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Aristotle + God. 9001300 Al-Farabi Al-Ghazali 801-873 CE Al- Kindi 2 870-950 CE 1058-1111 CE Averroes 1126-1198 CE Avicenna 980-1037 CE Anselm 1038-1109.

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Presentation on theme: "Aristotle + God. 9001300 Al-Farabi Al-Ghazali 801-873 CE Al- Kindi 2 870-950 CE 1058-1111 CE Averroes 1126-1198 CE Avicenna 980-1037 CE Anselm 1038-1109."— Presentation transcript:

1 Aristotle + God

2 Al-Farabi Al-Ghazali CE Al- Kindi CE CE Averroes CE Avicenna CE Anselm AD Aquinas AD Ockham AD *All images link to scholarly articles AD Maimonides

3 Thomas Aquinas ( ) Aquinas was dubbed the dumb ox by his fellow students, for being large and quiet. He was apparently quiet because he was busy thinking; he became the Catholic churchs top theologian, a title he still holds today, without dispute.

4 Aquinass major work, the Summa Theologica, is divided into 4 parts. Prima Pars (1 st Part) Existence and Nature of God Prima Secundae (1 st Part of the 2 nd Part) Happiness, Psychology, Virtues, Law (Human, Natural, Divine) Secunda Secundae (2 nd Part of the 2 nd Part) The virtues in detail Tertia Pars (3 rd Part) Christian Doctrine

5 During the Middle Ages, many of Aristotles works were lost to Western Europe, beginning in the first few centuries AD. Aquinas merged Aristotle with Christianity after the recovery of his philosophy via Muslim scholars in the 12 th and 13 th century.via Muslim scholars The purposiveness or end-directedness of nature in Aristotle is identified by Aquinas with Gods purposes.

6 Gods commands determine what is lawful in Natural Law. Viewed from Gods perspective, humans participate in the Eternal Law, which is Gods eternal plan A law is a rule of action put in place by someone who has care of the community –Mark Murphy –Mark Murphy Human nature determines what is natural in Natural Law. Viewed from the human perspective, the principles of natural law are knowable by human nature and are structured to aid in furthering individual and communal goods.

7 Aquinass first principle of morality is: Good should be done, and evil avoided We are by nature inclined toward the Good, according to Aquinas, but we cannot pursue the good directly because it is abstractwe must pursue concrete goods which we know immediately, by inclination. Those goods are: Preservation of life Procreation Knowledge Society Reasonable Conduct

8 Aquinas, then, has a value-based ethical theory. The rightness or wrongness of particular actions is determined by how those actions further or frustrate the goods. Certain ways of acting are intrinsically flawed or unreasonable responses to these human goods. Like Aristotle, Aquinas seems sure there can be no formula provided to determine what action is right or wrong in all particular cases. Prudence (practical wisdom) is required for the most part, if not always, to determine if a given act is intrinsically flawed or not.

9 Murphy provides a nice account of how acts can be intrinsically flawed or unreasonable: Aquinas does not obviously identify some master principle that one can use to determine whether an act is intrinsically flawed … though he does indicate where to look -- we are to look at the features that individuate acts, such as their objects …, their ends …, their circumstances …, and so forth. An act might be flawed through a mismatch of object and end -- that is, between the immediate aim of the action and its more distant point. If one were, for example, to regulate one's pursuit of a greater good in light of a lesser good -- if, for example, one were to seek friendship with God for the sake of mere bodily survival rather than vice versa -- that would count as an unreasonable act. An act might be flawed through the circumstances: while one is bound to profess one's belief in God, there are certain circumstances in which it is inappropriate to do so…. An act might be flawed merely through its intention: to direct oneself against a good -- as in murder …, and lying …, and blasphemy … -- is always to act in an unfitting way. –Mark Murphy

10 Is an action ever intrinsically flawed because it fails to maximize goodness? Murphy, again: His natural law view understands principles of right to be grounded in principles of good; on this Aquinas sides with utilitarians, and consequentialists generally, against Kantians. But Aquinas would deny that the principles of the right enjoin us to maximize the good -- while he allows that considerations of the greater good have a role in practical reasoning, action can be irremediably flawed merely through (e.g.) badness of intention, flawed such that no good consequences that flow from the action would be sufficient to justify it -- and in this Aquinas sides with the Kantians against the utilitarians and consequentialists of other stripes. –Mark Murphy

11 Must prudence determine the right action in every situation, or are there at least some universal general rules that are always valid or correct? And while Aquinas is in some ways Aristotelian, and recognizes that virtue will always be required in order to hit the mark in a situation of choice, he rejects the view commonly ascribed to Aristotle (for doubts that it is Aristotle's view; see Irwin 2000) that there are no universally true general principles of right. – Mark Murphy ethics/http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/natural-law- ethics/

12 Title Slide: Library, St. Pauls College, Washington, D.C.

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14 The SunThe Good is… that makes… to the … through the power of… by providing … an intelligible object objects intelligible soul understanding truth a visible object objects visible eye sight light The tree above is the visible object, the Forms (Universals) are the intelligible objects that the Good shines on. Both the Sun and the Good create their objects. The Good Mind Analogy of the Sun

15 The Good Substance Quality Place Position Action Quantity Relation Time Possession Passion as a transcendental property Socratesis white is one is a friend to Plato is in Athens it is noon is seated has a toga is speaking is being spoken to Is it odd that good can be predicated in any of the 10 categories?

16 God = Being = The Good Angels Humans Animals Plants Rocks Mud Nothingness The Great Chain of Being Actuality Potentiality Aquinas gets the chain from Plotinus (his student, Porphyry), Augustine, Boethius, Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, and others, and adds to it


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