Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas Brian Davies OP Thomas Aquinas, son of Landulf d’Aquino and his wife Theodora, was born sometime between 1224 and 1226 in what was then the Kingdom of Naples.1 After a childhood education at the Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino, he studied at the university of Naples. Here, possibly under Irish influence, he encountered the philosophy of Aristotle, which subsequently became a major source of philosophical inspiration to him.2 The thinking of Aristotle and Aquinas differ in many ways. So it would be wrong to say, as some have, that Aquinas is just an ‘Aristotelian’, implying that he merely echoed Aristotle.3 But he certainly used Aristotle to help him say much that he wanted to say for himself. And he did more than any other medieval philosopher to make subsequent generations aware of the importance of Aristotle. In 1242 or 1243 Aquinas entered the Dominican Order of preaching friars founded by St Dominic (c. 1170–1221).4 He subsequently studied under St Albert the Great (c. 1200–80) in Cologne and Paris, and by 1256 he was a professor at the University of Paris. The rest of his life was devoted to teaching, preaching, administration and writing—not only in Paris, but elsewhere as well. He taught, for example, at Orvieto and Rome. He was assigned to establish a house of studies in Rome in 1265. In 1272 he moved to Naples, where he became responsible for studies at the priory of San Domenico. But by 1274 his working life was over. In December 1273 he suffered some kind of breakdown. At around the same time he was asked to attend the second Council of Lyons. He set out for Lyons, but he became seriously ill on the way and he died in the Cistercian Abbey of Fossanova. After his death Aquinas came near to being condemned at the University of Paris. And teachings thought to derive from him were condemned at Oxford in 1277. But his standing as a thinker grew steadily and, in spite of continued opposition to his teaching, he was canonized as a saint of the Catholic Church in 1323. Later medieval authors often quote him and discuss him, and, though his influence waned between the later medieval period and the age of the Counter- Reformation, his impact on post-Reformation figures was considerable, chiefly because St Ignatius Loyola arranged for his writings to be used in the training of Jesuits. After another period in which his thinking came to be lightly regarded, the study of Aquinas was encouraged by the papacy in the nineteenth century. PHILOSOPHER OR THEOLOGIAN? Does Aquinas deserve a place in a book on the history of philosophy? Anthony Kenny has described him as ‘one of the dozen greatest philosophers of the western world’ ([11.27] 1). But others have expressed a different view. Take, for example, Bertrand Russell. According to him: There is little of the true philosophic spirit in Aquinas. He does not, like the Platonic Socrates, set out to follow wherever the argument may lead. He is not engaged in an inquiry, the result of which it is impossible to know in advance. Before he begins to philosophize, he already knows the truth; it is declared in the Catholic faith.5 Russell had little time for Aquinas considered as a philosopher. And even Aquinas’s supporters have sometimes characterized him as a theologian rather than a philosopher. According to Etienne Gilson, the philosophy in Aquinas is indistinguishable from the theology.6 The same opinion is expressed by Armand Maurer. Commenting on Aquinas’s Summa theologiae, he says that, in this work, everything is theological, even the philosophical reasoning that makes up such a large part of it. The water of philosophy and the other secular disciplines it contains has been changed into the wine of theology. That is why we cannot extract from the Summa its philosophical parts and treat them as pure philosophy.7 Russell’s judgement will strike most modern philosophers as a dubious one. And, as Kenny nicely observes, it ‘comes oddly from a philosopher who [in Principia Mathematica] took three hundred and sixty dense pages to offer a proof that 1+1=2’ ([11.27] 2). But there are good reasons for agreeing with Gilson and Maurer. Aquinas was a priest and a Dominican friar. And most of his writings can be properly classed as ‘theology’. We have reason to believe that his greatest literary achievement, the Summa theologiae, was chiefly intended as a textbook for working friars.8 And there is reason to suppose that his second best-known work, the Summa contra Gentiles, had an equally pastoral and Christian motive.9 Yet any modern philosopher who reads Aquinas will be struck by the fact that he was more than your average theologian. His writings show him to have been expert in matters of philosophical logic. And, like many medieval theology teachers, he presented his theology with an eye, not just on Scripture and the authority of Christian tradition, but also on what follows from what, what it is per se reasonable to believe, and what it makes sense to say in general. If Aquinas is first and foremost a theologian, he is also a philosopher’s theologian who is worthy of attention from philosophers. He had an enviable knowledge of philosophical writings and he was deeply concerned to theologize on the basis of this knowledge. He was also a writer of considerable ability with theses of his own, which are not just restatements of positions received from the Christian tradition and the history of philosophy. Whether one calls him a ‘theological’ thinker or a ‘philosophical’ thinker does not really matter. The fact remains that his writings are full of philosophical interest. AQUINAS AND GOD Readers who want to get an overall sense of Aquinas’s teaching are best advised to see it as defending what is usually called an exitusreditus picture of reality ([11.12] ch. 11). God, says Aquinas, is ‘the beginning and end of all things’.10 Creatures derive from God (exitus), who is therefore their first efficient cause (that which accounts for them being there).11 But God is also the final cause of creatures, that to which they aim, tend, or return (reditus), that which contains the perfection or goal of all created things.12 According to Aquinas, everything comes from God and is geared to him. God accounts for there being anything apart from himself, and he is what is aimed at by anything moving towards its perfection. Aristotle says that everything aims for its good (Ethics I, i, 1094a3). Aquinas says that any created good derives from God who contains in himself all the perfections found in creatures. In so far as a creature moves to its perfection, Aquinas goes on to argue, the creature is tending to what is to be found in God himself.13 As Father, Son, and Spirit, Aquinas adds, God is the special goal of rational individuals. For these can share in what God is by nature.14 Aquinas is sometimes reported as teaching that someone who claims rationally to believe in the existence of God must be able to prove that God exists. But this is not what Aquinas teaches. He says that people can have a rational belief in the existence of God without being able to prove God’s existence.15 And he holds that, apart from the question of God’s existence, people may be rational in believing what they cannot prove. Following Aristotle, he maintains that people may rationally believe indemonstrable principles of logic.16 He also maintains that one may rationally believe what a teacher imparts to one, even though one is in no position to demonstrate the truth of what the teacher has told one.17 He does, however, contend that belief in God’s existence is one for which good philosophical reasons can be given. This is clear from Summa theologiae Ia, 2, 2 and Summa contra Gentiles I, 9, where he says that ‘we can demonstrate…that God exists’ and that God can be made known as we ‘proceed through demonstrative arguments’. ‘Demonstrative arguments’ here means what it does for Aristotle, i.e. arguments using premisses which entail a given conclusion on pain of contradiction. Aquinas denies that proof of God’s existence is given by arguing that ‘God does not exist’ is a contradiction. So he rejects the suggestion, commonly associated with St Anselm, that the existence of God can be demonstrated from the absurdity of denying that God exists.18 He also rejects the view that human beings are naturally capable of perceiving or experiencing God as they perceive or experience the things with which they are normally acquainted. According to Aquinas, our perception and seeing of things is based on sensory experience.19 Since God is not a physical object, Aquinas concludes that there can be no natural perception or seeing of God on the part of human beings.20 He does not deny that people might have a knowledge of God without the medium of physical objects. In talking of life after death, he says that people can have a vision of God which is nothing like knowing a physical object.21 But he denies that human beings in this world have a direct and unmediated knowledge of God. On his account, our knowledge of God starts from what we know of the world in which we live. According to him, we can know that God exists because the world in which we find ourselves cannot account for itself. Aquinas considers whether we can prove that God exists in many places in his writings. But his best-known arguments for the existence of God come in Ia, 2, 3 (the ‘Five Ways’). His thinking in this text is clearly indebted to earlier authors, especially Aristotle, Maimonides, Avicenna and Averroes.22 And it would be foolish to suggest that the reasoning of the Five Ways can be quickly summarized in a way that does them justice. But their substance can be indicated in fairly uncomplicated terms. In general, Aquinas’s Five Ways employ a simple pattern of argument. Each begins by drawing attention to some general feature of things known to us on the basis of experience. It is then suggested that none of these features can be accounted for in ordinary mundane terms, and that we must move to a level of explanation which transcends any with which we are familiar.23 Another way of putting it is to say that, according to the Five Ways, questions we can raise with respect to what we encounter in day to day life raise further questions the answer to which can only be thought of as lying beyond what we encounter. Take, for example, the First Way, in which the influence of Aristotle is particularly prevalent.24 Here the argument starts from change or motion in the world.25 It is clear, says Aquinas, that there is such a thing—he cites as an instance the change involved in wood becoming hot when subjected to fire.26 How, then, may we account for it? According to Aquinas, anything changed or moved is changed or moved by something else. Omne quod movetur ab alio movetur. This, he reasons, is because a thing which has changed has become what it was not to begin with, which can only happen if there is something from which the reality attained by the thing as changed somehow derives.27 Therefore, he concludes, there must be a first cause of things being changed or moved. For there cannot be an endless series of things changed or moved by other things. If every change in a series of connected changes depends on a prior changer, the whole system of changing things is only derivatively an initiator of change and still requires something to initiate its change. There must be something which causes change or motion in things without itself being changed or moved by anything. There must an unchanged changer or an unmoved mover. Anything which is moved is moved by something else… To cause motion is to bring into being what was previously only able to be, and this can only be done by something that already is… Now the same thing cannot at the same time be both actually x and potentially x, though it can be actually x and potentially y: the actually hot cannot at the same time be potentially hot, though it can be potentially cold. Consequently, a thing which is moved cannot itself cause that same movement; it cannot move itself. Of necessity therefore anything moved is moved by something else… Now we must stop somewhere, otherwise there will be no first cause of the movement and as a result no subsequent causes… Hence one is bound to arrive at some first cause of things being moved which is not itself moved by anything, and this is what everybody understands by God. (Summa theologiae I q. 2, a. 3) If we bear in mind that Aquinas believes that time can be said to exist because changes occur, the First Way is arguing that the reality of time is a reason for believing in God.28 Aquinas is suggesting that the present becomes the past because something non-temporal enables the present to become past. The pattern of the First Way is repeated in the rest of the Five Ways. According to the Second Way, there are causes in the world which bring it about that other things come to be. There are, as Aquinas puts it, causes which are related as members of a series. In that case, however, there must be a first cause, or something which is not itself caused to be by anything. For causes arranged in series must have a first member. In the observable world causes are found to be ordered in series; we never observe, nor ever could, something causing itself, for this would mean it preceded itself, and this is not possible. Such a series of causes must however stop somewhere; for in it an earlier member causes an intermediate and the intermediate a last… Now if you eliminate a cause you also eliminate its effects, so that you cannot have a last cause, nor an intermediate one, unless you have a first. (ibid.) According to the Third Way29 there are things which are perishable (e.g. plants) and things which are imperishable (in Aquinas’s language, imperishable things are ‘necessary’ beings or things which ‘must be’).30 But why should this be so? The answer, says Aquinas, has to lie in something imperishable and dependent for its existence on nothing.31 Now a thing that must be, may or may not owe this necessity to something else. But just as we must stop somewhere in a series of causes, so also in the series of things which must be and owe this to other things. (ibid.) In the Fourth and Fifth Ways Aquinas turns to different questions. Why are there things with varying degrees of perfection?32 And how does it come about that in nature there are things which, while not themselves intelligent, operate in a regular or goal-directed way?33 Aquinas suggests that perfections in things imply a source of perfections. He thinks that where there are degrees of a perfection there must be something which maximally embodies that perfection and which causes it to occur in other things. And he thinks that the goal-directed activity of non-rational things suggests that they are governed by what is rational. Some things are found to be more good, more true, more noble, and so on, and other things less. But such comparative terms describe varying degrees of approximation to a superlative; for example, things are hotter and hotter the nearer they approach to what is hottest. Something therefore is the truest and best and most noble of things. Now when many things possess some property in common, the one most fully possessing it causes it in the others: fire, to use Aristotle’s example, the hottest of all things, causes all other things to be hot. There is therefore something which causes in all other things their being, their goodness, and whatever other perfections they have. Some things which lack awareness, namely bodies, operate in accordance with an end… Nothing however that lacks awareness tends to a goal except under the direction of someone with awareness and with understanding… Everything in nature, therefore is directed to its goal by someone with understanding. (ibid.) WHAT IS GOD LIKE? Aquinas is often described as someone who first tries to prove the existence of God and then tries to show that God has various attributes. But, though this description can be partly defended, it is also misleading. For Aquinas holds that the attributes we ascribe to God are not, in reality, anything distinct from God himself. According to Aquinas, God is good, perfect, knowledgeable, powerful and eternal. But he does not think that, for example, ‘the goodness of God’ signifies anything other than God himself. In the thinking of Aquinas, God does not have attributes or properties. God is his attributes or properties.34 Aquinas also maintains that, though we speak of God and ascribe certain attributes to him, we do not know what God is. Aquinas is often thought of as someone with a precise or definite concept of God, someone who thinks he can explain just what God is. But in a passage immediately following the text of the Five Ways, he writes, Having recognized that a certain thing exists, we have still to investigate the way in which it exists, that we may come to understand what it is that exists. Now we cannot know what God is, but only what he is not; we must therefore consider the ways in which God does not exist, rather than the ways in which he does. (ibid.) The same move is made in the Summa Contra Gentiles. Book I, Chapter 13 of the treatise is called ‘Arguments in proof of the existence of God’. Chapter 14 begins with the assertion, ‘The divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is.’ In saying that God and his attributes are identical, Aquinas is not saying that, for example, ‘God is good’ means the same as ‘God exists’. And he is certainly not saying that God is a property.35 He means that certain things that are true of creatures are not true of God. More precisely, he means that God is nothing material. On Aquinas’s account, material things possessing a nature cannot be identified with the nature they possess. Thus, for example, Socrates is not identical with human nature. But what is it that allows us to distinguish between Socrates and other human beings? Aquinas says that Socrates is different from other human beings not because of his nature but because of his matter. Socrates is different from me because he was one parcel of matter and I am another. It is materiality which allows Socrates to be a human being rather than human nature. And, since Aquinas denies that God is something material, he therefore concludes that God and his nature are not distinguishable. He also reasons that angels and their natures are not distinguishable. The angel Gabriel is not a material object. And neither is the angel Michael. So, says Aquinas, Gabriel is his nature, and Michael is his nature. Or, as we may put it, God, Gabriel and Michael are not individual members of a species or genus.36 With respect to the question of knowing what God is, we need to be warned that Aquinas does not deny that we can know ourselves to speak truly when we make certain statements about God.37 Aquinas spends a great deal of time arguing that many propositions concerning God can be proved to be true in philosophical terms. But he denies that we can understand the nature of God. On his account, our knowledge of what things are depends on our ability to experience them by means of our senses and to classify them accordingly. Since he holds that God is nothing material, he therefore denies that God is known by the senses and classifiable on the basis of sensory experience. The knowledge that is natural to us has its source in the senses and extends just so far as it can be led by sensible things; from these, however, our understanding cannot reach to the divine essence… In the present life our intellect has a natural relation to the natures of material things; thus it understands nothing except by turning to sense images… In this sense it is obvious that we cannot, primarily and essentially, in the mode of knowing that we experience, understand immaterial substances since they are not subject to the senses and imagination… What is understood first by us in the present life is the whatness of material things…[hence]… we arrive at a knowledge of God by way of creatures. (Summa theologiae, Ia, 12, 12; 88, 1; 88, 3) On Aquinas’s account, our knowledge of God is derived from what we know of things in the world and from what we can sensibly deny or affirm of God given that he is not something in the world. So, says Aquinas, God is not a physical object which can be individuated as a member of a class of things which can be distinguished from each other with reference to genus and species. Among other things, Aquinas also argues that God is unchangeable and non-temporal (since he is the first cause of change, and since time is real since changes occur).38 In distinguishing God from creatures, however, Aquinas lays the greatest stress on the teaching that God is uncreated. One way in which he does so is to say that there is no ‘potentiality’ in God. To understand his teaching on God it will help if we try to understand what he means by saying this. We can start by noting what Aquinas means by ‘potentiality’. And we can do so by thinking of my cat Fergus. He is a lovely and loving creature, and I am deeply fond of him. But he is no Platonic form. Plato thought of the forms as unchangeable. But Fergus is changing all the time. He gets fat as I feed him. And he is constantly changing his position. So he is a serious threat to the local mice. Aquinas would say that when Fergus weighs nine pounds he is also potentially eight and ten pounds in weight. Fergus might weigh nine pounds, but he could slim to eight pounds or grow to ten pounds. Aquinas would also say that when Fergus is in the kitchen, he is potentially in the living room. For Fergus has a habit of moving around. What if Fergus ends up strolling on to a busy road? He stands a strong chance of becoming a defunct cat. Or, as Aquinas would say, Fergus is actually a cat and potentially a corpse. Fergus is vulnerable to the activity of things in the world. And some of them can bring it about that he ceases to be the thing that he is. We can put this by saying that Fergus is potentially non-existent as a cat. And that is what Aquinas would say. But he would add that there is a sense in which Fergus is potentially non-existent quite apart from the threat of a busy road and the like. For there might be no Fergus at all, not just in the sense that there might never have been cats who acted so that Fergus was born, but in the sense that Fergus might not continue to exist. According to Aquinas, anything created is potential since its existence depends on God (since anything created is potentially non-existent). In his view, we are entitled to ask why anything we come across is there. And, so he thinks, in asking this question we need not be concerned with temporally prior causes or identifiable causes in the world which sustain things in the state in which they are. We can be asking about the fact that there is anything there to be produced or to be sustained. What accounts for the fact that such things exist at all? What accounts for there being a world in which we can ask what accounts for what within it? Aquinas holds that, if we take these questions seriously, we must believe in the existence of something which is wholly lacking in potentiality, i.e. God. Fergus can change physically and he has potentiality accordingly. But God is no physical thing, and, since he accounts for there being a world, he cannot be potentially non-existent. He does not ‘have’ existence. His existence is not received or derived from another. He is his own existence (ipsum esse subsistens) and the reason why other things have it. Properties that belong to a thing over and above its own nature must derive from somewhere, either from that nature itself…or from an external cause… If therefore the existence of a thing is to be other than its nature, that existence must either derive from the nature or have an external cause. Now it cannot derive merely from the nature, for nothing with derived existence suffices to bring itself into being. It follows then that, if a thing’s existence differs from its nature, that existence must be externally caused. But we cannot say this about God, whom we have seen to be the first cause. Neither then can we say that God’s existence is other than his nature. (Summa theologiae, Ia, 3, 4) In Aquinas’s view, this would be true even if the created order contained things which are not material. For suppose there were immaterial beings other than God, as Aquinas took angels to be.39 They would differ from material things since they would have no in-built tendency to perish or move around. In the language of Aquinas, they would be ‘necessary’ beings rather than ‘contingent’ ones. They would also be identical with their natures, for, as we have seen, Aquinas held that there are no two angels of the same kind or ‘species’. But they would still be potentially non-existent since they would receive their existence from God. And, though they could not decay or perish at the hands of other creatures, it would be possible for God to de-create (annihilate) them. They would not therefore exist simply by being what they are. ‘Without doubt’, says Aquinas, ‘the angels, and all that is other than God, were made by God. For only God is his existence; in all else essence and existence are distinct.’40 Or, as he also explains, Some things are of a nature that cannot exist except as instantiated in individual matter—all bodies are of this kind. This is one way of being. There are other things whose natures are instantiated by themselves and not by being in matter. These have existence simply by being the natures they are: yet existence is still something they have, it is not what they are—the incorporeal beings we call angels are of this kind. Finally there is the way of being that belongs to God alone, for his existence is what he is. (Summa theologiae, Ia, 12, 4) GOD AND HIS CREATION How does Aquinas think of God as relating to his creation? In writing about the relation between God and creatures, one of the things he says is that God is not really related to creatures, though creatures are really related to God. In his own words: Since God is altogether outside the order of creatures, since they are ordered to him but not he to them, it is clear that being related to God is a reality in creatures, but being related to creatures is not a reality in God.41 But what does he mean in saying this? And how does what he says connect with his belief that God is the creator and sustainer of everything other than himself? One might suppose that the words of Aquinas just quoted constitute a flagrant violation of obvious truths. If A is related to B, then B must be related to A. What could be more obvious than that? But Aquinas’s teaching on God and his relation to creatures is not a denial of the principle ‘If aRb, then bRa’. If one reads him on the question of God’s relation to creatures, one will find him endorsing all of the following propositions. 1 We can speak of God as related to his creatures in view of the purely formal point that if one thing can be said to be related to another, then the second thing can be said to be related to the first. 2 Since God can be compared to creatures, since he can be spoken of as being like them, he can be thought of as related to them. 3 Since God knows creatures, he can be said to be related to them. 4 Since God moves creatures, he can be said to be related to them. 5 Since God can be spoken of as ‘first’, ‘highest’ and so on, he can be said to be related to creatures since these terms are relational ones.42 In saying that ‘being related to creatures is not a reality in God’, Aquinas’s primary concern is to deny that God is changed because he has created. Aquinas denies that God is something which has to create. In his view, God creates freely, and to understand what God is essentially would not be to see that he is Creator of the world. God, indeed, has created the world. But, says Aquinas, he does not produce the world as kidneys produce urine. For him, God is able to create, but he is not essentially a creator (as kidneys are essentially producers of urine).43 So Aquinas reasons that the essence of God is in no way affected by the existence of created things and that being the Creator of creatures is not something in God. God does not become different by becoming the Creator of things. Nor does he change because his creatures change. For Aquinas, the fact that there are creatures makes no difference to God, just as the fact that my coming to know that Fred is bald makes no difference to Fred (my coming to know that Fred is bald does not change him, even though he might be deeply affected by learning that I have come to know of his baldness). In Aquinas’s view, God is unchangeably himself. And he remains so even though it is true that there are things created and sustained by him. This aspect of Aquinas’s teaching allows him to take a view of God’s activity which is quite at odds with that to be found in the work of many philosophers and theologians both ancient and modern. It has often been said that the action of God is a process undergone by God with effects in the world of created things. When I act, I do something in addition to what I have been previously doing. I go through a series of successive states. And my going through these states sometimes leads to changes in things apart from myself. By the same token, so it has often been argued, God acts by being a subject under-going successive states some of which have effects in things other than him. But this is not Aquinas’s position. On his account, the action of God is not a process undergone by him. It is a process undergone in things other than God. For Aquinas, God’s action is the history of created things. One of the things which Aquinas takes this to mean is that God cannot, strictly speaking, be thought of as intervening in the world. According to the usual sense of ‘intervene’, to say that X has intervened is to say that X has come to be present in some situation from which X was previously absent. Thus, for example, to say that I intervened in a brawl is to say that I moved into a fight of which I was not originally a part. But Aquinas holds that God can never be absent from anything. On his account, God is everywhere as making all places.44 He also says that God is in all things as making them to be. Hence, for example, he refuses to think of miracles as cases of divine intervention. It is often said that to believe in miracles is to believe in a God who can intervene. The idea seems to be that a God capable of performing miracles must be one who observes a given scenario and then steps in to tinker with it. But God, for Aquinas, can never intervene in his creation in this sense. He therefore maintains that God is as present in what is not miraculous as he is in the miraculous. Miracles, for him, do not occur because of an extra added wonder ingredient (i.e. God). They occur because something is not present (i.e. a cause other than God, or a collection of such causes).45 This thought of Aquinas should be connected with another of his prevailing theses: that free human actions are caused by God. He frequently alludes to arguments suggesting that people cannot be free under God’s providence. In On Evil VI, for instance, we find the three following arguments, from the twenty-four in all, against the thesis that human beings have a free choice of their actions: If change is initiated in the human will in a fixed way by God, it follows that human beings do not have free choice of their actions. Moreover, an action is forced when its originating principle is outside the subject, and the victim of force does not contribute anything to it. So if the originating principle of a choice which is made voluntarily is outside the subject—in God—then it seems that the will is changed by force and of necessity. So we do not have free choice of our actions. Moreover, it is impossible that a human will should not be in accordance with God’s will: as Augustine says in the Enchiridion, either a human being does what God wills or God fulfils his will in that person. But God’s will is changeless; so the human will is too. So all human choices spring from a fixed choice. A similar kind of argument constitutes the third objection to Ia, 83, 1: What is free is cause of itself, as the Philosopher says (Metaphysics 1.2). Therefore what is moved by another is not free. But God moves the will, for it is written (Prov. 21:1): The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord; whithersoever He will He shall turn it; and (Phil. 2:13): It is God Who worketh in you both to will and to accomplish. Therefore people do not have free-will. Yet Aquinas insists that the reality of providence (which means the reality of God working in all things as first cause and sustainer) is not incompatible with human freedom. To begin with, he says, people certainly have freedom. For one thing, the Bible holds that they do (in Ia, 83, 1 Aquinas cites Ecclesiasticus 15:14 to this effect). For another, people, as rational agents, have it in them to choose between alternative courses of action (unlike inanimate objects or animals acting by instinct).46 They also have it in them to act or refrain from acting. In fact, says Aquinas, human freedom is a prerequisite of moral thinking. If there is nothing free in us, but the change which we desire comes about of necessity, then we lose deliberation, exhortation, command and punishment, and praise and blame, which are what moral philosophy is based on. (On Power, VI; Summa theologiae, Ia, 83, 1) Secondly, so Aquinas continues, human actions falling under providence can be free precisely because of what providence involves. In his view we are not free in spite of God, but because of God. God does indeed change the will, however, in an unchanging manner, because of the manner of acting of God’s changeinitiating power, which cannot fail. But because of the nature of the will which is changed—which is such that it is related indifferently to different things—this does not lead to necessity, but leaves freedom untouched. In the same way divine providence works unfailingly in everything, but nevertheless effects come from contingent causes in a contingent manner, since God changes everything in a relative way, relative to the manner of existence of each thing… The will does contribute something when change is initiated in it by God: it is the will itself that acts, though the change is initiated by God. So though its change does come from outside as far as the first originating principle is concerned, it is nevertheless not a forced change. (On Evil, VI) In other words, human freedom is compatible with providence because only by virtue of providence is there any human freedom. God, for Aquinas, really does act in everything. And since ‘everything’ includes human free actions, Aquinas concludes that God works in them as much as in anything else. People are in charge of their acts, including those of willing and of not willing, because of the deliberative activity of reason, which can be turned to one side or the other. But that someone should deliberate or not deliberate, supposing that one were in charge of this too, would have to come about by a preceding deliberation. And since this may not proceed to infinity, one would finally have to reach the point at which a person’s free decision is moved by some external principle superior to the human mind, namely by God, as Aristotle himself demonstrated. Thus the minds even of healthy people are not so much in charge of their acts as not to need to be moved by God. (Summa theologiae, Ia2ae, 109, 3, ad. 1) The same idea is expressed in Aquinas’s commentary on Aristotle’s On Interpretation: If divine providence is, in its own right, the cause of everything that happens, or at least of everything good, it seems that everything happens of necessity… God’s will cannot be thwarted: so it seems that whatever he wants to happen happens of necessity… [But] we have to notice a difference as regards the divine will. The divine will should be thought of as being outside the ordering of existent things. It is the cause which grounds every existent, and all the differences there are between them. One of the differences between existents is between those that are possible and those that are necessary. Hence necessity and contingency in things have their origin in the divine will, as does the distinction between them, which follows from a description of their proximate causes. God lays down necessary causes for the effects that he wants to be necessary, and he lays down causes that act contingently—i.e. that can fail of their effect—for the effects that he wants to be contingent. It is according to this characteristic of their causes that effects are said to be necessary or contingent, even though they all depend on the divine will, which transcends the ordering of necessity and contingency, as their first cause… The will of God cannot fail: but in spite of that, not all its effects are necessary; some are contingent. (On ‘On Interpretation’, Bk I, lectio 14) By ‘necessary’ here Aquinas means ‘determined’ or ‘brought about by causes necessitating their effects’. By ‘contingent’ he means ‘undetermined’ or ‘able to be or not to be’. His suggestion, therefore, is that God wills both what is determined and what is undetermined. Since he believes that each must derive from God’s will, he locates them within the context of providence. But since he also believes that the determined and undetermined are genuinely different, he concludes that providence can effect what is undetermined as well as what is determined. And, on this basis, he holds that it can effect human free actions. One may, of course, say that if my actions are ultimately caused by God then I do not act freely at all. But Aquinas would reply that my actions are free if nothing in the world is acting on me so as to make me perform them, not if God is not acting in me. According to him, what is incompatible with human free will is ‘necessity of coercion’ or the effect of violence, as when something acts on one and ‘applies force to the point where one cannot act otherwise’.47 As Herbert McCabe explains, Aquinas’s position is that ‘to be free means not to be under the influence of some other creature, it is to be independent of other bits of the universe; it is not and could not mean to e independent of God’.48 For Aquinas, God does not interfere with created free agents to push them into action in a way that infringes their freedom. He does not act on them (as Aquinas thinks created things do when they cause others to act as determined by them). He makes them to be what they are, namely freely acting agents. In Aquinas’s words, Free-will is the cause of its own movement, because by their free-will people move themselves to act. But it does not of necessity belong to liberty that what is free should be the first cause of itself, as neither for one thing to be the cause of another need it be the first cause. God, therefore, is the first cause, who moves causes both natural and voluntary. And just as by moving natural causes he does not prevent their acts being natural, so by moving voluntary causes he does not deprive their actions of being voluntary: but rather is he the cause of this very thing in them; for he operates in each thing according to its own nature. (Summa theologiae, Ia, 83, 1, ad. 3) HUMAN BEINGS On this account, people are totally dependent on God for all that they are. But the account is a very theological one. And one might wonder how Aquinas thinks of people without also thinking about God. What, for example, would he write if asked to contribute to a modern philosophical book on the nature of human beings?49 The first thing he would say is that human beings are animals. So they are, for example, capable of physical movement. And they have biological characteristics. They have the capacity to grow and reproduce. They have the need and capacity to eat. These characteristics are not, for Aquinas, optional extras which people can take up and discard while remaining people. They are essential elements in the makeup of any human being. And they are very much bound up with what is physical or material. This line of thinking, of course, immediately sets Aquinas apart from writers who embrace a ‘dualistic’ understanding of human beings— writers like Descartes, for instance.50 For Aquinas, my body is not distinct from me because it is a different substance or thing from me. On his account, if a human being is there, then so is a human body. For as it belongs to the very conception of ‘this human being’ that there should be this soul, flesh and bone, so it belongs to the very conception of ‘human being’ that there be soul, flesh and bone. For the substance of a species has to contain whatever belongs in general to every one of the individuals comprising that species. (Summa theologiae, Ia, 75, 4) Aquinas often refers to the thesis that people are essentially substances different from bodies on which they act (a view which he ascribes to Plato). But he emphatically rejects this thesis. Plato and his followers asserted that the intellectual soul is not united to the body as form to matter, but only as mover to movable, for Plato said that the soul is in the body ‘as a sailor in a ship’. Thus the union of soul and body would only be by contact of power… But this doctrine seems not to fit the facts. (Summa contra Gentiles, II, 57) If our souls moved our bodies as sailors move ships, says Aquinas, my soul and my body would not be a unity. He adds that if we are souls using bodies, then we are essentially immaterial, which is not the case. We are ‘sensible and natural realities’ and cannot, therefore, be essentially immaterial.51 But this is not to say that Aquinas thinks of people as irreducibly material. He is not, in the modern sense, a philosophical ‘physicalist’.52 We have just seen that he is prepared to speak about people as having souls. And, on his account, a proper account of the human soul (anima) will deny that it is wholly material. By ‘soul’, Aquinas means something like ‘principle of life’. ‘Inquiry into the nature of the soul’, he writes, ‘presupposes an understanding of the soul as the root principle of life in living things within our experience’.53 And, in Aquinas’s thinking, the root principle of life in human beings (the human soul) is nonmaterial. It is also something ‘subsisting’. In arguing for the non-corporeal nature of the human soul, Aquinas begins by reminding us what anima means, i.e. ‘that which makes living things live’. And, with that understanding in mind, he contends that soul cannot be something bodily. There must, he says, be some principle of life which distinguishes living things from non-living things, and this cannot be a body. Why not? Because if it were a body it would follow that any material thing would be living, which is not the case. A body is alive not just because it is a body. It is alive because of a principle of life which is not a body. It is obvious that not every principle of vital activity is a soul. Otherwise the eye would be a soul, since it is a principle of sight; and so with the other organs of the soul. What we call the soul is the root principle of life. Now though something corporeal can be some sort of principle of life, as the heart is for animals, nevertheless a body cannot be the root principle of life. For it is obvious that to be the principle of life, or that which is alive, does not belong to any bodily thing from the mere fact of its being a body; otherwise every bodily thing would be alive or a life-source. Consequently any particular body that is alive, or even indeed a source of life, is so from being a body of such-and-such a kind. Now whatever is actually such, as distinct from not-such, has this from some principle which we call its actuating principle. Therefore a soul, as the primary principle of life, is not a body but that which actuates a body. (Summa theologiae, Ia, 75, 1) In other words, if bodily things are alive just because they are bodies, all bodily things (e.g. my alarm clock) would be alive, which they are not. So what makes something a living thing cannot be a body. But why say that the human soul is something subsisting? The main point made by Aquinas in anticipating this question is that the human animal has powers or functions which are not simply bodily, even though they depend on bodily ones. For example, people can know and understand, which is not the case with that which is wholly material. As Aquinas puts it, people enjoy an intellectual life and they are things of the kind they are (rational animals) because of this. Aquinas calls that by virtue of which people are things of the kind they are their ‘souls’. So he can say that human beings are bodily, but also that they are or have both body and soul. The two cannot be torn apart in any way that would leave what remained a human being. But they can be distinguished from each other and the soul of a human being can therefore be thought of as something subsisting immaterially. The principle of the act of understanding, which is called the human soul, must of necessity be some kind of incorporeal and subsistent principle. For it is obvious that the understanding of people enables them to know the natures of all bodily things. But what can in this way take in things must have nothing of their nature in its own, for the form that was in it by nature would obstruct knowledge of anything else. For example, we observe how the tongue of someone sick with fever and bitter infection cannot perceive anything sweet, for everything tastes sour. Accordingly, if the intellectual principle had in it the physical nature of any bodily thing, it would be unable to know all bodies. Each of them has its own determinate nature. Impossible, therefore, that the principle of understanding be something bodily. And in the same way it is impossible for it to understand through and in a bodily organ, for the determinate nature of that bodily organ would prevent knowledge of all bodies. Thus if you had a colour filter over the eye, and had a glass vessel of the same colour, it would not matter what you poured into the glass, it would always appear the same colour. The principle of understanding, therefore, which is called mind or intellect, has its own activity in which body takes no intrinsic part. But nothing can act of itself unless it subsists in its own right. For only what actually exists acts, and its manner of acting follows its manner of being. So it is that we do not say that heat heats, but that something hot heats. Consequently the human soul, which is called an intellect or mind, is something incorporeal and subsisting. (Summa theologiae, Ia, 75, 2) Aquinas’s notion that the human soul ‘subsists’ does not entail that it is a complete and self-contained entity, as, for example, Descartes thought the soul to be. For Aquinas, my human soul subsists because I have an intellectual life which cannot be reduced to what is simply bodily. It does not subsist as something with its own life apart from me, any more than my left hand does, or my right eye. Both of these can be spoken of as things, but they are really parts of me. We do not say, ‘My left hand feels’ or ‘My right eye sees’; rather we say, ‘I feel with my left hand’ and ‘I see with my right eye’. And Aquinas thinks that something similar should be said about my soul. I have a human soul because I have intellect and will. But it is not my soul which understands and wills. I do. One might put this by saying that my soul is not I. And Aquinas says exactly this in his Commentary of St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.54 In that case, however, what happens to me when I die? Aquinas maintains that people are essentially corporeal. This means that I am essentially corporeal. For I am a human being. So am I to conclude from what Aquinas holds that I cease to exist at death? Can I look forward to nothing in the way of an afterlife? Aquinas has a number of answers to these questions. Since he thinks of people as essentially corporeal, he agrees that there is a sense in which they cease to exist at death. But, since he believes that God can raise the dead to bodily life, he denies that the fact that I die entails that I cease to exist. On the other hand, he does not believe that most of those who have died have been raised to bodily life. He is certain that Christ has been raised to bodily life. But he would deny that the same can be truly asserted of, for example, Julius Caesar. He would therefore say that the soul of Caesar survives, though Caesar himself does not. Given what we have now seen of Aquinas’s teaching, it should be evident why he would deny that now, when he has not been raised to bodily life, Caesar survives his death. But why should Aquinas think that Caesar’s soul would survive his death? Does he subscribe to the view that the human soul is immortal? Does he maintain that, though Caesar might die, his soul must survive the death of his body? The answer to the last two questions is ‘Yes’. Aquinas does believe that human souls are immortal. He also believes that they must survive the death of human beings. That by virtue of which I understand and think, he reasons, is not the sort of thing which can die as bodies can die.55 He is well aware that people die and that their bodies perish. As we have seen, however, people, for Aquinas, are rational, understanding animals who are what they are by virtue of what is not material. He therefore concludes that there must be something about them capable of surviving the destruction of what is material. He does not think we can prove that the soul of Caesar must survive his death. In Aquinas’s view, whether or not Caesar’s soul survives the death of Caesar depends on whether God wills to keep it in being. And Aquinas does not think that we are in any position to prove that God must do that. For him, therefore, there is no ‘proof of the immortality of the soul’. He holds that Caesar’s soul could cease to exist at any time. But he also thinks that it is not the sort of thing of which it makes sense to say that it can perish as bodies can perish. On the other hand, however, he does not think of it as the sort of thing which can survive as a human animal can survive. So the survival of Caesar’s soul is not the survival of the human being we call ‘Julius Caesar’. People, for Aquinas, are very much part of the physical world. Take that world away and what you are left with is not a human person. You are not, for example, left with something able to know by means of sense experience.56 Nor are you left with something able to undergo the feelings or sensations that go with being bodily. On Aquinas’s account, therefore, a human soul can only be said to survive its body as something purely intellectual, as the locus of thought and will. Understanding through imagery is the proper operation of the soul so far as it has the body united to it. Once separated from the body it will have another mode of understanding, like that of other disembodied natures… It is said, people are constituted of two substantial elements, the soul with its reasoning power, the flesh with its senses. Therefore when the flesh dies the sense powers do not remain… Certain powers, namely understanding and will, are related to the soul taken on its own as their subject of inhesion, and powers of this kind have to remain in the soul after the death of the body. But some powers have the body-soul compound for subject; this is the case with all the powers of sensation and nutrition. Now when the subject goes the accident cannot stay. Hence when the compound corrupts such powers do not remain in actual existence. They survive in the soul in a virtual state only, as in their source or root. And so it is wrong to say, as some do, that these powers remain in the soul after the dissolution of the body. And it is much more wrong to say that the acts of these powers continue in the disembodied soul, because such powers have no activity except through a bodily organ. (Summa theologiae, Ia, 75, 6 ad. 3 and Ia, 77, 8) Peter Geach observes that Aquinas’s description of the life that would be possible for disembodied souls is ‘meagre and unattractive’.57 And many will agree. But the description now in question is all that Aquinas feels able to offer as a philosopher. As a Christian theologian he feels able to say that the dead will be raised to a newness of life of a highly attractive kind. His final position is that, following the Incarnation of God in Christ, people can be raised in their bodies to share in God’s life.58 But the truth of this position, on Aquinas’s own admission, is in no way demonstrable by means of philosophical argument. It follows from the teachings of Christ. On Aquinas’s account, we are warranted in believing what Christ taught. For Christ was divine. Yet, so Aquinas adds, though we can give some rational grounds for believing in the divinity of Christ, we cannot prove that Christ was God.59 Belief in the divinity of Christ is a matter of faith. It is not a matter of knowledge. Though it is not unreasonable, it is not demonstrably true. If we subscribe to it, that can only be because God has given us the theological virtue of faith.60 FAITH AND PHILOSOPHY Aquinas’s writings on faith provide good examples of texts which should lead us to challenge a view of medieval philosophy which has been referred to as ‘separationism’.61 Some students of Aquinas try rigidly to separate his theology from his philosophy. They then go on to write about him on the assumption that some of his texts are ‘theological’ while others are ‘philosophical’. But Aquinas himself made no such sharp distinction between theology and philosophy. And even what he says of faith shows him to be weaving together what later authors separate under the headings ‘theology’ and ‘philosophy’. The object of faith is God, he says.62 Some will call this a statement of theology. The virtue of faith, he continues, involves holding fast to truths which philosophy cannot demonstrate.63 That, too, might be called a theological conclusion. But in calling God the object of faith Aquinas draws on views about truth, falsity, belief and propositions which, in his opinion, ought to seem rationally acceptable to anyone. And in arguing that philosophy cannot demonstrate the truths of faith he defends himself with reference to what he thinks about human knowledge in general (apart from revelation) and what he thinks we must conclude given what our reason can tell us of God. So his teaching on faith can also be viewed as philosophical. These facts bring us back again to the question touched on earlier. Is Aquinas really a philosopher? From what we have now seen of his thinking, it should be clear why the question cannot be answered if an answer must presume on our being able to draw a clear and obvious distinction between the philosophy of Aquinas and the theology of Aquinas. In his writings, philosophical arguments and theses are used to reach conclusions of theological import. And theses of theological import lead to judgements which can readily be called philosophical. And the result can be studied as something containing matters of interest to thinkers with any religious belief or none. In this chapter I have tried to give some indication of what these matters are. A complete account of Aquinas’s thinking would have to report more than space here allows me. Those who read Aquinas for themselves, however, will quickly get a sense of what that might involve. NOTES 1 For discussion of the date of Aquinas’s birth see Tugwell [11.8], 291ff. 2 For the Irish influence on Aquinas see Michael Bertram Crowe, ‘Peter of Ireland: Aquinas’s teacher of the ARTES LIBERALES’, in Arts Liberaux et Philosophie au Moyen Age, Paris, 1969. 3 As well as being influenced by Aristotle, Aquinas was also indebted to elements in the thought of Plato and to later writers of a ‘Platonic’ caste of mind. He commented on the Book about Causes (Liber de causis), an excerpted and adapted version of the Elements of Theology by the late Neoplatonist Proclus (c. 410–85). He also commented on Dionysu the Areopagite. And ‘Platonic’ theories and styles of argument abound in his writings. 4 Readers interested in understanding the origins and spirit of the Dominicans are best advised to consult Simon Tugwell OP (ed.) Early Dominicans, New York, Ramsey and Toronto, 1982. 5 Bertrand Russell, A History of Western Philosophy, London, 1946, pp. 484ff. 6 For an exposition of Gilson on this matter see John F.Wippel, ‘Etienne Gilson and Christian philosophy’, in [11.40]. 7 St Thomas Aquinas: Faith, Reason and Theology: Questions I–IV of his Commentary on the De Trinitate of Boethius, translated with introduction and notes by Armand Maurer, Toronto, 1987, p. xv. Pegis elaborates his position in ‘Sub ratione Dei: a reply to Professor Anderson’, The New Scholasticism 39 (1965). Pegis is here responding to James Anderson’s ‘Was St Thomas a Philosopher?’, The New Scholasticism 38 (1964). Anderson asked whether Aquinas was a philosopher and replied that he was. 8 Cf. Leonard E.Boyle, The Setting of the Summa Theologiae of Saint Thomas (Etienne Gilson Series 5), Toronto, 1982, pp. 17 and 30. 9 On the basis of a fourteenth-century life of St Raymund of Peñafort (c. 1178– 1280), tradition holds that the Summa contra Gentiles was commissioned as an aid for Dominican missionaries preaching against Muslims, Jews and heretical Christians in Spain and North Africa. This theory has been subject to recent criticism, but it has also been recently defended. Cf. Summa contra Gentiles, I, text and French translation, with an Introduction by A.Gauthier, Paris, 1961, and A.Patfoort, Thomas d’Aquin: les Clés d’une Théologie, Paris, 1983. 10 Introduction to Summa theologiae, Ia, 2. 11 Summa theologiae, Ia, 44, 1. 12 Summa theologiae, Ia, 44, 4 13 Summa theologiae, Ia, 6, 1. 14 Cf. Summa theologiae, Ia, 12, 5; Ia2ae, 62, 1; Ia2ae, 110, 1; Ia2ae, 112, 1. 15 Cf. Summa theologiae, 2a2ae, 2, 4. 16 For Aristotle, see Posterior Analytics, I, 10. For Aquinas, see Summa theologiae, Ia, 2, 1; On Truth, I, 12; XV, 1. I am using ‘believe’ here in the loose sense of ‘take to be true or accept’. Aquinas himself would not speak of believing first principles of demonstration. These, for him, are known or understood. 17 Cf. Summa theologiae, Ia, 1, 1; 2a2ae, 2, 3. See also Aquinas’s inaugural lecture (principium) as Master in Theology at Paris (1256). This text can be found in the Marietti edition of Aquinas’s Opuscula theologica, Turin, 1954, and is translated in Tugwell [11.8], 355ff. 18 For Anselm, see Proslogion, II and III. For Aquinas, see Summa theologiae, Ia, 2, 1; Summa contra Gentiles, I, 11. The argument discussed in the passages from Aquinas just cited was not so much Anselm’s as a version of Anselm’s argument current in the thirteenth century and offered by writers such as Alexander of Hales (c. 1186– 1245). For a discussion of the matter, see Jean Chatillon, ‘De Guillaume d’Auxerre à saint Thomas d’Aquin: l’argument de saint Anselme chez les premiers scholastiques du XIIIe siècle’, in Jean Chatillon, D’Isidore de Séville à saint Thomas d’Aquin, London, 1985. 19 Cf. On Truth, X, 4–6; Summa theologiae, Ia, 84–8. For reasons of space I am not here going into details on Aquinas’s teaching on the source of human knowledge. For an introductory account see Marenbon [Intr. 10], 11631 and 134–5. 20 Cf. Summa contra Gentiles, I, 14; Summa theologiae, Ia, 12, 4 and 11. 21 Cf. Summa theologiae, Ia, 12, 1. 22 See William Lane Craig, The Cosmological Argument from Plato to Leibniz, London, 1980, ch. 5; Elders [11.16], ch. 3; van Steenberghen [11.36], 165ff. 23 One might reasonably deny that God is an ‘explanation’ of anything for Aquinas. One might say that an explanation of such and such is something we understand better than the thing with respect to which we invoke it as an explanation. Aquinas would agree with this observation. But if ‘explanation’ means ‘cause’, he would insist that God is an ‘explanation’ of what we find around us. 24 Aristotle presents an argument like that of Aquinas in Physics VII. Aquinas acknowledges his debt to Aristotle’s argument in Summa contra Gentiles, I, 13 where he offers a longer version of what appears in the Summa theologiae as the First Way. 25 Aquinas here is concerned with what he calls motus. For him this includes change of quality, quantity or place (hence the legitimacy of translating motus as ‘change’ or ‘movement’). 26 Aquinas calls the First Way ‘the most obvious’ (manifestior) proof. That, I presume, is chiefly because what he calls motus is something which impinges on us all the time. Maimonides and Averroes are two other authors who thought that the truth of the reasoning which surfaces in the First Way is particularly evident. Cf. Maimonides (see [4.13], I, 70) and Averroes (see [3.17] IV). 27 Aquinas does not mean that the world does not contain things which can be thought of as changing themselves, e.g. people. He means that nothing in the world is wholly the source of its change. Cf. Christopher Martin [11.22] 61. 28 For Aquinas on time and change see Summa theologiae, Ia, 10, 1 and Lectures 15–20 of Aquinas’s commentary on Aristotle’s Physics. That the First Way is an argument from the reality of time is suggested by David Braine, The Reality of Time and the Existence of God, Oxford, 1988. 29 Some of the key concepts in the Third Way are found in Aristotle. Maimonides offers an argument very similar to that of the Third Way in The Guide of the Perplexed II, 1. One can also compare the Third Way with a proof of God’s existence given by Avicenna (cf. Arthur J.Arberry, Avicenna on Theology, London, 1951, p. 25 for the text in English). But Aquinas’s Third Way is a distinct argument and not just a straightforward repetition of earlier arguments with which it may be compared. 30 Cf. Patterson Brown, ‘St Thomas’ doctrine of necessary being’, in Kenny [11.27]. 31 There is a textual problem concerning the Third Way which my brief account of it bypasses. For a discussion of the issues and for a treatment of different interpretations of the Third Way see van Steenberghen [11.36] 188–201, and Craig, Cosmological Argument, pp. 182–94. 32 In the Fourth Way the background to the argument seems chiefly Platonic. Aquinas holds that perfection admits of degrees, a notion found in Plato, St Augustine, St Anselm and many others. The Platonic theory which seems to lie behind the Fourth Way is expounded with reference to the Way in Kenny [11.28] ch. 5. 33 Here Aquinas invokes the notion of final causality or teleological explanation, which can be found in Book II of Aristotle’s Physics. For Aristotle, a final cause or a teleological explanation was an answer to the question ‘To what end or purpose is this happening?’ For an exposition and discussion of Aristotle on purpose in nature, see Richard Sorabji, Necessity, Cause and Blame: Perspectives on Aristotle’s Theory, London, 1980, chs 10 and 11. The argument of the Fifth Way is given in more detail by Aquinas in On Truth, V, 2. 34 For a more detailed account of this proposal see Brian Davies, ‘Classical theism and the doctrine of divine simplicity’, in Brian Davies (ed.) Language, Meaning and God, London, 1987. 35 In Does God have a Nature?, Milwaukee, 1980, Alvin Plantinga erroneously attributes to Aquinas the suggestion that God is a property. 36 Summa theologiae, Ia, 50, 4. 37 P.T.Geach properly draws attention to this point in Three Philosophers, Oxford, 1973, p. 117. 38 Cf. note 27 above. 39 Cf. Summa theologiae, Ia, 50, 2. 40 Summa theologiae, Ia, 61, 2. 41 Summa theologiae, Ia, 13, 7. Cf. also Summa contra Gentiles, II, 11 and On Power, VII, 8–11. For modern philosophical discussion of the suggestion, see Peter Geach, ‘God’s relation to the world’, Sophia 8, 2 (1969):1–9 and C.J. F.Williams, ‘Is God really related to his creatures?’, Sophia 8, 3 (1969):1–10. 42 On Power, VII, 10. 43 Cf. Summa theologiae, Ia, 19, 1, 3, 10. 44 Summa theologiae, Ia, 8, 2. 45 Aquinas therefore holds that only God can produce miracles (Summa theologiae, Ia, 110, 4). Aquinas treats of miracles at some length in Summa theologiae, Ia, 105, Summa contra Gentiles, III, 98–102, and De potentia, VI. 46 Summa theologiae, Ia, 83, 1 and On Evil, VI. 47 Summa theologiae, Ia, 82, 1. 48 Herbert McCabe OP, God Matters, London, 1987, p. 14. 49 The honest answer to the question is, ‘We do not know’. What follows is merely an opinion based on what Aquinas actually said. 50 Cf. René Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy. For modern presentations of dualism see H.D.Lewis, The Elusive Self, London, 1982 and R.G.Swinburne, The Evolution of the Soul, Oxford, 1986. 51 Summa contra Gentiles, II, 57, 3–5. 52 I take physicalism to be the belief that people are nothing but bodies operating in certain ways. Cf. J.J.C.Smart, ‘Sensations and brain processes’, Philosophical Review, 68 (1950): 141–56. 53 Summa theologiae, Ia, 75, 1. 54 Lecture on the first letter to the Corinthians, XV; cf. Summa theologiae, Ia, 77, 8. 55 Cf. Summa theologiae, Ia, 75, 6. 56 Cf. On Truth, XIX. 57 Anscombe and Geach [11.11] 100. 58 Summa contra Gentiles, IV, 82–6. 59 Cf. Summa theologiae, 2a2ae, 1, 4, ad. 2. 60 For Aquinas on the virtue of faith see Summa theologiae, 2a2ae, 1–16. 61 Marenbon [Intr. 10], 83ff. 62 Summa theologiae, 2a2ae, 1, 1. 63 Summa theologiae, 2a2ae, 1, 4–5. BIBLIOGRAPHY Original Language Editions The most authoritative study in English of Aquinas’s works is I.T.Eschmann, ‘A catalogue of St Thomas’s works: Bibliographical notes’, in Gilson [11.17]. It is supplemented by ‘A brief catalogue of authentic works’, in Weisheipl [11.9]. The definitive text of Aquinas’s writings is being published by the Leonine Commission, established by Pope Leo XIII in 1880, which has already produced editions of Aquinas’s most important works (e.g. Summa contra Gentiles, Summa theologiae). But the work of the Leonine Commission is still unfinished. Publication of Aquinas’s writings prior to the Leonine edition include Opera omnia, Parma, 1852–73 (the Parma edition), and Opera omnia, Paris, 1871–82 (the Vivès edition). Over many years most of Aquinas’s writings have also been published in manual size by the Casa Marietti, Turin and Rome. Translations For a modern English translation of the Summa theologiae, with notes and commentary, readers are best advised to consult the Blackfriars edition of the Summa theologiae, London 1964–81. The translation is, unfortunately, sometimes unreliable. For a more literal rendering of the text, see St Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologica, translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province, London, 1911 and Westminster, Maryland, 1981. For an English translation of the Summa contra Gentiles see Saint Thomas Aquinas: Summa contra Gentiles, translated by Anton C.Pegis, James F. Anderson, Vernon J.Bourke and Charles J.O’Neil, Notre Dame, Ind. and London, 1975. The best modern translation of De ente et essentia is Aquinas on Being and Essence: a Translation and Interpretation by Joseph Bobik, Notre Dame, Ind., 1965. For other English translations of Aquinas, see the Brief Catalogue in Weisheipl [1 1.9]. Bibliographical Works 11.1 Bourke, Vernon J. Thomistic Bibliography: 1920–1940, suppl. to The Modern Schoolman, St Louis, MO., 1921. 11.2 Ingardia, Richard (ed.) Thomas Aquinas: International Bibliography 1977– 1990, Bowling Green, Oh., 1993. 11.3 Mandonnet, P. and Destrez, J. Bibliographie Thomiste, 2nd edn, revised by M.-D.Chenu, Paris, 1960. 11.4 Miethe, Terry L. and Bourke, Vernon J. Thomistic Bibliography, 1940–1978, Westport, Conn. and London, 1980. Biographical Works 11.5 Ferrua, A. (ed.) Thomae Aquinatis vitae fontes praecipuae, Alba, 1968. 11.6 Foster, Kenelm (ed.) The Life of Thomas Aquinas, London and Baltimore, Md., 1959. 11.7 Torrell, Jean-Pierre, Saint Thomas Aquinas, vol. 1, The Person and his Work, Washington, DC, 1996. 11.8 Tugwell, Simon (ed.) Albert and Thomas: Selected Writing, New York, Mahwah and London, 1988. 11.9 Weisheipl, James A. Friar Thomas D’Aquino, Oxford, 1974: republished with corrigenda and addenda, Washington, DC, 1983. General Studies and Introductions 11.10 Aertsen, Jan Nature and Creature: Thomas Aquinas’s Way of Thought, Leiden, 1988. 11.11 Anscombe, G.E.M. and Geach, P.T. Three Philosophers, Oxford, 1961. 11.12 Chenu, M.-D. Towards Understanding Saint Thomas, trans. A.M.Landry and D.Hughes, Chicago, 1964. 11.13 Chesterton, G.K. St Thomas Aquinas, London, 1943. 11.14 Copleston, F.C. Aquinas, Harmondsworth, 1955. 11.15 Davies, Brian The Thought of Thomas Aquinas, Oxford, 1992. 11.16 Elders, Leo J. The Philosophical Theology of St Thomas Aquinas, Leiden, 1990. 11.17 Gilson, Etienne The Christian Philosophy of St Thomas Aquinas, London, 1957. 11.18 Kenny, Anthony Aquinas, Oxford, 1980. 11.19 Kretzmann, Norman and Stump, Eleonore (eds) The Cambridge Companion to Aquinas, Cambridge, 1993. 11.20 McInerny, Ralph St Thomas Aquinas, Notre Dame, Ind. and London 1982. 11.21 ——A First Glance at St Thomas Aquinas: a Handbook for Peeping Thomists, Notre Dame, Ind. and London, 1990. 11.22 Martin, Christopher (ed.) The Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, London and New York, 1988. Studies of Particular Topics 11.23 Boland, Vivian Ideas in God according to Saint Thomas Aquinas, Leiden, 1996. 11.24 Bonnette, D. Aquinas’ Proofs of God’s Existence, La Haye, 1972. 11.25 Hankey, W.J. God in Himself Aquinas’s Doctrine of God as expounded in the Summa Theologiae, Oxford, 1987. 11.26 Henle, R.J. Saint Thomas and Platonism, The Hague, 1956. 11.27 Kenny, Anthony (ed.) Aquinas: a Collection of Critical Essays, London and Melbourne, 1969. 11.28 ——The Five Ways, London, 1969. 11.29 ——Aquinas on Mind, London and New York, 1993. 11.30 Kretzmann, N. The Metaphysics of Theism: Aquinas’s Natural Theology in ‘Summa contra Gentiles’ I, Oxford, 1996. 11.31 Lisska, Anthony Aquinas’s Theory of Natural Law, Oxford, 1996. 11.32 Lonergan, Bernard Verbum: Word and Idea in Aquinas, ed. D.B.Burrell, Notre Dame, Ind., 1967. 11.33 McInerny, Ralph Aquinas on Human Action, Washington, DC, 1992. 11.34 Owens, Joseph St Thomas Aquinas on the Existence of God: Collected Papers of Joseph Owens S.Ss.R., ed. J.R.Catan, Albany, NY, 1980. 11.35 Person, Per Erik Sacra Doctrina: Reason and Revelation in Aquinas, Oxford, 1970. 11.36 Steenberghen, Fernand van Le Problème de l’existence de Dieu dans les écrits de S.Thomas d’Aquino, Louvain, 1980. 11.37 ——Thomas Aquinas and Radical Aristotelianism, Washington, DC, 1980. 11.38 te Velde, Rudi A. Participation and Substantiality in Thomas Aquinas, Leiden, 1995. 11.39 Westberg, Daniel Right Practical Reason: Aristotle, Action, and Prudence in Aquinas, Oxford, 1994. 11.40 Wippel, John F. Metaphysical Themes in Thomas Aquinas, Washington, DC, 1984.

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