Questions tagged [aquinas]

[St. Thomas Aquinas][1] (1225–1274), scholastic philosopher, Catholic theologian, and most famous commentator on Aristotle. [Thomism][2] is his school of thought. [1]: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aquinas [2]: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14698b.htm

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How can the soul be a form in Aristotle's metaphysics but continue to exist after the body's destruction?

Many authors, especially in introductory books, seem to characterize Aristotle's forms as some kind of structure or organizational feature of matter, which seems to be compatible with a reductionist ...
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What should you do in this situation?

You've been on a cruise for two days when there's an accident that forces everyone on board to abandon ship. During the evacuation, one of the boats is damaged, leaving it with a hole that fills it ...
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What are all attributes of God and what is the manner of knowing them according to Aquinas?

What are all of the divine attributes, and in which way is each of them predicted of God (univocal, equivocal or analogical way; if in an analogical way, what kind of analogy)? An answer should be ...
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Did Aquinas or Aristotle discuss what happens to the man when he feels bored?

Question: Did Aquinas or Aristotle discuss what happens to the man when he feels bored? What do they say about it? How do they explain that feeling? I coupled Aristotle and Aquinas in this question ...
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Divine simplicity vs. divine aseity

Although the concept of divine simplicity is so poetic that I almost wish I could believe it, as it turns out, I can't believe it. Here's my argument: [Assumption for reductio] The creatrix is a se ...
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How did Aristotle or St. Thomas resolve the liar's paradox?

How did Aristotle or St. Thomas Aquinas (such as in one of his commentaries on Aristotle) resolve the liar's paradox?
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Do those who deny a univocal understanding of “God is good” conflate sense and connotation?

Several theologians following Aquinas have said that when we say things like "God is good" that this must mean something different to when we call other things good; this is called analogical use of ...
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How did Suarez defend objectivity of human knowledge (cognition)?

It seems that Aquinas (and the first scholastics) founded objectivity of knowledge in the unity of intellect and the thing known. Namely, the intellect receives the form of the thing and literally ...
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Does St. Thomas Aquinas' cosmological argument from contingency assume that an infinite regress of contingent things is impossible?

The Third Way: Argument from Possibility and Necessity (Reductio argument) We find in nature things that are possible to be and not to be, that come into being and go out of being i.e., ...
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Are analogical middle terms sufficient for a valid demonstration?

William A. Wallace, O.P., in “Thomism and the Quantum Enigma,” The Thomist 61 (1997): 455–468, claims that analogical middle terms are sufficient for a valid demonstration and that this is a ...
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What is the similarity and difference in the way Aristotle and Tomas Aquinas defining the concept of “Analogy of Being”?

As is well known to us all, "Analogy of Being" is a very important term created by the Scholasticism of St. Thomas Aquinas. While this term cannot be found in Aristotle' original book,and the similiar ...
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How to resolve this argument against possibility of change?

Let's say that some being A is changed to being B (example: lion burned to ashes, cold metal turned to hot metal, etc.). Thesis. It is impossible that being A is changed to being B. Proof. Suppose ...
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If the universe has a beginning does that prove God exists?

It is curious to note that a eminent Physicist like Stephen Hawking thinks the universe has a beginning. This has some rather startling Religious implications You can find the link here: http://www....
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Principle of proportionate causality - what are virtual and eminent causes?

I'm reading Edward Feser's book Five Proofs of the Existence of God. On pages 32-33 he introduces the principle of proportionate causality (PPC). I'm having trouble understanding what precisely ...
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How does one cause impede the action of another cause?

How does Aristotle or a medieval scholastic commentator like St. Thomas Aquinas explain how one cause can impede the action of another cause? Or, conversely, how does the removal of an impeding cause ...
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How do Thomists justify “same causes in the same circumstances produce always the same effects.” in light of Quantum Mechanics?

One of the Scholastic axioms says: 7.7 The same causes in the same circumstances produce always the same effects. How do Thomists justify that axiom when in Quantum Mechanics we see a different ...
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How do Thomists prove that: “Everything that exists must exist by something.”?

One variation of principle of sufficient reason that Thomists use is: Everything that exists must exist by something. How do they prove such a statement? In particular, why can not something just ...
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What does Aquinas mean in this passage from Summa Theologica responding to the claim that goodness is prior to being?

In his article on goodness in general, Summa Theologica I q. 5 a. 2, Aquinas considers the question of whether goodness is prior in idea to being. He is responding to the following objection (arg. 1): ...
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Why must the first mover be unmovable?

In the first way of Aquinas it is proved that there exists an unmoved mover (or unchanged changer or even better, actualizer which was not actualized). It is often claimed that God is pure act without ...
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Can potentiality be used to dispel Parmenides's monism?

Can we say that beings are different precisely because this being has this potencies and that being has that potencies? Is the (only) thing differentiating two different things their set of potencies? ...
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What are the best arguments for the defense of the “principle of motion”?

How would someone (I would love to hear how Aquinas and/or Aristotle would) defend the principle of motion (that is, whatever is changed is changed by another or only actual being can actualize ...
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What does Aquinas mean when he refers to things being “identical numerically” or “specifically identical” with things?

In his discussion on the simplicity of God in Summa Theologica, Thomas Aquinas considers the question of "whether God enters into the composition of other things": Objection 1: It seems that God ...
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How can souls and angels be pure forms if only matter undergoes change?

In Thomas Aquinas' philosophy, angels are conceived as pure forms without any matter, like God, but contrary to God they still possess potentiality. Although there is no composition of matter and ...
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According to St. Thomas Aquinas, do “being” (ens) and “truth” (verum) differ?

In his Disputed Questions on Truth q. 1 a. 1 arg. 3, St. Thomas Aquinas presents an argument against "that the true (verum) is exactly the same as being (ens)": 3. Things which differ conceptually [...
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How would Nietzsche argue against classical theism?

Completely out of curiosity, how would someone like Nietzsche, let's use him as an example, argue against Aquinas's metaphysical argument for classical theism. I can't seem to find any references in ...
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Did Thomas Aquinas state randomness as a prerequisite of free will?

I was told the other day that in one work on free will, Thomas Aquinas suggested that some randomness / non-determinism was a prerequisite for its existence. Does any one know where he expressed this ...
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Is a Thomist possible modal proposition a non-judicative proposition?

According to Thomist philosophy and logic, is a possible modal proposition (either divisive or compound) a non-judicative proposition? It would seem to me that the other three modal propositions (...
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What does Dawkins suggest is the main flaw in these three arguments from Aquinas?

Source: p 100-101, The God Delusion, By Richard Dawkins 1. The Unmoved Mover. Nothing moves without a prior mover. This leads us to an infinite regress, from which the only escape is God. ...
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What is the definition of 'will' according to Thomas Aquinas?

His definition of faith is an act of the intellect (mind) turned on by the will. But what is his definition of 'Will'? Is the will also an act of the mind or just moren an instinct/desire?
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How to understand the identity of matter in Aristotelianism?

I am currently reading "Real Essentialism" written by David Oderberg. He discusses the issue of substance individuation. The principle of individuation is matter. Now if we have Plato and Socrates, ...
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Why does Thomas Aquinas say that “in every composite there must be potentiality and actuality”?

In the chapter in Summa Theologica on the simplicity of God, Aquinas says the following in arguing that God is not composite: ... in every composite there must be potentiality and actuality; but ...
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Thomas of Aquino vs. William of Ockham

Thomas of Aquinas mentions Aristotle´s views at length in his writings. It seems that Aristotle who I understand did not teach about an intervening God, is nevertheless considered a skilled mechanics ...
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Aquinas on the role of consciousness in women

My question is on exactly what comments Aquinas has made on consciousness in women. This is because I believe he said we all have God-given reason as we are made in the image of God. Except he also ...
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Does Aquinas believe the first principle of human action is self-love as friendship or as concupiscence?

Aquinas states in the Summa Theologiae, First Part of the Second Part, Question 1, Article 5 the following: ... just as in the process of reasoning, the principle is that which is naturally known, ...
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We know substances by means of their accidents?

Where does Aristotle or St. Thomas Aquinas say we know substances by means of their accidents? For example: To know the substance of an apple, I first have to sense its quantity and qualities: shape, ...
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Was Aquinas a foundationalist?

Foundationalism is, generally speaking, the belief that a group of undoubtable beliefs 'ground,' or 'justify' other beliefs. As of late, foundationalism has fallen out of favor in many different ...
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What is Aquinas' argument for humans having a nature desire to live forever?

In the Summa Contra Gentiles, Thomas Aquinas presents many arguments for the immortality of the soul. Here is one of them: [13] A further argument. It is impossible for natural desire to be in ...
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How are “causal” loops avoided in Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysics?

If we take Aquinas' first way, for example, the inference that a chain of movers exist, is readily made, but no defense for this assumption is given. Usually the argument is interpreted so, that all ...
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How can Aquinas' argument from motion to mover be reconciled with Newton's law of inertia?

A common objection to Thomas Aquinas' first way, the argument from motion (which means rather something like change), is that the second premise is flawed: It is certain, and evidence to our ...
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What is Malebranche's explanation for the source of human error?

An omnibenevolent God would not deceive us or cause us to be in error, thus the gifts from cannot be the source of error. Rather sin confuses our faculties and prevents us from using them as they ...
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How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

This question became a symbol for the silly and pointless sophistry of medieval scholastics. But as modern scholarship has shown scholastics was not such a thoughtless desert as some of its ...
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What is the agent intellect according to Avicenna and Aquinas?

Avicenna and Thomas Aquinas seem to generally interpret Aristotle in different ways, and I am trying to understand the differences. Specifically, what are the differences between Avicenna's view and ...
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Looking for a term about the structure of an argument

In Aquinas's Summa Theologica I q. 76 a. 2, "Whether the intellectual principle is multiplied according to the number of bodies?," he begins his argument that there must many intellects by shortly ...
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What do necessity and possibility mean in Aquinas' Third Way argument for the existence of God?

In his famous Summa Theologica, the Scholastic theologian Thomas Aquinas presents Five Ways to demonstrate the existence of God. Here is Aquinas' Third Way, the argument from contigency: The third ...
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Why did Aquinas distinguish his first three “cosmological argument” for God?

The first three of Aquinas' Five Ways seem to be very similar to each other. They can be generalized into one argument and they all rely on the impossibility on infinite regress and argued that God is ...
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If God is pure act of being, where does the essence of being come from?

According to the Thomistic view in Ontology, essence and 'the act of being' (I'm translating from a romance language) are different, in which 'to be' is the act received by the essence, which is the ...
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Does “ens materiale” = “ens sensible”? If so, why?

As far as I know, Aristotelianism and Thomism state that a material being is always potentially sensible. For example, there are microorganisms that we cannot see with the naked eye. But if we use a ...
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According to the Natural Law, should poetry rhyme?

I usually ask questions like this on Christianity.SE, but I've got a feeling it's better suited here. And just to be clear, I want only Natural Law (Aristotle, Aquinas, etc) answers pointing to ...
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Why is Being not a genus?

Aquinas wrote: Being is not a genus, since it is not predicated univocally, but analogically Genus is a term that is used in Aristotles Organon; as is predicate and I think univocal and analogy. ...
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How can “essentialism” ever make sense?

So, searching for J. L. Mackies "argument from queerness", I stumbled upon this blog entry. Now, Mr. Feser seems to be a quite... controversial figure, to say the least, but please let's resist the ...