Saturday, August 12, 2006

I'm baa-aak!

I just got back from the Princeton Seminar on Thomism and Analytic Philosophy, and it was great! My thanks to the Witherspoon Institute at Princeton University and the Templeton Foundation for making it possible.

I was led much to reflect upon the ways in which Tradition influences current thought. After the Protestant Revolution the Great Conversation broke up into little cliques. Some Catholics thinkers continued the conversation still largely dominated by Saint Thomas Aquinas and other contributors to Scholasticism (most prominently Scotus, Ockham, and Suarez (and getting increasing attention is Buridan).

Others were more sympathetic to strains of thought coming out of the Renaissance such as Erasmus and Saint Thomas More. Still others seemed to be just striking out and starting their own conversation like Descartes. (Galileo and Leibniz are to be commended for taking a more rational course of honest inquiry into and learning from scholasticism while trying to expand the frontiers of thought at the same time (which they both did quite well!).

Thomism is considered by the Church to be the "perennial philosophy" but that doesn't necessarily mean that thought has stopped forever with Saint Thomas. On the contrary, what made Thomas Thomas was that his ingenious ability to express and organize the Truth of the Catholic Faith in the contemporary language of the day. That's true thomism.


Anonymous Matthew said...

"that doesn't necessarily mean that thought has stopped forever with Saint Thomas"

Not that you'd know it from the disposition of many Aquinas scholars! ;)

Sunday, August 13, 2006 11:10:00 PM  
Blogger J.D. said...

I second that observation... it sometimes seems as if there is one "progressive" mindset which has no use for Aquinas, and another mindset which has no use for anything *but* Aquinas. I suspect the two errors only serve to aggravate one another.

Saturday, August 19, 2006 3:37:00 PM  

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