Studia Gilsoniana 6: 1 (January–March 2017)

 

Roberta Bayer, “Finding a Reasonable Foundation for Peace,” Studia Gilsoniana 6: 1 (January–March 2017): 7–30:

SUMMARY: Can world peace come about through a world federation of governments? Is growing agreement and appreciation for, throughout the world, the doctrine of equal human rights inevitable? Such questions are raised by Mortimer Adler in How to Think about War and Peace. Adler argues in this book that both are possible, and in doing so he argues that the insights of liberal contract thinkers, particularly Immanuel Kant, are essentially true. Kant argues that each person has the capacity to discover within himself the foundation for human rights because they are self-evident. It follows that over time inequalities and prejudices will disappear, and people will gain the freedom to advance the cause of peace. About this account of the possibility of world peace I ask the question: is it indeed reasonable? For if it is reasonable, it is not reasonable for the reasons that would have been advanced by Aristotle or Plato or their medieval followers. In older political philosophy it is agreement about the unchanging truth of things that can bring peace. To seek the unchanging truth of things, philosophical speculation about God and things divine, is the highest human activity. It is that end to which life in this world is directed, and upon which human flourishing depends. Freedom depends upon our openness to unchanging eternal truth, even more than self-evident rights; the exercise of speculative reasoning allows for political discourse and an open society.

KEYWORDS: Dante Alighieri, Mortimer Adler, peace, ancient, medieval, Divine Comedy, Monarchy, De Monarchia, Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, right, rights, education, reason, metaphysics, freedom, liberty, politics.

 

Robert A. Delfino and Andrew Gniadek, “Theology for Nones: Helping People Find God in a Secular Age,” Studia Gilsoniana 6: 1 (January–March 2017): 31–46:

SUMMARY: One-third of all adults under the age of thirty in the United States of America are ‘nones’. Nones include atheists, agnostics, and those who answer “nothing in particular” to religious survey questions. In this article the authors examine the rise of the nones, drawing upon the work of Mary Eberstadt, Charles Taylor, and Joseph Bottum. We classify the nones into three groups: naturalists, transcendent spiritualists, and non-transcendent spiritualists. After discussing various challenges for evangelization among the nones, we propose some ideas to address these challenges. Here we draw upon the work of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Jacques Maritain, and Mariano Artigas. Finally, we discuss some cultural concerns and problems that would probably result if the rise of the nones is left unaddressed.

KEYWORDS: nones, atheists, agnostics, naturalists, spiritual but not religious, disenchantment, secularization theory, scientism, natural theology, spiritual centers, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Walter Rauschenbusch, Mary Eberstadt, Charles Taylor, Joseph Bottum, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Jacques Maritain, Mariano Artigas.

 

Lois Eveleth, “Professional Responsibility and Conflict of Interest,” Studia Gilsoniana 6: 1 (January–March 2017): 47–61:

SUMMARY: When conflicts of interests arise for the professional, s/he should be aided in their resolution by a long-standing body of knowledge called ethics. Ethics provides an array of concepts, vocabulary, and strategies to aid in both the understanding and the resolution of such challenges. Central here are two concepts, viz. responsibility and conflict of interest. Responsibility emerges incrementally from a person’s knowledge, freedom, and deliberation. Conflicts of interest are either simple or complex: simple, when a principle conflicts with human wants; complex, when two or more principles are mutually inconsistent. An analysis of these two concepts leads us to the claim that a professional, to remain such, even while embracing an ever-expanding burden of responsibility, needs a conceptual framework for resolving conflicts of interest.

KEYWORDS: professional, ethics, principles, responsibility, conflicts of interest.

 

Fr. Tomasz Kopiczko, “Leader Formation in the Church,” Studia Gilsoniana 6: 1 (January–March 2017): 63–84:

SUMMARY: The goal of this article is to show the way in which leaders are formed in the Roman Catholic Church. The analysis starts with a short presentation of the method used by Jesus Christ in forming his disciples. Then, it attempts to update the model of Jesus by applying it to our times; the attempt is realized by presenting three embodiments of leadership: a priest, a catechist, and an evangelizer.

KEYWORDS: leader, leadership, Church, Jesus Christ, disciple, priest, catechist, evangelizer.

 

Fr. Pawel Tarasiewicz, “Contemplation: If It Makes for Peace, Why Not for Christian Witness Too?,” Studia Gilsoniana 6: 1 (January–March 2017): 85–96:

SUMMARY: The author attempts to answer the following question: Why does Christian witness need contemplation? He claims that Christian witness needs contemplation, because contemplation reveals the truth about the nature of reality; it is this truth which is one of the factors that constitute the foundation of Christian faith. In a sense, contemplation is analogical to mysticism: as mystical visions make Christian belief grounded on the immediate experience of (meeting with) the Truth, so the contemplation of the creatures makes Christian belief based on the indirect experience of the Truth (i.e., the meeting with the traces left by the Creator in the world).

KEYWORDS: contemplation, Christianity, witness, testimony, Ketman, mysticism, philosophy.

 

Małgorzata Jałocho-Palicka, “Spiritual Substance. The Essence of Man-Person According to Karol Wojtyła,” Studia Gilsoniana 6: 1 (January-March 2017): 97-130:

SUMMARY: The article points out that, according to Karol Wojtyła, a substantial spiritual soul is the essence of each man. It is the principle of his life and all of his acts. A substantial spiritual soul makes each man a person. The spiritual substance is the source of the immaterial, essentially personal, accidental beings such as cognition and free will. The substantial spirituality of the human soul is the guarantee of the essentially personal dimension of man-person, namely his vertical transcendence. Vertical transcendence, in turn, enables person’s ontic and moral integration. The authoress also mentions several dire consequences of removing a really existing substantial spiritual soul from the modern philosophical anthropology. Here are some of those consequences: the culture of death, discrimination of those who do not show any visible signs of consciousness or self-governance, losing freedom and being a slave to relational accidental beings such as society and socio-economic processes, removal of the objective truth from the realm of inner life, degradation of the human body treated as a purely material organism, clinging to the senses and the visible, even in religious experiences. etc.

KEYWORDS: substantial and accidental beings, substance-essence, accidents, spiritual substance, substantial spiritual soul, substantial spirituality, man-person, the Spiritual Personal Absolute, person’s transcendence, internal accidents, external accidents, the truth, the truth of the good, love, person’s integration, “dark” cognition, Karol Wojtyła, John Paul II.

 

Eleni Procopiou, “The Thomistic Perception of the Person and Human Rights,” Studia Gilsoniana 6: 1 (January–March 2017): 131–152:

SUMMARY: The idea of human rights is connected to the modern perception of law founded on subjectivity, in the context of which rights are authorizations of individual action versus a higher authority, resulting in a subjectivity of law. The huge importance of the thomistic perception of the person is connected with the issue of relations between the individual and society, as well as relations between law and state, since Thomas Aquinas foresaw what we call ‘rights of man’. Thus, the person, in a metaphysical context, is associated with natural order, since natural sociability forms the basis of a person’s supernatural fulfillment. Because of his social nature, the person is also a carrier of social relations and a product of his own encounter with other persons. In this way, Thomas Aquinas makes a synthesis of man per se, as part of mankind, and man as a person vis-à-vis others in the sphere of justice, consisting ‘in rendering to each one his right’. Ius is a relation of justice concerning what is right (iustum) from the point of view of the other, “to whom something is due.” Aquinas can be considered a forerunner of human rights of the modern era, as demonstrated by the issue of natural equity, the issue of unjust law and obedience and the issue of political legitimization. In this framework, “human” or “natural” rights are considered moral rights. However, in the sphere of law they are perceived only within the community and common good, by no means constituting exclusive and absolute rights but only rights corresponding with duties and obligations. The Thomistic approach expresses both the free side of man vis-à-vis the state and its structures (in the spiritual level) and the egalitarian demand of law within social relations. Furthermore, it places the sphere of law on the background of common good and common interest. The Thomistic approach of the human person is a response to the modern perception of legal subjectivity and the priority of individuals, associated with the ideology of rights and leading to a confrontation of individual and society and a division of man to natural man and citizen, a product of the antithesis between society and state.

KEYWORDS: Aquinas, person, rights, natural law, justice.

 

Mieczysław Gogacz, “Étienne Gilson’s Influence on Philosophy in Poland,” trans. Małgorzata Jałocho-Palicka, Studia Gilsoniana 6: 1 (January–March 2017): 153–164:

SUMMARY: The article consists of the following parts: 1. Spreading É. Gilson’s thought by professor S. Świeżawski: (a) Achievements, (b) The history of contacts as a proof of the acceptance of É. Gilson’s thought. 2. Spreading É. Gilson’s thought through reacting to the translations of his books: (a) Remarks on the role of the translations, (b) The reactions of the philosophy of being proponents, (c) The reactions of the opponents against the philosophy of being. 3. Perfecting É. Gilson’s metaphysics as an actual form of his influence.

KEYWORDS: Étienne Gilson, Stefan Świeżawski, history of philosophy, Poland, philosophy of being, metaphysics.

 

 

 

Studia Gilsoniana 6: 2 (April–June 2017)

 

Stephen Chamberlain, “The Dispute between Gilson and Maritain over Thomist Realism,” Studia Gilsoniana 6: 2 (April–June 2017): 177–195:

SUMMARY: This paper considers the proper location and function of critique in establishing a Thomist realism. The author begins by providing a brief explanation of Étienne Gilson’s understanding of critique and why he thinks a “critical realism” is incoherent. Next, the author considers the criticisms made by John Knasas who, from a Gilsonian perspective, argues that Jacques Maritain employs a version of the transcendental method of retorsion in order to justify his realism. Finally, the author offers a Maritainian response to Knasas in which it is argued that Maritain’s account provides a via media between the Transcendental Thomists, on the one hand, and the strict Aristotelian or a posteriori Thomists, on the other.

KEYWORDS: Thomist realism, critique, epistemology, ontology of knowledge, critical realism, retorsion, principle of identity, thing-object distinction.

 

Daniel Fitzpatrick, “The Hidden God. Achilles, Aquinas, and Moral Action in an Ordered World,” Studia Gilsoniana 6: 2 (April–June 2017): 197–220:

SUMMARY: The central goals of this essay are three: (1) to situate St. Thomas’s moral psychology within his cosmology, with special emphasis on the notion of virtual quantity; (2) to illuminate and confirm that moral psychology through an examination of Achilles as Homer present him in the Iliad; (3) to suggest that if St. Thomas’s picture of the psychological landscape can be validated by reference to Homer, then so, too, might his metaphysical portraiture bear more credence than it is typically awarded. Particular attention will be given to Achilles’ anger and the psychological distinctions by which St. Thomas makes such anger and its attendant acts intelligible.

KEYWORDS: St. Thomas Aquinas, Homer, Achilles, moral psychology, virtual quantity, anger.

 

Ginna M. Pennance-Acevedo, “St. Thomas Aquinas and John Locke on Natural Law,” Studia Gilsoniana 6: 2 (April–June 2017): 221–248:

SUMMARY: John Locke’s natural law theory has frequently been conceived as a continuation of the Thomistic tradition and as sound basis for human rights as universally binding. This paper concludes that this is not the case. Unlike Aquinas’ metaphysical realism, Locke’s empiricism and nominalism make it impossible for us to know our human nature, our exclusively human goods, and telos—thereby undermining the sound foundations of the exceptionless moral precepts of natural law. Whereas Aquinas defines the good as that which is perfective and fulfilling of human nature, Locke identifies the good with pleasure, which leads to subjectivism. While both Aquinas and Locke argue that God is the origin and foundation of the binding force of natural law, Locke’s voluntarism is incompatible with the ruling nature of law. Consequently, unlike Aquinas, Locke’s theory lacks the metaphysical foundations for universal human rights.

KEYWORDS: St. Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, natural law, human rights, moral philosophy, subjectivism, hedonism.

 

Ks. Artur Wójtowicz, “Człowiek jako capax Dei w ujęciu Z. J. Zdybickiej [Man as Capax Dei According to Z. J. Zdybicka],” Studia Gilsoniana 6: 2 (April–June 2017): 249–267:

SUMMARY: Is man capax Dei? Zofia J. Zdybicka answers this question drawing on the entire tradition of classical philosophy which culminates in St. Thomas Aquinas. She considers the problem from the perspective of: (1) man who transcends the precariousness of human nature by his specific capabilities (intellectual knowing, loving, ability to freedom and religion); (2) faculties of the human soul (reason and will) which condition man’s disposition to knowing and loving God; (3) the metaphisical necessity for God to exist as the Supreme Truth and Good. The article concludes with threefold thesis. First, man is capax Dei because—within his capabilities which make him go beyond the entire world of beings (cosmos)—he is open to the Supreme Truth and Supreme Good. Secondly, man is capax Dei because—through his soul’s faculties fittingly developed (recta ratio and recta voluntas)—he can succeed in cognizing and loving God. Thirdly, man is capax Dei because God (the Supreme Truth and Good)—as proven by St. Thomas Aquinas in his Forth Way in particular—really exists.

KEYWORDS: capax Dei, Absolut, Supreme Good, transcendence, contingency, openness, metaphysics, homo religiosus, philosophy of God, recta ratio.

 

Andrzej Maryniarczyk, S.D.B., “Compositions of Being: Metaphysical and Non-Metaphysical Ways of Understanding and Discerning Them,” trans. Hugh McDonald, Studia Gilsoniana 6: 2 (April–June 2017): 269–286:

SUMMARY: This article discusses different ways of understanding compositions of being, and different methods for discerning them. It considers non-metaphysical (physical, scientistic, phenomenological, abstractionist) interpretations in order to decide whether metaphysics can use them to discover and gain knowledge of the elements that determine the deepest structure of beings, and which set their mode of being. The paper also shows how much the metaphysical method for discerning the compositions of being is different from non-metaphysical methods.

KEYWORDS: ontic, subontic, composition, being, method, discernment, metaphysics, physics, scientism, phenomenology, abstractionism, interpretation, structure, nature, whole, part.

 

Berthold Wald: Intelligent Design—Fundamentalismus oder unbequeme Herausforderung? [Intelligent Design—Fundamentalism or Uncomfortable Challenge?],” Studia Gilsoniana 6: 2 (April–June 2017): 287–321:

SUMMARY: Order and change in nature have been for a long time understood in philosophy and theology as founded in divine reason. In the neo-Darwinist theory of evolution, their explanation is reduced to material change without reason. Molecular biologists like M. Behe and W. Demski argue that any reductionist explanation of living beings must be wrong. The evolution of irreducible complex structures is impossible on the basis of random variation and natural selection alone, and must be the result of intelligent design. The article argues that ID-theory, unlike Biblical Creationism, is a challenge for neo-Darwinism and for modern theology as well—for, unlike the Roman magisterium, many Catholic theologians try to harmonize reductive explanation with the notion of creation.

KEYWORDS: evolution, creation, reason, design, random variation, natural selection, irreducible complexity, Christian idea of man, Neo-Darwinism, creationism, Intelligent Design.

 

 

Studia Gilsoniana 6: 3 (July–September 2017)