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articles
1. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 93 > Issue: 4
Travis Dumsday The Internal Unity of Natural Kinds: Assessing Oderberg’s Neo-Scholastic Account
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It is often assumed that the essence of a natural kind is complex, being such as to include (or to wholly consist of) multiple fundamental properties. For instance, perhaps the essence of the kind “electron” includes both negative charge and a precise rest mass, where neither of these is derivable from the other, nor derivable from some other foundational property. This assumption raises the ‘unity problem’: how to explain what unifies or holds together these properties. One important answer is developed by David Oderberg. His model draws on insights from both analytic metaphysics and the Scholastic tradition. I provide a summary of his solution to the unity problem and point to a potential worry it faces. I conclude by adverting to an alternative solution that would still fit within Oderberg’s overall system.
2. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 93 > Issue: 4
Jeff Steele, Thomas Williams Complexity without Composition: Duns Scotus on Divine Simplicity
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John Duns Scotus recognizes complexity in God both at the level of God’s being and at the level of God’s attributes. Using the formal distinction and the notion of “unitive containment,” he argues for real plurality in God, but in a way that permits him to affirm the doctrine of divine simplicity. We argue that his allegiance to the doctrine of divine simplicity is purely verbal, that he flatly denies traditional aspects of the doctrine as he had received it from Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas, and that his denial of the doctrine allows him to escape certain counterintuitive consequences of the doctrine without falling afoul of the worries that motivated the doctrine in the first place. We note also an important consequence of Scotus’s approach to simplicity for the correct interpretation of his view of the foundation of morality.
3. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 93 > Issue: 4
Garrett R. Smith The Analogy of Being in the Scotist Tradition
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It is widely believed today that John Duns Scotus’s doctrine of the univocity of being ushered in various deleterious philosophical and theological consequences that resulted in the negative features of modernity. Included in this common opinion, but not examined, is the belief that by affirming univocity Scotus thereby also denied the analogy of being (analogia entis). The present essay challenges this belief by recovering Scotus’s true position on analogy, namely that it obtains in the order of the real, and that complex concepts of creatures are analogically related to complex concepts of God. Scotus’s doctrine is then compared to the later Scotist tradition. The common opinion of the Scotist school from the fourteenth century onward followed Scotus’s position on analogy and considerably expanded upon his scattered remarks.
4. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 93 > Issue: 4
William E. Tullius Edith Stein and the Ethics of Renewal: Contributions to a Steinian Account of the Moral Task
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While Edith Stein never developed an ethics of her own, her work is nonetheless suggestive of an “ethics of renewal,” which appears in nuce in various moments of her corpus. First, in her phenomenological treatises, Stein analyzes the ethical development of personality in the unfolding of the personal “core” as responding to ever higher value domains. During the 1930s, this becomes a project of living out a moral vocation bestowed by God. In Endliches und ewiges Sein, the moral life becomes a work of renewal in connection with the Teresian metaphor of the “interior castle.” Morality, for Stein, emerges from out of an inner, personal work of the soul’s conscious refurbishment according to its essential structure by coming to terms with the value-world and with God. This paper will attempt to develop Stein’s account of the nature of the moral task as renewal and some implications for moral theory.
5. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 93 > Issue: 4
Frans Svensson Descartes on the Highest Good: Concepts and Conceptions
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What is the highest good? In the ethics of René Descartes, we can distinguish between at least seven different answers to this question: (a) God; (b) the sum of all the different goods that “we either possess . . . or have the power to acquire” (CSMK, 324/AT 5, 82); (c) free will; (d) virtue; (e) love of God; (f) wisdom; and (g) supernatural beatitude. In this paper, I argue that each of these answers, in Descartes’s view, provides the correct particular conception, relative to a distinct sense or concept of the highest good. Just as there are seven different conceptions of the highest good, according to Descartes, there are thus also seven different senses or concepts of the highest good.
6. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 93 > Issue: 4
William Matthew Diem Reasons for Acting and the End of Man as Naturally Known: Reconceiving Thomistic Axiology
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Aquinas implies that there is a single end of man, which can be known by reason from the moment of discretion and without the aid of revelation. This raises the problems: What is this end? How is it known? And how are the several natural, human goods related to this one end? The essay argues, first, that the naturally known end of man is the operation of virtue rather than God; second, that the virtue in question is, in the first place, moral rather than intellectual; third, that the sub-rational goods, though naturally desired, are ultimately valuable as instrumental means to further goods; and finally, that there is, for Aquinas, a fundamental paradox at the heart of man’s moral experience, and that the axiology developed in the essay can help us to appreciate this paradox. It will also argue, in passing, that Aquinas’s axiology bears the clear mark of Cicero’s moderate Stoicism.
book reviews
7. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 93 > Issue: 4
John Macias Marxism, Ethics and Politics: The Work of Alasdair Macintyre. By John Gregson
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8. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 93 > Issue: 4
Michael J. Degnan The Quality of Life: Aristotle Revised. By Richard Kraut
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9. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 93 > Issue: 4
Kenneth L. Pearce Necessary Existence. By Alexander R. Pruss and Joshua L. Rasmussen
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10. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 93 > Issue: 4
Paul Seaton Leo Strauss and His Catholic Readers. Edited by Geoffrey M. Vaughan
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11. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 93 > Issue: 4
Contents of Volume 93 (2019)
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articles
12. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 93 > Issue: 3
Thomas M. Ward A Most Mitigated Friar: Scotus on Natural Law and Divine Freedom
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In his ethical writings, Duns Scotus emphasized both divine freedom and natural goodness, and these seem to conflict with each other in various ways. I offer an interpretation of Scotus which takes seriously these twin emphases and shows how they cohere. I argue that, for Scotus, all natural laws obtain just by the natures of actual things. Divine commands, such as the Ten Commandments, contingently track natural laws but do not make natural laws to be natural laws. I present textual evidence for this claim. I also show how this view of Scotus on the natural law is consistent with a number of troubling passages. Scotus’s ethical theory implies that there are genuinely moral reasons for acting which are not absolutely binding (because subject to a divine command or permission otherwise) and also some moral reasons for acting which are absolutely binding (because not thus subject).
13. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 93 > Issue: 3
Matthew K. Minerd Thomism and the Formal Object of Logic
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The scientific status of logic is ambiguous within a broadly Aristotelian framework. As is well known, the Stoic position is frequently contrasted with that of the the classic Peripatetic outlook on these matters. For the former, logic is a unique division of philosophy (i.e., rational philosophy), whereas for the latter, logic plays a merely instrumental role. This article explores how several Dominican thinkers articulated an outlook concerning logic that granted it a robust scientific status while maintatining a generally Peripatietic philosophical outlook. Clarity in these matters required the passing of several centuries. This article presents a set of historical vignettes showing the development of an increasingly clearer definition of the nature of the subject of logic, tracing the topic in Aristotle, Avicenna, Aquinas, Hervaeus Natalis, and Antoine Goudin.
14. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 93 > Issue: 3
Mariusz Tabaczek, OP What Do God and Creatures Really Do in an Evolutionary Change? Divine Concurrence and Transformism from the Thomistic Perspective
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Many enthusiasts of theistic evolution willingly accept Aquinas’s distinction between primary and secondary causes, to describe theologically “the mechanics” of evolutionary transformism. However, their description of the character of secondary causes in relation to God’s creative action oftentimes lacks precision. To some extent, the situation within the Thomistic camp is similar when it comes to specifying the exact nature of secondary and instrumental causes at work in evolution. Is it right to ascribe all causation in evolution to creatures—acting as secondary and instrumental causes? Is there any space for a more direct divine action in evolutionary transitions? This article offers a new model of explaining the complexity of the causal nexus in the origin of new biological species, including the human species, analyzed in reference to both the immanent and transcendent orders of causation.
15. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 93 > Issue: 3
Juan M. Burgos Anglo-American and European Personalism: A Dialogue on Idealism and Realism
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The aim of this paper is to explore the differences between the Idealist personalism present in Britain and America, and the Realist personalism, proper to all the different branches of European or Continental Personalism: dialogic, communitarian, phenomenological, classical ontological, and modern ontological. After making clear that not all the British personalists are idealists, but mainly those linked to personal idealism, we will discuss whether we can speak of personalism in a similar sense as idealistic and realistic personalism. Secondly, we will analyze four points in order to compare the peculiar traits of personalism in these philosophies: the phenomenality of matter; the problem of experience; metaphysics and person; and corporeality, personality, and person. Special attention is paid to A. S. Pringle-Pattison and Borden Parker Bowne, as the leaders of idealistic personalism in Britain and the United States.
16. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 93 > Issue: 3
Julie Walsh, Eric Stencil The Protestant and the Pelagian: Arnauld and Malebranche on Grace and Power
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One of the longest and most acrimonious polemics in the history of philosophy is between Antoine Arnauld and Nicolas Malebranche. Their central disagreements are over the nature of ideas, theodicy, and—the topic of this paper—grace. We offer the most in-depth English-language treatment of their discussion of grace to date. Our focus is one particular aspect of the polemic: the power of finite agents to assent to grace. We defend two theses. First, we show that as the debate progresses, the differences between Arnauld and Malebranche become, surprisingly, less pronounced—despite mutual accusations of Pelagianism and Calvinism. Our second thesis is developed to explain the outcome of the first. We argue that the employment of different methodologies to interrogate the relationship between efficacious grace and human power prohibits any possibility of reconciliation between Arnauld and Malebranche.
17. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 93 > Issue: 3
Joseph Gamache Friendship versus the Normativity of Truth: A Catholic Response to a False Dilemma
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According to some contemporary epistemologists, truth is a norm of belief: for any proposition p, one ought to believe that p only if p is true. It is sometimes also held that the evaluation of beliefs in terms of their truth-value is universal: truth is a norm of all, and not merely some, of one’s beliefs. Taken together, these claims have inspired the “friendship objection” to the truth-norm. According to this objection, friendship sometimes requires that friends violate the truth-norm when it comes to their beliefs about each other. I begin by discussing how the friendship objection poses a potential problem for the Catholic philosophical tradition. Then, I attempt to resolve the objection by arguing that it is committed to a false dilemma about friendship. Drawing on insights of Gabriel Marcel and Dietrich von Hildebrand, I sketch a virtue by which friends negotiate the demands of both friendship and truth.
18. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 93 > Issue: 3
Guy Guldentops Francesco Piccolomini’s Christian-Neoplatonic Reading of Aristotle’s Theory of Friendship
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Francesco Piccolomini (1523–1607) interprets Aristotle’s theory of friendship from a Christian-Neoplatonic perspective. This paper focuses on the various (ancient, medieval, and Renaissance) sources of Piccolomini’s interpretation and shows that he succeeds in expounding a coherent doctrine in which the Aristotelian ideal of civic friendship is integrated into a theocentric ethics of spiritual love.
book reviews
19. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 93 > Issue: 3
Gene Fendt Augustine and Kierkegaard. Edited by John Doody, Kim Paffenroth, and Helene Tallon Russell
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20. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 93 > Issue: 3
Dimitrios A. Vasilakis Maximus the Confessor as a European Philosopher. Edited by Sotiris Mitralexis, Georgios Steiris, Marcin Podbielski, and Sebastian Lalla
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