Thomas Aquinas: A Handbook for Peeping Thomists, 49–56.
But as elsewhere these claims are ambiguous and suffer at the hands ofThomas' own texts. In the first place, the objection that he alreadyknows by faith that God exists has some merit in it, if we understandit as directed at a reading of Thomas that would have him attempting afoundational enterprise of grounding religious faith in what isrationally demonstrable by Philosophy. But that reading isanachronistic, and does not attend to the context of the SummaTheologiae. There is no reason to think that Thomas thinks theproofs are necessary for the rationality of religious faith. They arepart of the enterprise of showing that Sacra Doctrina meetsthe condition of a science as described by Aristotle in thePosterior Analytics, which he had argued in the firstquestion of the Summa, an issue that is different from thequestion of the broad rationality of religious faith.
‘Saint Thomas Aquinas: ’ 51 (1960): 67–72.
As opposed to the view of philosophy described in paragraph 2, Thomasunderstands philosophizing to depend upon antecedent knowledge, to proceed from it, and to be unintelligible unless, in its sophisticated modes, it can be traced back to the common truths knownto all. But this tracing back will pass through very different terrains, depending on the upbringing, culture and other vagaries andaccidents of a given person's experience. The pre-philosophical—I refer to the formal study of philosophy—outlook of the believer will be characterizable in agiven way, a way suggested above. It is more difficult to characterize the pre-philosophical attitudes and beliefs out of whichthe non-believer philosophizes. Let us imagine that he holds in a more or less unexamined way that all events, including thinking, are physical events. If as a philosopher he should happen take up the questionof the immortality of the soul, he is going to regard with suspicion those classical proofs which rely on an analysis of thinking as a non-physical process. The Christian, on the other hand, will be well-disposed towards efforts to prove the immortality of the human soul and will accordingly approach descriptions of thinking as non-physical sympathetically. He is unlikely to view with equanimity any claim that for human beings death is the utter end.
Given the distinction between philosophy and theology, one can thendistinguish between philosophical and theological sources andinfluences in Aquinas' work. As a philosopher Thomas is emphaticallyAristotelian. His interest in and perceptive understanding of theStagyrite is present from his earliest years and did not await theperiod toward the end of his life when he wrote his close textualcommentaries on Aristotle. When Thomas referred to Aristotle as thePhilosopher, he was not merely adopting a façon deparler of the time. He adopted Aristotle's analysis of physicalobjects, his view of place, time and motion, his proof of the primemover, his cosmology. He made his own Aristotle's account of senseperception and intellectual knowledge. His moral philosophy is closelybased on what he learned from Aristotle and in his commentary onthe Metaphysics he provides a cogent and coherent account ofwhat is going on in those difficult pages. Quite often deep insightinto Thomas' philosophical thought can be gained from a closeattention to the ways in which he comments upon and interpretivelyclarifies difficult passages in Aristotle that can be otherwise veryobscure.
St. Thomas Aquinas > By Individual Philosopher > Philosophy
It will be observed that the formal distinction between philosophicaland theological discourse leaves untouched what has often been the mark of one who is at once a believer and a philosopher. It is not simply that he might on one occasion produce an argument that is philosophical and at another time one that is theological; his religious beliefs are clearly not put in escrow but are very much in evidence when he functions as a philosopher. Many of the questions that can be raised philosophically are such that the believer alreadyholds a position on the answers to them from his religious faith. How then can he be thought to be ready to follow the argument whither it listeth, as an objector might put it? Furthermore, the inquiries in which the believer who philosophizes engages will often indicate his religious interests.
Thomas Aquinas | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
But to acknowledge the primary role of Aristotle in Thomas's philosophy is not to deny other philosophical influences. Augustine is a massively important presence. Boethius, Pseudo-Dionysius, and Proclus were conduits through which he learned Neo-platonism. There is nothing more obviously Aristotelian about Thomas than his assumption that there is something to be learned from any author and not only mistakes tobe avoided. He definitely adopted many features from non-Aristotelian sources.
About – Thomas Aquinas School Of Theology And Philosophy
Aquinas faithfully carried out Albertus Magnus’wish and the pope’s order that philosophy be mixed with Christianity…but thatChristianity be kept out of philosophy in order to preserve the purity ofphilosophy.
The Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas (Summary)
Neither the Bible nor any other authority isneeded because Aquinas’ main contribution to Western civilization and itsChristian denominations was to legitimize the use of Greek philosophy’s secularReason.