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 Post subject: The Rejection of Thomistic/Aristotelian Metaphysics
PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:08 am 
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Paladin
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Now, I am not an expert on this so bear with the questions.

The question I have is: why do the new theologians reject Thomistic/Aristotelian metaphysics? They seem to deplore the concept of substance and accidents and, to varying degrees, they lead themselves into a theology that starts to conflate matter and spirit – natural and supernatural. Eventually this leads to the denial of substance itself and in the most extreme cases a bizarre concept that matter is spirit albeit imperfect and deformed.

So, why did they do this? Was this the result of false philosophies of that solely relied on the senses and the observable world for truth (since substance can’t be observed)?

Or was it the onslaught of evolutionary science? Did evolution make them reject the metaphysics of substance and accidents because they thought substance cannot change and the evolution of species demands a substance change?

Or was it a combination? Was it a reactionary movement, polluted by modern philosophy and evolutionary science, provoked by world wars, convincing them that the current mode of Catholicism and Thomistic/scholastic theology and philosophy was defunct and could is no longer compatible with the current times and scientific advance?

Or was it something different?


I think I’m trying to wrap my head around why they rejected these metaphysics so severely. Their influence and effects of this rejection have been shaking the Church for decades now.

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 Post subject: Re: The Rejection of Thomistic/Aristotelian Metaphysics
PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:01 pm 
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It's complicated. :fyi:

Fr. Gerald McCool wrote a couple of highly polemical books about this issue (highly polemical, but disguised as purely scholarly), where apart from the anti-Thomist polemic, he actually did lay out some of the intellectual background to what you're talking about. A lot of folks seem to have sincerely thought that you just couldn't speak to the modern world in those old thomistic terms, and so you needed to develop a new philosophical language and emphasis. Also, some thought that in the post-Kant era, you can't take a naively aristotelian epistemology on, and so need to step inside the mind and work your way out as the moderns do. In this sense, it's the opposite of your first suggestion: it wasn't radical empiricism they were worried about, it was idealism in one form or another.

Later theologians and philosophers rejected thomism because they were taught to do so, usually on the basis of ignorant polemic from their seminary professors or whoever. I've come across people three generations upstream still floating standard "this notion of substance as unknowable substratum is just unworkable in the modern world and we need to move past it" thing, despite the fact that it is manifest they're ignorantly attacking a bizarre lockean notion of substance and nothing remotely like the thomistic one. Etc. In short, the lore became that thomism was a straitjacket, and many students, bought it hook, line and sinker.

ETA: https://www.amazon.com/Nineteenth-Centu ... ald+mccool
https://www.amazon.com/Unity-Pluralism- ... ald+mccool

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 Post subject: Re: The Rejection of Thomistic/Aristotelian Metaphysics
PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 2:05 pm 
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gherkin wrote:
A lot of folks seem to have sincerely thought that you just couldn't speak to the modern world in those old thomistic terms, and so you needed to develop a new philosophical language and emphasis. Also, some thought that in the post-Kant era, you can't take a naively aristotelian epistemology on, and so need to step inside the mind and work your way out as the moderns do.


But why? Was it due to the onslaught of Protestantism, modern philosophies, and scientism altered people's perception of reality and so instead of fighting it they capitulated?

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despite the fact that it is manifest they're ignorantly attacking a bizarre lockean notion of substance and nothing remotely like the thomistic one.


I have never of this, what makes them different?

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 Post subject: Re: The Rejection of Thomistic/Aristotelian Metaphysics
PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 2:48 pm 
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Alexandros wrote:
gherkin wrote:
A lot of folks seem to have sincerely thought that you just couldn't speak to the modern world in those old thomistic terms, and so you needed to develop a new philosophical language and emphasis. Also, some thought that in the post-Kant era, you can't take a naively aristotelian epistemology on, and so need to step inside the mind and work your way out as the moderns do.


But why? Was it due to the onslaught of Protestantism, modern philosophies, and scientism altered people's perception of reality and so instead of fighting it they capitulated?

Yeah, I guess, they drank the kool aid. I'm not sure that protestantism or even scientism had anything directly to do with it. This is the world of philosophy and theology here, and while the Catholics would of course have had their criticisms of positivists like Comte, they wouldn't have felt the need to integrate positivistic "insights" into their philosophical theorizing. Why, then, the need to integrate Kant or post-kantian stuff, I dunno, but they sure did. Of course, the philosophical world of a century ago was strongly idealist, so it kinda makes sense.

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I have never of this, what makes them different?

Fr. Clarke's essay "To be is to be Substance in Relation" does a pretty good job of spelling this out. It's in his book Explorations in Metaphysics. I don't think it's online.

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 Post subject: Re: The Rejection of Thomistic/Aristotelian Metaphysics
PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 4:15 pm 
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Though I love Newman's Apologia Pro Vita Sua, much of his philosophy is strongly idealist. As far as I can tell, he never really bought Aristotlean terminology. It's quite certain he thought most intellectuals of his day didn't.

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 Post subject: Re: The Rejection of Thomistic/Aristotelian Metaphysics
PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 7:54 pm 
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gherkin wrote:
Alexandros wrote:
gherkin wrote:
A lot of folks seem to have sincerely thought that you just couldn't speak to the modern world in those old thomistic terms, and so you needed to develop a new philosophical language and emphasis. Also, some thought that in the post-Kant era, you can't take a naively aristotelian epistemology on, and so need to step inside the mind and work your way out as the moderns do.


But why? Was it due to the onslaught of Protestantism, modern philosophies, and scientism altered people's perception of reality and so instead of fighting it they capitulated?

Yeah, I guess, they drank the kool aid. I'm not sure that protestantism or even scientism had anything directly to do with it. This is the world of philosophy and theology here, and while the Catholics would of course have had their criticisms of positivists like Comte, they wouldn't have felt the need to integrate positivistic "insights" into their philosophical theorizing. Why, then, the need to integrate Kant or post-kantian stuff, I dunno, but they sure did. Of course, the philosophical world of a century ago was strongly idealist, so it kinda makes sense.

Quote:
I have never of this, what makes them different?

Fr. Clarke's essay "To be is to be Substance in Relation" does a pretty good job of spelling this out. It's in his book Explorations in Metaphysics. I don't think it's online.


I have often thought about this. I wonder if the skepticism that crept in was a pandora's box. Once skepticism was not only adopted, but actually made into a starting point of thought, it is hard to shake that. I am sure there have always been people who would deny the very existence of the desk at which they sat in order to win an argument, but I find that to be the case more often than not. And the problem seems to be getting worse. It's almost as if we just live in a world of radical skepticism and even those who have never really studied it seem to be breathing it in. It's as if it is just in the atmosphere and has probably found its way into popular culture via music, movies, etc. Certainly the breaking down of terms like family, sexuality, etc must leave young people (who become adults) with the notion that ANYTHING can be questioned. So, it seems that anything that even smells like a sort of dogmatic starting point is met with suspicion. So, perhaps the originators of the Nouvelle Théologie felt like we needed a way to begin theology without any such "trappings" in order to help those drowning in skepticism to find their way out... ala Descartes.

FJ

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 Post subject: Re: The Rejection of Thomistic/Aristotelian Metaphysics
PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:25 pm 
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1. Many buy into perverse and perverted notions of truth. "But it doesn't speak to the modern man" But the question should be, "is it true" We can then work on making concepts clearer, but they are rejecting them because there is no truth in there perverted minds. Even claimed Thomists sometimes have that perverse view that Paul VI condemned, that St. Thomas's value is his "method" or "appreciation for truth", and not also his actual insights, explication of first principles

2. Others are rejecting it because they choose to do so out of a bad habit, sometimes in reaction against "monster Thomism" In other words, the concepts involved are sometimes badly explained, misrepresented, etc Heck this is still rampant... from Kreeft, to the Didache series, to even scholarly articles, the 5 ways are presented in a risible form, that leave them open to refutation... but what is presented is something Thomas would happily refute. But still, if your intro to his thought is so botched, it can sour it. If botched and forced, well.

3. Others, though fewer, just don't know it. And may even have a reservation of their judgment on it itself. Such was Cardinal Newman, who was a self avowed nominalist, and whose ideas about logic and truth are pernicious when taken to their conclusions (he denies syllogistical reasoning, and the ability to have universals, even in a conceptualist framework). But he acknowledged that he had studied Aquinas little, whose idea of universal was more Platonic realism, and he confesses not getting it, rather than always trying to reject it (though in the Grammar of Assent he gives what to someone who does know better, what appears to be incredibly stupid arguments... and Newman was not a dummy, yet his objections are at the level of the internet troll atheist who we mock here... that is how not taught, studied and known certain principles were)

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 Post subject: Re: The Rejection of Thomistic/Aristotelian Metaphysics
PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:44 am 
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In Cardinal Siri's book Gethsemane, he blames it on folks being enamored of Kant and spending their time trying to reconcile Christianity with Kantian ideas.

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