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Philosophy Speakers: Five Ways and Three Puzzles from St. Thomas, or: Why you’re Wrong about Aquinas’s Five Ways, and Perhaps He Was, Too

Date & Time:
January 12, 2018 | 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
1253 SS
Jack MacIntosh, University of Calgary

About the Talk

Aquinas's five ways are often, indeed too often, misread and misunderstood. His detractors often fail to understand what he is saying, and so produce an empty victory over an equally empty and philosophical position. His defenders too, often fail to understand him but, convinced that they do understand him, they are content with simply parroting his texts. Nowadays there are many honourable exceptions to these strictures, but these two stances are still common to be ignored. In both cases such commentators miss some highly interesting philosophical points. In this talk, an initial look at Saint Thomas's notions of necessity, causality, and creation, essential if anachronism is to be avoided. I make some possibly unorthodox suggestions about ways 3, 4, and 5, and look briefly at three still open puzzles that Aquinas left us: puzzles concerning future singulars and the necessities of origin, incommunicable properties and Cambridge properties.

About the Speaker

Jack MacIntosh is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Calgary. He has also taught in the Universities of Auckland, Oxford, and Waterloo. He recently published The Arguments of Aquinas. Other publications include works on the history of philosophy, philosophy of religion, philosophy of logic, ethics, epistemology, the identity of persons, philosophy of mind, and history and philosophy of science.

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