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Thomistic Philosophy

(PHI 310)
3 credits
Spring 2010

Aquinas Institute
Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana
Course Syllabus
Instructor: Richard C. Chiasson
BS, MBA, MA (Philosophy), MA (Theology)
Telephone:

[337] 235-0071 (home)


[337] 896-6050, ext. 227 (work)

e-mail:

richardcc01@bellsouth.net

If you wish to speak with me privately, call the above telephone number or send an e-mail to
schedule an appointment.
All of the following apply to students taking the course for credit.
Auditors are only subject to dress policies and class protocol requirements.
Time and Location of Classes
Classes will be held every Tuesday at the Immaculata Center (John XXIII Room), 1408 Carmel
Avenue, Lafayette, Louisiana. Each class will meet from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM with a break from
7:15 PM to 7:30 PM.
Course Description
An overview of the fundamental philosophical teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas including a
study of his life, the historical framework in which he developed his philosophical positions, the
structure of the medieval university, the controversies in which Thomas was embroiled, his
impact on education, Thomas insistence on the necessity of both faith and reason, and the
importance of Pope Leo XIIIs revival of Thomistic philosophy. Specific philosophical
disciplines examined from St. Thomas Aquinas perspective include, but are not limited to, the
philosophy of nature, the philosophy of human nature, epistemology, natural theology,
metaphysics, moral philosophy and political philosophy. The Christian and perennial philosophy
of St. Thomas Aquinas is studied from the writings of the Angelic Doctor.
Course Goals
After successfully completing the course, the student will:
Have a fundamental knowledge of the philosophic teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas.

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Understand what distinguishes Thomistic philosophy from the positions of other


philosophers.
Be capable of integrating Aquinas philosophy into the study of Catholic theology.
Realize why one must have knowledge of sound Christian philosophy before the study of
theology.
Appreciate why Thomistic philosophy is truly the handmaid of Catholic theology.
Course Rationale

[Thomistic philosophy] is simply the teachings of St. Thomas, as opposed to some ism which
purports to be the true representation of his thought. A system of his thought is not possible
because truth for Thomas was inexhaustible and . . . can never be grasped in its totality, much
less represented by some school of human thought. Those who adhere to any form of Thomism
have done nothing but limited what St. Thomas teaches truth, however, cannot be limited. If
we narrow Thomas teachings, we narrow reality.
Joseph Pieper, The Silence of St. Thomas
Method of Instruction
The primary method of instruction will be lectures with active participation of the student,
assigned readings and the writing of research papers the purpose of which is to permit the student
to individually delve deeper into certain topics discussed in the lectures.
Taking good notes is essential to doing well in this course. Lectures will not simply be a
repetition of assigned readings but will usually include topics that are not in assigned readings.
Thus, it is imperative that credit students have accurate notes for every class in order to prepare
for the final examination.
Students are permitted to audio tape lectures if they so wish for personal use only.
Required Texts
1. Thomas AquinasSelected Writings, edited and translated with an introduction and notes by
Ralph McInerny, published by Penguin Books.
2. The Silence of St. Thomas, by Josef Pieper, published by St. Augustines Press, South Bend,
Indiana.
3. Either The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy, edited by Thomas Mautner, published by
Penguin Books or the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, by Simon Blackburn, published by
Oxford University Press.
[N.B.: if any required texts are no longer in print, obtain them from a used book dealer. Use
bookfinder.com to locate a dealer who has the book.]
Some Suggested Readings for Your Own Edification1

The Thought of Thomas Aquinas, by Brian Davies, published by Clarendon Press, Oxford.

Some of the below texts may be out of print but can be obtained from used book dealers such as Preserving
Christian Publications at http://www.pepbooks.com or Book Finder at http://www.bookfinder.com.

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On Being and Essence, by St. Thomas Aquinas, published by The Pontifical Institute of
Mediaeval Studies, Toronto.
Guide to Thomas Aquinas, by Josef Pieper, published by Ignatius Press, San Francisco.
An Aquinas ReaderSelections from the Writings of Thomas Aquinas, edited, with and
introduction by Mary T. Clark, Fordham University Press, New York.
Preambula FideiThomism and the God of the Philosophers, by Ralph McInerny, published
by The Catholic University of America Press, Washington, D.C.
Aquinas Against the AverroistsOn There Being Only One Intellect, translated with analysis
by Ralph McInerny, published by Purdue University Press, West Lafayette, Indiana.
Disputed Questions on Virtue, by Thomas Aquinas, translated and preface by Ralph
McInerny, published St. Augustines Press, South Bend, Indiana.
Faith, Reason and TheologyQuestions I-IV of Commentary on the De Trinitate of Boethius,
y Thomas Aquinas, translation and notes by Armand Maurer, published by The Pontifical
Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto.
A Preface to MetaphysicsSeven Lectures on Being, by Jacques Maritain, Published by Ayer
Company Publishers, Inc., Salem, New Hampshire.
Introduction to the Philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, Volume IV Metaphysics, by H.D.
Gardeil, published by B. Herder Book Company, St. Louis, Missouri.
Being and Some Philosophers, by Etienne Gilson, published by The Pontifical Institute of
Mediaeval Studies, Toronto.
Quodlibetal Questions 1 and 2, by Thomas Aquinas, translated with an introduction and
notes by Sandra Edwards, published by The Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies,
Toronto.
An Introduction to the Metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas, translated by James F. Anderson,
published by Regnery Gateway.
On Spiritual Creatures, by St. Thomas Aquinas, published by Marquette University Press,
Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The Division and Methods of the SciencesQuestions V and VI of Commentary on the De
Trinitate of Boethius, by St. Thomas Aquinas, translated by Armand Maurer, published by
The Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto.
Aquinas and Analogy, by Ralph McInerny, published by Catholic University Press,
Washington, D.C.
Commentary on the Book of Causes, by St. Thomas Aquinas, translated by Vincent A.
Guagliardo, O.P., Charles R. Hess, O.P., Richard C. Taylor, published by The Catholic
University of America Press, Washington, D.C.
Encyclical Letter Fides et RatioOn Faith and Reason, Pope John Paul II. This can be
downloaded from the Vatican website free of charge. [http://www.vatican.vaclick on the
papal archives button on the home page]
A Students Guide to Philosophy, by Ralph M. McInerny, published by Intercollegiate Studies
Institute, Wilmington, Delaware.

Major Works of St. Thomas Aquinas:


Commentary on Aristotles Metaphysics
Commentary on Aristotles Nicomachean Ethics
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Commentary on Aristotles On Interpretation


Commentary on Aristotles Posterior Analytics
Commentary on Aristotles On the Soul
Commentary on Aristotles Physics
Commentary on Aristotles Politics
Compendium TheologiaeThe Compendium of Theology
De AnimaOn the Soul
De Ente et EssentiaOn Being and Essence
Disputed Question on the Cardinal Virtues
Disputed Question on the Virtues in General
De MaloOn Evil
De PotentiaOn The Power of God
De Spiritualibus CreaturisOn Spiritual Creatures
De VeritateOn Truth
Faith, Reason, and Theology
On The Unity of the Intellect Against the Averroists
Summa2 Contra GentilesSumma of Christian Teaching
Summa TheologiaeSumma of Theology
The Division and Methods of the Sciences

Lives of St. Thomas Aquinas:


Aquinas. F.C. Copleston
Saint Thomas Aquinas. Gerald Vann, O.P.
Saint Thomas Aquinas. M.C. DArcy, S.J.
St. Thomas Aquinas and His Work. A.D. Sertillanges, O.P.
St. Thomas Aquinas. Jacques Maritain
St. Thomas Aquinas. Joseph Pieper
Saint Thomas Aquinas, Volume 1The Person and His Work, Volume 2Spiritual Master.
Jean-Pierre Torrell, O.P.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, Volume 2.
The Dumb OxThe Life of St. Thomas Aquinas. G.K. Chesterton.
Class Attendance Policy
(a.)

Excused/unexcused absences.

The student should incur no more than one (1) excused absence and one (1) unexcused
absence. An excused absence is one in which the reason for the absence has been
approved by the Instructor at least 48 hours prior to the time of the class to be missed. An
unexcused absence is one where the Instructor has not approved the reason for the
absence at least 48 hours prior to the time of the class missed or any reason for an
2

The Latin word Summa generally means on the whole.

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absence which has not been approved by the Instructor. Violations of the absence policy
may result in dismissal from the course.
The Instructor has the authority to extend the excused and/or unexcused absence limits
for individual students if unusual situations should arise.
Auditors are not required to attend every class. However, if an auditor misses class they
may well find themselves unable to comprehend future lectures. Accordingly, if an
auditor is absent more than six (6) times, as determined solely by the Instructor, they will
be dismissed from the course since with that many absences it will not be possible to
truly benefit from the series of instructions. All auditors when attending a class are
expected to come on time and to remain until the class is completed, unless prior
permission has been obtained from the Instructor to come late or leave early.
(b.)

What you must do if you will not be able to attend a class.

If you cannot attend a class, please call the Instructor at [337] 235-0071 [home] or [337]
849-3642 [cell]. You must speak directly with the Instructorleaving a voice message or
sending an E-mail is not acceptable and will be considered to be an unexcused absence.
(c.)

Acceptable reasons for missing a class include, but are not limited to the
following:
Your illness.
Illness of a spouse or child.
Death of a near relative or close personal friend.
Business travel or other required travel (vacation or holiday travel is not
considered to be required travel).
University examination.
Job related event.
Pregnancy and childbirth.

(d.)

What do you have to do if you miss a class?

Obtain the lecture notes from a student who attended the class you missed.
There will be no make-up lectures.
If you miss a class, it is also your responsibility to obtain any handout(s) which were
distributed during that class. Any handouts from the prior lecture will be displayed in the
lecture room.
(e.)

Arriving late for class.

If you arrive late for class simply enter quietly and take an available seat. Do not inform
the Instructor as to why you were late until after the class.

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Anyone who arrives more that 30 minutes late for class, as determined by the Instructor,
will be documented as an unexcused absence. Be on time.
(f.)

Leaving class early.

If you must leave class early, inform the Instructor prior to the beginning of the class as to
the reason.
Anyone who leaves without having spent at least 1 hours in class, as determined by the
Instructor, will be documented as an unexcused absence.
Class Protocol
All students, both auditors and those taking the course for credit, are expected to observe the
following minimum code of conduct at all times during class. Any behavior deemed
inappropriate by the Instructor, whether or not stated below, may result in dismissal from
the course.

Recitation of prayers before and after each class.


Active participation and attentiveness in class is expected.
Prompt attendance is required. Please come to class before it begins. You are expected to
remain until the class is completed.
No food or beverages, except water, is permitted in the classroom.
All communication devices that make noise must be turned off, unless it is absolutely
necessary that they remain on, for example, if you are a physician.
Sleeping is not permitted in class.
Disruptive behavior is not permitted.
Weapons of any sort are not permitted.
Obscene, vulgar, profane, or blasphemous language is not permitted.
Sexual harassment is not permitted.
Leaning the head on the desk is not permitted.
Chewing gum or any other substance is not permitted.
If you have a question during class or wish to make a comment, raise your hand and wait to
be acknowledged before speaking.
Common courtesy will be practiced by all individuals attending the class.
You are to dress in a Christian manner, i.e., modestly and civilizede.g., womenno halter
tops, plunging necklines, sleeveless blouses, miniskirts, cutoffs, etc.;e.g., menno cutoffs,
shirts with inane pictures or words, rock group pictures, etc. Nose rings, tongue rings,
pierced eyebrows, multiple pierced ears, etc. are not permitted.
The wearing of caps during class is prohibited.
Smoking is not permitted in the classroom.
Attending class while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medication is not permitted, if,
in the sole determination of the Instructor, this results in the physical and/or mental
impairment of the student.

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If rest room facilities are required, quietly leave the room. It is not necessary to inform the
class.
Guests are not permitted to accompany you to class.
Course Grade

The credit students final grade is the total points out of a possible 100 and will be determined as
follows:
Writing Assignments
45%
Final Examination
45%
Class Participation
10%
Writing Assignments
Two required papers are to be in the following format:

3 pages of text single spaced, in 12 point regular font, preferably Times New Roman.
All margins 1 inch justified; headers and footers 0.5 inches.
Paragraphs are to have the first line indented 0.5 inches.
A cover page with the students name, title of course [Thomistic Philosophy, PHI 310], date
paper is due and the issue being addressed.
A Bibliography and Endnotes (not Footnotes) are to comprise the last page.
Direct quotations in the papers should be no longer than three (3) lines. Excessively long
quotations will result in a deduction of points. Quotations are needed to show that you have
researched the topic, but you must demonstrate critical thinking, creativity and understanding
of the subject matter and not just quote other authors.
The essay is to have an introduction, statement of the purpose of the paper and how the
purpose will be accomplished. The major part of the text will accomplish the purpose and is
to be followed by a combined summary and conclusion paragraph.
Endnotes are to be limited to between ten (10) to fifteen (15) and the bibliography to between
four (4) to six (6) sources.
Violations of these guidelines will result in the deduction of points.
Credit students are given a sample paper in the above format and should use it as a guideline
in writing their papers.
It is recommended that you select a topic as soon as possible and begin your research.
If you wait until the topic is discussed in class it will be too late.

1st Writing Assignment Due March 2, 2010: [choose one of the following]
1. Present and comment on Chapter VI of Pope John Paul IIs Encyclical Letter Fides et
Ratio.
2. Analyze St. Thomas Aquinas How are Things Good? Exposition of On the Hebdomads
of Boethius.
3. What is the distinction among divine names which are negative, relative and affirmative?

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2nd Writing Assignment Due April 27, 2010: [choose one of the following]
1. What are the metaphysical implications of: to be and to be changeable are not
identical?
2. What are the philosophical differences between St. Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle with
regard to the following: the world, ideas and knowledge, the nature of God, the theory of
being, and moral and political philosophy?
3. Analyze Thomas commentary on Aristotles argument for an ultimate end: Commentary
on Aristotles Nicomachean Ethics (I Ethic., lectio 2).
Papers turned in after the due date will receive a grade of 0/F, unless a later date has
been approved in advance by the Instructor.
With regard to the writing assignments, you may use any source you feel is applicable. For
example, you may consult Aristotles Nicomachean Ethics or Metaphysics, St. Thomas Aquinas
Summa Theologiae or Summa Contra Gentiles, any assigned reading, any book on philosophy or
any writing by a philosopher that will help in achieving the objective of the writing assignment.
Final Examination
On the final examination the credit student will be asked to answer six (6) questions out of
thirteen (13). Questions are to be answered in short essay form, with thirty (30) minutes
allocated to each question. The questions will be taken from lecture notes only. A review
will be conducted during the class immediately prior to the date of the final examination.
A make-up final examination may be permitted only for a serious reason approved by the
Instructor at least twenty-four (24) hours before the scheduled examination time. Any make up
final examination must be taken within seven days of the original test date. The make-up test
will consist of an oral examination with the Instructor. Failure to meet these requirements will
result in a grade of 0/F on the final examination.
Class Participation
All credit students are expected to participate in the class. Participation includes, among other
things, coming to class on time, attention to the material presented during class, staying current
on reading assignments, the response to questions posed by the Instructor directly to a student
and the asking of questions that show critical thinking skills.
Class participation will affect your final grade. For example, if your grade on the two writing
assignments is an A- and your grade on the final examination is a B+, I will use your grade in
class participation to determine if you will receive an A or B as your final grade for the course.
Determination of Final Course Grade
Grades for papers, classroom participation and the final examination are distributed according to
their respective percentage values and converted into letter grades as follows:
90 to 100 points
=
A
80 to 89 points
=
B
70 to 79 points
=
C
60 to 69 points
=
D
0 to 59 points
=
F

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The last date to drop the course with a grade of W will be Class 9 on March 9, 2010. After that
date a grade will be assigned. (N.B.: The Aquinas Institute will not grant tuition refunds for
those who withdraw from the course after registration).
Academic Dishonesty
Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, collusion, academic
misconduct, falsification, fabrication, and the attempt to commit such a violation (Student
Handbook, p. 31). Refer to the Student Handbook for definitions and examples. A student
involved in academic dishonesty will receive a 0/F for that assignment/examination.
Based on the severity of the violation, academic dishonesty may be reported by the Instructor to
the Director of the Aquinas Institute and/or the appropriate Dean in the manner outlined in the
student handbook. Ultimately, a student found guilty of academic dishonesty may be dismissed
from the Aquinas Institute and Our Lady of Holy Cross College.
A copy of the Student Handbook may be downloaded at olhcc.edu.
Class Schedule and Reading Assignments
The particular topics stated below are the subject matter of the lectures in outline format and may
or may not correspond to the reading assignment. Reading Assignments are to be completed for
the particular class and not for the next class. Thus, you are to read the first two assignments for
Class 2.
Class 1: January 5, 2010
OVERVIEW OF COURSE
Course Introduction
Nature of Aquinas Institute and Direction
Purpose of Philosophy in the Aquinas Institute
Tentative Schedule of Philosophy Courses to be Offered by the Institute Through Fall of
2010
Review of Syllabus and Course Requirements
Introduction To Philosophy in General:
Beginning of Philosophy in Wonder
All Men by Nature Desire to Know
Classical Definition of Philosophy
Philosophy Contrasted with Theology
Pope John Paul II: Encyclical Letter Fides et Ratio, Chapter VI The Interaction between
Philosophy and Theology
Historical Rise of Philosophy
As a Science
The Perennial Principles of the Classical Realist Tradition
Divisions of Philosophy: Speculative and Practical
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Characteristics of Speculative and Practical Philosophy


Pedagogical Division or the Order of Learning: logic, mathematics, natural philosophy,
moral philosophy, metaphysics
Historical Divisions of Philosophy: Ancient, Medieval, Modern, Recent
Christian Philosophy as defined by Jacques Maritain and Etienne Gilson
Scholastic Philosophy
Philosophical Pluralism
Philosophy and the Secular Sciences
Pre-theology requirements
The Teaching of Philosophy
Why Study Philosophy?

Reading Assignment:

Josef Pieper, The Silence of St. Thomas.


Class 2: January 12, 2010
INTRODUCTION TO ST. THOMAS AQUINAS

Life
Early life: birth, education at Monte Cassino, religious vocation
Influence of St. Albert the Great
University of Paris: licentiate to teach theology, Latin Averroist controversy
Erudition in the service of God
Brief chronology of the life of Thomas Aquinas
Life As Bibliography: Major Works
Theological Syntheses: Commentary of the Sentences of Peter Lombard, Summa Contra
Gentiles, Summa Theologiae
Structure of the Summa Theologiae
Academic Disputations: Quaestio disputata and Quaestiones quodlibetales
Expositions of Holy Scripture: Expositions of Job, the Psalms, Song of Songs, Isaiah,
Jeremiah, Lamentations of Jeremiah, Gospels of St. Matthew and St. John, Epistles of St.
Paul.
Expositions of some Aristotelian Works: Commentaries on On Interpretation, Posterior
Analytics, Physics, On the Soul, Metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics, Politics
Other Expositions: On Boethius The Trinity and The Hebdomads, on The Divine Names
of Pseudo-Dionysius, on Procluss Book of Causes
Polemical Writings: Against Those Impugning the Religious Life, On the Perfection of
the Spiritual Life, On There Being only One Intellect, against the Averroists
Treatises on Special Subjects: On Fallacies, On Being and Essence, The Compendium of
Theology, On Separate Substances, On the Rule of Princes, to the King of Cyprus
Expert Opinions: The Errors of the Greeks
Letters on a range of topics as answers to questions

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Liturgical Pieces and Sermons: Office for the Feast of Corpus Christi, Lenten Cycle
Sermons, Various Prayers
Medieval Education
From Liberal Arts to the University
The Structure of the University
Thomass Polemics against the Latin Averroists
Mode of Exposing St. Thomas Philosophy
Thomistic system?
Divergences of interpretation
The Spirit Of St. Thomas Philosophy
Realist and concrete
Importance of esse
Influence of various philosophers
General relation and comparison to Aristotle
Philosophical knowledge neither sufficient nor final
Reading Assignment: How are Things Good? Exposition of On the Hebdomads of Boethius,
from Thomas Aquinas Selected Writings, pp. 142-162.
Class 3: January 19, 2010
PHILOSOPHY AND THEOLOGY ACCORDING

TO

ST. THOMAS AQUINAS

Distinction Between Philosophy And Theology


Diagram
Differences: end, how each end is possessed, effort, certainty
Pope John Paul II Encyclical Letter Fides et Ratio: current problems
Moral Necessity Of Revelation
Goal of philosophy
Summa theologiae, I, q. 1., a. 1
Incompatibility Of Faith And Science In The Same Mind Concerning The Same Object
Belief vs. knowledge
The Preambles of Faith
Natural End And Supernatural End
Final good of philosopher vs. theologian
Importance of infused virtues
Grace perfects and does not destroy nature
St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure
Bonaventure and Aquinas on Aristotle
St. Thomas As Innovator
Aristotelianism as an instrument for the expression of his philosophy
No blind worshipper of Aristotle
Overview of the Christian Philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas

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Faith and reason


God and creation
Theory of being
Man
Moral philosophy
Political theory

Reading Assignment: Theology, Faith and Reason. On Boethius On the Trinity, 1-2 from
Thomas Aquinas Selected Writings, pp. 109-141.
Class 4: January 26, 2010
PRINCIPLES OF LIMITED BEING
Reasons For Starting With Corporeal Being
Formal object of the human intellect: being as the first thing known (ens ut primum
cognitum)
Proper object of the human intellect: the essence of material things
Hylomorphism
The nature of material substances
Aristotelian categories
Accidental vs. substantial change
The Physical or Natural ThingThe Basic Vocabulary
Act and potency
Accident and substance
Form and matter
Being and becoming
Rejection Of Rationes Seminales
St. Augustines theory of seedlike principles
Prime matter: pure potentiality
Act without act
Rejection Of Plurality Of Substantial Forms
Plurality defined
Man: human being accidentally or substantially
St. Thomas and the problem of the soul in the thirteenth century
Restriction Of Hylomorphic Composition To Corporeal Substances
St. Bonaventure and hylomorphic composition of angels
The great chain of being
Separated substances
Poseidonius and the Aristotelian doctrine of separate intelligences
The angels
The nature of spiritual substances
Consequence of denial of hylomorphic composition of separated substances
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Potentiality And Act


Matter/form vs. potency/act
Reduction of potentiality to act requires a principle which is itself in act
Aristotles motor causality principle
Essence And Existence
Finite beings have existence; they are not existence
Existence defined
Ens, essentia, esse
Double composition in substances composed of matter and form
The real distinction between essentia and esse as constituent principles of being
Relationship between essence and existence
In God alone are essence and existence identical
Moslem philosophers on existence and essence
St. Thomas: finite beings are contingent or non-necessary
Esse as act
Reading Assignment: On the Principles of Nature, from Thomas Aquinas Selected Writings,
pp. 18-29.
Class 5: February 2, 2010
PROOFS OF GODS EXISTENCE
Need Of Proof
Idea of Gods existence not an innate idea
Summa theologiae and Summa contra gentiles on the existence of God
Confused and vague knowledge needs to be elucidated
Man has no a priori knowledge of God
St. Anselms Argument
The ontological or a priori proof of Gods existence
God is that than which no greater can be thought
Evaluation of the argument: logical order vs. ontological order
Must begin with the effects of God, not the idea of God
Possibility Of Proof
A posteriori arguments of Gods existence
Examination of Gods effects
All knowledge begins with the senses
The primary object of the intellect: all beings
Basic Structure Of The Five Natural Demonstrations For The Existence Of God According To St.
Thomas Aquinas
Evident fact of experience
Setting forth the middle term: if there is an effect there must be a cause
Exclusion of process in infinitum
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Conclusion
The First Three Proofs
First way: Aristotelian motor causality principle and Aristotelian definitions of
motion
Second way: starts with the cause while the first begins with the effect or rather with the
process of causation itself
Third way: this argument, of both Aristotelian and Platonic origin, is considered the
foundation of all others
Comments about the first three proofs
The Fourth Proof
This argument is of Platonic origin, but as presented by St. Thomas, is more dependent
on causality than in the original Platonic exposition
The Proof From Finality
Teleological proof
The Third Way Fundamental
The principle of sufficient reason
The reason why something exists
Evaluation Of The Five Proofs
Do they comply with requirements of demonstrative logic?
Assessment of each proof
Reading Assignment: Proof of Gods Existence. Summa Contra Gentiles, I, 9-14, from
Thomas Aquinas Selected Writings, pp. 243-256.
Class 6: February 9, 2010
GODS NATURE
The Negative Way
Knowledge of Gods existence is not knowledge of his essence or nature
How can we come to know a being which transcends sense experience?
Quid sit vs. quod sit
Via remotionis or via negative
Removes or denies something to the divine substance
What God is not
The Affirmative Way
Affirmative predication of the divine substance
Perfections of creatures are known first
Perfections in God exclude all imperfections and limitations of creatures
Analogy
Names of creatures and God not understood in univocal wayextreme formalism or
realism/pantheism

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Names of creatures and God not understood in an equivocal way


nominalism/agnosticism
Names of creature and God understood in an analogical waymoderate realism
Types Of Analogy
Analogy of proportion/attribution
Analogy of proportionality/proportions
A Difficulty
Perfections of creatures must be found in the Creator in a super-eminent manner
What is the positive content of our concept of Gods attributes?
The Divine Ideas
Platos theory of forms or ideas
Plotinus theory of emanation of the many from the one
Plurality of ideas in God or one idea in God?
No Real Distinction Between The Divine Attributes
God is simpledivine attributes are identical with the divine essence
Justification for speaking of them as though they were distinct
God As Existence Itself
Qui est
Boethius: How Substances are Good in Virtue of their Existence without Being
Substantial Goods
St. Thomas Aquinas: How are Things Good? Exposition of On the Hebdomads of
Boethius
Ipsum Esse Subsistens
Reading Assignment: On the Divine Simplicity. Disputed Question on the Power of God, 7,
from Thomas Aquinas Selected Writings, pp. 109-141 and Platonism and
Neoplatonism. Preface to Exposition of On the Divine Names, from
Thomas Aquinas Selected Writings, pp. 429-431.
Class 7: February 23, 2010
CREATION
Creation Out Of Nothing
Contingent beings owe their existence to the necessary being
It can be demonstrated philosophically that creation must be out of nothingnot out of
something
Creatures have a real relation to God
The relation of God to creatures is a mental relation of reason alone
God Alone Can Create
Creation by necessity?
Avicenna and intermediary beings involved in creation
Peter Lombard and the communication of the power to create to creatures

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Thomistic Philosophy

Course Syllabus

Spring 2010

Creation demands infinite power


God Created Freely
How does God create?
There must be a motive for creation
Creatures: finite imitations of Gods being
The Motive For Creation
What was the motive for which God acted in creation?
Goodness diffuses itself
Creation points to mans ultimate end
Impossibility Of Creation From Eternity Has Not Been Demonstrated
Does creation show that God created the world in time?
Could God have created the world from eternity?
The creative act of God is eternal since it is identical with the divine essence
Are the external effects of that creative act eternal?
Could God Create An Actually Infinite Multitude?
St. Bonaventure and creation
Infinite number of immortal human souls?
Divine Omnipotence
What is the sense in which the divine omnipotence is to be understood?
Are there things God cannot do?
Is God superior to the principle of contradiction?
Could God make better things than he has made or could he make existing things better?
Is this the best of all possible worlds?
Why did God create this world with its suffering and evil?
The Problem Of Evil
Does God will evil?
Evil defined
Evil as such cannot be willed by a human will
Sub specie boni
Physical evil vs. moral evil
Aquinas philosophical answer to the problem of evil in its relation to God
Reading Assignment: On Creation. Summa Theologiae, I, 44, from Thomas Aquinas Selected
Writings, pp. 360-367.
Class 8: March 2, 2010
PHILOSOPHY OF HUMAN NATURE
First Writing Assignment Due
One Substantial Form In Man
The human composite
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Thomistic Philosophy

Course Syllabus

Spring 2010

Different types of souls


Death
Rejection of the Platonic understanding of the soul
The body exists for the soul
The Powers Of The Soul
Real distinction between the soul and its faculties and between the faculties themselves
Some powers belong to the soul alone, while others belong to the composite
Hierarchy of powers or faculties
Cognitive and appetitive powers of man
Different formal objects
The Interior Senses
Sensus communis
Phantasia
Vis aestimativa
Vis memorativa
Free Will
How the will differs from the sensitive appetite
True freedom
Modern understanding of freedom
Good as the object of the will
Real good vs. apparent good
Will vs. free will
The Noblest Faculty
Whether the intellect or the will is the nobler faculty
Beatific Vision
Immortality
Does the relation of the soul to the body rule out its existence apart from the body?
Subsistent form
Accidental vs. substantial corruption
The power of the soul to know universals
The power of the soul to reflect on itself
The desire of persistence in being
Is the soul capable of intellectual activity when separated from the body?
The Active And Passive Intellects Are Not Numerically The Same In All Men
St. Thomas against the Averroists
Separate active intellectseparate passive intellect
Aquinas against the unicity of the active intellect
Aquinas against the unicity of the passive intellect
Reading Assignment: Definitions of Soul. On Aristotles De Anima, from Thomas Aquinas
Selected Writings, pp. 410-428.

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Thomistic Philosophy

Course Syllabus

Spring 2010

Class 9: March 9, 2010


EPISTEMOLOGY
First Principles of Being and Knowing
Speculative knowledge: the principle of contradiction
Practical knowledge: do good and avoid evil
Epistemology
Notion
The modern critique of knowledge
Why doubt cannot be the starting point for knowledge
Man first knows things not knowledge of things
Four questions regarding things
Theories Of Knowledge
Plato: objective idealism
Aristotle: moderate realism
Augustine: neo-Platonic; theory of illumination
Aquinas: moderate realism; understanding of abstraction/separation
Descartes: subjective idealism
Berkeley: esse est percipi
Kant: transcendental idealism
Theory Of Knowledge In St. Thomas
Problem of knowledge for St. Thomas
The Process Of Knowledge
Diagram of mans cognitive and appetitive powers
Object of the sensesobject of the intellect
How does man move from sensitive knowledge of particulars to intellectual cognition of
universals?
The means of cognition
Intellect knows directly the essence
Human mind does not know directly singular material things
Knowledge Of The Universal And Of The Particular
Two explanatory remarks
Abstraction from individuating matter
The particular as material
The Souls Knowledge Of Itself
No innate ideas
Natural object of knowledge
Soul knows itself in act of abstracting intelligible species
Nothing is in the intellect that has first not been in the senses
The Possibility of Metaphysics
Why the human mind cannot in this life attain a direct knowledge of immaterial
substances
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Thomistic Philosophy

Course Syllabus

Spring 2010

How then can we come to knowledge of God who is a pure spirit?


Aquinas doctrine on the intellect
Aristotle: all knowledge begins with the senses
If the human intellect were merely passive, there could be no natural knowledge of God
How can there be any positive content to our idea of God, or indeed of any spiritual
object?

Reading Assignment: The Meanings of Truth. Disputed Question on Truth, from Thomas
Aquinas Selected Writings, pp. 163-192.
Class 10: March 16, 2010
METAPHYSICS
What Is Metaphysics?
On the division of speculative sciences
Degrees of abstraction
Notion
Being in general
On the grandeur and the misery of metaphysics
Being
Common
Real
Categories
Without a genus
Analogy
Kinds of analogy
Prologue Of Aquinas Commentary On Aristotles Metaphysics
The science we are seeking
Wisdom the mistress of all other sciences
The characteristics of the wise man: knows all, even difficult matters, with certitude and
through their causes; seeks this knowledge for its own sake; and directs others and
induces them to act
Most intelligible objects: from the point of view of the order of knowing; comparing
the intellect with the senses (particulars vs. Universals); the intellects own knowledge
(separate from matter)
First philosophy or metaphysics studies the three above objects, not any one of them as
its subject, but only being in general
Ways Of Predicating Being
Apprehension of being: ens in quantum ens
Conceptualization of being: ens ut primum cognitum
Is physics everything?
Subject Matter Of Metaphysics

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Thomistic Philosophy

Course Syllabus

Spring 2010

What is the subject matter of a science?


How the subject matter of metaphysics is distinct
Natural science: being as changeable
Mathematics: being as quantified
Metaphysics: being as being
Being Is Said In Many Ways
Univocal and Equivocal
How can there be a science that studies being given the fact beings exist in so many
different ways?
The Primacy Of Substance
All beings are substances
Substance provides the unity needed for the science that studies being as being
How to give an account of substance which is not the same as natural substances
Isnt metaphysics too general?
Suppositions Of Metaphysics
The prime unmoved mover
The incorruptibility of the human soul
Now there is a reason for the science of non-physical being
Transcendental Properties
Characteristics of all beings
Properties
One, True, Good
Principles of Being
Intrinsic principles
Potency and act
Real distinction
Essence and existence
Boethius: Diversum est esse et id quod est
Composition of material substances
Being and essence
Causality
Philosophical notion of cause
Kinds of Causes: material, formal, efficient, final, instrumental, exemplary
Wisdom
Metaphysics is the culmination of mans natural knowledge
Understanding
Reading Assignment:

The Love of Wisdom. Exposition of Metaphysics, Preface and 1, 1-3,


from Thomas Aquinas Selected Writings, 718-743.
Class 11: March 23, 2010
MORAL PHILOSOPHY
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Thomistic Philosophy

Course Syllabus

Spring 2010

Moral Philosophy vs. Moral Theology


Defined
Ends
How ends are possessed
Effort
Certitude
Moral Philosophy
Order as normative
Christian moral philosophy
Divisions: ethics, economics, politics
Eudaemonism
Function argument of Aristotle
Two distinct Aristotelian natural endsone end with Aquinas
Happy man for Aristotle is the philosopherhappy man for Aquinas is the saint
Human act vs. act of a man
Supernatural happiness
The Moral Act
Diagram of appetitive powers
Three fonts of morality: intention, object, circumstances
Sole determinate of the species of the moral act
The Vision Of God
The problem the vision of God raises in Aquinas moral philosophy
How can supernatural knowledge of God belong to philosophy?
Errors of Cajetan, de Lubac, Rahner, Suarez
The natural desire to see God resides in the intellect
Good And Bad
Good human acts means to attainment of mans ultimate end
Bad human acts prevent the attainment of mans ultimate end
Can a human act be morally indifferent?
The Virtues
Virtue defined
Types of natural virtues
Types of supernatural virtues
The rule of reason
Why there are four moral virtues
The Natural Law
Law defined
The three precepts of the natural law
General precepts vs. secondary precepts
The Eternal Law And The Foundation Of Morality In God
Obligation

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Thomistic Philosophy

Course Syllabus

Spring 2010

The ground of natural law


Eternal law defined
The moral law
Natural Virtues: Aquinas Vs. Aristotle
Natural virtues not foreseen by Aristotle
Reading Assignment: The Virtues. Summa Theologiae, I-II, 55-57, from Thomas Aquinas
Selected Writings, pp. 653-681.
Class 12: April 13, 2010
POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
Aquinas And Aristotle
Aristotle: state satisfied or ideally could satisfy all the needs of man
Aquinas: state cannot satisfy all the needs of man
Aristotle: natural end of man is self-sufficient and attained through life in the state
Aquinas: the end of man is supernatural and full attained only in the next life
Aristotle: two final natural ends for man, in the practical order virtue and in the
speculative order contemplation of the Prime Unmoved Mover
Aquinas: man has one ultimate end and it is supernatural
The Natural Origin Of Human Society And Government
State for both Aquinas and Aristotle is a natural institution founded on human nature
Modern political philosophy: state is an artificial construct not based on mans nature
Hobbes: state of war, egoism
Locke: state of freedom
Rousseau: primitive savage
Aristotle: man is a political animal
Aristotle: the very foundation of the State is the natural sexual attraction between man
and woman resulting in families which create needs they cannot fulfillimperfect
society
Common good attained by a common ruling power
Human Society And Political Authority Will By God
Since human society and government are natural, they have a divine justification and
authority
State is not simply the result of sin
Church And State
State is an institution in its own right, with an end of its own and a sphere of its own
Perfect society: possesses all means necessary for the attainment of its end
End of the Church is supernaturalhigher than that of the statethus the Church is a
society superior to the state
State must subordinate itself to Church in matters bearing on supernatural life
End of human society: good life, the virtuous life

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Thomistic Philosophy

Course Syllabus

Spring 2010

Final end of man for Aquinas: not to live virtuously but by living virtuously to attain the
Beatific Vision
Individual And State
Subordination of the individual to the state?
The individual and the law
Law
Four kinds of law: eternal, natural, divine positive law, human positive law
Diagrams of the relationship between the different kinds of law
Primary function of the legislator: defining or making explicit the natural law by
applying it to particular cases and making it effective
All authority comes from God
Unjust laws
Sovereignty
Sovereignty given by God to the people as a whole who delegate it to actual rulers?
Abuse of power makes ruler a tyrant
Deposition of a tyrant is legitimate under certain conditions
Best constitution is a mixed constitution in which some place is given to aristocracy
and democracy
Forms of Government
Aquinas follows Aristotle on the different types of political regimes
Different political regimes according to Aristotle
For Aquinas the precise form of decent government is not important as long as it
promotes the common good
God has not mandated any form of government
Aquinas Political Theory Is An Integral Part Of His Philosophy
For Thomas political philosophy is not something added on
Right of any creature to direct another is founded on reason
Legal justice (equity and common legal justice), particular justice (distributive and
commutative), social justice (legal justice plus distributive justice)
Schematic representation of the basic forms of justice
Forms of government may change, but human nature is fixed
State is neither God nor Antichrist
Rights
Rights are not based on radical indeterminism
Rights according to St. Thomas Aquinas: means to fulfill obligations
Natural rights
Hierarchy of rights
Criteria For A Just War
Proper authority
Just cause
Right intention

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Thomistic Philosophy

Course Syllabus

Spring 2010

Reading Assignment: On Law and Natural Law. Summa Theologiae, I-II, 90-94, from Thomas
Aquinas Selected Writings, pp. 611-651.
Class 13: April 20, 2010
Epilogue
Aquinas Utilization of Aristotle
Why a full reconciliation of the Aristotelian system with Christian theology was desirable
Philosophical influences on St. Thomas
Examples of Aquinas utilization of Aristotle
Aquinas and the so-called errors of Aristotle
Non-Aristotelian Elements In Thomism
Aristotles god vs. Thomas God as efficient and final cause vs. final cause only
God the Creator vs. a multiplicity of unmoved movers
Divine ideas vs. no exemplary ideas
Supernatural end of man (Beatific Vision) vs. natural end of man (metaphysical
contemplation of the first cause)
Church needed to perfect whole man vs. State only
Examples of how Thomas faith effected his philosophy
Latent Tensions In The Thomist Synthesis
Aristotle: the universal and the totality really matter not the individual as such
Aquinas: each human being is more valuable than the whole material universe
Aristotelianism: a closed system
Aquinas: an open systemfaith reveals to reason truths it cannot know on its own and
purges reason of certain errors
Opposition To Thomistic Novelties
Background: Averroism
Unicity of substantial form, passivity of matter, simplicity of angels
Condemnations of 1277: Paris and Oxford
Dominican to the rescue
Pope Leo XIII
Encyclical Letter Aeterni Patris
The Universal or Common Doctor of the Church
The Twenty-Four Fundamental Theses Of Thomistic Philosophy
Comparison of Aquinas with other philosophers
The Formal Object of Philosophy
The Role of Philosophy
The Foundation of Philosophy
Moderate Realism
Hylomorphism
Human knowledge
Knowledge of God
Page 24 of 25

Thomistic Philosophy

Course Syllabus

Spring 2010

The Ethics of Happiness or the Sovereign Good

Reading Assignment: On the Teacher. Disputed Question on Truth, 11 from Thomas Aquinas
Selected Writings, pp. 194-216.
Class 14: April 27, 2010
Second Writing Assignment Due
Review for Final Examination
Reading Assignment: None.
Class 15: May 4, 2010
Final Examination 6:00 pm to 9:00 pmCredit Students Only

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