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The Philosophical Approach to God

A New Thomistic Perspective, 2nd Edition

W. Norris Clarke

Publication Year: 2007

This book is a revised and expanded edition of three lectures delivered by the author at Wake Forest University in 1979. Long out of print, in its new edition it should be a valuable resource for scholars and teachers of thephilosophy of religion. The first two lectures, after a critique of the incompleteness of St. Thomas Aquinas's famous Five Ways of arguing for the existence of God, explore lesser-known resources of Aquinas's philosophical ascent of the mind to God: the unrestricted dynamism of the human spirit as it reaches toward the fullness of being, and the strictly metaphysical ascent to God from finite to infinite, in the line of Aquinas's later, more Neoplatonicallyinspired, metaphysics of participation.The third, and most heavily revised, lecture is a critique of Whitehead's process philosophy, distinguishing Aquinas more sharply and critically from Whitehead than in the first edition.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii-viii

In 1978 I was invited to be the main speaker at the annual James Montgomery Hester Seminar at Wake Forest University, dedicated to the continuing dialogue between the two great intellectual approaches of the human mind to God, one through philosophical reason, through...

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Part One

The aim of the first three chapters, which constitute part I of this monograph, is to present for your reflection and discussion some of the significant ongoing developments in the contemporary Neo-Thomist school of philosophers and philosophizing theologians with respect to the philosophical approach to God...

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The Transcendental Thomist Movement

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pp. 3-11

In this quiet renewal of Thomistic thought, one of the movements that has attracted the most interest and shown the most creative power in synthesizing old with new goes by the loose general title of ‘‘Transcendental Thomism...

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The Ascent through the Dynamism of the Intellect

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pp. 12-21

As we reflect on the activities of our intellectual knowing power, we come to recognize it as an inexhaustible dynamism of inquiry, ever searching to lay hold more deeply and widely on the universe of reality. It is impossible to restrict its horizon of inquiry to any limited area of reality...

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The Ascent through the Dynamism of the Will

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pp. 22-36

The same process of discovery works even more powerfully and effectively—from the point of view of its psychological impact—when applied to the correlative dynamism of the human will, operating within the limitless horizon of being as the good, as the valuable and lovable.8 Reflecting on the operation of my human will...

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Part Two

In the book’s first section we presented the new turn to the inner path of philosophical ascent to God, through the dynamism of the human spirit and its a priori conditions of intelligibility, as developed by contemporary Transcendental Thomists. We showed how it corrected a tooextraverted, exclusively cosmological approach to God which had been characteristic of traditional...

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Why the Inner Path Is Insufficient

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pp. 39-47

Why is the inner path to God through the dynamism of the human spirit insufficient by itself to deliver the full content of the traditional notion of God? If taken strictly by itself, as proceeding in the order of final causality alone, this approach does deliver, I think, eminently reasonable grounds for affirming the existence...

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Ascent to God through Participation Metaphysics

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pp. 48-68

As a result, what most contemporary Thomists who think this way and yet still wish to develop an authentic Thomistic metaphysical approach to God are actually doing today is drawing not from the primarily Aristotelian side of St. Thomas’s thought, which the Five...

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The Analogical Structure of Language about God

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pp. 69-90

We have now completed the two basic modes of philosophical discovery of God currently being used by leading Neo- Thomist schools of thought: the inner path through the dynamism of the human spirit toward Infinite Being and Goodness and the cosmic-metaphysical path through participation metaphysics, rising from the many...

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Part Three

There is little doubt that during the last few years the principal challenge to traditional Christian theism has come from Process philosophy and theology, which has continued to show itself as one of the most lively and creative movements in contemporary philosophical and religious thought.1 A growing number of Catholic thinkers have also been drawing inspiration from the writings...

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Is God Creator of the Universe? Whitehead’s Position

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pp. 93-130

God is not, in the original Whiteheadian system, the Creator of the universe out of nothing—i.e., out of no pre-existing material or subject.4 The universe is an ongoing system which has always been and always will be. God does indeed play an indispensable role in this world system,...

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God’s Real Relatedness to the World,Mutability, and Enrichment by the World

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pp. 131-150

In this chapter I shall deal with the questions of God’s relatedness to the world, His mutability, and the resulting finitude of His ‘‘consequent nature’’ (according to Whitehead), since all three are inextricably linked. This chapter is an expansion of my previous paper...


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pp. 151-163

E-ISBN-13: 9780823248308
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823227198
Print-ISBN-10: 0823227197

Page Count: 172
Publication Year: 2007