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Aquinas Final.doc

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PHIL 1090
Pheme Perkins

Perspectives on Western Culture November 15- December 1, 2010 Notes: St. ThomasAquinas •Most famous of catholic theologians from the medieval centuries •Most of the education of the young men went on in monastery schools or Cathedral schools. •With the emergences of universities in cities, you have young people who came from all over Europe to the big cities to gain an education •Preliminary curriculum in the faculty of arts (logic, rhetoric, grammar, music, geometry, arithmetic, astronomy) •Only really three professional faculties: you would seek instruction in the faculty in theology, medicine and law = advanced faculty; fields need training and advanced studies as opposed to simple apprenticeship •Medieval university had a structured curriculum, hoops to go through to be a Bachelor or Master: the way they argued about theology was the way they argued about law and medicine (the base clergy were actually uneducated vs the Dominicans and those who planned on climbing the church ladder; like Augustine finding the differences in African theology and Milanese theology) •Formal methods of arguing employed regardless of the topic •In many of the passages from Aquinas, he adopted the method of arguing to structure a kind of textbook/ summary of theology •Also during this time: introduction, thanks to the Arabs, of the many of the works of Aristotle = rediscovery of his ethics, politics, natural world investigation; Aquinas had as a teacher one of the great proponents of the introduction ofAristotle in schooling (ie, St. Albert the Great). •When they appeal to 典he Philosopher,they are appealing to Aristotle •Aquinas at the same time he 典 putting together the Summa (for the Dominican order and their students in training for the order) is also writing his own commentaries on the works of Aristotle as well as the works of Scripture •The style of the Summa is the style of debate (Aristotelian!) •Start out with a big question, followed by articles (= points of inquiry) •Individual articles are usually phrased as questions to which you can give a yes/ no answer •Sometimes the yes/ no will be conditional •In formulating the written articles for this textbook (and a good strategy for debate), he thinks about possible arguments on both sides •Lay out the possible reasons why one would conclude one way and possible reasons why one would conclude the other ?eventually have to decide which side one comes down on. •After deciding a side, give objections (= reasons) for an opinion •Entitled to both sides of the argument, but only with reasons for it •Good tactic in debate is to argue how something on the other side is wrong (as a way of proving your side correct) before the other side even argues that something. •Summa of Theology is a textbook aimed at young Dominicans •What sort of thing Theology isuse medieval categories •Article 4, p. 188 = discusses Christianity as a practical science: puts out 典 bjectionsfrom other side: [1] Christianity seems to be practical science: 典 oers of the word..[2] sacred doctrine as moral law, which is a practical science •We have applied (like Aristotle 典 practical) sciences (versus theoretical sciences): orientation of a science to a specific case ?theoretical physics versus engineering physics, chemistry versus biochemical studies •There were people, especially the Franciscans(!), who said theology is a practical science •Aquinas 典 ips your hatwith 典 n the other handthat indicates you are going to take the other side before developing your actual argument •Aquinas calls Christina theology more contemplative (like theoretical) •The fact that theology is about God and the fact that God made man as opposed to man making God: makes theology contemplative and not practical •It 典 not practical science since it 典 not something we made •God is not a being whom/ which we can analyze: it wouldn 典 matter where we looked, we wouldn典 be able to find something that was a created, limited, finite being a part of the things that exist that we could tag as God = we use our human concepts to define God, but we always condition, saying, 典es this, but greater” •The only knowledge we have of God is what God has revealed. Sacred theology is only the study of what God has revealed ?Scriptures •We can reason from certain observable effects to the conclusion that there is a God •Argument (典 eply: Theology is not disinterested in what 典 going on with the rest of the University (典 ifferent philosophical sciences ?theology is interested in economics, things in chemistry, in any science 典n the light of God” •Begins with a discussion of God: one of the alternatives to Aquinasway of going about things (one of the criticisms he 典 get) is when he begins talking about God he begins with a series of more philosophical aspects of God question, rather than the revelation/ peculiar ideas the Christians have about God •Selects topics in a way which he thinks he can move from the widest audience (first arguments appeal to philosophical/ wider audience) •First question that ask the question if God exists •Whether or not the statement that 典od existsis self evident •The fact that we all 典 hether we are worshippers or not 典 now the meaning of te term, etc is proof of God •P. 213, obj 2: appeals to Aristotle or idea of principle that in knowing the meaning of the term proves the term典 existence •Explain how understand the meaning of God I should predicate the existence of God (part of whole?) •Obj 2: 典 hen I use the word God, everyone understands I mean the Big Kahoona: 典 or by this term is signified a reality than which nothing greater can be signified” •He gives a brief syllogism (still thinking philosophically, even though he gives a biblical quote) •Because it is possible to say God doesn 稚 exist, means that just because we say God does exist doesn 稚 mean God does exist! •Let 典 begin by investigating what we mean when we use the word self-evident •Self-evident things built in, but not self evident to everyone •Grant to the people who say God is self-evident half of their argument: grant them that if we had perfect knowledge of God of course God would be self-evidentbut that 典 not the way we know God •Boethius says that to the learned some things are self-evidentthings real but not corporal: real but not contained in matter •Most are in the position of the student faced with the super brilliant calc prof (who doesn 典 prove things because he thinks they are self evident •Existence of God is self evident in a VERY narrow sense: only self evident insofar as we can understand God in that sense: near impossible!!!! •Might argue that we naturally desire happiness is not satisfied by all the other things we do and have, maybe some people would like to say that there is a kind of natural instinct for/ hope for happiness = this does not tell you God exists •When he answers an argument he does
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