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1. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 4
Abbreviations to Leibniz’s Works
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2. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 4
Donald Rutherford Introduction: Leibniz and Religion
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3. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 4
Christia Mercer Leibniz on Knowledge and God
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Scholars have long noted that, for Leibniz, the attributes or Ideas of God are the ultimate objects of human knowledge. In this paper, I go beyond these discussions to analyze Leibniz’s views about the nature and limitations of such knowledge. As with so many other aspects of his thought, Leibniz’s position on this issue—what I will call his divine epistemology—is both radical and conservative. It is also not what we might expect, given other tenets of his system. For Leibniz, “God is the easiest and the hardest being to know.” God is the easiest to know, in that to grasp some property of an essence is to attain a knowledge of the divine essence, but God is also the most difficult to know, in that “real knowledge” of the divine essence is not available to finite beings. There is an enormous gap between the easy and the real knowledge of God, but for Leibniz, this gap is a good thing, since the very slowness of our epistemological journey prepares us morally for its end.
4. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 4
Ursula Goldenbaum Spinoza’s Parrot, Socinian Syllogisms, and Leibniz’s Metaphysics: Leibniz’s Three Strategies For Defending Christian Mysteries
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This paper intends to show the connection between the theological, logical and epistemological ideas in Leibniz’s thinking. The paper will focus on the reasons for Leibniz’s fundamental decision to defend the Christian mysteries and his three different strategies for doing so. Each of these strategies is an answer to a particular challenge: to the Socinian who claims that the mysteries are contradictory; to the mechanical philosophy which denies the possibility of the mysteries, and to Spinoza’s parrot argument which demands that we be silent when we have no comprehension. Although he had already worked out his reconciliation of the Christian mysteries with the mechanical philosophy in Mainz around 1670, Leibniz first published it only in 1710 in his Théodicée.
5. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 4
Paul Lodge Leibniz, Bayle, and Locke on Faith and Reason
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This paper illuminates Leibniz’s conception of faith and its relationship to reason. Given Leibniz’s commitment to natural religion, we might expect his view of faith to be deflationary. We show, however, that Leibniz’s conception of faith involves a significant non-rational element. We approach the issue by considering the way in which Leibniz positions himself between the views of two of his contemporaries, Bayle and Locke. Unlike Bayle, but like Locke, Leibniz argues that reason and faith are in conformity. Nevertheless, in contrast to the account that he finds in Locke’s Essay, Leibniz does not reduce faith to a species of reasonable belief. Instead, he insists that, while faith must be grounded in reason, true or divine faith also requires a supernatural infusion of grace.
6. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 4
Maria Rosa Antognazza Leibniz and Religious Toleration: The Correspondence with Paul Pellisson-Fontanier
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As one might expect, throughout his life Leibniz assumed an attitude of religious toleration both ad intra (that is, toward Christians of other confessions) and ad extra (that is, toward non-Christians, notably Muslims). The aim of this paper is to uncover the philosophical and theological foundations of Leibniz’s views on this subject. Focusing in particular on his epistolary exchange with the French Catholic convert Paul Pellisson-Fontanier, I argue that neither toleration ad intra nor toleration ad extra is grounded for Leibniz in indifference toward the content of revealed religion. On the contrary, Leibniz remained convinced of the objective truth of the Christian religion as it is handed down by the millennia-old tradition of the truly universal church. In his view, reasons internal to the very nature of salvation and to the conception of God and man explicitly contained in or, at least, in accord with this tradition present religious toleration as the only justifiable answer to the differences among religions.
7. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 4
Michael J. Murray Leibniz’s Proposal for Theological Reconciliation among the Protestants
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Between 1701 and 1705 Leibniz focused on the task of securing theological reunion between Lutherans and Calvinists, the two major Protestant sects at the time. Doing so, he believed, required reconciliation on two key topics, namely, the doctrine of the Eucharist, and the doctrine of election. To bring unity on the second issue, Leibniz composed a lengthy treatise based on a commentary on the Thirty-nine articles of the Church of England. This treatise stakes out a position springing from Leibniz’s own views. In this essay, I examine the views Leibniz defends in this treatise. I show that Leibniz’s views are much friendlier to the Arminian perspective than to the Calvinist one. I also show that this result is surprising since Arminian views seem incompatible with views on freedom and the problem of evil standardly attributed to Leibniz. This lack of fit should compel a re-examination of these standard attributions.
8. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 4
Jean-Pascal Anfray God’s Decrees and Middle Knowledge: Leibniz and the Jesuits
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During the seventeenth century, disputes over middle knowledge centered on the following question: does God know contingent states of affairs before He decrees to bring them about (the Jesuit view); or, conversely, does He know them after He has decreed which states of affairs He will bring about (the Dominican view)? This article intends to cast some light on Leibniz’s view of this question. Of central importance here is the notion of a possible decree (designed both to ground contingency and to explain God’s knowledge). Despite his apparent proximity to the Dominican view, Leibniz maintained the prevolitional nature of God’s knowledge of contingent states of affairs. In order to establish this point, Leibniz’s view is compared to some little known developments in the theory of middle knowledge.
9. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 4
Mark Kulstad Exploring Middle Ground: Was Leibniz’s Conception of God ever Spinozistic?
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Robert M. Adams has recently and controversially discussed the question whether Leibniz’s conception of God was ever Spinozistic. His affirmative answer has been opposed by Christia Mercer but supported by the present author. In this paper the debate is briefly sketched as a preliminary to the presentation of a new middle position, one that incorporates elements of both of the opposing interpretations. Along the way, the paper discusses Leibniz’s interesting treatment of God as the one and the all, as both the unity and the multiplicity in the world, and as the key to universal harmony.
10. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 4
Books Received
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11. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 4
Contents of Volume 76 (2002)
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12. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 3
Patrick H. Byrne Lonergan’s Retrieval of Aristotelian Form
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Lonergan’s written reflections on the notion of form span almost thirty years. Beginning with his 1930s manuscripts on the philosophy of history, Lonergan returned again and again to the problem of clarifying that metaphysical concept. His thought on the issue of form reached its mature stage in 1957 with the publication of Insight. This article first presents an account of the mature, Insight stage of Lonergan’s notion of form. It then shows how Lonergan arrived at that position from his interpretation of Aristotle as set forth in Verbum: Word and Idea in Aquinas. It concludes with some remarks in response to a criticism of Lonergan, commonly leveled by certain Thomist thinkers, according to which Lonergan’s effort to ground philosophy in self-appropriation rather than metaphysics condemns him to a subjectivist or idealist position. Such a critique, I argue, fails to take into account what Lonergan actually held. Indeed, the preference for a metaphysical point de départ is itself vulnerable to a reverse criticism on Lonergan’s part.
13. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 3
F.B.A. Asiedu The Elusive Face of Modern Platonism: Iris Murdoch on Anselm and the Ontological Argument
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Iris Murdoch’s Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals ranges wide over the field of Western philosophical thought. Throughout the work, Murdoch proposes and enacts a form of philosophical inquiry that she believes supports a moral philosophy based on the idea of the good. One of her attempts, partly inspired by Paul Tillich and J. N. Findlay, centers on her critique and appropriation of the structure of the so-called “ontological argument” in Anselm’s Proslogion. This study assesses Murdoch’s accomplishment and the tenability of the kind of Platonism she proposes against Anselm’s argument about the good in both the Monologion and the Proslogion. My claim is that Anselm’s conception of the good simply does not permit the kind of interpretation that Murdoch puts on the “ontological argument.”
14. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 3
Peter Drum The Fourth Way—Mystery, Myth or Meaning?
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The paper contends that, despite certain opinions to the contrary, St. Thomas Aquinas’s fourth argument for the existence of God in the Summa theologica admits of an intelligible interpretation, consistent with a systematic approach to the Five Ways. The argument is to the effect that, since the Third Way is about the conservation of corruptible species in an eternal universe, it might be expected that the Fourth Way would address the question of why corruptible species exist at all. And, in fact, the Fourth Way readily admits of such an interpretation: an informed universe requires an Informer.
15. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 3
John F.X. Knasas Contra Spinoza: Aquinas on God’s Free Will
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My article confronts three of Spinoza’s four arguments against free will in God with Aquinas’s contrary position in the Summa contra Gentiles, Book I. Spinoza’s three arguments come from his Ethics, props. XVII and XXXII. First, since free choice is always exclusive, free choice in God would leave unactualized power in God. Second, if God’s will could be different without entailing divine mutability, then a divine voluntarism would reign. Third, if God has freedom of will but his willing is his essence, the God’s essence could be otherwise. I note that these pitfalls open by assuming that the divine will bears upon creatures directly and immediately. I then show that since for Aquinas, God wills creatures by principally willing himself, none of Spinoza’s criticisms follow.
16. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 3
Patrick L. Bourgeois Critical Philosophy and Post-Critical Faith: The Christian Philosopher
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This paper focuses on the intertwining of philosophy and Christian faith in the concrete life of the Christian philosopher, with a view toward the compatibility of critical philosophy and a post-critical faith. Philosophy, as an enterprise of reason alone, is independent of Christian faith and theology. In accord with its definition, philosophy seeks evidence along the lines of reason independent of outside authority, and thus is autonomous from such faith. Yet, for the Christian philosopher, without jeopardizing this autonomy and independence, faith and theology do enter the picture in some sense. For, unless the individual is completely dichotomized in personality, her/his concrete life and existence must involve commitments both to the Christian faith and to philosophy, even though the commitment of faith is more basic. This paper explores this paradox of the independence and mutual intertwining of these two poles; then, focuses on the philosophical pole of the tension; and finally, resolves the tension for the Christian philosopher.
discussion articles
17. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 3
John P. O’Callaghan Aquinas, Cognitive Theory, and Analogy: A Propos of Robert Pasnau’s Theories of Cognition in the Later Middle Ages
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Is it the case that God, human beings, and air all share the same capacity for cognition, differing only in the degree to which they engage in cognitive acts? Robert Pasnau has recently argued that according to St. Thomas Aquinas they do, a conclusion that for Pasnau follows straightforwardly from Aquinas’s discussion of God’s cognition in the first part of the Summa theologiae. Further, Pasnau holds that Aquinas’s relation to contemporary cognitive theory should be understood in light of the discussion of God. This essay argues that Pasnau’s analysis is mistaken. It begins by explaining Pasnau’s position. It then considers the problems this reading introduces into Aquinas’s discussion of God’s cognition, as well as those it faces when addressed to air and other cognitive media. Finally, it shows the role that Aquinas’s doctrine of analogy plays in understanding how “cognition” is said of human beings, how it is said of God, and how it is not said in the case of air and other cognitive media. It concludes by suggesting that the logic of analogy is Aquinas’s most crucial contribution to contemporary discussions of mind and cognition.
18. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 3
Robert Pasnau What Is Cognition? A Reply to Some Critics
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In an earlier work, I proposed understanding Aquinas’s theory of cognition in terms of the possession of information about the world. This proposal has seemed problematic in various ways. It has been said to include too much, and too little, and to be the wrong sort of account altogether. Nevertheless, I continue to think of it as the most plausible interpretation of Aquinas’s theory.
review article
19. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 3
Lewis S. Ford Can Thomas and Whitehead Complement Each Other?
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Two essays relating Thomas and Whitehead have recently appeared. Coming To Be by James W. Felt, S.J., modifies Thomas by replacing his substantial form with Whitehead’s notion of subjective aim, the essencein-the-making introduced by God to guide the occasion’s act of coming into being. Felt also substitutes subjective aim for matter as the means of individuation. This is one of Whitehead’s individuating principles, although a case can be made that matter (the multiplicity of past actualities as proximate matter) is another. “God and Creativity” by Stephen T. Franklin develops a reconciliation of these two ultimates by conceiving of God as the source of creativity, and seeing creativity in terms of the Thomistic esse. In my reflections on this project I explore four alternativeswith respect to the source of creativity: (a) creativity as derived from the past; (b) creativity as inherent in the present; (c) God as the source of transitional creativity (Franklin); (d) God as the source of concrescent creativity (Ford). The last two differ with respect to being’s relation to becoming. Does being undergird becoming, or does becoming bring about being, such that apart from it there would be no being? Our theory of creation depends upon this question.
book reviews
20. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 3
Charles Bambach Heidegger’s Polemos: From Being to Politics
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