The Thomistic Realism of Etienne Gilson Steven Schultz PHL 620: Epistemology Dr. Philippe Yates Summer 2012 Holy Apostles College and Seminary
Summary Background on Etienne Gilson. Overview of competing epistemologies. Critique of Cartesianism. Overview of Thomist Realism. Why does it matter?
Gilsons Life Born in Paris, June 13, 1884. Minor seminary at Notre-Dame-des-Champs. Began reading Descartes during military service. Began academic work in philosophy. Service during World War I. Began postwar academic career. Died on September 19, 1978.
A Question of Universals The central dividing line in philosophy. Key question: What is the nature of ideas? How do universals exist?
Absolute Realism Philosophy of Plato. Universals exist by themselves. Body is tomb of the soul. Only ideas exist in unchanging perfection. Individual things are only likenesses.
Conceptualism Kants modification of absolute realism. Universals in mind as form or category. Universals merely mental constructs. Outside world unknowable. Only know the Phenomenon. Idealists: no outside reality.
Nominalism Denies existence of universals. First developed by Roscelin in 11 th century. Ideas are puffs of breath. Only two realities for nominalist: – Materialist – Idealist
Moderate Realism Classical Aristotelian and Thomistic position. School of thought defended by Gilson. Universals in mind; individuals outside. Spirituality of intellect; matter/form composition.