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By Frederick D. Wilhelmsen

Frederick D. Wilhelmsen’s Being and Knowing, rooted within the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, rests on uncomplicated assertions: first, metaphysics is the technology of being in its first and supreme act, life (the act during which all issues show up themselves); moment, that lifestyles is understood no longer via looking at gadgets, yet in asserting via judgments that those items 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 concept of judgment (that fact is discovered within the judgment of man), emphasised all through lots of the ebook, aspect not just to a deeper realizing of the character of metaphysics, yet they open doorways to the explanation of philosophical concerns germane to modern thought.

This paintings addresses a couple of metaphysical philosophical paradoxes. Wilhelmsen’s exploration of them demonstrates why he was once the preeminent American pupil of the Thomistic culture. This quantity is a part of Transaction’s sequence, the Library of Conservative Thought.

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St. Thomas pushes the issue to its more radical roots early in the Summa Theologiae when he asks what is meant by the affirmation that God exists. We do not know the existence of God, he insists. God does not emerge in a vision of conceptual clarity or even of conceptual obscurity thanks to our having demonstrated that He is. 2 Metaphysical knowledge of God is so modest that it is restricted to the being (esse verum) of reflective or second level judgments made about first level judgments directly encountering reality.

Had St. ” But his use of the “nondum,” expanding its force beyond any temporal connotation, suggests a delicate precision in his use of language. ” This does not mean that “to be” will eventually come to exist as a subsisting existence, thus swamping creatures in a pantheism. Neither does this mean that “to be” is simply zero, nothing at all. The issue is clarified by St. ” “To run” and “to be” signify in the abstract whereas “a being” (ens) and “a runner” signify in the concrete: For to run and to be are signified in the abstract, like whiteness; but what is.

There is no reason to restrict the Triplex Via to man’s knowledge of God. The doctrine applies as well to our knowledge of being as being, ens in quantum est. Thomistic metaphysics pretends to be reasoned discourse about the act of existence. After a complicated process of reasoning, esse is distinguished from essence, is identified as act, even as act of all acts, and ultimately as perfection of all perfections. Fr. ” Nonetheless, the Thomistic metaphysician transfers the meaning of act to the metaphysical order and concludes that esse is the act of all acts.

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