Studia Gilsoniana 3 (2014)

Richard Fafara, GILSON AND PASCAL, Studia Gilsoniana 3 (2014): 29–45

Gilson’s early admiration for Pascal as a literary figure evolved into a deep appreciation of him as a Christian philosopher. Pascal showed Gilson that one could expect much more of philosophy than the idealism of René Descartes and Léon Brunschvicg so rampant in France during Gilson’s days as a student. Gilson’s existential Thomism, which highlighted Augustinian elements in St. Thomas’ thought, shares Pascal’s realism, his critique of rationalism, his situating philosophy within theology, and his view that the God of faith’s existence is largely independent of philosophical demonstrations that one gives of it. Despite many superficial dissimilarities, Gilson found Pascal’s scientific worldview continuous with the world of St. Thomas. Pascal, for Gilson, remained a model for the vocation of the Christian intellectual.


Leo J. Elders, S.V.D., CHRISTOPHER DAWSON, Studia Gilsoniana 3 (2014): 49–62

Inspired with Jude P. Dougherty’s works in which he stresses the overruling importance of the classical, humanistic education and the central place and role of religion in the Western culture, the author presents Christopher Dawson’s analysis of the Western civilization and his demonstration of the central role of Christianity in it. The author traces the premises on which was based Dawson’s opinion that modern Western man might be absorbed by his technical inventions, to the point of losing his soul.


William A. Frank, CICERO, RETRIEVING THE HONORABLE, Studia Gilsoniana 3 (2014): 63–83

From Marcus Tullius Cicero’s philosophical writings, the author first draws out a modest network of ideas that informs his understanding of what it means to be a good man (vir bonus). Then, he finds in Cicero the idea of a befitting mutuality among four distinctively human capacities: a faculty for inquiry into and love for truth manifest in words and actions (reason); a disposition for the recognition of and attraction to things of worth beyond self-interest (the honorable); an acute sense of one own spheres of responsibility along with facility for speaking and acting appropriately within them (appropriate action), and fostering and extending the bonds of mutual personal relations grounded in justice and benevolence (society). Against the background of deep commitments in modernity to hedonism and autonomous individualism, the author proposes a retrieval of the virtue of the honorable as an attractive alternative.



The article is intended to present arguments for the cultivation of philosophy as “sapiential” or wisdom-oriented knowledge whereby human knowledge is realized most fully. The author claims, first, that philosophy has indispensable heuristic value because it considers the understanding of the world and man in the context of the question “why;” the search for an answer to this fundamental question is an expression of the human person’s natural inclination to explain the reality in which he lives. Secondly, he argues that classical philosophy is not only the explanation of the reality, but it is a way of forming man; therefore it is a proposal for a method of philosophical education that is an interesting alternative to contemporary forms of practicism. The reflections are based on the legacy of the Lublin Philosophical School (Poland).


Catherine Green, DISTINGUISHING THE SCIENCES: FOR NURSING, Studia Gilsoniana 3 (2014): 97–126

The article explores the problem of nursing as a practical discipline and suggests that there are several kinds of nursing science. Following the lead of Jacques Maritain and Yves R. Simon, the authoress begins with an account of the distinguishing characteristics of theoretical knowledge, to which the term “science” has historically been applied, and distinguishes it from practical knowledge or prudence. Next she reviews Maritain and Simon’s discussion of two intermediate levels of inquiry that share some characteristics of both science and practical knowledge. Finally, using the writings of several nurse theorists whose seminal ideas in this area have established a basis for nurse theorist’s discussion of these issues, she distinguishes four kinds of nursing inquiry which range from the very theoretical to the very practical.



The article makes a claim that Thomas Aquinas’ philosophy of being plays a fundamental role in Karol Wojtyła’s concept of person presented in his major anthropological work Osoba i czyn (known in English as The Acting person). Aquinas discovered that every being is composed of existence (being, esse) and essence (essentia). Wojtyła builds his philosophy of personhood within this framework of esse (being, existence) and essentia (essence). The moral and rational essence of human person, according to Wojtyła, is best revealed by specifically human, free and conscious, actions. That is why Wojtyła analyzes human person through his actions and discovers such essential structures of human reason and free will as self-cognition, self-knowledge, self-owning, self-ruling which make the ontic basis for self-governance. The immediate ground for Wojtyła’s analysis of person through his actions is the act and potency theory, developed by Aristotle and redefined by Thomas Aquinas in the light of the composition of being from esse and essentia. Every act reveals a correlated potency which otherwise would remain hidden and unknown. Potency-act theory characterizes not only two real states of every being, but also it is the adequate tool to describe every being’s becoming. It is not becoming out of nothingness, but on the ground and within the limits of already existing potency. A specifically human action (actus humanus) discloses a specifically human potency-essence. Through his actions a man becomes good or bad as a man, depending on the moral quality of the actions. All these insights into man’s essence presented by Wojtyła emphasize the absolute primacy of a man’s existence (being, esse) over his actions and over his becoming. Being (esse) precedes acting and becoming. Without being (esse) there would be no acting and no becoming (operari sequitur esse—first something must exist and only then it can act). Thus, as a contingent being, a man does not owe his existence to himself but to the Absolute Being (Ipsum Esse); and his human dignity stems, first of all, from his being, not from his doing.



In this article the authoress has presented the understanding of the good as the motive for human action on the basis of the position of M. A. Krąpiec. At the beginning, the authoress has concentrated on an analysis of the fact of action, which includes three major factors: the end, the exemplar, and the efficient cause. The good-end here performs the most essential function. The good-end is the motive due to which action has come into existence rather than not. That “which throws” man “out of passivity” to action is described as the motive that appears as the good. In the next part of the article, the good is presented as a fundamental transcendental property of being. The connection of being with the good shows that the world that surrounds us is a world of goods, that is, of beings ordered to the will of a maker or of the Creator. The transcendental good thus understood constitutes the foundation for all action. In the final part of the article, an analysis is made of the functions that are shown by the good that constitutes the motive for action. The first of these functions is the cognitive apprehension of the good understood in the context of the end—the motive of action. At the end, the domains of goods are listed, in which the ontic good, which is a transcendental property of being, plays the most important role.



The first part of the paper discusses the origins and meaning of democracy relative to the development of Christian political thought through the modern period; it is important here that democracy means something different in the ancient world than it does in the modern. The second part discusses the view of democracy proposed in the formative period of modern Catholic social doctrine in especially from the pontificate of Leo XIII to the Second Vatican Council. The third part analyzes the political thought of St. John Paul II which seems to be the apogee of Catholic thinking about democracy. The fourth part discusses some remaining tensions and problems related to democracy that are articulated partly also in John Paul II’s thought, but in a sharper way in the thought of Pope Benedict XVI and one quite prominent challenge to the Catholic view of democracy in the phenomenon of pluralism. One can see in this history that the Church has gradually come to appreciate democracy not simply as an acceptable form of government, one that is not intrinsically at odds with Christianity, but in a positive sense, as an opportunity for human beings to achieve a level of moral development not available in other regimes. But there remain challenges associated with democracy to government and social life consistent with the natural moral law and to Christian faith.


Eugene Thomas Long, PERSONS, COMMUNITY AND HUMAN DIVERSITY, Studia Gilsoniana 3 (2014): 191–202

This article explores the topic of persons, community and human diversity. Tracing the roots of the western conception of persons to the Greek and Christian traditions, the author develops a conception of persons as agents and as free and flourishing in mutuality with other persons. Arguing that persons are both individual and social, the author considers persons in intimate communities, societies and religious communities. He argues that seeking to live in relation to others in ways that enable self and other to flourish provides an ontological ground for human behavior that is presupposed in our particular ethical traditions and provides a moral basis for human behavior that may be shared by diverse religious and non-religious persons.



The chief aim of this paper is to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt how, through an essential misunderstanding of the nature of philosophy, and science, over the past several centuries, the prevailing Western tendency to reduce the whole of science to mathematical physics unwittingly generated utopian socialism as a political substitute for metaphysics. In short, being unable speculatively, philosophically, and metaphysically to justify this reduction, some Western intellectuals re-conceived the natures of philosophy, science, and metaphysics as increasingly enlightened, historical and political forms of the evolution of human consciousness toward creation of systematic science, a science of clear and distinct ideas. In the process they unwittingly wound up reducing contemporary philosophy and Western higher education largely into tools of utopian socialist political propaganda.


Robert Sokolowski, HONOR, ANGER, AND BELITTLEMENT IN ARISTOTLE’S ETHICS, Studia Gilsoniana 3 (2014): 221–240

The author considers the phenomenon of honor (timē) by examining Aristotle’s description of it and its role in ethical and political life. His study of honor leads him to two related phenomena, anger (orgē) and belittlement or contempt (oligōria); examining them helps him define honor more precisely. With his examination of honor the author shows how densely interwoven Aristotle’s ethical theory is; he illuminates such diverse things as the human good, political life and friendship, virtue, vice, incontinence, flattery, wealth and pleasure; he shows how the metaphysical principles of dunamis and energeia are at work in human affairs; he treats the passion of anger as well as the moral attitude of contempt that provokes it, and he situates both within the study of rhetoric.


Anne M. Wiles, FORMS AND PREDICATION RECONSIDERED, Studia Gilsoniana 3 (2014): 241–256

The central questions addressed in this paper are: (1) how are forms related to predication? And (2) what role do forms and predication play in the discovery and articulation of truth? The first section of the paper provides—in broad strokes—a synopsis of Plato’s account of forms. The second section considers predication in relation to forms showing that the existence and nature of forms is a necessary condition for predication, and that Plato’s account of predication is consistent with, in fact, anticipates, Aristotle’s treatment of reality in the Categories. The conclusion of the paper is that forms and predication are central to philosophical hermeneutics, to the discovery and articulation of truth.



The article is focused on Allan Bloom’s thought about American education. First, while investigating the symptoms of the crisis of American education and upbringing, it sees them manifested both in the structure of university curricula and academic staff as well as the students, their knowledge, customs, and culture. Secondly, while analyzing advantages of education in the field of liberal arts—where the word “liberal” is used in the context of artes liberales—it presents Bloom’s belief that the only serious solution to the crisis of American education is to restore the ideal of an educated man shaped by great literary works and works of the greatest thinkers.



The article concentrates on the specificity of philosophical cognition. Referring to Mieczysław A. Krąpiec’s study, the author proves that the process of thinking is not to be necessarily identified with the process of cognition, as in fact the former is merely a secondary phase of the latter. When identified with thinking, the philosophical cognition would undermine the very sense of cognition, which means the understanding of reality. When based on thinking alone, philosophy does not grasp real things, but operates with abstracts of being and being’s representations (concepts). As for the correctness of philosophical thinking the laws of logic, with ensuring non-contradictory operations, are sufficient enough. However, any knowledge that aspires to be philosophical has to start from really existing beings. In the next phases of cognition, such beings are grasped more and more particularly and precisely—starting from their transcendental properties and principles, then their structure and categorial properties, and finally their individual characteristics and actions. The very first act of cognition is directed to real beings, which are immediately grasped in respect of their existence and real essence. The second act of cognition deals with signs. The precedence of being in human cognition makes the philosophy charged not with a task of thinking about the world, but with the task of knowing and understanding it within possible and verifiable limits. Therefore, according to Krąpiec, the very first philosophical discipline is metaphysics, which has real beings as its object. Thus, philosophical cognition should preserve its objective character, as this is the only way to guarantee its realism.



In ancient times, people pondered “cosmic love” (eros, philotes, thymos), i.e., the universal power that underlies the phenomena of the universe. The force of love extends to all things, including man and his action. Philosophers remarked rather early that love is, as it were, the foundation for the phenomena and actions that are experienced. As love is both of the character of a source and is strongly present in its manifestations, it turns out to be something that, on the one hand, is best known, but on the other hand, not easy to understand. In parallel, people also considered the strictly personal form of love—philia, whereby people are joined with each other in a special relation, which is friendship (Aristotle started this conception). The analogical scholastic conception of love was an interesting combination of those two tendencies; love is the foundation of action and in the metaphysical order it becomes the principle that explains the domain of being that we call dynamism. This article discusses Thomas Aquinas’ doctrine of love; first, it analyzes love’s relationship with action, end, and knowledge, then, secondly, investigates the place of love in the order of the causes of action.


Piotr Jaroszyński, ONTOLOGY: UNREAL REALITY, Studia Gilsoniana 3 (2014): 321–334

The article examines the difference between ontology and metaphysics. It shows that as soon as the composition of being from essence and existence is treated as purely mental or in a “reified” way (where essence and existence are independent elements), then essence as essence becomes a thing, and then simply becomes a being, or what is called reality. Both versions in which the real difference disappears or in which the road leads to “reification,” influence the treatment of essence as independent, where essence as thing fills the field of reality. However, if essence was only possibility, then (1) the reality also would be merely possible, (2) the realistic field of philosophical terminology would get curtailed, and (3) there would be no terms to maintain the difference between reality and possibility, between metaphysics and ontology.


Andrzej Maryniarczyk, S.D.B., BONUM SEQUITUR ESSE, Studia Gilsoniana 3 (2014): 335–345

The article discusses the connection of the good with being along three steps. First, it briefly considers the history of the word “good” to see what is hidden behind it and to what one should direct his or her thoughts and searches. Second, it looks at the beginning of inquiries on the nature and sources of the good. Three, it analyzes the originality of one of the most interesting solutions in this controversy surrounding the good, which appeared in the thirteenth century and which was contained in the short sentence, “bonum sequitur esse rei”—the good is a consequence of the existence of a thing.



The article discusses Plato’s and Aristotle’s writings on the sovereignty of the state. It claims that the reflections of the two philosophers on the nature and role of the polis was for them only the result of a shift in attention from the individual man to the whole of social relations that surround him. Just as man’s life in the biological dimension depends on whether he encounters around himself favorable conditions for nourishment, shelter, and longer life, so man’s spiritual life depends on how the political community has been shaped, which is man’s natural spiritual environment. A badly formed political community makes it impossible for man to live well or find fulfillment, and in an extreme case, as in the example of Socrates, it can even put him to death. For that reason, Plato and Aristotle examined the nature of the polis, tried to understand it, and to plan its functioning so that it would best serve virtue and man’s fulfillment. Ultimately, only such a polis ultimately can be called sovereign.


Peter Simpson, ARISTOTLE ON NATURAL JUSTICE, Studia Gilsoniana 3 (2014): 367–376

The article discusses the problem of natural justice which has been considered by Aristotle in his (1) Nicomachean and Eudemian Ethics and (2) Magna Moralia. In his Nicomachean and Eudemian Ethics Aristotle says of natural justice that it is changeable and not the same everywhere. The implication seems to be that no action, not even murder, is always wrong. But, as is evident especially from his Magna Moralia, Aristotle distinguishes justice into the “what” (equality), the “in what” (proportion between persons and things), and the “about what” (what things are exchanged with which persons). The article concludes that Aristotle allows for variability only in the “about what,” while in the “what” and the “in what” he allows for no variability.


Katarzyna Stępień, SYNDERESIS AND THE NATURAL LAW, Studia Gilsoniana 3 (2014): 377–398

The article discusses St. Thomas Aquinas’ understanding of synderesis as the infallible habit of reading the first principles of action. It also considers the opinio communis of the scholastics in the light of which the voice of synderesis is not only infallible, but immutable and inextinguishable as well. It concludes that we have, as human beings, the ability to discover without discursive thought what is good and the ability to read the fundamental direction to the good, and so we are also capable of ordering laws and rights to the real good of man.



The author attempts to justify the thesis of the servient character of political power. By his analyses, he arrives at two conclusions. First, the ultimate goal of service fulfilled by political power should be identical with the natural goal of every human being, meaning a life of virtue. Hence, service to the cause of the citizens’ virtue requires that the fundamental duties of power include the protection of public peace, the promotion of actions towards the common good, and striving for a common abundance of worldly possessions. Second, to elect those in political power it is necessary to make sure that aspirants to such are characterized by the appropriate level of virtuous development. Each candidate should be first and foremost a person possessing a high moral quality (virtus boni viri), where prudence and magnanimity appear to be virtues especially fitting power (virtutes boni principis).


John F. Wippel, MARITAIN AND AQUINAS ON OUR DISCOVERY OF BEING, Studia Gilsoniana 3 (2014): 415–443

The author presents and compares Maritain’s and Aquinas’s accounts of our discovery (1) of being as existing; and (2) of being as being (ens inquantum ens or the subject of metaphysics). He finds that especially in his final discussion of how one discovers being as being, Maritain’s account suffers greatly from the absence of any appeal to Aquinas’s negative judgment of separation and also from the omission of reference to the role of judgments of existence in one’s discovery of a premetaphysical notion of being. Wippel finds no evidence in Aquinas’s texts for Maritain’s defense of an intuition of being or of existence. 


Peter A. Redpath, THE NATURE OF COMMON SENSE AND HOW WE CAN USE COMMON SENSE TO RENEW THE WEST, Studia Gilsoniana 3:supplement (2014): 455–484

Since most pressing today on a global scale is to be able to unite religion, philosophy, and science into parts of a coherent civilizational whole, and since the ability to unite a multitude into parts of a coherent whole essentially requires understanding the natures of the things and the way they can or cannot be essentially related, this paper chiefly considers precisely why the modern world has been unable to effect this union. In so doing, it argues that the chief cause of this inability to unite these cultural natures has been because the contemporary world, and the West especially, has lost its understanding of philosophy and science and has intentionally divorced from essential connection to wisdom. Finally, it proposes a common sense way properly to understand these natures, reunite them to wisdom, and revive Western and global civilization.


Robert A. Delfino, THE CULTURAL DANGERS OF SCIENTISM AND COMMON SENSE SOLUTIONS, Studia Gilsoniana 3:supplement (2014): 485–496

In his article the author begins by defining what is meant by ‘science’ and ‘scientism.’ Second, he discusses some of the cultural dangers of scientism. Third, he gives several arguments why scientism should be rejected and why science needs metaphysics. Fourth, and finally, he concludes by noting how some of the questions and arguments raised in the article can be appropriated to help the general public understand the limits of science and the dangers of scientism.


Richard Fafara, A POLISH POPE AND AN AMERICAN PRESIDENT: 1979–1989, Studia Gilsoniana 3:supplement (2014): 497–522

The author examines the shared religious and intellectual conviction, toughness, and an abhorrence of communism of Pope John Paul II and President Reagan that contributed to the demise of that system in Poland. The author discusses similarities between these two men; their approaches to communism; their meetings beginning in 1982; the hypothesis of a “holy alliance,” and concludes that based on available evidence to date, a strong case can be made that the Pope and Reagan jointly did more than any others to bring about the fall of communism, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the end of the Cold War.


Christopher P. Klofft, IMAGE AND IMAGO: A RATIONAL DEFENSE OF A THEOLOGICAL ANTHROPOLOGY OF GENDER, Studia Gilsoniana 3:supplement (2014): 523–535

Modern and Post-Modern discourse espouses a subjective understanding of gender. As a result, confusing new problems erupt in discussions as practical as marriage and as theoretical as questions of human meaning and purpose. Catholic theology, drawing primarily from the personalistic approach to gender contained in Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, provides a consistent account of gender that is also compatible with the best evidence available in support of a purely rational approach. A defense of this approach could lead to a better understanding of ourselves and our relationships, to the betterment of culture as a whole.


Alphonso Lopez Pinto, COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO THE RESTORATION OF SACRED ART, Studia Gilsoniana 3:supplement (2014): 537–545

In this paper, Sacred Art is examined as an imitation of historia. Historia interprets historical human events as empirical, material and real while seeking to understand their moral and spiritual significance. It is from historia that sacred art can be understood, where Christ and the saints are portrayed in the integrity of their human natures united to symbols representing Divinity or grace in order to present a visual/contemplative narrative. Mortimer Adler rightly sees that the vision of the beautiful is inherently contemplative, thus sacred iconography provides a language that can form the common sense of men and women.


Michael B. Mangini, Esq., COMMON SENSE BIBLICAL HERMENEUTICS, Studia Gilsoniana 3:supplement (2014): 547–562

Since the noetics of moderate realism provide a firm foundation upon which to build a hermeneutic of common sense, in the first part of his paper the author adopts Thomas Howe’s argument that the noetical aspect of moderate realism is a necessary condition for correct, universally valid biblical interpretation, but he adds, “insofar as it gives us hope in discovering the true meaning of a given passage.” In the second part, the author relies on John Deely’s work to show how semiotics may help interpreters go beyond meaning and seek the significance of the persons, places, events, ideas, etc., of which the meaning of the text has presented as objects to be interpreted. It is in significance that the unity of Scripture is found. The chief aim is what every passage of the Bible signifies. Considered as a genus, Scripture is composed of many parts/species that are ordered to a chief aim. This is the structure of common sense hermeneutics; therefore in the third part the author restates Peter Redpath’s exposition of Aristotle and St. Thomas’s ontology of the one and the many and analogously applies it to the question of how an exegete can discern the proper significance and faithfully interpret the word of God.



In any age, at any given time, there are leaders who fail to lead by example. The desires which motivate them, and the means they deploy to cover for this fact, can weave paths of destruction with social costs borne by those who can least afford them—including within the academy. Taking the right steps—both professionally and spiritually—at least theoretically make this avoidable. This article addresses select topics in light of ancient perspectives and recent phenomena alike, including those of: the harmony of Thomistic personalism with stakeholder theory and transformational leadership, respectively; the relationship of Augustinian realism to cognitive dissonance theory and the composition of boards.



This paper examines the nature of organizational leadership from the perspective of common sense principles. The principles are established by means of a Thomistic metaphysics of the One and the Many, i.e., the Thomistic teaching of the opposition between Unity and Multiplicity. It is this Thomistic metaphysical philosophical science that studies the distinct kind (genus) of an organization and its specific common sense principles of organizational leadership. This common sense leadership is a harmonious blending of psychology, ethics and operational behavior.


Margaret J. Obrovac, F.S.P., TRANSFORMED IN CHRIST, THE MASTER OF UNCOMMON SENSE, Studia Gilsoniana 3:supplement (2014): 595–603

Both definitive and enigmatic, the figure of Christ, the Master-Teacher emerges from the pages of the Gospel. What does he reveal? How does he reveal it? In an age that markets transformation as a commodity, what promise of rebirth does he offer us as persons and societies? What key implication does this hold for the unification of the sciences, as well as of art and science? The unique insight of Blessed James Alberione, SSP, sheds light on what has lain hidden in plain sight: what Jesus’ personal profile, ‘Way, Truth, and Life,’ can mean for our cynical yet searching times and particularly for us, who now find ourselves immersed in the Church’s new evangelization.



This article argues that, strictly speaking, from its inception with the ancient Greeks and for all time, philosophy and science are identical and consist in an essential relationship between a specific type of understanding of the human person as possessed of an intellectual soul capable of being habituated and a psychologically-independent composite whole, or organization. It maintains, further, that absence of either one of the extremes of this essential relationship cannot be philosophy/science and, if mistaken for such and applied to the workings of cultural institutions, will generate anarchy within human culture and make leadership excellence impossible to achieve. Finally, it argues that only a return to this “common sense” understanding of philosophy can generate the leadership excellence that can save the West from its current state of cultural and civilizational anarchy.


Fr. Pawel Tarasiewicz, THE COMMON SENSE PERSONALISM OF ST. JOHN PAUL II (KAROL WOJTYLA), Studia Gilsoniana 3:supplement (2014): 619–634

The article aims at showing that the philosophical personalism of Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla) stems from the common sense approach to reality. First, it presents Karol Wojtyla as a framer of the Lublin Philosophical School, to which he was affiliated for 24 years before being elected Pope John Paul II; it shows Wojtyla’s role in establishing this original philosophical School by his contribution to its endorsement of Thomism, its way of doing philosophy, and its classically understood personalism. Secondly, it identifies a purpose of Woj-tyla’s use of the phenomenological method in his personalism and reconstructs Wojtyla’s possible answer to the question whether there is a link between moral sense and common sense in human experience.