Chapter

Perspectives in Catholic Philosophy I

Brian J. Shanley

in Teaching the Tradition

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199795307
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932894 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199795307.003.0005
Perspectives in Catholic Philosophy I

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A fideism early in the Catholic Church saw no place for human knowledge and wisdom; divine wisdom from the Bible was sufficient. After Descartes, Hume, Kant, and Nietzsche, human science and other forms of knowledge attempt to trump all faith claims. The Catholic Church stands in the middle and affirms the importance of both faith and reason. The premodern Christians used reason internally to analyze the truths of the faith and externally to ward off attacks against the Christian faith. St. Augustine of Hippo used Neoplatonism to explore the Christian mysteries. Augustine said that in order to have wisdom one must first believe, then one will be granted further understanding. Faith flowers into theology. Following Augustine's approach, Anselm develops the most famous proof for the existence of God, “that than which nothing greater can be conceived.” St. Thomas Aquinas used new texts of Aristotle that became available in the West and created a new synthesis of Aristotle and Augustine, which he used to explain the truths of Revelation. For Aquinas metaphysics is important primarily to identify the highest attributes of God and to show what God is not. Since the late nineteenth century Thomism has surged in importance in the Church.

Keywords: philosophy; faith; reason; theology; Augustine; Anselm; Thomas Aquinas; metaphysics; Thomism

Chapter.  8934 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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