Studia Gilsoniana 2 (2013)

Curtis L. Hancock, WHY GILSON? WHY NOW?, Studia Gilsoniana 2 (2013): 7-20

The author identifies and discusses the most important elements of Étienne Gilson’s thought which emanate out of his articulation and defense of the Western Creed. To the question: why Gilson, why now?, the author offers a following answer: because we need to champion the Western Creed, defend philosophical realism, rightly interpret the history of philosophy, correctly comprehend Christian philosophy, and show that modernist and postmodernist systems are arbitrary. The author maintains that Gilson delivers us with the realist philosophy of the human person, shows us the undeniable advantages of philosophical realism, and formulates an original notion of Christian philosophy which appreciates that genuine philosophy is non-systematic in its nature, and that it can expose the failure of modernist philosophies that strive to be systems.


Peter Mango, MACINTYRE’S GILSONIAN PREFERENCE, Studia Gilsoniana 2 (2013): 21-32

Alasdair MacIntyre arrived relatively ‘late’ to Thomism in his philosophical career. One of the many determining influences on his thought has been the Thomist Étienne Gilson. This article examines MacIntyre’s possible motives for embracing Gilson as someone apparently allowing him to identify as an “intellectually fulfilled” Thomist. The author claims that MacIntyre’s arrival to Thomism was a well considered one, an achievement unto itself.



In his article the author reviews Cajetan’s different positions on the problem of the immortality of the human soul, and investigates possible reasons which led the Cardinal to dissent with the position of Thomas Aquinas. For this purpose, he invokes selected interpretations of distinguished scholars, with special reference to the approach of Étienne Gilson. Against the background of his analyses the authors attempts to give a synthesis which, as he hopes, can become a modest contribution to contemporary comments on the thought of this great French medievalist about the problem of the immortality of the human soul in Cajetan.


Luz Marina Barreto, CAPPADOCIAN FATHERS AND THE CONCEPT OF PERSON, Studia Gilsoniana 2 (2013): 53-64

The thought of the Cappadocian fathers is linked to the Trinitarian nature of God. They strive for formulating a definition of divine person. The extent of the Cappadocian notion of person covers two other important ideas which refer to being someone: an ability to be in a fraternal relation with others, and a disposition to enter such a relation voluntarily. The Christian idea of divine person also implicates a concept of infinite dignity. The authoress shows that at the grassroots of the Western concept of person, associated with human inalienable rights, there are certain metaphysical intuitions.



This paper analyzes the XIII century’s doctrine of double truth attributed to a Master of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Paris, Siger of Brabant. We will not, however, concentrate on determining if he was the authentic author of the duplex veritas; instead, our interpretation will focus on the importance of this doctrine as the source of a complex process of secularization that would end with separating faith from reason, theology from philosophy and from a socio-political perspective, the spiritual power from the temporal one.



According to Aristotle, philosophical knowledge consists in the discovery of the first causes that occur in reality. For this reason, the quantitative and essential analysis of the causes was the fundamental task for philosophical reflections. Aristotle considered it a priority to show the ways the causes are discerned in the aspect of questions that occur in the cognitive process. The question “why” is the question that Aristotle regarded as fundamental for the acquisition of philosophical knowledge. The phenomenon of this question is revealed when we indicate that it corresponds to the causes that occur in reality. The causes discerned in this way become the foundation for building the method of causal knowledge.


Witold Landowski, THE PROBLEM OF COMMON GOOD, Studia Gilsoniana 2 (2013): 107-128

The main purpose of this article is to discuss the relation between the understanding of human being and the concept of common good. On the one hand, materialist and spiritualist concepts of man lead to the univocal understanding of bonum commune, on the other hand, dualist anthropology entails a breakdown of the unity of common good. The author reveals weak points of these approaches and undertakes an attempt of examining realist vision of man and its impact on the notion of bonum commune. He starts with analyzing the complex structure of human being, which includes the potential and actual nature of human person. Against the background of the personalist anthropology, the author concludes that the common good has not only a material or instrumental, but above all a personal dimension, which makes this good both common and non-antagonistic.


Curtis L. Hancock, GILSON ON THE RATIONALITY OF CHRISTIAN BELIEF, Studia Gilsoniana 2 (2013): 131-143

The underlying skepticism of ancient Greek culture made it unreceptive of philosophy. It was the Catholic Church that embraced philosophy. Still, Étienne Gilson reminds us in Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages that some early Christians rejected philosophy. Their rejection was based on fideism: the view that faith alone provides knowledge. Philosophy is unnecessary and dangerous, fideists argue, because (1) anything known by reason can be better known by faith, and (2) reason, on account of the sin of pride, seeks to replace faith. To support this twofold claim, fideists, like Tertullian and Tatian, quote St. Paul. However, a judicious interpretation of St. Paul’s remarks shows that he does not object to philosophy per se but to erroneous philosophy. This interpretation is reinforced by St. Paul’s own background in philosophy and by his willingness to engage intellectuals critical of Christianity in the public square. The challenge of fideism brings up the interesting question: what would Jesus himself say about the discipline of philosophy? Could it be that Jesus himself was a philosopher (as George Bush once declared)? As the fullness of wisdom and intelligence, Jesus certainly understood philosophy, although not in the conventional sense. But surely, interpreting his life through the lens of fideism is unconvincing. Instead, an appreciation of his innate philosophical skills serves better to understand important elements of his mission. His perfect grasp of how grace perfects nature includes a philosophy of the human person. This philosophy grounded in common-sense analysis of human experience enables Jesus to be a profound moral philosopher. Specifically, he is able to explain the principles of personal actualization. Relying on ordinary experience, where good philosophy must start, he narrates moral lessons—parables—that illumine difficulties regarding moral responsibility and virtue. These parables are accessible but profound, showing how moral understanding must transcend Pharisaical legalism. Additionally, Jesus’ native philosophical power shows in his ability to explain away doctrinal confusions and to expose sophistical traps set by his enemies. If fideism is unconvincing, and if the great examples of the Patristics, the Apostles, and Jesus himself show an affinity for philosophy, then it is necessary to conclude that Christianity is a rational religion. Accordingly, the history of Christian culture is arguably an adventure in faith and reason. Since God is truth and the author of all truths, there is nothing in reality that is incompatible with Christian teaching. As John Paul II explains effectively in the encyclical, Fides et Ratio, Christianity is a religion that is rational and can defend itself. This ability to marshal a defense makes Christianity a religion for all seasons.


María Guadalupe Llanes, GADAMER AND SUBSTANTIAL EQUALITY OF THOUGHT AND LANGUAGE IN ST. AUGUSTINE, Studia Gilsoniana 2 (2013): 145-159

In one of the last chapters of his book Truth and Method, Gadamer writes a “coining of the concept of language throughout the history of Western thought,” and when reaching the study of the Middle Ages, he surprises his readers by considering the theological issue of the “incarnation of the Verb” to explain the relationship between thought and language. However, this resource allows him to develop an argument in support of his ontological-hermeneutical theory of language. The analogy between theological theme and mode of being of language was already thought by Saint Augustine and recorded in his book On the Trinity. There he elaborates on the substantial nature of the inside or internal verb, and the particular way in which it undergoes the process that leads to its incarnation into vox, neither getting lost nor becoming a mere conventional sign. By ways of the connection between the interior verb with notitias, with the ideas in the Verb, and with the essence of physical things in this world, an interesting and coherent ontologization of language it achieved, which would later inspire Gadamer.


Fr. Pawel Tarasiewicz, PHILOSOPHY IN SEMINARIES, Studia Gilsoniana 2 (2013): 161-173

The author attempts to answer the question concerning whether or not philosophy is needed in seminaries. In light of his analysis, it can be concluded that philosophical studies for future priests are a serious alternative to the fideistic positions often adopted by Catholics. The presence of philosophy in the seminary curriculum is supported by: (1) the need for building intellectual foundations of the religious faith professed by a cleric; the faith which cannot do without reason and abstain from justifying the rationale of its content; (2) the need for introducing the alumnus to the mysteries of the classical philosophy of being which can equip him with a better understanding of human nature and the surrounding reality. In this way, the seminarian: (1) acquires a reasonable belief that the human mind is able to know the objective and universal truth, including the truth about God as the Ultimate Cause of all that exists; (2) is able to enter into an intelligent dialogue about the truth with an increasingly globalized world.