Monday, January 25, 2016

Aquinas on Why Philosophy is Better than the Other Studies?

Summa Contra Gentiles is St. Thomas Aquinas' Philosophy Book

Truly, among all human studies, the study of wisdom is more perfect, higher, more useful and more joyful.

More perfect because it confers a share in beatitude. (Sirach 14:22)

Higher because, wisdom being the greatest human treasure, those who use it are made participants in the friendship of God. (Wisdom 7:14)

More useful because by wisdom itself one comes to the kingdom of immortality. (Wisdom 6:21)

More joyous because her conversation has not bitterness nor is her company boring, but rather gladness and joy. (Wisdom 8:16)

Cf. Cicero

[Christian philosophy] puts its trust in the power of faith to impart to human reason greater certitude about its own natural operations.

In this matter modern philosophy has cut itself off completely from the medieval tradition. The question therefore arises whether there is still common ground for constructive intellectual effort between such heterogeneous ways of thinking. St. Thomas Aquinas himself answers this question strongly in the affirmative. His own relationship to Aristotelian and Arabian philosophy presents sufficient evidence that he believed in the possibility of a philosophy founded on pure natural reason, unaided by revealed truth. He clearly demonstrates this conviction in his Summa contra gentiles, commonly known as his philosophical Summa. Here he points out that in discussions with pagans and Moslems, the Christian thinker cannot refer to a common faith based on the Scriptures (a common ground which in the case of the Jews is provided by the Old Testament and in the case of heretics by the New Testament). It therefore becomes necessary, he says, "to have recourse to that natural reason to which all must assent." There are, according to St. Thomas, two ways of truth, and though natural reason cannot attain to the highest and ultimate truth, it can nevertheless ascend to a stage of knowledge which enable sit to reject certain errors of judgment and to recognize the accord between the naturally demonstrable truths of reason and the truths of faith.

Finite and Eternal Being, Edith Stein, Washington, DC: ICS, 2002, 12-13.
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