The Metaphysics of Theism

Print ISBN 9780199246533, 2001 pp. 61 - 65 The situation is very different as regards the first two arguments in SCG's chapter 13. I'll label them G1 and G2. They are very nearly equally long, and each of them, with its supporting arguments, is more than ten times longer than any of the last three SCG arguments. 15 G1 takes 170 columnar lines in the Marietti edn. of SCG G2, 174. (Sects. 109-12 of 1.13 contain a special appraisal of G2.) The third argument takes 17 lines, the fourth, 13, and the...

God as Partly Univocal Partly Equivocal Cause

Considerations of just this sort apply also to sorting out the ways in which other things are really like God, as Aquinas observes when he concludes some of those passages about the sun's equivocal causation with observations associating it with God's causation 'So, too, God also confers all perfections on things and on that basis has likeness and unlikeness at once with all of them' (29.270) 'So, too, the perfections of all things, which go together with those other things in accordance with...

Intellects Place in the Extensive Aspect of Universal Perfection

The crucial importance of divine intellectivity in the scheme of this natural theology is borne out by the fact that in Book I of SCG PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2006. All Rights Reserved Aquinas develops his presentation of the single attribute of intellect in twenty-eight chapters (44-71), more than twice as many as he used for his entire application of the eliminative method in chapters 15-28, in which many attributes...

The Universal Appetite for Good

The genus under which Aquinas locates will as a species is what he identifies as an appetitus for what is good, an absolutely universal appetitus, associated with all being. Appetitus can't be given an accurate, illuminating, one-word English translation in this context. 3 See stump and Kretzmann 1982 n. 18. Sects. 5 ('Will') and 6 ('God's Will') of that article are especially relevant to this chapter. 'Wanting' comes closest to getting it right for instances of appetitus in rational and...

Orientation

As we've seen, Aquinas ends his general introduction to SCG by making a claim he seems to think is obvious, since he offers no support for it. He declares that his project of a natural theology based on Aristotelian metaphysics could not get started without a satisfactory argument for God's existence (9.58). He then duly begins the natural theology proper by devoting a long chapter to the presentation of five arguments, mostly Aristotelian, by means of which, he says, it has been proved that...

Will as Intellective Appetite for What Is Good

'An appetite for good is in all things,' Aquinas says in SCG II, 'since, as philosophers teach, the good is what all things have an appetite for. Now in things that lack cognition this sort of appetite is of course called natural appetite a stone, for example, is said to have an appetite for being farther down than it is . But in things that have sensory cognition it is called animal instinctual or sensory appetite, which is divided into the concupiscible and the irascible e.g. the instincts to...

Bavinck

He sums up the first of them in these words 'According to Bavinck, then, belief in the existence of God is not based upon proofs or arguments. . . . Christians do not need such arguments. Do not need them for what ' (ibid.). Plantinga's answer to that question consists in these two claims, derived from Bavinck (1) 'arguments or proofs are not, in general, the source of the believer's confidence in God' PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com) (2) 'argument is not...

Will and Personhood

Any being we could consider to be a person would, of course, have to be characterized by mind. But mind or, more precisely, intellect especially as conceived of along the lines traced in Chapter Six seems not to be enough for personhood. When intellect is conceived of as primarily a faculty of cognition, and intellective cognition is conceived of as primarily the acquisition of intelligible forms, the concept of intellect may fall short even of the concept of mind. For mind involves at least...

Attitudes Toward Natural Theology

The single most accomplished contemporary practitioner and advocate of natural theology is Richard Swinburne, whose series of books constitutes a monumental achievement in this field. 5 His first trilogy Swinburne 1977, 1979, 1981 is more strictly devoted to natural theology than are some of his more recent books e.g. Swinburne 1992 and 1994. I learn from his work and admire it, especially his intelligent use of twentieth-century science, and I share his sanguine view of natural theology's...

The Metaphysics of Exodus

In chapter 22, as in all of Aquinas's applications of the eliminative method, he draws his conclusions not regarding Alpha but, of course, regarding God, taking the existence of God to have been shown in chapter 13. Eliminating predicate K provides him with new and different grounds for identifying the first cause as God, however. After providing his arguments to show that the essential PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2006....

Determinate Static Choiceless Volition in

Because will's act of choosing is what we ordinarily associate freedom with, I've been focusing on choice in showing how freedom is preserved in the thicket of necessities that characterize Aquinas's account of volition. So it's noteworthy that issues connected with freedom of choice are ignored in the opening stages of Aquinas's account of the divine will, even in what I'm calling the argument from freedom. There are good reasons for this, and for the fact that the series of seventeen chapters...

Arguments from Intellect

In SCG I Aquinas takes up the attribution of will to God just after he has argued at length for intellect as a divine attribute. He's likely to have adopted that ordering of topics partly because the essential connection between intellect and will strikes him as providing a basis for arguing that God must be characterized by will just because God is characterized by intellect. Naturally, he devotes the first of his seventeen chapters on will in God (72-88) to arguing simply that God must be...

The Arguments for Gods Existence in SCG 113

What he actually provides there are five arguments presumably intended to fill that bill, introducing them in this way 'having shown that it is not pointless to try to demonstrate that God exists, let us proceed to put forward arguments by means of which philosophers as well as Catholic teachers have proved that God exists' (13.81). The first four arguments are ascribed to Aristotle, the fifth to John Damascene and Averroes. The fact that there are five arguments here is likely to make people...

Stage II

Considered as an argument for the existence of God, G2 is spoiled by the failure of its first stage. But in its subsequent analysis of the notion of a first mover, it makes a contribution that is perhaps unique among Aquinas's existence arguments. He calls attention to the fact that stage II involves a fresh start. Here's how he makes the transition from stage I to stage II in the parallel argument in his Physics commentary 'But that first mover ' the one inferred in stage I of G2 'must be...

Gods Liberality

In summarizing the results of his investigations of the personifying divine attributes analogous to human intellective attitudes, Aquinas observes that everything in SCG 1.89-91 should show us that 'of our attitudes, none can be in God strictly speaking except joy and love, although of course even they are not in him considered as passion, as they are in us' (91.763). So, applying the relational method to the vast array of human feelings and their rational counterparts has provided us with just...

Gods Uniqueness

As for God's uniqueness, the claim that there can't be more than one first source of being, it strikes me as not obviously entailed by any claim about God's nature we've already considered. In particular, it seems not to be validly derivable directly from claims about God's goodness or perfection, although the first two of Aquinas's sixteen arguments for uniqueness constitute unconvincing attempts at such derivations. One of them depends on the implication of uniqueness in the superlative...

Simplicity and Other Attributes

The natural theology we've been investigating has undertaken to show that there must be a necessarily unique, absolutely simple being that constitutes the ultimate explanation of everything. It has also undertaken to show that this being, despite its absolute simplicity, can and should be characterized from our point of view in various ways. 'Perfectly good' and 'infinitely powerful' are among the various 'names of God' whose correctness has been argued for so far. I think most philosophers...

The Intellectivity Argument

The fullest version of the argument from perfection to intellectivity I've found in Aquinas, and the one I want to examine, occurs in 44.377 No perfection that may be found in any natural kind (genere) of beings is absent from God (as was shown above). Nor is there any complexity in him as a consequence of this (as is also clear from things said above). Now among the perfections of things the one with 25 Although potissima is the superlative form of potis ( 'able', 'capable', 'possible'), in...

Intellectivity Reason and Wisdom

But can intellectivity legitimately be counted as the perfection that specifies our species What about rationality, the differentia of the species After all, in Aquinas's view human beings are defined not as intellective but as rational animals, and we've seen (sect. 1 above) that 'rational' and 'intellective' are not synonymous in his usage. So might we just as well, or even better, be asking how to construe the specific perfection rationality as a divine attribute In introducing and using the...

The Purpose of SCG

But why would any philosopher-theologian in thirteenth-century Christendom undertake what could well have looked like a risky tourde force at best As far as I know, Aquinas is the only one who tried it. If I'm right about SCG, why would Aquinas have bothered to write it There is a familiar, still widely accepted, but hardly believable, reply to that 27 On this traditional account see R.-A. Gauthier's thoroughly informed, magisterial analysis in Gauthier 1961 69 'en un mot, la Somme contre les...

Gods Love

Aquinas's natural theology succeeds only if its arguments for and investigations of the nature of first being turn up attributes that identify it as God. A crucial component of that identification is a set of attributes that establish personhood. In Chapters Six and Seven I claimed that the attributes of intellect and will are sufficient conditions of personhood. Still, their sufficiency is easier to appreciate when we're shown that certain personifying attitudes, such as pleasure and joy, are...

The Dionysian Principle and the Necessitarian Explanation of Creation

The claim that God's goodness is the very willing itself isn't merely the familiar sort of acknowledgement of the demands of simplicity. It is also, and much more importantly, an echo of a Neoplatonist principle Aquinas often appeals to, sometimes attributing it to PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2006. All Rights Reserved Dionysius Goodness is by its very nature diffusive of itself and (thereby) of 34 'Dionysius', or...

Theology and Philosophy

Even if theologians were inclined to pay any attention to a layman's notions about their field, what I have to say about theology's nature and subject-matter wouldn't contribute anything to the wide-ranging arguments they've been having over those basic issues. My approach in this book is uninfluenced by any consideration of that debate, and is guided simply by the very idea of theology I mean the idea embedded in the etymology of the word and instantiated...

Univocal and Equivocal Causation

The strongest sort of likeness possible between an effect and its cause considered just as such is the kind occurring in connection with the sort of agent causation that requires the inclusion of the agent cause and its effect within the same species. Biological reproduction is the paradigm, but not the only instance 'if the agent is included in the same species along with its effect, then between the maker and what is made there will be a likeness in form that is in keeping with the same ratio...

The Structure of G2

The being that argument G2 has in its sights is a sempiternal, transcendent 'separated' , absolutely unmoved, cosmic first mover that is, a beginningless, everlasting, ultimate source of all PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE www.oxfordscholarship.com Copyright Oxford University Press, 2006. All Rights Reserved change, a source that is itself necessarily unchangeable in any respect and extrinsic to everything it changes. With some justification, Aquinas considers himself entitled to...

The Sun as an Equivocal Cause

Well, then, is it equivocal causation, despite its off-putting label, that obtains between universally perfect God and God's necessarily less than universally perfect effects Aquinas's model of Kretzmann, Norman , deceased formerly Susan Linn Sage Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Cornell University, New York Print ISBN 9780199246533, 2001 pp. 151 - 155 equivocal agent causation in chapter 29 does seem to provide some of what we'd expect to find in an account of divine causation. The sun causes...

ST and Sacra Doctrina

At the end of his Prologue, Aquinas introduces a fourth term into his complex identity claim, when he says that in ST he is going 'to pursue the things that pertain to sacra doctrina', thereby introducing his preferred designation for the subject of theology as he handles it in ST. The term may be, and sometimes has been, translated literally as'holy teaching', and it's only natural that the designation he prefers for the subject-matter of this textbook should allude to teaching. But what...

Summa Philosophica

No one knows what title, if any, Aquinas gave to SCG. In some of the medieval manuscripts it is entitled Liber de veritate catholicae fidei contra errores infidelium A Book About the Truth of the Catholic Faith, Directed Against Mistakes Made by Unbelievers'. That title strikes me as coming closer to an accurate representation of the book's aim and contents than the more pugnacious, traditional Summa contra gentiles Summa Against Pagans', 38 On the authenticity and interpretation of these...

Sacra Doctrina and Natural Theology

Where do these considerations leave natural theology Natural theology must be based, ultimately or immediately, on 'principles known by the natural light of intellect'. The possibility of developing a metaphysics of theism, of beginning a systematic presentation of philosophy with natural theology, depends on that feature of it, which it has simply in virtue of being one of what Aquinas calls the 'philosophical studies'. If natural theology when developed as a philosophical study in its own...

Barth Metaphysics

As presented by Plantinga, Barth is the most belligerent of these Reformed objectors to natural theology, but certainly no more genuinely threatening than the other two. For one thing, Barth's objection could have force only against Christian practitioners of natural theology. He accuses them of being in 'the standpoint of unbelief', which is 'to hold that belief in God is rationally acceptable only if it is more likely than not with respect to the deliverances of reason. . . . Such a person's...

Preface

The chapters of this book are revisions of the Wilde Lectures in Comparative and Natural Religion, which I delivered at the University of Oxford in the spring of 1994 under the general title 'Philosophy from the Top Down'. I'm grateful to the Wilde Lecture Committee for inviting me, to Professor Richard Swinburne and Sir Anthony and Lady Nancy Kenny for hosting me and my wife, Barbara Ensign Kretzmann, during our stay in Oxford, and to Balliol College for providing me with a study in college....