Thomas Aquinas: Metaphysics


Detailed Syllabus

 

Phil 6640 Thomas Aquinas: Metaphysics (Fall 2013)

Detailed Syllabus

Live Classroom Course Meeting Times:

29 August - 19 September: Thursday 9-11 am U.S. Central Time

26 September - 19 December 9-11 am U.S. Central Time / 16h-18h European Central Time


Office Hours

Prof. Richard C. Taylor: Coughlin Hall 238 and live online via MSLync at meet.marquette.edu/richard.taylor/PRTCFB5F.

Email: richard.taylor@hiw.kuleuven.be (preferred) or Richard.Taylor@Marquette.edu.

Tuesdays 9:00 am - 12 pm Milwaukee, 16h-19h Leuven time, and by appointment.


Prof. Andrea Robiglio, KUL: forthcoming. Email address: Andrea.Robiglio@hiw.kuleuven.be


Abbreviations:

SEP = Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (http://plato.stanford.edu)

CCAP = The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, P. Adamson and R.C. Taylor, eds.  (Available Cambridge Collections Online via Marqcat.) (MU Ares Reserves)

CCA = The Cambridge Companion to Aquinas, Kretzmann and Stump, eds. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993) Available Cambridge Collections Online via Marqcat.

CAP = Classical Arabic Philosophy: an Anthology of Sources, J. McGinnis & D. B. Reisman, tr, (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2007) (MU Ares Reserves)

EMP = Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy 500 -1500,  H. Lagerlund, ed. (Dordrecht, Heidelberg, London, New York: Springer, 2011) Available in the Reference area at the MU library.

OHA = Oxford Handbook of Aquinas, B. Davies & E. Stump, eds. (Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 2012) Available through online link via Marqcat library catalogue at MU as well as via ARES.

OHMP = Oxford Handbook of Medieval Philosophy, J. Marenbon, ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012) (MU Ares Reserves)

MU Ares = Marquette University Ares Reserve for MU students only. (www.marquette.edu/library/find/resstud.shtml)

Past Masters Database = Marquette University subscription to Past Masters available to MU students through Marqcat.

Podcasts = “History of Philosophy without any gaps,” Peter Adamson at http://www.historyofphilosophy.net.


Teamwork at classes MU: class # 7, 9, 11;  KUL: 8, 10, 12; KUL & MU mixed team: 13.

Students at each location will be gathered into distinct groups for collaborative teamwork involving these activities: (i) Lead online discussions from Thursday to midnight Tuesday; (ii) post on D2L & send to me (Prof. Taylor) by noon Wednesday for all students a 4-5 page summary of key issues in (a) the readings, (b) videos and (c)  key issues in the D2L discussions; (iii) present at the Thursday class meeting a brief summary of the key notions in the readings and key questions raised in the online discussion in no more than 7 min. to initiate our international discussion.

Take special note regarding Modeling: These procedures will be modeled by Prof. Taylor for class #6 (3 October). After that, student teams will begin these duties, starting with Marquette University.

NOTE: There are seven (7) team assignments, 3 for Marquette teams, 4 for KULeuven teams. (Modified on the basis of course enrollments.)


     All texts are available in English translation with many available on the Web. Students are welcome to study the texts in Latin, Arabic, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, or any other language, but classroom discussions will all be in English. Each instructor will take responsibility for placing relevant texts on reserve for student use on their own campuses.


Regular Class Procedures

9:00-9:15 am Milwaukee / 16h-16h15 Leuven: Opening comments by Profs. Taylor and Robiglio

9:15-10:30 am / 16h15-17h30: class discussion with enrolled students; auditors muted.

10:30-11:00 am / 17h30-18h or earlier: discussion open to comments and questions by auditors.*

*Note: Marquette students who have class elsewhere at 11 am are welcome to leave at 10:45 or 10:50 am, as suits their needs. Attendance at the discussions with international auditors may be a valuable experience but is optional without effect on grading.


Detailed Syllabus


1)   29 August: introduction to course and technology 

Preview:

Before class, students are to view video 1a: an introduction to Aquinas and topics in his teachings; and video 1b: course parameters, introduction to course materials and D2L.  Our live discussion will be on the course content and procedures.

Required in preparation for class:

(i) view online videos 1a (course content) click HERE and 1b HERE (using online resources & tools) (forthcoming);

(ii) Readings:

(a) Adriano Oliva, OP, “Philosophy in the Teaching of Theology of Thomas Aquinas,” The Thomist 76, 3 (July 2012), pp. 397-430. Available through online link to The Thomist in MARQCAT.

(b) SEP: “Saint Thomas Aquinas” http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aquinas/

(c ) SEP: D. Hasse, “Influence of Arabic and Islamic Philosophy on the Latin West.”  http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/arabic-islamic-influence/

Suggested:

C. Burnett (2005), "Arabic into Latin: the reception of Arabic philosophy into Western

Europe" CCAP, 370–404. (Available in Cambridge Collections Online via Marqcat.)

OHA: Pini, “The Development of Aquinas’s Thought;” Upham, “The Influence of Aquinas.”

For more suggested readings, see the Optional Additional Literature page on the course website.


SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT: By 1 September, each MU student is required to submit to Prof. Taylor via email a description of his/her philosophical interests and motivation. These will be shared with the entire class via D2L. Word limit: 200 only. Since our whole class will be 30+ students & auditors and many of us will be separated by thousands of miles, this will be a good way for us start to know one another.

      For KULeuven students the deadline for this is 1 October 2013.


Readings assigned for next class: see below.


NOTE: There will be no class meeting on Thursday 5 September while Prof. Rogiblio and I are at a conference in Paris. See http://www.academia.edu/4081999/Studying_Arabic_Philosophy._Meanings_limits_and_challenges_of_a_modern_discipline._First_International_Conference_on_the_Historiography_of_Arabic-Islamic_Philosophy.


2) 5 September: Aquinas’s natural epistemology (to be discussed at class 12 Sept.)

Preview: While Aquinas studied for years with Albert at Paris and then at Cologne, it has often been difficult to determine what teachings of Aquinas are to be traced substantially to the influence of Albert. Recent investigations have revealed that the basic epistemology of Aquinas deployed in his early Commentary on the Sentences and retained by him for his career (though with modifications) is in fact spelled out by Albert in his De homine written ca. 1245, just before Aquinas began his studies with Albert. Albert’s epistemology in the De homine is explicitly derived from his study of Avicenna and Averroes whom he cites repeatedly. However, Albert’s epistemology is also founded on his systematic and explicit misinterpretation of Averroes’s doctrine on human intellectual understanding.

(i) View videos. For video 2a, click HERE. After reviewing the videos from last year’s course, Thomas Aquinas: Soul and Intellect, I decided that videos 6a and 6b from that course are very good for this part of our Fall 2013 course. So for the coming week please view video 2a and then these videos from the 2012 course. Links here: https://streaming.mu.edu/Watch/Qz39Wct7 and https://streaming.mu.edu/Watch/Eq79Lyo8. Click on the links.

(ii) Readings:

(a) OHA: Pickavé, “Human Knowledge.”

(b) Taylor, “The Key Roles of Avicenna and Averroes in the Development of the Natural Epistemology of Albertus Magnus in his De Homine” at

http://academic.mu.edu/taylorr/Research_&_Teaching/Draft__Aquinas_%26_Albert_Hannover_Feb_2012.html

(c) Aquinas, Commentary on the Sentences, Book 2, distinction 17, question 2, article 1: “Whether there is one soul or intellect for all human beings” pp. 277-296 in Philosophical Psychology in Arabic Thought and the Latin Aristotelianism of the 13th Century, Luis X. López-Farjeat and Jörg Tellkamp, eds. (Paris: Vrin 2013) An earlier draft of this translation is available at http://academic.mu.edu/taylorr/Aquinas_and_the_Arabs_Project_Translations/39__In_2_Sent._D._17,_Q.2,_A.1.html

Suggested readings:  

OHA: Pasnau, “Philosophy of Mind and Human Nature.”

For more suggested readings, see the Optional Additional Literature page on the course website.


Readings assigned for next class: see below.


3) 12 September: Aquinas on the human soul

Preview: Aquinas had formed his understanding of Aristotle’s underdetermined and incomplete account of soul and intellect through his study of the Arabic tradition and also through his own reflection on the nature of the human being. In the latter he was clearly influenced by his fundamental religious beliefs in the immortal nature of the human soul and the promise of resurrection of the body together with reunification of the soul with the body in the afterlife. But here we see Aquinas dealing directly with the text of Aristotle on the nature of the intellect after having settled his own mind on the issue. Does he read his view into Aristotle or is it already there in Aristotle?

  1. (i)After reviewing the videos on this topic used for the Fall 2012 course, I decided that they work very well for our Fall 2013 class. So please view these two videos: https://streaming.mu.edu/Watch/Zb2w9C7K  and https://streaming.mu.edu/Watch/Nz35JeSp.

(ii) Readings:

(a) R. C. Taylor, “Aquinas and the Arabs: Aquinas’s First Critical Encounter with the Doctrine of Averroes on the Intellect, In 2 Sent. d. 17, q. 2, a. 1,” in Philosophical Psychology in Arabic Thought and the Latin Aristotelianism of the 13th Century, Luis X. López-Farjeat and Jörg Tellkamp, eds. (Paris: Vrin 2013), 142-183. An earlier draft of this article is available at http://academic.mu.edu/taylorr/Research_&_Teaching/Papers_7__Aquinas_and_the_Arabs__Aquinass_First_Critical_Encounter.html

(b) Again, study the translation of  http://academic.mu.edu/taylorr/Aquinas_and_the_Arabs_Project_Translations/39__In_2_Sent._D._17,_Q.2,_A.1.html. The translation is also found at pp. 277-292 in Philosophical Psychology in Arabic Thought and the Latin Aristotelianism of the 13th Century, Luis X. López-Farjeat and Jörg Tellkamp, eds. (Paris: Vrin 2013)

(c) Aquinas, Quaestiones disputatae de anima, Qq. 1 & 4. Latin available via http://www.corpusthomisticum.org/qda01.html; English translation on MU ARES reserves. An older English translation of these can be found at http://dhspriory.org/thomas/QDdeAnima.htm.

Suggested readings:

Aquinas, Commentary on Aristotle’s De Anima, III, lectiones 7-10 =  commentary on Aristotle, De anima 3.4-3.5.  Thomas Aquinas. A Commentary on Aristotle’s De Anima, P. Pasnau, tr. (New Haven: Yale U Press, 1999),  pp. 341-370. An earlier translation is available at  http://dhspriory.org/thomas/DeAnima.htm.

For more suggested readings, see the Optional Additional Literature page on the course website.

Readings assigned for next class: see below.


4) 19 September: Aquinas on philosophy and religion

Preview: For Aquinas there are two sources of knowledge for human beings, natural human powers (sensation, intellection) and God who provides knowledge to human beings in a supernatural way. This supernatural way is either through revelation or through an efficient causality by which God shares knowledge directly with human beings and other creatures. For Aquinas all reality is through and through rational although not all reality is accessible by humans since human powers of sensory perception and intellection are weak and fallible even regarding the proper objects of human knowing (sensibles, the sensible world, and by abstraction universals based on sensory experience). Still, humans can reason to some knowledge of God and his way by demonstration quia or hoti. Yet God and immaterial entities (intelligences / angels / separate intellects) are not the proper objects of human knowing and can only be reasoned to in quite fallible ways. Nevertheless, God has chosen to share knowledge with human beings through revelation. Now, note that Aquinas is quite clear that this involves faith on the part of humans. And note that for Aquinas philosophy does not always yield to the pronouncements of theologians. Aquinas himself often uses philosophical reasoning in refutation of incorrect theological teachings of predecessors and contemporaries, for example, on the nature of the human soul, on the issue of whether it can be proven by reason that the world originated in time, and many more issues. But for Aquinas true and right theology does trump philosophy in the sense that true theological teachings cannot be refuted by philosophical argumentation, even argumentation purporting to be demonstrative.

(i)View video 4a click HERE.

(ii) Readings:

(a) Summa contra gentiles, Book 1, ch. 1-8; English translation available at http://dhspriory.org/thomas/ContraGentiles1.htm.

(b) Summa theologiae, prima pars, Q. 1; English translation available at http://www3.nd.edu/~afreddos/summa-translation/Part%201/st1-ques01.pdf.

Suggested readings:

OHA: Niederbacher, “The Relation of Reason to Faith.”

OHA: Stump, “Resurrection and the Separated Soul”

Suggested readings:

EMP:  Hall, “Thomas Aquinas” pp. 1279-1287.

For more suggested readings, see the Optional Additional Literature page on the course website.

Readings assigned for next class: see below.


5)  26 September: Aquinas on proofs of God; first meeting with KULeuven students

Preview:  The famous Five Ways of Thomas Aquinas are extremely briefly stated in the Summa theologiae though the account in the Summa contra gentiles of the argument from motion is longer. It is important to recall that Aquinas states at the beginning of the ST that this is a work for beginners. So it is not surprising that Aquinas does not delve into their foundations more deeply. As indicated in the video lectures, Aquinas was heavily dependent on the thought of Avicenna and to a lesser extent Averroes in the formation of these arguments. The second and third aguments are particularly interesting. In the video lectures the argumentative foundation for demonstration are explained and sources for parts of the arguments are indicated.

(i)View videos 5a Aquinas on arguments for God click HERE & 5b Aquinas in the ST and remarks on the five ways click HERE.

(ii) Readings:

(a) Summa theologiae, prima pars, Q. 2.; English translation available at http://www3.nd.edu/~afreddos/summa-translation/Part%201/st1-ques02.pdf

(b) OHA: Wippel, “Being”

(c) OHA: Pawl “The Five Ways”

Suggested readings:

OHMP: G. Oppy, “Arguments for the Existence of God,” pp. 687-

For more suggested readings, see the Optional Additional Literature  page on the course website.

Readings assigned for next class: see below.


  1. 6)3 October: Aristotle and pre-Avicennian metaphysics in the Arabic tradition.

(Prof. Robliglio at Brazil meetings.) => NOTE: For this week Prof. Taylor will do a demonstration of regular class procedures for student teams by doing the following:

(i) Lead online discussions from Thursday to midnight Monday; (ii) post on D2L & send to me (Prof. Taylor) by noon Wednesday for all students a 4-5 page summary of key issues in (a) the readings, (b) videos and (c)  key issues in the D2L discussions; (iii) present at the Thursday class meeting a brief summary of the key notions in the readings and key questions raised in the online discussion in no more than 7 min. to initiate our international discussion.

Preview: For this class on Aristotle and pre-Avicennian metaphysics we will consider the accounts of the science of metaphysics in Aristotle as discussed in his treatises collected under the title of Metaphysics with particular focus on Bk 2; Bk. 4.1-2; Bk. 6. We will also consider the very different approach to metaphysics found in the influential Plotiniana Arabica and Kalām fī maḥḍ al-khair (known in the Latin tradition as the Liber de causis) where the One, the First or God is denominated Creator and Pure Being, indicative of a transformation of both Aristotelian and Plotinian metaphysics into a highly influential and novel Neo-Aristotelianism. Finally, consideration will be given to the metaphysics of al-Farabi, the founder of a very different and more influential form of Neo-Aristotelianism.

  1. (i)Three videos for viewing: For this class I am providing three lectures, two of which were originally prepared for the Fall 2011 KU Leuven course “Aquinas and the Arabic Philosophical Tradition on ‘Creation’” Video 6a is on the Arabic Plotiniana Arabica which presents a transformation of the Neoplatonic thought of Plotinus into a new doctrine of being in which the One, the First, God, is presented as Pure Being and the Creator of all things. Video 6b is on the Arabic Kalām fī maḥḍ al-khair (known in the Latin tradition as the Liber de causis) which is a treatise on creation and primary causality and higher entities such as celestial intellects, souls and bodies. The doctrine of the Kalām fī maḥḍ al-khair / LDC is derivative on that of the Plotiniana Arabica but with emphasis on the way in which God can be the only true Creator and somehow immediately present to each and every being created by him. While the Plotiniana Arabica was not available to Aquinas, the LDC was carefully studied and often cited by Aquinas in his discussions of the metaphysics of God and creatures. Also the mature Aquinas found the LDC important enough to write a detailed commentary on it just two years before the end of his life (ca. 1272).

         Video 6c concerns key texts of Aristotle’s Metaphysics and the metaphysical

          thought of al-Farabi, with connections made to the metaphysical teachings

          found in the Plotiniana Arabica and the Kalām fī maḥḍ al-khair / LDC.

(ii) Readings:

  1. (a)Aristotle, Metaphysics 12 (Lambda), ch. 6-10;

(b) ARES: Theology of Aristotle, selections, on ARES as “Plotiniana Arabica selections”;

(c) ARES: Book of Causes (Kalām fī maḥḍ al-khair / Liber de causis), selections.

(d) ARES: al-Farabi, selections from Ch. 1-2 of On the Perfect State listed on ARES as “al-Farabi On the Perfect State”

Suggested readings:

Peter Adamson, “Arabic Philosophy and Theology before Avicenna,” OHMP, 58-82.

Joseph Owens, “Aristotle and Aquinas,” CCA, pp. 38-59.

Aristotle, Metaphysics: Bk 2; Bk. 4.1-2; Bk. 6.

For more suggested readings, see the Optional Additional Literature page on the course website.

Suggested listening:

  1. (a)Adamson Podcasts #120, 122, 123, 129 at http://www.historyofphilosophy.net

(b) Greek into Arabic: https://itunes.apple.com/it/itunes-u/greek-into-arabic/id579621097.

Readings assigned for next class: see below.



  1. 7)10 October:  Metaphysics in Avicenna (and Averroes).

(Prof. Robliglio at Brazil meetings.)

Student team #1 MU students Dana Fritz, Paul Turack and Tracy Wietecha: (i) Lead online discussions from Thursday to midnight Tuesday; (ii) post on D2L & send to me (Prof. Taylor) by noon Wednesday for all students a 4-5 page summary of key issues in (a) the readings, (b) videos and (c)  key issues in the D2L discussions; (iii) present at the Thursday class meeting a brief summary of the key notions in the readings and key questions raised in the online discussion in no more than 7 min. to initiate our international discussion.

Most of our focus will be on Avicenna.

Preview: The metaphysics of Aquinas is developed from his study of Avicenna. As Owens in the article recommended for last week’s class explains, the metaphysics of Aquinas is very different from that of Aristotle even if a superficial reading has convinced many scholars that their teachings are the same. Aquinas develops his metaphysical thought on his study of Avicenna (which develops its principle dialectically) through a unique dialectical approach set forth in his De ente et essentia / On being and essence, which we will study later. This class is focused on the metaphysics of Avicenna with important readings and some four lectures. Only three of those lectures on Avicenna are required. The lecture on Avicenna Metaphysics Book 6 is optional but strongly recommended. You have been assigned my draft article on creation in Averroes as an explanation of his metaphysics. Averroes did have some influence on Aquinas, but not to the extent of the influence of Avicenna. So the Averroes video is optional but strongly recommended.

  1. (i)View videos:  Avicenna is very important for Aquinas. For our 2011 course on Creation, I prepared detailed video lectures on the metaphysics of Avicenna and Averroes. We will use those lectures here but only three are required though all are recommended. Video 7a is on Book 1 of Avicenna’s Metaphysics; Video 7b (optional) is on Metaphysics 6; Video 7c is on Metaphysics 8; and Video 7d is on Metaphysics 9. I also include for you Video 7e (optional) on the metaphysics of God in Averroes. (However, Video 7e is called Video 8 at the start of the video. I have not bothered to change and rerecord it.)

(ii) Readings

(a) Avicenna: The Metaphysics of the Healing, Book 1, ch. 4-7; Book 8, ch. 5-7; Book 9, ch. 1-3. Available on MU Ares reserves.

(b) Averroes: Taylor, “Averroes on Creation” at http://academic.mu.edu/taylorr/Research_&_Teaching/Draft__Taylor_Paris_31_May_2012.html.

(iii) Dimitri Gutas, “Avicenna’s Philosophical Project,” Interpreting Avicenna. Critical Essays, Peter Adamson, ed. (Cambridge: CUP, 2013) 48-70.

  1. (iv)Suggested readings:   

  2. R.E. Houser, “Avicenna, Aliqui, and Thomas Aquinas’s Doctrine of Creation,”

Recherches de Théologie et Philosophie médiévale 80 (2013) 17-55.

  1. L.X. López-Farjeat, “Avicenna’s Influence on Aquinas’ Early Doctrine of Creation in

In II Sent., D. 1, Q. 1, A. 2,” Recherches de Théologie et Philosophie médiévale 79 (2012)

307-337.

Peter Adamson, “From the necessary existent to God,” in Interpreting Avicenna. Critical Essays, Peter Adamson, ed. (Cambridge: CUP, 2013) 170-189.

Avicenna, The Metaphysics of the Healing, Book 1, ch. 1-4.

For an interesting discussion by Aquinas against Averroes and Aristotle, see Aquinas’s Commentary on the Physics, Book 8, Lectio 2,  on “Arguments for the eternity of motion” at http://dhspriory.org/thomas/english/Physics8.htm#2. Of particular interest are ## 973 to 990.

Suggested listening: Adamson Podcasts #138-142 at http://www.historyofphilosophy.net.


For more suggested readings, see the Optional Additional Literature page on the course website.


8) 17 October:  Metaphysics in Aquinas’s On Being and Essence / De ente et essentia. Our primary focus will be on ch. 1, 4, 5. Student team #2 MU students Chris Lilley, Connor Borchert and Evan Williams : (i) Lead online discussions from Thursday to midnight Tuesday; (ii) post on D2L & send to me (Prof. Taylor) by noon Wednesday for all students a 4-5 page summary of key issues in (a) the readings, (b) videos and (c)  key issues in the D2L discussions; (iii) present at the Thursday class meeting a brief summary of the key notions in the readings and key questions raised in the online discussion in no more than 7 min. to initiate our international discussion.

Preview: Aquinas wrote his little treatise, De ente et essentia / On Being and Essence in response to the requests of his fellow Dominicans. At the time he was working on his own Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard (ca. 1252-54) and deeply engaged in theological and philosophical matters.  As indicates in our studies for 3 October on pre-Avicennian philosophy, Aquinas explicitly sights the Liber de causis, proposition 8 (9) in the De ente regarding the nature of God as esss tantum (anniyyah faqat in the Arabic). (Your will recall that this is also in the Plotiniana Arabica and that this proposition of the LDC is NOT dependent on the Elements of Theology by Proclus as is nearly all the LDC but instead is dependent on Plotinian thought. So here Aquinas is in direct contact with metaphysical matters discussed in 9th century Baghdad in the Circle of al-Kindi.). The task I would like us to undertake is to determine what sort of reasoning grounds the metaphysics of the De ente. The most sophisticated discussions, in my view, are those of Owens, Wippel, Maurer and Houser. But we have finite time — just one class — for this topic. Additional articles by Owens and Wippel are on the Optional Additional Reading page.

(i) View videos:  Video 8a (ca. 22 min.) on interpretations of the De ente and on De ente ch. 1; Video 8b on De ente ch. 2-5. Note: Video 8b is ca. 65 min. long. I suggest students view the first 52 min.

  1. (ii)Readings:  Aquinas, On Being and Essence (complete)

A. Maurer, “Dialectic in the De Ente Et Essentia of St. Thomas Aquinas,” in Roma, magistra mundi. Itineraria culturae medievalis. Mélanges offerts au Père Boyle à l’occasion de son 75e anniversaire, J. Hamesse, ed. (Louvain-la-Neuve, 198) 573-583.

  1. R.E. Houser, “The Real Distinction and the Principles of Metaphysics: Avicenna and Aquinas,” in Laudemus viros gloriosos: Essays in Honor of Armand Maurer CSB, R.E. Houser, ed. (Notre Dame University Press: Notre Dame, IN, 2007), 75-108. Available on MU ARES.

John Wippel, “Metaphysics,” CCA, pp. 85-127. Available online through MU Marqcat and ARES.

For more suggested readings, see the Optional Additional Literature page on the course website.


Readings assigned for next class: see below.


9) 24 October:  Metaphysical issues in Aquinas’s Commentary on the Sentences. Student team #3 KUL students: Jordan M. Blank, Antonio Ramos, Carlos Rodriguez. ((i) Lead online discussions from Thursday to midnight Tuesday; (ii) post on D2L & send to me (Prof. Taylor) by noon Wednesday for all students a 4-5 page summary of key issues in (a) the readings, (b) videos and (c)  key issues in the D2L discussions; (iii) present at the Thursday class meeting a brief summary of the key notions in the readings and key questions raised in the online discussion in no more than 7 min. to initiate our international discussion.

Preview:  While our focus is on the early discussion of the First Principle and creation in the Commentary on the Sentences by Aquinas, we want also to expand our perspective a bit to consider his mature view in the Summa theologiae (and perhaps some other works in our discussion. In connection with the discussion of creation we also want to consider the doctrine of primary and secondary causality (found, for example, in the first proposition of the Kalām fī maḥḍ al-khair / Liber de causis which Aquinas knew very well and cited — late in life he wrote a Commentary on the Liber de causis) and the meaning of conservation in relation to creation. Summa contra gentiles 3.64-68 is particularly interesting.

(i) View videos:  Lecture 9a ; Lecture 9b.

(ii) Readings

(a) Aquinas, Commentary on the Sentences, Book 2, Distinction 1, Question 1, Article 1, “Whether there are many first principles.” Available at http://ppl.ug/G_NzdKoAPmk/.

  1. (b)Aquinas, Commentary on the Sentences, Book 2, Distinction 1, Question 1, Article 2, “Whether anything can go forth from <God> by creation. Available at http://ppl.ug/G_NzdKoAPmk/.

  2. (c)A. J.  Freddoso, “God's General Concurrence with Secondary Causes: Why Conservation is not Enough,” Philosophical Perspectives, 5 ed. James E. Tomberlin (Atascadero, CA: Ridgeview Publishing, 1991), pp. 553-85. Click here.

  3. (d)Jonathon Kvanig, “Creation and Conservation,” SEP

  4. (iii)Suggested readings:   

Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles 3.64-70. Latin & English, English only.

Aquinas, Summa theologiae, Prima pars, QQ 44-49; QQ. 103 ff.

May, Schöpfung aus dem Nichts. Die Entstehung der Lehre von der 'creatio ex nihil' (Berlin; De Gruyter, 1978), pp. 40-62 [an English translation by A. S; Worrall is also available: G. May, Creatio ex nihilo : the doctrine of 'Creation out of Nothing' in early Christian thought (London: Continuum, 2004), Ch. 2].  This work is available online via the Marquette library but apparently it is not available at KUL in English. In place of this there are these two:

  1. R.Pasnau & C. Shields, The Philosophy of Aquinas (Cambridge: Westview Press, 2004) Ch. 4, “The Order of the Universe,” 121-152. See ARES and TOLEDO.

W. L. Craig, “Creation and Conservation Once More,” Religious Studies 34 (1998) 177-188. Click here.

  1. N.J. Torchia, ‘Creatio ex nihilo and the Theology of St. Augustine” in The Anti-Manichaean Polemic and Beyond (Bern: Peter Lang, 1999), pp. 217-230.

For more suggested readings, see the Optional Additional Literature page on the course website.

Readings assigned for next class: see below.


NOTE FOR CLASS ON 31 OCTOBER 2013 : Due to differences between Europe and the US regarding the change from daylight saving time, the live meeting for class on 31 October will be just one hour, 10-11 am Milwaukee time, 16h-17h Leuven time.  This means that for this class there will be no time for discussion with auditors. Auditors with questions or comments may contribute these to the D2L discussion list or raise them at the next live class meeting. However, both at KU Leuven and at Marquette the extra hour will be used for in class discussions, at Marquette 9-10 am and at KUL 17h-18h.


10) 31 October:  Class 1 on Aquinas’s Exposition of On the Hebdomads. Student team #4 :  KUL students Timothy Lopez, Dragana Jagusic, & Samuel Pomeroy (i) Lead online discussions from Thursday to midnight Tuesday; (ii) post on D2L & send to me (Prof. Taylor) by noon Wednesday for all students a 4-5 page summary of key issues in (a) the readings, (b) videos and (c)  key issues in the D2L discussions; (iii) present at the Thursday class meeting a brief summary of the key notions in the readings and key questions raised in the online discussion in no more than 7 min. to initiate our international discussion.

The editors of the Commissio Leonina critical edition of Aquinas’s Exposition of On the Hebdomads indicated in their 1992 critical edition that there is still considerable uncertainty regarding the date of this work. "Tout ceci invite à  séparer les deux ouvrages. Le commentaire du De Trinitate étant assez sûrement daté de la fin du premier séjour parisien de Thomas, effectivement vers 1257-1259, il y a une assez grande probabilité pour que le De ebdomadibus ait été commenté plus tard, mais il est difficile de préciser davantage." (Aquinas, Opera omnia, v. 50, p. 264). Torrell notes that, with some uncertainty, the great Commissio Leonina editor, R.-A. Gauthier suggests the possibility of its composition as late as 1271-72. See Jean-Pierre Torrell, O.P., Saint Thomas Aquinas, v. 1 The Person and His Work, rev. ed. Robert Royal, tr.  (Washington, DC: The Catholic University Press, 2005) pp. 345-346 & Additions and Corrections, pp. 443-434. One interesting task for us in this course might be to try to be sensitive to internal doctrinal clues, arguments, phrasing and vocabulary with a view to suggesting a likely date for the composition of this work.

Preview: While Aquinas founds his remarks on the text of the De Hebdomadibus by Boethius, the interpretation is that of Aquinas who is often quite distant from the meaning of the text of Beothius in the latter’s own context. This is a somewhat controversial matter but my own view is that the account given by Synan and Schultz in the introduction to their translation is on the mark. (Still, Hadot and other quite intelligent scholars disagree.) In this first chapter, Aquinas is in accord with the remarks of Boethius who tells readers that he will be discussing conceptions and their meanings and will do so in a rather obscure manner as befits the wise. Simply put, the work opens with a discussion of intentions, meanings and concepts.

(i) View videos:  10a & 10b Forthcoming. Delayed by software difficulties.

(ii) Readings

(a) Exposition of On the Hebdomads, ch. 1

(b) Introduction to the translation by Schultz and Synan.

(ii) Suggested readings:

Stephen Menn,  “Avicenna’s metaphysics,” Interpreting Avicenna. Critical Essays, Peter Adamson, ed. Cambridge: CUP, 2013) 143-169.

(iii) For more suggested readings, see the Optional Additional Literature page on the course website.

Readings assigned for next class: see below.


11) 7 November:  Class 2 on Aquinas’s Exposition of On the Hebdomads. Student team #5 : KUL Barbara Bartocci and Antonio Radiaz (i) Lead online discussions from Thursday to midnight Tuesday; (ii) post on D2L & send to me (Prof. Taylor) by noon Wednesday for all students a 4-5 page summary of key issues in (a) the readings, (b) videos and (c)  key issues in the D2L discussions; (iii) present at the Thursday class meeting a brief summary of the key notions in the readings and key questions raised in the online discussion in no more than 7 min. to initiate our international discussion.

Preview:  In chapter 2 of the De Hebdomadibus Boethius provides a list of his famous ‘Sevens’ or seven conceptual notions or principles on the basis of which he will solve the question of the treatise, namely, how can things be good in themselves without be substantially good? Aquinas makes use of the principles but his main concern is to use Boethius to explain the meanings of terms used to describe the relation of things to being. For Aquinas id quod est (the determinate particular entity that exists) is said to related to ipsum esse as what receives esse in order to exist. While ipsum esse is initially used to describe an abstract conception of the being that is received by id quod est, Aquinas toward the end of the chapter reasons that there must an Ipsum Esse as God who provides existence to all other things. He reasons to this by way of the consideration of the implications of Divine perfect Simplicity in the context of creatures which are composites of esse and essence (immaterial things) or of matter and form and being and essence (material things). There can only be one Ipsum Esse because of the simplicity argument and this must be essence and existence in an identity.

(i) View videos: Video 11a & Video 11b.

(ii) Readings: 

Exposition of On the Hebdomads, ch. 2.

Suggested readings:    Stephen L. Brock, “Harmonizing Plato and Aristotle on Esse: Thomas Aquinas and the De hebdomadibus,” Nova et Vetera 5 (2007) 465-494, click HERE.

        John Wippel, “Participation and the Problem of the One and the Many, ch. 4 in John Wippel, The Metaphysical Thought of Thomas Aquinas (Washington, DC: The Catholic University Press, 2012), 94-131.

For more suggested readings, see the Optional Additional Literature page on the course website.

Readings assigned for next class: see below.


12) 14 November:  Class 3 on Aquinas’s Exposition of On the Hebdomads. Student team #6 MU students Daniel Adsett and Chris Burrell: (i) Lead online discussions from Thursday to midnight Tuesday; (ii) post on D2L & send to me (Prof. Taylor) by noon Wednesday for all students a 4-5 page summary of key issues in (a) the readings, (b) videos and (c)  key issues in the D2L discussions; (iii) present at the Thursday class meeting a brief summary of the key notions in the readings and key questions raised in the online discussion in no more than 7 min. to initiate our international discussion.

Preview: At the end of Ch. 2 we see Aquinas follow Boethius in setting up the reasoning foundational for Ch. 3 by arguing that things which exist must also be good insofar as they are existing.  In Ch. 3 Aquinas explicates the text of Boethius which argues that the only alternatives are that things are good by participation or they are good substantially or essentially. Both of these alternatives are seen to contradict the assumption that things are good insofar as they exist. So both possibilities are rejected.

(i) View videos:  Video 12a (only one this week)

(ii) Readings

Exposition of On the Hebdomads, ch. 3; John Wippel, “Participation and the Problem of the One and the Many, ch. 4 in John Wippel, The Metaphysical Thought of Thomas Aquinas (Washington, DC: The Catholic University Press, 2012), 94-131.

(iii) Suggested readings:    See the suggested readings for the previous class meeting.

For more suggested readings, see the Optional Additional Literature page on the course website.

Readings assigned for next class: see below.


13) 21 November:  Class 4 on Aquinas’s Exposition of On the Hebdomads. Student team #7 : (i) Lead online discussions from Thursday to midnight Tuesday; (ii) post on D2L & send to me (Prof. Taylor) by noon Wednesday for all students a 4-5 page summary of key issues in (a) the readings, (b) videos and (c)  key issues in the D2L discussions; (iii) present at the Thursday class meeting a brief summary of the key notions in the readings and key questions raised in the online discussion in no more than 7 min. to initiate our international discussion.

Preview: Aquinas wraps up his analysis and commentary on the De Hebdomadibus with a thoughtful account of the nature of God as the Good in Whom Goodness and Being are identical. Creatures are not essentially good in a substantial  way as is God  but they are good  insofar as they are from God who is the Good. The thought experiment  of considering the nature of being  and good in things in the absence of  God prompts deeper thinking, as indicated in the video lectures.

(i) View videos: 13a available & 13b available.

(ii) Readings: Exposition of On the Hebdomads, ch. 4-5; more forthcoming: see course website.

(iii) Suggested readings:   For the present, since we are covering two chapters this week, focus on the texts of Boethius and Aquinas.

For more suggested readings, see the Optional Additional Literature page on the course website.

Readings assigned for next class: see below.


28 November:  U.S. Thanksgiving Holiday. Live class online available but optional for Marquette students. Although Marquette is closed that day, I will meet with everyone else via MS Lync as usual. I will send out the URL at 8:30 am.

      Prof. Robiglio: The metaphysics of Aquinas as a metaphysics of substance

Preview:  This class aims to introduce what may be called the standard interpretation of Aquinas’s metaphysics.

    Crucial to this interpretation are the strict allegiance to Aristotle’s treatment of ‘being’ and, in particular, to the fundamental relevance of the notion of ‘substance’. The latter, moreover, had been taken not only in relation to the division of ‘essence’ (as principal of the categories), but also taken in connection with the division of ‘being’ (as subsistent existence). Many authors could be listed in such a hermeneutic tradition. As a paradigmatic example we shall look at the case of the influential Swiss Dominican Gallus Manser, leading figure in the neo-thomistic school of Fribourg.

    Boethius’s famous definition of ‘person’ as naturae rationabilis individua substantia (an individual substance of a rational nature) had made the connection of person and substance explicit. That definition was theological and, via the rational theology of the Middle Ages, provided an argument for describing Good in terms of substance.e rational theology of the Middle Ages, provided an argument for describing Good in terms of substance.

Readings:  Students must read only two very short articles from Aquinas’s Summa Theologiae. In addition, one should read the first lesson of Thomas’s commentary on the 7th Book of Aristotle’s Metaphysics. The detailed knowledge of Aquinas’s Commentary on Boethius’s De hebdomadibus, at any rate, is taken for granted.

       Summa theologiae, prima pars, q. 3, (only) a. 5 (Is God in a genus?): http://www3.nd.edu/~afreddos/summa-translation/Part%201/st1-ques03.pdf

       Summa theologiae, prima pars, q. 29, (only) a. 3 (Should the name ‘person’ be used in the case of God?): http://www3.nd.edu/~afreddos/summa-translation/Part%201/st1-ques29.pdf

       Commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics, Book 7, lesson 1: http://dhspriory.org/thomas/Metaphysics7.htm

        Reith, H., The Metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas, Ch. 4 Substance and Accidents pp. 72-93 (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1958).

Suggested readings:  

        McCool, Gerald A., “Twentieth Century Schlasticism,” The Journal of Religion 58 (1978) 198-221.

        Conway, Pierre, Metaphysics of Aquinas: A Summary of Aquinas’s Exposition of Aristotle’s Metaphysics (Lanhan, Md: University Press of America, 1996), Ch. 10 “Substance, the Principle Subject of Metaphysics”. pp. 189-206.

        Manser, Gallus M., Das Wesen des Thomismus (Freiburg: Paulusverlag, 1949), table of contents & pp. 232-3.

Readings assigned for next class: see below.


15) 5 December:  Prof. Robiglio: The metaphysics of Aquinas as a metaphysics of act

Preview:  This class aims to introduce a revision of the standard interpretation of Aquinas’s metaphysics. Such a revision has been argued for by scholars like Étienne Gilson, Louis De Raeymaeker, and Cornelio Fabro and was sometimes called ‘existential Thomisms’. The focus shifts from the Aristotelian paradigm to Neo-platonic one. Notions like ‘participation’, ‘pure act of being’, ‘perfection’ became prominent and replace the centrality previously held by the notion of ‘substance’. Plato’s legacy in Aquinas’s thought is finally acknowledged. The problem of ‘creation’ as well as the influence of Islamic philosophical sources (namely Avicenna and Averroes) acquire unprecedented significance and weight. How some interpreters have been reading texts like Thomas’s commentary on the Gospel of St John are particularly useful in order to grasp a few novelties of the hermeneutical approach centered on the ‘act of being’.

Readings

      Aquinas’s Commentary on the Gospel of John, prologue: http://dhspriory.org/thomas/SSJohn.htm#02

       Fabro, Cornelio, “The Overcoming of the Neoplatonic Triad of Being, Life, and Intellect by Saint Thomas Aquinas,” in Neoplatonism and Christian Thought, ed. Dominic J. O’Meara (Albany, NY: International Society for Neoplatonic Studies / SUNY Press, 1982), 97-109, 250-255.

Suggested readings:

        Fabro, Cornelio, The Intensive Hermeneutics of Thomistic Philosophy: The Notion of Participation,” The Review of Metaphysics 27 (1974) 449-491.

        Tomarchio, John, “Aquinas's Division of Being According to Modes of Existing,” The Review of Metaphysics 54 (2001) 585-613.

Readings assigned for next class: see below.


NOTE: For Marquette students the formal course meetings end with the 5 December class. 9-13 December is final exam week with no class meetings required, though there is no final exam for this course. The Marquette students’ final course paper is due on 10 December.


16) 12 December:  Optional for Marquette students. Live class online with KUL available but optional for Marquette students.

      Prof. Robiglio: The metaphysics of Aquinas as a metaphysics of transcendentals

Preview: The rediscovery of the Platonic legacy in Aquinas’s thought has opened new lines of inquiry. The study of the role of the ‘transcendentals’ (from Avicenna to Aquinas, via Philip the Chancellor) was one of those. But the analysis of the very notion of divine ‘simplicity’ stimulated some scholars to explore an understanding of ‘being’ which might be appropriate to think of God as well as of the creatures. According to some interpreters this will be possible only after a radical reform of metaphysics and a fresh employment of the ‘metaphysics of the transcendentals’ (12Dec13 class); according to other thinkers, only a definitive ‘destruction’ of metaphysics could re-open the possibility to think about God (19Dec13 class). In both cases, we shall carefully look at the very writings of Aquinas which have been called in support to opposite interpretations.

(i) View videos:  16 Forthcoming

  1. (ii)Readings:

      Aquinas, In Boethii De Trinitate, q. 4, (only) a. 1, “Whether Otherness is the Cause of Plurality”: http://dhspriory.org/thomas/BoethiusDeTr.htm#41

      Aquinas, De potentia, q. 9, aa. 7-8: http://dhspriory.org/thomas/QDdePotentia9.htm#9:7 and http://dhspriory.org/thomas/QDdePotentia9.htm#9:8.

       Aquinas, In Metaph. X, lectio 4: http://dhspriory.org/thomas/Metaphysics10.htm#4

       Aquinas, Summa theologiae, I-II, q. 94, (only) a. 2, “Whether the natural law contains several precepts or only one” : http://dhspriory.org/thomas/summa/FS/FS094.html#FSQ94A2THEP1

Suggested readings:  

Aertsen, Jan, Medieval Philosophy and the Transcendentals. The Case of Thomas Aquinas (Leiden; New York; Köln: Brill, 1996).

Readings assigned for next class: see below.


17) 19 December (final Fall class meeting):  Optional for Marquette students. Live class online with KUL available but optional for Marquette students.

      Prof. Robiglio: The metaphysics of Aquinas : Ethics as first philosophy and metaphysics ‘without being’

Preview: The rediscovery of the Platonic legacy in Aquinas’s thought has opened new lines of inquiry. The study of the role of the ‘transcendentals’ (from Avicenna to Aquinas, via Philip the Chancellor) was one of those. But the analysis of the very notion of divine ‘simplicity’ stimulated some scholars to explore an understanding of ‘being’ which might be appropriate to think of God as well as of the creatures. According to some interpreters this will be possible only after a radical reform of metaphysics and a fresh employment of the ‘metaphysics of the transcendentals’ (12Dec13 class); according to other thinkers, only a definitive ‘destruction’ of metaphysics could re-open the possibility to think about God (19Dec13 class). In both cases, we shall carefully look at the very writings of Aquinas which have been called in support to opposite interpretations.

(i) View videos:  17 Forthcoming

  1. (ii)Readings

     Aquinas, Commentary on St. Paul’s Letter to the Phillippians, ch. 2, lessons 1-4: http://dhspriory.org/thomas/SSPhilippians.htm

     Caputo, John, Heidegger and Aquinas: An Essay on Overcoming Metaphysics, Ch. 8: The Mystical Element in St. Thomas’s Thought: A Retrieval of Thomistic Metaphysics, 246-287.

Suggested readings: forthcoming.



For the 2012 course, Aquinas: Soul & Intellect and the 2011 course, Aquinas and the Arabic Philosophical Tradition on ‘Creation’ click HERE.