The Treatise on Human Nature: Summa Theologiae 1a 75-89

Hackett Publishing
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This series offers central philosophical treatises of Aquinas in new, state-of-the-art translations distinguished by their accuracy and use of clear and nontechnical modern vocabulary. Annotation and commentary accessible to undergraduates make the series an ideal vehicle for the study of Aquinas by readers approaching him from a variety of backgrounds and interests.
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About the author

Robert Pasnau is Professor of Philosophy, University of Colorado, Boulder.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Hackett Publishing
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Published on
Nov 15, 2002
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Pages
432
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ISBN
9781603846769
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / History & Surveys / Medieval
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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General Argument My aim is to survey some of the most influential philosophical writers on human nature from the time that Augustine codified Christian belief to the present. During this period philosophical opinions about human nature underwent a transformation from the God-centered views of Augustine and the scholastics to the human-centered ideas of Nietzsche, Freud and Sartre. While one aim has simply been to provide a handy survey, I do have three polemical purposes. One is to oppose the notion that the modernism of more recent writers was produced by methodological innovations. According to both Freud and Sartre, as well as other key figures like Lacan and Heidegger, their views were the product of new methods of investigating human nature, namely those of psychoanalysis and the phenomenological reduction. Psych,oanalysis claimed to use the interpretation of both dreams and the relationship between analyst and patient to penetrate the unconscious. Phenomenology has claimed that trained philosophers are able to obtain a privilege;d view of consciousness by a special act of thought called the phenomenological reduction which enables them to view consciousness without preconceptions. On many issues my sympathies are with Nietzsche rather than with Freud or phenomenology. This is also the case regarding methodology. Nietzsche saw quite clearly that the possibility of popularising the views he himself held came from the decline of ChristianitY. My rejection of exclusive reliance upon the methodologies of psychoanalysis and phenomenology is based on two lines of argument.
Pope John Paul II bestowed upon St. Thomas Aquinas the accolade of Doctor Humanitatis, or “Doctor of Humanity,” because he was ready to affirm the good or value of culture wherever it is to be found. Thomas is a teacher for our time because of his “assertions on the dignity of the human person and the use of his reason.” (“Inter Munera Academiarum,” 1999). This collection of papers explores the various philosophical and theological aspects of the thought of both Thomas Aquinas and John Paul II pertaining to this theme of “teacher of humanity.” The topics discussed here include the political praxis of Karol Wojtyla; Gadamer on common sense; prudence and subsidiarity; embodied cognition; the knowledge of God; the commandment of love; Pope Francis on the Beatitudes; the new evangelization; Thomism and modern cosmology; and the challenges of transhumanism and gender ideology.

The papers were presented at a conference held in Houston, Texas, USA, in 2013, cosponsored by the Center for Thomistic Studies, the John Paul II Forum, and the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas. This work will help to realize in its small way the hopes of Saint John Paul II concerning St. Thomas Aquinas: “It is to be hoped that now and in the future there will be those who continue to cultivate this great philosophical and theological tradition [of Aquinas] for the good of both the Church and humanity.” (Fides et ratio §74) Additionally, it will undoubtedly be of interest to all participants in the cultivation of the thought of Thomas Aquinas, John Paul II, and the dialogue between Thomism and the modern world.

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