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Brian Davies writes an perfect exposition of Aquinas' thinking on this subject, compiling quotes from a dozens of sources. It is written for a lay person who is neither an Aquinas scholar nor a theologian, and incorporates Davies' dry sense of humor. An perfect read for one wishing to learn more on the topic whether a novice or steeped in Aquinas' thought.
Davies' book is accessible, clear, and thorough. I found his approach in this book to be very systematic and it did not assume too much background knowledge on the part of the readers. Also, his chapter summaries at the end of necessary material helped me to see the huge picture. I came to this work after reading his 2006 book, "The Reality of God and the Issue of Evil."It reads quickly. Professor Davies has a knack for summarizing complicated ideas in succinct fashion, providing helpful illustrations and examples where necessary. I thoroughly enjoyed the material on the life of Christ.Davies does a nice job of explaining several key ideas:1) The God of Aquinas (and classical theism in general) is not a moral agent, and so He does not have a moral case to answer.2) Evil in the globe does exist and is not a trivial matter.3) There are necessary questions concerning God's causation and creation and the existence of evil, and Aquinas writes specifically about these.Overall, it is a amazing book that I will use as a reference for years to come.
Davies book is a clearly written, economical explication of Aquinas’s thoughts on God and evil. He takes up passages and arguments from all over Aquinas’s corpus and gathers them together into a systematic account. It’s very accessible and packs a lot into a short book (it’s about 130 pages, not including the footnotes).His goal is, I think, in huge part to present how Aquinas might have addressed what is commonly called “the issue of evil”, that is “how can God–who is thought to be good, loving, omnipotent, omniscient, etc.–allow evil in the world?” As Davies presents it, Aquinas a convincing argument for why the existence of evil is not incompatible with the existence of a good, loving God.He first has to spend some time clarifying and developing the philosophical machinery Aquinas uses (e.g. what is being, good, evil, cause, what can we know about God?) before addressing the major questions about God and evil. In doing so, he covers a lot of territory, making this a amazing introduction not just to Aquinas on God and evil but to Aquinas’s thought in general.Davies says in the preface that he wants to “offer an acc of Aquinas’s teachings on the subject of God and evil while trying to put him in the context of contemporary discussions”. It’s an acc which is very various from those espoused in most contemporary discussions, and one well worth reading.
I have chosen to use this book by Brian Davies as it is a lucid introduction to Thomas' brilliant explication of God, Good, an Evil as part of my course on "The Philosophy of Amazing & Evil" [PHL 480] in the School of Contuing Education, Providence College, R.I. during the Fall Semester, 2017. I am excited about relying upon this study because it unveils just enough of Scholatic Theology for non-theolgians, while keewpin with Aquijas' own focus on a philosophical approach to both Amazing and Evil.
This slim but deep volume will take you into the incomprehensible yet glorious forays of the Hypostatic Union of Jesus Christ. Definitely not a book to be rushed through, but to be deeply meditated on. Excellent book for me seeing as this is the season of Advent, in which the "the Word became Flesh and dwelt amongst us". Thank you Dr. Gorman.
This book presents the five arguments that the amazing theologian Thomas Aquinas created for the existence of God. The setting is conversations between a Christian and an atheist in a coffee shop. Matt Fradd is a devout Catholic whose previous book, The Porn Myth, has helped thousands of husbands stop using pornography and renew their faithfulness to their wives. Robert Delfino is Associate Professor of Philosophy at St. John's University in Fresh York City. He specializes in metaphysics, medieval philosophy, and Thomas APTER 1 -- EVIDENCEAn atheist cannot simply say he is an atheist because he lacks believe in any god, and that therefore the burden of proof lies with the Christian. He must give sound reasons as evidence for his APTER 2 -- EVILA major objection for the atheist is: How can a amazing God let evil to exist? For sure it presents an emotional obstacle to believing in God, but not an intellectual one. Atheist philosopher J. L. Mackie says that if God was all-knowing, He would know about the existence of evil, and if God was all-powerful, He COULD prevent evil, and if He was all-good, then He would WANT to prevent it.But the existence of evil does not prove the non-existence of God. It does not disprove God's omnipotence, for example. When God made monsters with the ability to choose between amazing and evil, He does not force them to choose good, otherwise their would not be not free. Free monsters do create some evil choices. Also, in light of God's omniscience, He has His reasons for permitting evil and suffering, reasons we cannot understand. He often produces something amazing out of tragedy and suffering. Most of all, His Son became human and endured amazing suffering and death on our behalf. He identifies with our suffering. Regarding God being all-good, it is our misperception that He would only promote our enjoyment of life to the exclusion of evil.If evil is defined as the method that things OUGHT NOT to be, doesn't this imply that there is a method that things OUGHT to be? If atheism is true, there wouldn't be a method things OUGHT to be. Things would just be as they are. David Hume says you cannot derive an OUGHT from an IS. If Hume is correct, then evil is just a psychological illusion on our part. Things are just that APTER 3 -- SCIENCEPhilosophy is better to prove the existence of God than science. Science does not prove any theory definitively. For example, for about 250 years, Sir Isaac Newton's theory of physics created accurate predictions. But as objects approach the speed of light, these predictions became less accurate. Einstein's theory of relativity became more accurate than Newton's in making predictions at this speed. Scientific theories are always tentative because of the chance that future evidence may reveal flaws in can't be used to prove God's existence because God exists outside zone and time. He exists both INSIDE and OUTSIDE time. Therefore, scientists could never examine God directly. Also, there are a lot of things we know to be real but we didn't come to know them through science. Science cannot prove the laws of logic or mathematical principles. It merely presupposes them. Science cannot present that we have a duty to support a starving kid or that Nazi concentration camps. And, science cannot prove the claim that "something is real only if it can be supported by scientific evidence." This is a self-defeating APTER 4 -- AQUINAS' 1st ARGUMENT: MOTIONWhatever is in motion in the globe was place in motion by tion is the reduction of something from potentiality (potency) to actuality (act).Only something in a state of actuality can reduce something from potentiality to actuality.(Fire, which is actually hot, can create wood, which is potentially hot, to actually be hot, and thereby moves it from potentiality to actuality, and changes it.)Therefore, whatever was place in motion must be place in motion by another, which was place in motion by another, and so on. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover. If there was no first mover, there would be no other mover. An infinite number of movers would not explain the motion we observe. Only an unmoved mover, something that causes motion in others but receives it from none, can explain uinas argues that since all things (except God) have potentiality, they are ultimately dependent on God to actualize them. He does so in a method that makes human will possible. God supplies us with the energy (actuality) to create a choice, but He leaves it up to us what choice we make.God does not need to be moved by another because He is "Pure Actuality." This means that He exists in the most excellent way. A being with potential is not excellent because there is more that He could become. He would have to change to go from potentiality to actuality. And someone else would have to actualize Him. But God has no potential, and He does not change. He is the "Unmoved Mover."CHAPTER 5 -- AQUINAS' 2nd ARGUMENT: EFFICIENT CAUSALITYIn the globe of sense we search there is an of efficient ere is no known case in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of efficient causes it it not possible to go on to infinity, because in all efficient causes following in order, the first cause is the cause of the intermediate causes, and the intermediate causes are the cause of the ultimate take away the first cause is to take away all the other subsequent effects. There would be no subsequent causal power without a first erefore it is important to admit a first efficient cause, which is uncaused, to which we give the name of God.An efficient cause is one that either causes the existence of a thing or causes a change in a uinas does not believe you can prove philosophically that the universe had a beginning. We only know it began because God told us in the Bible that it began. Had God not told us this, we would not know that the universe had a beginning. Some Christians today, like William Lane Craig, believe you can philosophically prove that the universe had a APTER 6 -- AQUINAS' 3rd ARGUMENT: POSSIBILITY AND NECESSITYAll things in nature are capable of existing and not existing, as they are generated and subsequently suffer corruption. These are "possible beings."Possible beings cannot be the cause of their own existence because they would have to exist in to cause their existence. They obtain their existence from a cause that exists external to themselves.But not all beings are possible beings, otherwise there would be no method to explain how anything came into existence in the first place. Thus, not all things are possible erefore, at least one important being is being gets its necessity from itself (It has always existed). Therefore, its essence (being) is identical to its is being is also the cause of the necessity in all possible is Pure Essence (or Being Itself).CHAPTER 7 -- THERE IS ONLY ONE NECESSARY BEINGThere can be only one important being who is Pure Essence.If there were two beings who were pure existence, one of them would have to have a property that the other does not have. Otherwise, they would not be two various beings, but one and the same being.But if one has a property that the other does not have, then it is a composite of existence and some property, and not pure existence after all.But every composite being needs a cause, so a composite being cannot be a being that is important through there can only be one important being who is Pure Essence.Existence is that which makes every form or nature actual.Existence is compared to essence as actuality is to nce in God there is no potentiality, His essence does not differ from His erefore, His essence is His APTER 8 -- AQUINAS' 4th ARGUMENT: DEGREES OF BEINGEvery being we encounter possesses some s goodness is in proportion to the level of perfection it possesses, because the more excellent a being is, the more we desire it. "Perfect" means "complete, lacking in nothing."Its level of perfection is measured by the kinds of actions it e more actuality (and less potentiality) it has, the more strong kinds of actions it can me kinds of beings are better than others because they possess greater goodness. Humans are better than plants which are better than stones. Humans have more actuality and therefore more goodness than plants. Humans are alive and intelligent, plants are alive, stones are ings more or less have goodness to the degree they resemble or approach a maximal is being has the greatest nobility, truth, goodness and is maximal being is the cause of all the being, goodness and every other perfection of all limited beings, because limited beings cannot be the cause of their own is maximal being does not possess being in a limited way. Otherwise, it too would require a the being of this maximal being must be unlimited. It must be existence erefore, the existence of this maximal being is identical to its is pure existence (or Being Itself). And this we call act is to exist. And, once again, since God has no potentiality, He is Pure agine what it would be like to be Pure Existence, without any limitations or agine you existed as a mind without a body. You wouldn't require meal or sleep. Imagine you are show everywhere in the universe, not confined too a little space. Suppose you were not limited by time. As an eternal being you would know all things at once. The past, show and future would all be a single eternal moment for you. This is just the tiniest glimpse of Pure Existence and why it's worthy of the name God. In fact, God calls Himself "I am the God who IS" (Exodus 3:14).CHAPTER 9 -- AQUINAS' 5th ARGUMENT: FINALITYThings which lack intelligence, such as natural bodies, act for an end or is is evident from how they always, or almost always, act in the same method to get the best ey achieve their purpose not by possibility but by natural inclination.Whatever lacks intelligence cannot move towards a purpose unless it is directed by an smart being to do erefore, some smart being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their is being we call God.A Modern ExampleIt is the nature of an electron to be attracted to protons, which helps to form atoms.If electrons did not have this natural inclination, then none of the elements on the Periodic Table would form, so none of the physical life forms we know would is attraction of electrons to protons cannot be because of possibility or biological ance refers to what happens rarely.Electrons being attracted to protons happens with too much regularity to be attributed to the case of biological evolution, electrons being attracted to protons must exist BEFORE biological evolution takes , an smart cause can direct something toward a purpose with ligence allows one to mentally envision a purpose that does not yet exist, and then choose a means to achieve that n-intelligent matter, such as an electron, cannot itself to a purpose because it cannot think freely about a future that does not yet the attraction of an electron to protons was caused by an intelligence outside the ever, human intelligence cannot acc for the NATURAL inclination of man intelligence can only provide EXTRINSIC FINALITY, such as an archer sending an arrow to the target and a watchmaker assembling metal parts to tell time. It is not the nature of wood to fly, nor of metal parts to tell nce an electron is non-intelligent, does not operate by possibility or biological evolution, and wasn't given its purpose (its natural inclination) by any human, it must have received its purpose from some non-human intelligence who is responsible for the natural inclinations of is non-human intelligence would use INTRINSIC FINALITY to cause the electron's existence and its natural inclination to be attracted to other words, God gives things their own causal power and natural inclinations so they can act on their own level of y an smart cause that is pure existence, or Being Itself, can cause existence, nature, and natural inclination of things. And this we call APTER 10 -- WHY GOD CANNOT BE DEFINEDThomas Aquinas ends each of the five ways by saying, "...and this we call God." So God is the "Intelligent," "Unmoved Mover," the "First Efficient Cause," "Pure Essence," and "Pure Actuality." Beyond this, Aquinas does not give a definition of God. Why not? If God is Being Itself or Pure Existence, then no definition of God is possible because to define something is to break it down into simpler concepts. But existence is not a physical thing that we can break down and examine with our senses.If Aquinas was correct, someday Christians will gaze upon Existence Itself, and marvel at the perfection, goodness and beauty of God, in whose photo we are made!King David said, "One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,To behold the beauty of the Lordand to meditate in His temple" (Psalm 27:4).AFTERWORD by Robert DelfinoAquinas argues that God is Pure Existence. Monsters are only BEINGS BY PARTICIPATION because they must keep their existence from God. They "have existence," but God "IS EXISTENCE."This raises the question, "Why did God make us?"Since God is Pure Actuality with no potential to be anything more or better than He already is, He did not make us out of loneliness or any other need. Neither was He forced or compelled to make us because He is all-powerful and totally free.He made us out of love.God, being in love with His own Being, wanted to multiply it. So God gave the likeness of His Being to monsters (Genesis 1:27). He made a diversity of things to reflect Him, "In that the likeness of divine goodness might be more perfectly communicated to things, it was important for there to be a diversity of things, so that what could not be perfectly represented by one thing might be, in more excellent fashion, represented by a dozens of things in various ways."To love someone is to will something amazing toward that person. And in giving us existence, life, and intelligence, God has given human beings amazing things, wondrous things. Without existence, we could never have fun the beauty of a sunset, the company of a friend, the laughter of a young child, or falling in love with another person. Thus, human happiness can never be found in or fame or pleasure, but only in loving others, and ultimately loving God and being loved by Him!God does not force us to love Him, but like the return of the Prodigal Son to his father (Luke 15:11-32), God waits for us to return to Him.
Matt Fradd and Robert Delfino’s book is a amazing introduction for those, perhaps not as well versed in the massive philosophical jargon utilised in Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae, it presents the 5 Ways of St Thomas in an interesting and simple to understand format. Definitely well worth reading, it does an perfect job at explaining the 5 ways and I can not recommend it more for anyone seeking to understand the Angelic Doctor’s arguments for God’s existence.
It’s an perfect introduction to Aquinas’s 5 ways, using dialogue between a Thomist and an atheist in a coffeshop. If you’re interested in engaging the 5 ways but overwhelmed by technical jargon or whatever, this is a amazing entry point.
Amazing book! Unbelievable summary of the Five Ways! Just [email protected]#$%! had a more inviting cover to entice younger readers—as that’s who seems to be the target audience. Have already given away multiple copies.
I'm a 16-year old senior high school student that's interested in knowing the works of Aquinas. But what I struggle with the most in reading his works is language. For me, I search him so complicated simply because I don't understand the language he uses. But boy! This book created the 5 ways so easy that I would recommend this to anyone interested in Natural Theology, especially to the young ones like me. Not only is it simple, it's also entertaining and not boring. More power to you both, Mr. Fradd and Mr. Delfino!
Perfectly challenging, but simple enough for anyone to follow.I came away with a better understanding of why it;s not "God of the gaps," but instead "scientism of the gaps." In other words, atheists I speak with often refer to the "science may one day present us how something came from nothing," but the use of reason by Thomas Aquinas, and as presented in this book, prove why that cannot be the case.
Matt Fradd and Robert Delfino do a masterful job of explaining and defending dense, philosophical arguments in an exciting and interesting dialogue format. The dialogue is not forced and reads like a genuine encounter between two intellectuals interested in talking about ong the way, Fradd and Delfino combat all of the common objections you are likely to hear in response to St. Thomas' Five Ways. To name a few:- If everything has a cause, then what caused God?- How do we know the first cause is God?- Couldn't there be multiple Gods?- These arguments don't present the Bible is true.- How do we know all five ways are pointing to the same creator?Fradd and Delfino interact with famous atheists like Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss, as well as the esteemed atheist philosopher J.L. Mackie. They present how their objections, especially Dawkins, miss the tag very badly. Also, they bring in the helpful work of other Thomists to supplement Aquinas' commentary in the e chapter on metaphysical jargon is extremely helpful, especially to those who are fresh to the subject. It's also nice that they contain a summary chapter of the 5 ways apart from dialogue format.Overall, this book is the most interesting, engaging, and exciting method of learning the Five Ways of St. Thomas Aquinas.
As one who did his Ph.D. dissertation on [email protected]#$%! Second Way, this book is great! I want I had it back then, if for no other reason (though there are other reasons) than for the great, down-to-earth illustrations of the otherwise complex philosophical points.
I have always understood the Five Ways in my own head, however, this book has given me the tools and vocabulary to explain it to my children. It breaks down these concepts into easy and comprehensible terms. It also brings up other arguments that I haven't heard before.
Like so a lot of books of this genre, the author has a credible idea or proposal, which could be (and usually is) summarized in the first 25 pages. The rest of the book is filler, repating the same idea over and over and over again using various examples.Each chapter has the same, tried-and-true but boring structure: (re)state the premise, give some examples, then restate the premise. That is, tell 'em what you're gonna tell 'em, tell 'em, then tell 'em what you told 'ring.I suggest you borrow the book, read the first 50 pages, and then you've learned everything there is to learn from this book.
I have been impressed with Senator Harris watching the different investigations and hearings for fresh cabinet members and other appointments. I did not watch all hearings, and only part of the ones I did nce she's announced she is running for President, I wanted to know more about her. I read this one first and the the fresh book. "The Truths We Hold." In the fresh book she contains a brief summary of some of this book, but I think it is valuable to read this one first.
This was an innovative approach to handling a common complexity, the management of crime in huge difficult and diverse communities. I commend Kamala Harris on her efforts and actual implementation of these programmes as she sought to conquer the crime beast and uplift ailing communities.
I forced myself to finish this despite not liking the writing style at all. It seemed like a lot of rhetoric with the double mantra of "rehabilitation" and "Education", but was lacking some true meat to it. I was to see hard, step by step proposals of how to "rehabilitate" and "Educate" and punish as well. But, I was disappointed.
After reading this book I can see that Kamala is ready to reform the National Gov't as President or Vice President. She recalls her exciting 'Judge-Judy-esq' courtroom drama to illustrate her private outlook on politics and philosophy. There are lots of surprises in here (like Obama's book). Read this before the 2020 Presidential campaign and you might be an expert on juicy background of this iconoclastic lawmaker before it gets rehashed by the News Feed. I'm convinced now that Kamala can not only take on Bernie and incumbent Mike Pence but keep her own on the globe stage. You simply can't fit smart leadership and law commentary into a Tweet.
E. Feser's introduction to Aquinas' thought was exactly what I was looking for: a clear, contemporary introduction (and defense!) of Aquinas' thought which interacts with modern objections. Having read introductions by Ralph McInerny, Henri Renard, F. Copleston, Jacques Maritain, and A. Sertillanges, I can say that Feser's book is better than all of rst of all, Feser is faithful to Aquinas' thought. In content, Feser's philosophy is aligned with something, say, Garrigou-Lagrange might write, the difference only being style. If you think Garrigou-Lagrange understood Aquinas, then you will think Feser has, too. Most of the authors I mentioned above more or less understand Aquinas adequately, so far as I can tell. Like them, Feser won't give you any surprises by departing from the tradition (like, say, E. Stump might).Second, Feser's book is better because it is clearer. There are plenty of thinkers who understand Aquinas decently enough---one thinks of Maritain or Renard, for example. But anyone who has tried to read these thinkers is painfully aware that their prose is not always clear. Feser has given us a book which is in a class by itself for clarity. If you are puzzled by 'matter', 'form', 'act', 'potency', and so on, then this is the book for ird, Feser's book is better because it understands modern thinkers and their objections to Aquinas. Feser admirably defends the existence of God, the classical attributes of God (including divine simplicity), the immortality of the soul, Aquinas' ethical theory, and so on. Not only this, but he shows why objectors to Aquinas usually have not understood him properly. He treats older objectors like Locke, but also newer ones like Dawkins (and a lot of analytical philosophers, too). It is especially its mastery of analytical philosophy and the problems it brings up which makes this book relevant to modern urth, Feser has a list of recommended reading which is very, very useful.And to top it all off, this book has one of the best discussions of causality, especially final causality, which I have , if you're shopping for one book to begin with in studying Aquinas, you've found it. Or if you've read a lot of introductions but still feel lost, this is the book for you, too. Feser brings the clarity of analytical philosophy, the relevance of modern issues, and the content of classical Thomism all together in this volume.
This might be the best I've created on here. I'm an undergrad student getting a Biblical Studies degree with a Philosophy minor and it has helped me out tremendously! From the doctrine of the Trinity to the ontological reasonings for the existence of God, this book is a unbelievable method to dive deeper into theological studies in philosophy.
This is a amazing selection, but not a complete works. I don't know if there is a complete works, but I was a tad frustrated that one topic I was interested in was not "selected". That doesn't reflect poorly on this work though this is a amazing work and amazing addition to any philosophy library.
There are two questions which any Christian who has struggled with doubt and who cares about having an intellectually rigorous worldview will have asked:1. What is the scope of fundamental Christian convictions?2. How confident can we be in the truth of those convictions?It seems that in our time the answers most commonly given to those questions are 'very small' and 'not very'. To elaborate, a lot of Christians seem to accept that modern science has unique, nearly exclusive authority to describe the globe we live in and that scientific reasoning is the gold standard of rationality. It follows that theology is more a matter of hope than knowledge and that the best we can do is present that at least some, often greatly truncated, Christian truth claims are compatible with modern science. Modern Christian theology is an asthmatic, 90 pound weakling with heart problem in the boxing ring of truth.Enter the doctor: Edward Feser's Aquinas (and by extension Aquinas himself) is a blast of new air in those wheezing lungs, a jolt of current through that palpitating heart, and an injection of growth hormone into those wimpy muscles. Starting in Chapter 2 with an exposition of primary Aristotelian and Thomistic metaphysical concepts, including act and potency, form and matter, the four causes, essence and existence, and the nature of the transcendentals (like being, truth and goodness), Feser painstakingly demonstrates how these concepts explain the globe we inhabit remarkably well, and remain plausible and defensible despite their development alongside erroneous scientific views. Not only that, but since science in any age rests upon (sometimes unexamined) metaphysical foundations (see the classic The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science), Aquinas' metaphysics presents itself as a particularly beautiful set of foundations for the contemporary study of nature.Up to this point, the book would be of interest not just to readers interested in the history of ideas but also readers interested in formulating a comprehensive philosophy of nature. But the implications of this philosophy of nature for theology are astounding: as Dr. Feser shows in chapter 3, the observed reality of change, the distinction between essence and existence in contingent objects and the reality of final causation all inescapably imply the existence of God as understood by the amazing philosophical minds of all the major theistic religious traditions: the absolutely unique, simple, unconditioned, omnipotent Reality that grounds the existence and intelligibility of the globe of our experience, and is itself excellent goodness, beauty and truth. Contrary to famous perception, Aquinas' Five Ways of demonstrating God's existence are sound and compelling once placed in their proper context of Aristotelian metaphysics, and once their conclusions are thoroughly analyzed they are seen to imply the attributes classically attributed to God. Since the reality of change, final causation and the distinction between essence and existence are readily observable, even to unbelievers, the existence and nature of God (at least to a certain extent) can be inferred on non-religious grounds, making Aquinas' project a particularly compelling example of natural the remaining two chapters Dr. Feser explicates Thomistic views of human nature and ethics, which again are fairly straightforward applications of the Aristotelian metaphysical principles laid out in chapter 2. The Thomistic understanding of the soul is an alternative to both Cartesian dualism, which posits the existence of two distinct substances to explain mind-body interactions, and materialism, which reduces all mental activity to brain physiology. Thomistic ethics is premised upon human beings have a true nature, which identifies the amazing for humans as those actions which fulfil the ends intrinsic to that nature.When I reviewed Dr. Feser's The Latest Superstition: A Refutation of the Fresh Atheism, I remarked that his exposition had almost persuaded me to become a Thomist, but that I still had some reservations. Aquinas has now pushed me all the method into that camp. I am now convinced that Thomism is the most promising metaphysical system for articulating the rationality of the Christian worldview, and that it gets the furniture of the globe more nearly right than any other system. I look forward to digging deeper into Aquinas' thought, to fill in the info of my newfound worldview.
Having a Ph.D. in philosophy and having already read the Summa Contra Gentiles, I was a small concerned that this book, with "Beginner's Guide" in the title, might be too elementary for me, but it was not. The book is very clearly written and illuminating. When I finished, I wanted to read more; and fortunately, there is a very generously annotated "Further Reading" section at the end, with references to both "popular" works for the general reader and more technical works for the scholar in philosophy.
This is an perfect primer on the philosophy and theology of Aquinas, as well as an perfect introduction to the Aristotelian metaphysical framework upon which Aquinas built his philosophical views. The book covers some biographical info about Aquinas, discusses Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysics, briefly defends the natural theology built from such metaphysics, and describes [email protected]#$%! thoughts on intellect, will, and morality. The text provides a thorough description of the meaning behind key terms that can be easily confused with quite various concepts due to their similarity to words used in more contemporary parlance -- even a word as easy as "motion" can be understood to mean something various to Aquinas than it does to a modern particular, I found the discussions on act and potency, form and matter (specifically, as it regards the soul), the convertibility of the transcendentals, the five ways, the intellect and the will, and on morality to be quite valuable. Overall, the book is more of an overview than it is a thorough defense of every aspect Aquinas. That said, it's thorough enough if you're unfamiliar with the subject.If you've heard about Aquinas and wish to understand his thinking and his arguments in a broader sense, this is an perfect book to pick up. I highly recommend it. It is relatively short and very clear and concise, but it may be difficult to understand for those not already somewhat versed in philosophy or familiar with the Aristotelian-Thomistic view.I speak as a bit of a dabbler, myself. I listened to this book twice a couple of years ago as an audio book, and I could only understand it in bits and pieces - as though I was catching only glimpses of some scenic view through the gaps between trees as I sped along a wooded road. After spending some time perusing Edward Feser's blog [...] I eventually built up enough of an understanding to really glean a lot of substance from this text. In addition to recommending this book, I'd also recommend a review of some of Feser's posts on Aquinas as a supplement.
This may indeed be a beginner's tutorial to Aquinas but it is certainly not a beginner's tutorial to philosophy in general. If you're not comfortable with primary philosophy you will most likely search yourself struggling to obtain through this. I took an intro to philosophy course in college twenty years ago, and have had no exposure to it since. That said, I'm about 20% through this book, and it is beautiful difficult to follow. I search myself re-reading sections again and again, and going back to refresh myself on a particular topic. I'm sure there's a nice off if I can manage to trudge through the often tedious and long winded explanations of [email protected]#$%! metaphysics but I'm also not sure I'm that motivated, base on what I've read so far, to do so.
Thomas Aquinas IMO is one of the best philosophers in history, and one of the most misunderstood by his critics. (and I'm saying this as a Non-Thomist Christian)Edward Feser has written a gem, and a beginners book that I think everyone who is interested in the Philosophy of Religion should read.Feser goes over the Metaphysics, Natural Theology, Psychology, and Ethical positions of Philosopher Thomas Aquinas, and devotes most of his time going over Natural we see the popular 5 ways of Aquinas that give arguments for the existence of e 1st method is definitely my favorite, and something that came originally from one the greatest philosophers of all time in Aristotle. The Unmoved Mover (or argument from Motion) has a nice 16 pages of this book dedicated to going over the objections and replies to the argument for God's existence.I also enjoyed reading about Aristotelian-Thomism metaphysics and I like how Feser points out how necessary teleology really is, and goes over where it was discarded."A historian and philosopher of science E. A. Burtt concluded in his classic 'The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science, the founders of the mechanistic-cum-mathematical conception of nature we driven by 'wishful thinking' and 'uncritical confidence' of just the sort of which they accused the Aristotelian Scholastic tradition they sought to overthrow; final causes and the like were regarded by them as 'sources' of distraction [which] simply had to be denied or 'removed'But is this really the best method to go about things, or was Aristotle's metaphysics wrongfully discarded by the consensus? I pick the latter, and Feser gives a lot of amazing reasons for why this is the case, however it would take a long time to go over on here.Overall, Aquinas is a massive hitter and this is one of the best primers out there to if you wish to search out more about the Ox!!!!
An perfect introduction to Thomism. Feser's familiarity with modern analytical philosophy allows him to answer to the most common, and probably the best objections, raised versus Thomistic metaphysics and Thomism in general.An necessary caution: this is not a "beginner's guide" in the sense that it is for those who have absolutely no prior exposure to philosophy or rigorous argument. I can say this because, prior to this book, I myself had no prior exposure to philosophy or rigorous argument. I had a lot of questions and had to obtain answers elsewhere. This is no fault of Feser; my questions did not have to do with the validity of his reasoning or the clarity of his terms – I simply was not well acquainted with philosophy, having never even taking philosophy 101 in college. For anyone else who is in my position, you are in luck! Feser runs an perfect blog at I picked up a habit of googling "Edward Feser [insert subject of confusion]" and it's allowed to me better grasp the content of this e chapter on metaphysics is difficult but critical and it sets up the rest of the book. If you're not getting it, moving on is, in my humble opinion, futile. Once you do obtain it, however, the rest of the book will not be as r atheists, the chapter on Natural Theology will be of most interest. Again, if you are unfamiliar with Aristotletian or Thomistic metaphysics, you won't do yourself any favors by jumping into the chapter on Natural Theology. This isn't pop philosophy a la Dawkins, [email protected]#$%!&chens, or Dennett; you have to actually do intellectual work to meet Aquinas and Thomism halfway. If you do do this work, this chapter just may change your life (who needs self-help books when you have a disciplined pursuit of Truth?). Feser goes through Aquinas' 5 Ways to proving the existence of God and defends them rather exhaustively versus different e remaining two chapters, on Psychology and on Ethics, are also excellent. The section on natural law, while short, is only criticism of the book is that I want Feser dwelt more on the objections of a lot of naturalist philosophers to the claim that biological inquiry rests on a teleological foundation. I did not come away convinced by Feser's argument from this book, but after reading Feser's other work on teleology, I was convinced of Feser's argument. In the book, however, the section is too latest comment is on the quality of writing. When I was an atheist, I thought nobody could write better than Christopher Hitchens (you can tell I am very well read). I was wrong. Edward Feser writes better than Christopher Hitchens. Far better. Not only that, unlike Hitchens, Feser isn't mostly flash; his arguments have bite and depth to them.
This is one of the best introductions to St. Thomas' thought I have ever read. Its, at the same time, concise and deep. The major definitions are explained in detail, with amazing examples and analogies. I also liked the supplementary biography, and the well referenced quotations.I would recommend reading this book prior to reading Dr. Fesser's 5 proofs, and Scholastic Metaphysics, even though they can be read independently.If I could add one suggestion would be the inclusion of the subchapters in the ly, Dr. Fesser books are a delight to read. He is a real teacher, and really knows how to explain complex problems in an approachable, yet uncompromising manner.I hope he can publish books on the remaining locations of Scholastic/Thomistic philosophy, such as Philosophy of Nature, Logic, anks and hold up the amazing work.
This small "secondary source" on the philosophy and theology of St. Thomas Aquinas was a delight to read. I am by no means an Aquinas scholar so I cannot judge the author's grasp of Thomistic teaching, but he gives a sympathetic portrayal of it and importantly both reviews and challenges critics of its a lot of dimensions. Roughly half the text (chapter by chapter) is devoted to what Aquinas said and the other half to the challenges of his ck in St. Thomas' day the philosophical system of Aristotle had only recently been recovered and translated into Latin. Plato had been known already for a time, but Aristotle was fresh and Aquinas clearly a devotee. Aquinas is the marriage of Aristotelian metaphysics and Christian theology. Feser drives this point home in every chapter noting that the vast majority of critics all forget this and attack Aquinas based on metaphysical assumptions that he would no-wise have accepted. Yes, Aquinas also accepted Aristotle's very imperfect explanations of natural phenomena (physics) but as Feser points out none of the false physics invalidates the metaphysics which even today remain a fully rational (if unpopular) method to describe the world; a physical universe encompassing more than what today's science takes to constitute "the physical".Beginning with the metaphysics (causal scope, matter, substance, form, being, and existence) taken faithfully from Aristotle, Feser covers theology (Aquinas' popular "Five Proofs of God") and the relation of God to the world, philosophy of mind (mind, soul, and personality), and ethics. He ties every one of these topics back to the metaphysics and lucidly demonstrates how Aquinas' arguments yet go through today provided his metaphysics is respected. The book is more than a mere review of Aquinas but also an argument for the show integrity of his philosophical project as a whole.Well written, an simple read, and a amazing summary not only of Aquinas but also his Aristotelian foundation.
This is an awesome introduction to the teaching of Aquinas. Feser's main thesis is that most people do not understand Aquinas because they are beginning with various metaphysical assumptions than Aquinas. In other words, all of these poor caricatures of the five ways of Aquinas are based on fundamental misunderstandings and not looking at the metaphysical assumptions that Aquinas held to. Feser begins to remedy this issue by introducing us to Aquinas' view of the four causes (material formal, efficient, final) as well as his teaching on being and essence. Feser argues that the rejection of the four causes is not based on any sort of amazing reason, but an unhealthy skepticism. Once we understand Aquinas' metaphysics, we are in a position to look at his 5 ways or proofs for the existence of God.Feser notes that while most people quote Aquinas' 5 ways from his Summa, the Summa was meant as a beginners tutorial to theology. Hence the demonstrations for God's existence are not meant for skeptics but for those who already believe in God and need to organize their ideas about God's existence. Feser mentions that the Aqunas' full and thorough proofs for God's existence worked out in detail may be found in Aquinas' Summa Contra Gentiles. Feser then spends several pages on each of the five ways. It is quite interesting because I too, unfortunately, had bought into the modern mindset that Aquinas' 5 ways were just sort of old hat, related to smart design, not too deep, and all more or less the same. Nothing could be further from eh truth. I was amazed at how careful and rigorous the proof from motion is when given in its full detail with all the necessray metaphysical background in place. This requires understanding of what Aquinas meant by motion, potentiality, action, and several other concepts. It was rewarding to spend some time pondering this proof because I realized how shallow much of my metaphysics really is. Feser was also able to explain how Aquinas argued that even if the universe could have existed for an infinite amount of time, it would still require a first cause. This idea had always bothered me, but Feser gave an perfect illustration and the idea is now quite clear in my discussing the 5 ways, Feser mentions how the 5 ways are all various from each other. A lot of people will blow off the first 3 ways, claiming that they are basically the same. Yet Feser looks a wide range of Aquinas' writings on these ways and argues that he had various things in mind and various properties of God that the arguments would deduce. Feser also distinguishes between Aquinas' argument by design and Paley's argument from design. These are nothing alike and should not be confused, which is another common error. After the discussion of the five ways, Feser discusses the nature of man (psychology) and explains Aquinas' view, in particular, of the soul. Again, here is a put where a lot of people do not know what Aquinas taught. Aquinas did not think of the soul as an invisible ether that permeates the body or as some other kind of invisible entity. Rather, the soul is the form of the body; that which animates the body. This can be summed up in Aquinas' theory of hylomorphism. Again, Aquinas' metaphysics are crucial to understanding this concept. One particularly beautiful aspect of Aquinas' view of the human soul is that it does fall victim to the objection about "how does the soul (immaterial) interact with the body (material)?" often posed by skeptics. This question simply makes no sense on Aquinas' hylomporphic is book is amazing. It is short, but one can spend hours upon hours pondering it, rereading the same passages to take in all the info and understand the metaphysics of Aquinas. The way of Aquinas was sanctioned in the encyclical Humani Generis and thus Aquinas' teaching is well worth the time of any serious Catholic who wishes to be of one mind with the Church.
a lot of of the shorter works of st. thomas aquinas are difficult to obtain and paper takes up precious space. i loved having works that i wanted to read but could not search or store. sometimes when i found the work it was too expensive. the kindle edition is the excellent fit for me.
I lived in the city where this murder actually happened, but was too young to remember it. This is a slightly fictionalized ver but very interesting. Seeing the names of the stores that were long gone brought back a lot of memories. Read it in 2 days, page turner.
A haunting, fictionalized acc of a murder that happened in the author's little Virginia city when he was a teen. Told through varying points of view, by a group of teens who are in various ways connected to Christopher Goodman, this book raises necessary problems of culpability, and of how our lives touch on one another's more than we know. Vividly realized, authentic, and attractive (and at times very funny,) this page-turner should not be missed!
Jim Plousis, is a legend in South Jersey. He started out as a "beat cop" in Ocean City, Fresh Jersey and I'm honored to personally know Jim. His law-enforcement career is one of dedication and accomplishment. He successfully ran for sheriff of Cape May county and it was uphill from there. After a distinguished career in local and national law-enforcement he was appointed chairman of the Fresh Jersey Casino Control Commission. Jim can serve as a role-model to anyone wishing to enter law-enforcement.
Jim is our hero. A local cop who was elected County Sheriff with emphasis on making communication better...with his powerful commitment to service he was subsequently appointed US Marshal of NJ and then to NJ's chair of the Parole Board. Presently he serves as the head of the Casino Control Commission.I don't believe there is a man or woman who can read this book without a powerful acceptance of a amazing man's compassion, humor and dedication to service in his community. I highly recommend this book to relax and read this book...from begin to finish you will recognize the role these unsung heroes play in your l proceeds benefit the US Marshal's Survivors Benefit Fund
I have known Jim Plousis since we were small boys in Lansdowne PA. Our Moms were very close and over the years we kept track of each other through them as we wandered through our respective law enforcement careers. In the latest 25 years we have done a better job keeping track of each other and have had a lot of amazing conversations. Reading this book felt like another conversation with Jim; easy, humorous and genuine. It is a tale of a humble guy who joined law enforcement to create a difference and delivered in every sense of the word. I predict this book will need an addendum because I think he has more to give. It should not be lost on anyone that all of the proceeds from this book go to the U. S. Marshals Survivors Benefit Fund.......did I mention humble.
Set in Virgina in 1979, Who Killed Christopher Goodman by author Allan Wolf is a compelling and insightful YA novel based on a true murder in Wolf’s hometown when he was a teenager. Several teens discuss their encounters with another teen, Christopher Goodman, before his murder and their reactions e story is a quick simple read but, in this case, quick and simple in form does not mean lack of emotional impact. As we obtain to know each of these young people, it is impossible not to develop a sense of empathy and caring towards them. The book is divided between the narratives of each of the teens told in their own distinctive voice and in varying forms including poetry: Doc Chestnut ‘The Sleepwalker’, Squib Kaplan ‘The Genius’, Hunger McCoy ‘The Amazing Ol’ Boy’, Hazel Turner ‘The Farm Girl’, Mildred Penny ‘The Stamp Collector’ and occasionally Leonard Pelf ‘The Runaway’ and 15-year-old murderer. The only one who does not have his own voice is Christopher whose story is told by the others from their own perspective based on their casual encounters with him before his murder and in a class assignment afterwards. But his name tells us the most necessary thing the reader needs to know about him – at only seventeen, he was already a amazing e story, however, is not really about the murder which takes up only a couple of paragraphs in the book as described by Pelf. It is about how we test to search explanations for tragedy, the ‘what ifs’ that accompany them, how we seem to need to search our own role in the happening – what we could have done differently to change the outcome and how the small things we do or don’t do may seem to have unintentional consequences. And, as each of the teens including Pelf, think about the tragedy, they contemplate their own ‘what ifs’ wondering how their own actions in which Goodman only a very little indirect role or no role at all contributed to his death. As Squib tells us at the end:This is not Christopher’s murder. It is ours. It belongs to all of us. It belongs to every single one of us who is left alive.