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Aquinas, Ethics, and Philosophy of Religion

Metaphysics and Practice

Thomas Hibbs

Publication Year: 2007

In Aquinas, Ethics, and Philosophy of Religion, Thomas Hibbs recovers the notion of practice to develop a more descriptive account of human action and knowing, grounded in the venerable vocabulary of virtue and vice. Drawing on Aquinas, who believed that all good works originate from virtue, Hibbs postulates how epistemology, ethics, metaphysics, and theology combine into a set of contemporary philosophical practices that remain open to metaphysics. Hibbs brings Aquinas into conversation with analytic and Continental philosophy and suggests how a more nuanced appreciation of his thought enriches contemporary debates. This book offers readers a new appreciation of Aquinas and articulates a metaphysics integrally related to ethical practice.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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CONTENTS

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pp. ix-

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PREFACE: METAPHYSICS AND PRACTICE

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pp. xi-xiv

Informed by the thought of Thomas Aquinas and prompted by recent developments in Continental and Anglo-American philosophy, this book brings the texts of Aquinas into conversation with contemporary philosophy on the question of the relationship of metaphysics and practice...

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. xv-

Some of the material in this book is revised and amplified from previous publications: ‘‘Aquinas, Virtue, and Recent Epistemology,’’ Review of Metaphysics 52 (1999): 573–94; ‘‘Calvin and Hobbes: The Revival of Christian Philosophy’’ appeared in The Weekly Standard, December...

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1. ETHICS AS A GUIDE INTO METAPHYSICS

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pp. 1-12

James Joyce once quipped, ‘‘The difficulty about Aquinas is that what he says is so like what the man in the street says.’’ And in response to a friend’s derisive comment that Aquinas ‘‘has nothing to do with us,’’ he stated, ‘‘It has everything to do with us.’’1 Joyce was schooled in the...

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2. VIRTUE AND PRACTICE

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pp. 13-34

Over the last thirty years, perhaps the most striking alteration in the landscape of Anglo-American philosophy has occurred in the field of ethics, where the ethics of virtue or character is now taken as seriously as Kantian and utilitarian ethics. Just as there are divisions and branches...

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3. SELF-IMPLICATING KNOWLEDGE

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pp. 35-54

In a teaching derived from Augustine, Aquinas identifies curiositas as a vice afflicting human cognitional activity. The vice consists in an inordinate or disordered desire for knowledge, particularly an obsession with information and minutiae that fails to nourish the intellectual...

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4. DEPENDENT ANIMAL RATIONALITY

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pp. 55-74

The notion of substance as actualized and perfected through operations provides remote metaphysical underpinning for Aquinas’s account of the human intellect as a potency actualized by interaction with sensible substances. Aquinas is not preoccupied with skeptical doubts...

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5. METAPHYSICS AND/AS PRACTICE

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pp. 75-96

One constructive response to the critique of ‘‘constructive philosophy,’’ as found in McDowell and others, aims to recover the primordial sense of philosophy as a way of life. This sort of reading of Aristotle, indeed, of ancient philosophy, has gained a certain currency in recent years because of the work of Pierre Hadot. In his book, What Is Ancient...

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6. METAPHYSICS, THEOLOGY, AND THE PRACTICE OF NAMING GOD

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pp. 97-116

As we saw in the last chapter, Pierre Hadot has been a leading proponent of the re-appropriation of the ancient notion of philosophy as a way of life grounded in the practice of ‘‘spiritual exercises’’ and involving the communal practice of a host of moral and intellectual virtues. Yet according to Hadot, in the medieval period philosophy is...

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7. THE PRESENCE OF A HIDDEN GOD

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pp. 117-134

In their introduction to a volume of essays entitled God, the Gift, and Postmodernism, John Caputo and Michael Scanlon note the upturn of interest in religion and theology among contemporary Continental philosophers. The deconstructionist fascination with what the Enlightenment had ‘‘declared off limits’’ has finally opened up the possibility...

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8. PORTRAITS OF THE ARTIST

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pp. 135-162

In The Idol and Distance, Jean-Luc Marion argues that Nietzsche’s critique of the Christian concept of God maintains its pertinence only as long as it attends to a clearly identifiable ‘‘ ‘God,’ an idol that it sees.’’1 Marion quotes Heidegger’s assertion that ‘‘God’’ is the ‘‘name for ideas...

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9. METAPHYSICS OF CONTINGENCY, DIVINE ARTISTRY OF HOPE

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pp. 163-176

The created universe, the whole of things, is, in words from Joyce’s Ulysses, ‘‘predicated on the void.’’ Wanting to avoid any hint of an antecedent ‘‘something’’ out of which God creates, Aquinas insists that all that is, apart from God, is predicated on nothing. Creation is not so much a making as it is a ‘‘transcendental appearing,’’ as Fabro...

NOTES

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pp. 177-222

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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pp. 223-232

INDEX

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pp. 233-236


E-ISBN-13: 9780253116765
E-ISBN-10: 0253116767
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253348814

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2007

Series Title: Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion