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Truth in Thomas Aquinas Author(s): John F. Wippel Reviewed work(s): Source: The Review of Meta

Truth in Thomas Aquinas Author(s): John F. Wippel Reviewed work(s):

Source: The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 43, No. 2 (Dec., 1989), pp. 295-326 Published by: Philosophy Education Society Inc.

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TRUTH INTHOMAS AQUINAS*

JOHN

F. WIPPEL

J.

HOMAS

aquinas

is well-known

 

that

truth

consists

of

an

adequation

thing.

Perhaps

no

discussion

 

of

better

known

than

that

offered

Truth

(De

veritate).

Even

so,

this

for

having

between

within

in qu.

1

of

in addition

his

to

defended

the

the

view

a

is

on

an

intellect

and

corpus

as

his

literary

Disputed

describing

Questions

truth

adequation

of

other

of being

of

the

definitions.

intellect

Most

and

a

thing,

importantly,

he

he

(what might

be called

"ontological

there

considers

a number

develops

truth")

a notion

of

along with

truth

truth

of

the

intellect

have

(what

pointed

scholars

scholars

ditions

d i t i o n s
r e g a r d i n g

regarding

the

might

out,

nature

be

prior

of

called

"logical

truth").1

As

various

to Thomas's

truth

had

time

already

two

general

appeared.

tra

One

is heavily

neoplatonic

 

and

emphasizes

truth

of being.

It was

known

to Aquinas

especially

through

 

the

writings

 

of Augustine,

Anselm,

 

and

Avicenna.

The

other,

more

Aristotelian,

stresses

truth

as

an

adequation

of mind

and

reality,

or

truth

of

the

intellect.

Both

of

these

traditions

 

deeply

influenced

Aquinas's

own

thinking,

as

we

shall

see.

But

he

could

and

did

appeal

to

a variety

of

earlier

defi

nitions

of

truth

in developing

 

his

own

view,

and

this

suggests

that

the

two

traditions

 

were

not

so

opposed

to

one

another

in Thomas's

 

mind

as

one

might

think.2

 

* This

is

the

first

part

of

a

two-part

article

which

will

be

continued

in the March 1 This

1990

issue

of

the Review

ofMetaphysics.

 

terminology

("ontological

truth"

and

"logical

truth")

is

not

found

in Thomas's

of

writings

themselves,

The New

la v?rit?

but

See,

has

for

long

been

R.

12

used

by

later

"St.

interpreters

Thomas

Vande

scholastic

philosophy.

Truth,"

de

instance,

J. McCall,

(1938):

on Ontological

Scholasticism

9-29;

J.

de

Wiele,

"Le probl?me

ontologique

dans

la philosophie

saint

Thomas,"

2

For

Revue

historical

philosophique

background

on

de Louvain

these

two

52

earlier

(1954):

521-71.

traditions

see Vande

Wiele,

and

543

Anselm's

522-27

for

(on Aristotle),

summarizing

role

as

a source

527-31

(on Augustine),

remarks.

for

the

Unfortunately,

truth

of

things

532-35

Vande

(ontological

(on Avicenna),

Wiele

neglects

truth).

For

Review

Metaphysics

of Metaphysics

43

(December

1989):

295-326.

Copyright

?

1989

by

the

Review

of

296

JOHN F. WIPPEL

views

book

from

In

order

to

on

truth,

1, dist.

about

19,

1252.

set

this

qu.

the

paper

5

of

stage

will

his

In article

for

closer

with

examination

his

on

of Aquinas's

discussion

dating

truth

begin

earliest

earliest

the

Sentences,

he

asks

whether

commentary

this

1 of

question

in

is

to be

identified with

the

reply

terms

Thomas

distinguishes

may

signify.

One

type

essence

three

enjoys

of a thing.3

different

complete

kinds

and

In developing

his

of

total

things

being

which

outside

the mind;

illustration

that

is,

Thomas

independently

from

cites

complete

the mind's

entities

such

consideration.

as

human

In

beings

or

from

a foundation

operation

stones.

A

the mind,

for

second

for

type

instance,

in extramental

its

complete

enjoys

no

dreams

reality,

and

formal

reality

or

but

in

chimeras.

depends

realization.

itself

A

upon

As

independently

third

kind

has

the

intellect's

illustrations

Thomas

dation

cites

universals

and

time.

but

Each

that

of

these

makes

enjoys

time

some

to be

foun

time,

in extramental

to be

reality;

universal,

in

this

which

or a universal

Thomas

depends

upon

an

third

class.4

definition,

see M.

J. Lapierre,

of Truth,"

Sciences

intellectual

operation.

places

usage

truth

Thomas's

terpretation

of Anselm's

"Aquinas'

eccl?siastiques

In

18

of Anselm's

Definition

(1966):

Quaest.

248-55;

413-41.

disp. De

A.

J.

Cf. A.

veritate

Zimmermann,

1," Miscellanea

Free

Lehre

also

refers

Medieval

Address,

dissertation

die

und

Schmitz

des Aquinaten

1928),

sit

(Paris,

which

essentia

1929),

J. A. Weisheipl, With

p.

486.

sunt

rationis

ut

of America

Note

quae

eorum

patet

rationem

communis;

operationem

est

de

in

re,

"Bemerkungen

Mediaevalia

on

zu Thomas

15

von Aquin,

247-61,

esp.

rei

et

9,1984),

(M?nster,

Reiner

Die

von

(1982):

Adaequatio

Nov.

Aertsen,

(Inaugural

the

see

Problematik

(Bonn,

veritas

follow

Works.

Reflections

University

by

R.

von

B.

Truth.

intellectus

5-6.

Thomas

1984),

Also

Canterbury

of Amsterdam,

dissertation

Schmitz,

der Wahrheit

Sein-Wahrheit-Wort.

der Dinge

von Aquin

398-401.

Zur

to a Bonn

seen.

Scriptum

1, p.

484.

Friar

and

1983).

remarks

fundamentum

ad

by W.

mann,

Auseinandersetzung

des Wahrheitsbegriffes

mit

I have

rei."

vol.

in der Hochscholastik,

super

the

d Aquino.

Anselms

dem Wahrheitsbegriff

not

3 "Utrum

libros Sententiarum,

dating

ed. P. Mandonnet

works

I shall

Thought

Catholic

4

In

and

"Quaedam

in re, non

aliqua

tellects

dicitur

quod

For

Thomas

Addenda

of Thomas's

His

third

animam,

Life,

D.C.:

class:

sed

est

aliquid

per

animam

in

in

quam

de veritate,

actionem

this

see

Thomas

Corrigenda

Press,

Thomas's

habent

(Washington,

this

formale,

enim

extra

est

sit

accipitur

secundum

dico

per

On

saint

University

I Sent,

autem

about

in re extra

est

complementum

operationem

quantum

in universali.

id quod

Humanitas

cum

non

quod

intentio,

Similiter

completur

quo

leGrand

1969),

animae,

tarnen

humanitas

ibi habet

multis

ei per

similiter

universalis,

sed

.

.

secundum

eius

eo modo

adiungitur

species:

habet

La

et

intellectus

ratio

tempore

sed

fundamentum

quando

notion

scilicet

de v?rit?

intellectus,

F. Ruello,

d Aquin

apprehenditur

chez

est."

et chez

saint Albert

(Louvain-Paris:

B?atrice-Nauwelaerts,

179-227.

TRUTH

INTHOMAS AQUINAS

297

Accordingly,

nature

as

if

truth

the

truth

has

a

foundation

only

in

extramental

an

reality,

by

the

In

Meta

con

its

intellect?when

is perfected

through

thing

text

operation

is.

intellect

the

grasps

oft-quoted

cites

a

that while

truth

as

from

it really

firmation

physics

good

not

Thomas

Aristotle's

exist

6 to the effect

goes

exist

this,

in

but

the

beyond

and falsity

in the soul,

and

quite

evil

say

from

of Averroes's

things.

In

fact,

Aristotle's

 

Greek

text

does

this

reading

is given

by

the

medieval

Latin

Arabic

which

accompanied

the

Latin

trans

 

on

the Metaphysics.5

Thomas

im

Aristotle,

however,

by

appealing

to his meta

commentary

translation

lation

mediately

physics

existence

thing's

finds

a

of

essence

(esse)

existence

confirming

and

existence

are

present

(esse)

more

argument

in

so

for

the

He

name

adds

being

that

(ens)

it is only

is

imposed

through

a

(esse).

thing,

Since

truth

both

quiddity

is

grounded

on

and

the

than

this

on

upon

in

a

the

thing

the operation

its

quiddity.

Thomas

grammatical

by

reason

of

fact

its

that

esse.

of the

intellect which

grasps

thing

relation

the

that

of

Therefore,

view

the

of

esse

of

a

thing

as

it

is

by

the relation

of adequation

becoming

assimilated

is completed.

And

adequation

in

this

earliest

that

the

nature

(ratio)

text,

we

already

see

of

truth

Thomas

truth

as

adequation.

to

that

it is in this

consists.6

defending

truth

ments

Given

about

that

all

of

that

this,

thing

the

nature

to

its

existence

in

the

Thomas

to

of

be

truth

thing.

concludes

that

the

a

thing's

esse

causes

com

present

exists

He

in

in the

intellect.

intellect

He

in prior

example

also

fashion

of

the

recalls

Aristotle's

5 In I Sent,

bad

and

were

truth

in

p. 486.

are

itself

For Aristotle,

in things?it

see Metaphysics

is not

is the

as

if the

(W. D.

vol.

reading

accompanied

6.4.1027b25-27:

good

given

were

"for

and

falsity

the

not

true,

false?but

thought"

ed. J. Barnes,

in

this

Ross

2 [Princeton:

translation

by

in

The Complete Works of Aristotle,

University

Latin

Press,

translation

1984],

of

1623).

the Arabic

Princeton

the medieval

commentary

But

which

Averroes's

on

152ra:

ut

For

judge

had

the

same.

"Verum

See Averroes,

enim

et

sicut

bonum

In VIMetaph.

et

sunt

sicut

see

fols.

on

time

(Venice,

in rebus,

malum,

1562),

sicut

vol.

8. fols.

151 vb

falsum

on

hand

non

falsum

this

bonum

sunt

text,

et malum,

verum

sit

Averroes's

sed

same

in cognitione."

And

if one may

he must

have

this.

See

his

In

commentary

own

at

152rb-152va.

this

prepared

from

a

similar

Thomas's

reading

commentary

the

at

he

XII libros Metaphysicorum

Aristotelis

lect.

et

et

pientis

relatio

4, nn.
6

In

suum

nomen

esse

1230-1231.

d.

veritas

rei

ab

sicut

I Sent,

esse,

entis

19, q.

esse

est

5,

fundatur

a.

1, p. 486:

in esse

imponitur;

per

et

quamdam

consistit

adaequationis,

in qua

expositio

(Turin-Rome,

1950),

bk.

6,

"Cum

autem

in re

sit

quidditas

rei magis

in

ipsa

quam

operatione

in quidditate,

intellectus

eius

sicut

acci

similationem

ratio

veritatis."

ad

ipsum,

completur

298

JOHN F. WIPPEL

different

ways

in which

the

term

"healthy"

can

be

predicated.

Thus

the

health

hot

and

in

an

but

the

cold

and

but

animal,

other

causes

account

said

for

of

too,

presence

these

by

in primary

analogy

with

truth

is

said

insofar

intellect.

in

intellect

this

point

is nat

a

cor

things

are

by

reason

of

appears

to

be

the

of

animal;

the

it

"healthy"

and

of

the

of

an

is not

the

animal.

fashion

"healthy"

of

as

fashion

others

and

to be

to

only

So,

of

is present

is predicated

a

of

truth

sign

a

as

of

thing

of

the

of

that

the

a

reason

of

"false"

of

itself

primary

as

intellect,

which

truth

itself.

is

said

a proposition

in

to

the

the

the

latter

is

insofar

truth

It

is only

causes

thing

thing

its

in

present

that

Thomas

urally

rect

referred

truth

also

fitted

is said

notes

(In developing

be

true

it

to produce

other

suited

understanding

because

by

external

the

they

to

appearances

understanding

their

to

as

external

but

Both

reduced

intellect.

are

produce

And

because

naturally

a

false

of

themselves.

gold

appearances

for

Consider,

or

instance,

to God

something

which

is not.)7

kinds

of truth?truth

traced

back

of the intellect

as

to

their

and truth of a thing?

first

principle.

This

are

is because

understanding

God's

truth

is

being

the

just as he

is the cause

cause

of

all

just as

of all other

other

knowing.

being

(esse) and his

It

he

is

thing

is for

Therefore

(esse).

the first

stands in relation

is the first being,

it does

for each and every

to being

to truth

this

2

truth

for

truth

that

reason,

the

and

Thomas

first

true

continues,

of

being

some

that

is

Aristotle

identical

shows

the

in Metaphysics

cause

cause

with

first

is

to

can

in Aristotle

the maximum

see

degree.

justification

as

a

(This

theory

passage

for

of

finding

truth

of

a

interesting

theory

intellect.)8

in

it Thomas

of

being

as well

of

of

1 In

I Sent,

esse

d.

rei

19,

est

q.

5,

causa

a.

1,

use

p.

veritatis,

of

486.

the

ways

p.

Note

in particular:

by

est

to

reason

"Unde

dico,

quod

ipsum

secundum

example

but

always

487.

For

derivative

quod

of health

in cognitione

illustrate

how

of reference

intellectus."

being

to

a first,

8

2.1.993b26-31:

can

For

For Aristotle's

be predicated

see Metaphysics

see

"so

that

Thomas

in different

In

which

4.2.1003a33-b6.

I Sent,

Aristotle

truths

see Metaphysics

to

be

true

is most

causes

true.

Therefore

are

the principles

merely

themselves

is in respect

Vande

of eternal

the

true,

cause

of being,

so

insists

things

nor

of

is

the

must

there

being

be always

any

of

most

true;

their

so

for

being,

that

ed.,

tological

vol.

they

but

as

each

2,

present

other

not

sometimes

are

cause

other

of

things,

they

p.

truth

thing

1570).

is it in respect

that

there

of

truth"

doctrine

not

522-25).

has

(Barnes

of

refer

on

to

On

inmind

he

Wiele

is no

in Aristotle,

but while

de

that

discussing

la v?rit?

the

truth

this,

he

does

ontologique,"

Aristotle

here

truth

the

the

is "ontological

passage

("Le probl?me

emphasizes

and

not

the

hand,

Reale

truth"

logico-epistemological

of which

TRUTH

INTHOMAS AQUINAS

299

In

discussion.

intellect

sum,

Thomas

Truth

insofar

as

in

has

the

the

singled

full

and

intellect's

out

complete

three

grasp

of

 

levels

of

truth

in

this

sense

is assigned

to

the

a

thing

corresponds

to

that

selves,

truth

thing

but

as

it

only

is

in itself.

analogically,

Truth

is then assigned

to things

them

because

of

their

capacity

to

produce

in the

intellect.

Finally,

truth

in the fullest

and most

perfect

sense

is

assigned

to

other

things

and

the

same

truth

the

tion

time,

in

the

intellect.9

as

If we

an

at

this

instance,

it

full

is

It

clear

and

God

acts

from

primary

because

of

he

causes

all

both

the

being

of

At

all

the

knowing

this

sense

of

other

that

insofar

it best

the

intellects.

Thomas

as

discussion

for

that

and

reserves

in

descrip

of

to

truth

For

things

it

it

is present

its

is here,

end

of

our

of

apparently,