534). But in the 16th Century Spanish Jesuit theologians (e.g. F. Suárez, F. Vitoria, F. Toledo, and others) wholeheartedly adopted Thomism, which became the official philosophy of the Catholic Church, offering a coherent, logical, and clear metaphysical picture of both the material and spiritual worlds. It prevailed as a coherent system until the discovery of Newtonian mechanics, and the rise of rationalism and empiricism as philosophical schools. The Society of Jesus (Latin: Societas Iesu), commonly known as the Jesuits, is a Roman Catholic religious order. ... Plato and Aristotle, by Raphael (Stanza della Segnatura, Rome). ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Classical mechanics. ...


However, the ethical parts of Thomism, as well as a large part of its views on life, humans, and theology, transcended into the various schools of Neothomism (after the 1879 encyclical Aeterni Patris which sanctioned the revival of Thomism) that are the official philosophy of the Roman Catholic Church today. Thomism remains a vibrant and challenging school of philosophy today. According to one of its most famous and controversial proponents, Alasdair MacIntyre, a Thomistic Aristotelianism is the best philosophical theory so far of our knowledge of external reality and of our own practice. Ethics is a general term for what is often described as the science (study) of morality. In philosophy, ethical behavior is that which is good or right. ... Neothomism is a school of Christian theology. ... The First Vatican Council was summoned by Pope Pius IX by the bull Aeterni Patris of June 29, 1868. ... The Roman Catholic Church or Catholic Church (see Terminology, below) is the Christian Church in full communion with the Bishop of Rome, currently Pope Benedict XVI. It traces its origins to the original Christian community founded by Jesus, with its traditions first established by the Twelve Apostles and maintained through... Alasdair MacIntyre (born 1929 in Glasgow) is a Scottish philosopher known mostly for his contributions to moral philosophy. ... This article needs cleanup. ...


Connection with Jewish thought

Jewish philosophical influences on Aquinas

Aquinas did not disdain to draw upon Jewish philosophical sources. His main work, "Summa Theologiæ," shows a profound knowledge not only of the writings of Avicebron (Ibn Gabirol), whose name he mentions, but also of most Jewish philosophical works then existing. Solomon Ibn Gabriol, also Solomon ben Judah, is a Spanish Jewish poet and philosopher. ... Jewish philosophy refers to the conjunction between serious study of philosophy and Jewish theology. ...


Thomas pronounces himself energetically against the hypothesis of the eternity of the world. But as this theory is attributed to Aristotle, he seeks to demonstrate that the latter did not express himself categorically on this subject. "The argument," said he, "which Aristotle presents to support this thesis is not properly called a demonstration, but is only a reply to the theories of those ancients who supposed that this world had a beginning and who gave only impossible proofs. There are three reasons for believing that Aristotle himself attached only a relative value to this reasoning. . . ." ("Summa Theologiæ," i. 46, art. 1 [1]). In this Thomas copies word for word Maimonides's Guide for the Perplexed, where those reasons are given (I:2,15). Commonly used image indicating one artists conception of Maimonidess appearance Maimonides (March 30, 1135 or 1138–December 13, 1204) was a Jewish rabbi, physician, and philosopher in Spain and Egypt during the Middle Ages. ... The Guide for the Perplexed (Hebrew:מורה נבוכים, translit. ...


Aquinas' influence on Jewish thought

Aquinas' doctrines, because of their close relationship with those of Jewish philosophy, found great favor among Jews. Judah Romano (born 1286) translated Aquinas' ideas from Latin into Hebrew under the title "Ma'amar ha-Mamschalim," together with other small treatises extracted from the "Contra Gentiles" ("Neged ha-Umot"). Hebrew redirects here. ...


Eli Hobillo (1470) translated, without Hebrew title, the "Quæstiones Disputatæ," "Quæstio de Anima," his "De Animæ Facultatibus," under the title "Ma'amar be-KoḦot ha-Nefesh," (edited by Jellinek); his "De Universalibus" as "Be-Inyan ha-Kolel"; "Shaalot Ma'amar beNimẓa we-biMehut."


Abraham Nehemiah ben Joseph (1490) translated Thomas' "Commentarii in Metaphysicam." According to Moses Almosnino, Isaac Abravanel desired to translate the "Quæstio de Spiritualibus Creaturis." Abravanel indeed seems to have been well acquainted with the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, whom he mentions in his work "Mif'alot Elohim" (vi. 3). The physician Jacob Zahalon (d. 1693) translated some extracts from the "Summa Theologiæ Contra Gentiles." This article or section should be merged with Don Isaac Abravanel. ...


Scholarly perspectives on Thomism

Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religion

"Aquinas's two most important qualities were his great talent for systematizing and his power of simple and lucid exposition. The work of preceding generations, especially of Alexander of Hales, had lightened the task of selection and ordering of the material; on the other hand, it had added to the number of problems and expanded the argument enormously, impairing the unity and clarity of the progress of thought. It was Thomas who made a single connected and consistent whole of the mass. His Aristotelianism, with its Neoplatonic elements, should also be noted. He owed not only his philosophical thoughts and world conception to Aristotle, but also the frame for his theological system; Aristotle's metaphysics and ethics dictated the trend of his system. Here he gained the purely rational framework for his massive temple of thought, namely of God, the rational cause of the world, and man's striving after him. Then he filled this in with the dogmas of the Church or of revelation. Nevertheless he succeeded in upholding church doctrine as credible and reasonable. The final characteristic of Thomas to be noted is his blameless orthodoxy. For opposition to Thomas and the reaction in the fifteenth century, see Scholasticism. This position as the teacher of the church grew stronger from Pope Leo X (1520) to Leo XIII (1900); even to-day the Roman Catholic Church preserves the inheritance of the ancient world-conception and the old church dogmas in the form which Thomas Aquinas gave them. For the relation of theology to philosophy and the sphere of the former and its sources, see Scholasticism." This article needs cleanup. ... Scholasticism comes from the Latin word scholasticus, which means that [which] belongs to the school, and is the school of philosophy taught by the academics (or schoolmen) of medieval universities circa 1100–1500. ... Scholasticism comes from the Latin word scholasticus, which means that [which] belongs to the school, and is the school of philosophy taught by the academics (or schoolmen) of medieval universities circa 1100–1500. ...


G.K. Chesterton

In describing Thomism as a philosophy of common sense, G.K. Chesterton wrote:

"Since the modern world began in the sixteenth century, nobody's system of philosophy has really corresponded to everybody's sense of reality; to what, if left to themselves, common men would call common sense. Each started with a paradox; a peculiar point of view demanding the sacrifice of what they would call a sane point of view. That is the one thing common to Hobbes and Hegel, to Kant and Bergson, to Berkeley and William James. A man had to believe something that no normal man would believe, if it were suddenly propounded to his simplicity; as that law is above right, or right is outside reason, or things are only as we think them, or everything is relative to a reality that is not there. The modern philosopher claims, like a sort of confident man, that if we will grant him this, the rest will be easy; he will straighten out the world, if he is allowed to give this one twist to the mind...
Against all this the philosophy of St. Thomas stands founded on the universal common conviction that eggs are eggs. The Hegelian may say that an egg is really a hen, because it is a part of an endless process of Becoming; the Berkelian may hold that poached eggs only exist as a dream exists, since it is quite as easy to call the dream the cause of the eggs as the eggs the cause of the dream; the Pragmatist may believe that we get the best out of scrambled eggs by forgetting that they ever were eggs, and only remembering the scramble. But no pupil of St. Thomas needs to addle his brains in order adequately to addle his eggs; to put his head at any peculiar angle in looking at eggs, or squinting at eggs, or winking the other eye in order to see a new simplification of eggs. The Thomist stands in the broad daylight of the brotherhood of men, in their common consciousness that eggs are not hens or dreams or mere practical assumptions; but things attested by the Authority of the Senses, which is from God." (Chesterton, St. Thomas Aquinas, p. 136).

This article is about the philosopher Thomas Hobbes. ... Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (August 27, 1770 - November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher born in Stuttgart, Württemberg, in present-day southwest Germany. ... Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant (April 22, 1724 – February 12, 1804) was a Prussian philosopher, generally regarded as one of Europes most influential thinkers and the last major philosopher of the Enlightenment. ... Henri Bergson Henri-Louis Bergson (October 18, 1859 _ January 4, 1941) was a French philosopher, influential in France, but out of the main currents of his time. ... Bishop George Berkeley George Berkeley (British English://; Irish English: //) (12 March 1685 – 14 January 1753), also known as Bishop Berkeley, was an influential Irish philosopher whose primary philosophical achievement is the advancement of what has come to be called subjective idealism, summed up in his dictum, Esse est percipi (To... For other people named William James see William James (disambiguation) William James (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910) was a pioneering American psychologist and philosopher. ...

See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Thomism (4813 words)
In a broad sense, Thomism is the name given to the system which follows the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas in philosophical and theological questions.
To Thomism in the first sense are opposed, e.g., the Scotists, who deny that satisfaction is a part of the proximate matter (materia proxima) of the Sacrament of Penance.
The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries saw Thomism in a triumphal march which led to the crowning of St. Thomas as the Prince of Theologians, when his "Summa was laid beside the Sacred Scriptures at the Council of Trent, and St. Pius V, in 1567, proclaimed him a Doctor of the Universal Church.
Thomism, Thomas Aquinas (1454 words)
Thomism is the school of philosophy and theology following the thought of Thomas Aquinas.
Thomism would not adapt itself; and so the alternatives left were obscurantism or non - Thomistic philosophy.
Consequently, though Thomism was still alive, primarily in Dominican circles, in the eighteenth century, it was essentially a spent force.
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