Thomas Aquinas: Revolutionary and Saint

Seven hundred years ago the Catholic Church canonized Thomas Aquinas. Today he is often considered a consummate authority for Catholic philosophy and theology. We should remember, however, how revolutionary his views were.
From beginning to end, the Inquisition’s actions were disciplinary, not dogmatic, although they were based on the erroneous notion that it was heretical to claim that the Earth moves. But opinions of theologians are not the same as Christian doctrine. The error the Church made in dealing with Galileo was an error in judgment. The Inquisition was wrong to discipline Galileo, but discipline is not dogma.
In his new book, Jamie Boulding uses the metaphysics of participation to argue that multiverse proposals do not really call into question the notion of God central to Christian theology. Infinite multiplicity and diversity do not challenge the claim that all that is is created.
What often intrigues my Chinese colleagues and students is that we do not need to accept the Christian faith that Thomas Aquinas embraced to see that, on his principles, there is no need to choose between viewing creation as the constant exercise of divine omnipotence and acknowledging the causes that the natural sciences disclose.
In responding to the current crisis, the great pandemic, we can follow the example of Aeneas: we can reject despair in the face of horrible suffering and find strength in "the roots of our traditions."
Significant advances in evolutionary biology and the neurosciences have led many who are already committed to a materialist philosophy to offer sweeping accounts of the origin and development of life, from bacteria to the human mind and consciousness.
Are traditional arguments for the existence of God at least suspect—if not false—in the light of what modern philosophy tells us about the limits of human understanding?
Sean Carroll’s new book, The Big Picture, proposes an apparent middle ground between an exclusively materialist account of reality and one that includes non-physical components.
Speaking about empathy between humans and animals requires a robust philosophy of nature. Such a philosophy can guide us in thinking more deeply about what it means to be human and how the human animal can better be connected to the broader animal world.
An understanding of the transcendence of creation forms the essential foundation of natural science. But does that understanding require revelation?
Before we rush to embrace transhumanism, it is crucial to ask what it means to be human.
A materialist philosophy that denies the reality of immaterial features of the world is an impoverished view of nature, including human nature. In any complete analysis of what it means to be a living thing, souls matter. Without souls, there are no living things.
Thomas Aquinas’s commitment to the importance of reason and its universal role in defining what it means to be human makes him an attractive thinker for contemporary Chinese scholars.
The traditional pillars of religion that support a view of God as transcendent Creator remain unshaken by the discoveries of modern science.
Edward Feser’s latest book gives readers who are familiar with analytic philosophy an excellent overview of scholastic metaphysics in the tradition of Thomas Aquinas.
Biology continues to offer us new and exciting insights into the world. These insights need to be integrated into a philosophical perspective that is richer than the reductive materialism that is often linked with the empirical sciences. In this endeavor, biology needs the philosophy of nature.
The embrace of a materialist and mechanistic view of the world, taking its inspiration from the rise of modern science, results in a loss of the sense of transcendence. But God is not simply some finite object in a universe of other objects—he is reason, being, and order itself.
Is it wrong to study the natural sciences using a metaphysical framework that sees unity in reality?
The invention of Rex, a bionic man with artificially created organs, helps us see why it is impossible for any machine to be a human being.
Religion isn’t outdated simply because some people claim that we can only know what the natural sciences tell us. Philosophy and theology are the next steps in our search for truth about nature, human nature, and God.
Distinguished philosopher Thomas Nagel rejects both evolutionary materialism and theism as adequate accounts of the origin and nature of human life, proposing instead a naturalistic “nonpurposive teleology.” But naturalistic teleology, just like existence itself, calls for a cause that transcends the created order.
Nature exhibits finality and purpose in its various activities, and chance is not, indeed cannot be, an explanation for this activity.
The fundamental question of why there is something rather than nothing is a metaphysical and theological question—and with respect to such a question the natural sciences necessarily have nothing to say.
Modern science does not require us to abandon notions of nature and human nature upon which so much of traditional ethics depends.