By Frederick D. Wilhelmsen
Frederick D. Wilhelmsen’s Being and Knowing, rooted within the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, rests on easy assertions: first, metaphysics is the technological know-how of being in its first and supreme act, life (the act wherein all issues happen themselves); moment, that life is understood now not via staring at items, yet in declaring via judgments that those gadgets are matters of existence.
The chapters of this ebook discover those Thomistic doctrines. a few clarify St. Thomas Aquinas’s philosophy of being. Others probe his epistemology. The complexity and density of Aquinas’s thought of judgment (that fact is discovered within the judgment of man), emphasised all through lots of the ebook, element not just to a deeper knowing of the character of metaphysics, yet they open doorways to the explanation of philosophical matters germane to modern thought.
This paintings addresses a couple of metaphysical philosophical paradoxes. Wilhelmsen’s exploration of them demonstrates why he used to be the preeminent American student of the Thomistic culture. This quantity is a part of Transaction’s sequence, the Library of Conservative Thought.
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Extra resources for Being and Knowing: Reflections of a Thomist
As so stated, vision must be denied any foothold in metaphysical discourse in the very exercise of metaphysical reasoning. The negative moment within metaphysical reasoning constantly cancels out the content, the conceptuality, of every metaphysical conclusion. Conceptuality—let us call it “intentional presence”—is readily discovered when I restrict my knowledge to the Umwelt of immanent experience: chairs, dogs, and horses exercise intentional existence within my intellect in both understanding and judgment.
Nonetheless, the Thomistic metaphysician transfers the meaning of act to the metaphysical order and concludes that esse is the act of all acts. A univocal concept belonging to the categorical order, to nature, is applied analogically to nature’s transcendence: esse. St. Thomas purifies the concept of act when he insists that categorical act determines and limits, but existential act is determined and limited from within by essence—which includes, of course, categorical act, form. St. 6 Something similar occurs with the concept of perfection.
11 Assent to esse, however, is merely given to truths of propositions about esse which is “itself ” never known. The “vision” of esse would be, must be, Beatitude. Such a beatific vision is denied to a discipline which is about the business of reasoning about a principle—the act of existing of things, ens commune—which itself is not, but which is simultaneously that through which anything whatsoever is. The Via Negationis rigorously banishes vision, which is always positive, from metaphysical reasoning.