Where we are coming from, and
Basic Questions and Answers

Where we are coming from

The philosophy of St. Thomas as presented in the neo-scholastic manuals of the early part of this century has, for the most part, disappeared. It collapsed under the weight of its authoritarian imposition, its poor pedagogy and its failure to find a distinctive philosophical way of proceeding.

But this collapse has left a gap between us and the rich theological and philosophical treasures of our Christian past. A truly creative Thomism, freed from past accretions, could reconnect with this wisdom and help us understand the Christian mysteries better, as well as deal with contemporary questions like the dialogues with modern science, Eastern religions, and Jungian psychology.

What is philosophy?

The word means love of wisdom. It is a thoughtful reflection on basic human questions like: What is the ultimate nature of things? Can, we know the truth? Is there a God? What is the relationship between the human body and the soul? Or can we even know there is a soul? What can we know about the origin of the universe?

What is metaphysics?

Metaphysics is part of philosophy, indeed, the very heart of it. It asks about the fundamental principles that make things to be what they are, and it tries to focus on the very fact that they exist. These kinds of questions are intimately connected with the question of the existence of God.

Who was Thomas Aquinas?

Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was born south of Rome in Roccasecca, and over the opposition of his parents, ran away to become a member of the Dominican Order. He devoted his life to the study of religion and philosophy, and the Catholic Church regards him as a saint and as its universal or common doctor. His philosophy and theology is named Thomism after him.

What is the metaphysics of St. Thomas?

In a revolutionary insight Thomas saw that the very natures, or essences of things, which make them to be what they are, were related to their existence as a certain capacity for existence. (See under discussion areas: The metaphysics of St. Thomas in one simple but not easy lesson.)

Who was Jacques Maritain?

Jacques Maritain (1882-1973) was a French philosopher who converted to Catholicism, discovered St. Thomas, and became one of the most creative continuers of his thought, making it accessible to our times and applying it to fields as diverse as the natural sciences, the arts, and social and political questions.

What is the philosophy of nature?

The philosophy of nature looks at matter, space, time, the origin and end of the universe, and of the human race, in a distinctive philosophical way, and so it can enter into dialogue with the sciences of nature like physics and biology.