Recovering Nature: Essays in Natural Philosophy, Ethics, and Metaphysics in Honor of Ralph Mclnerny ed. by John P. O’Callaghan, Thomas S. Hibbs (review)
- The Thomist: A Speculative Quarterly Review
- The Catholic University of America Press
- Volume 66, Number 2, April 2002
- pp. 320-325
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- Additional Information
320 BOOK REVIEWS postfoundationalism is compatible with the deepest instincts of Christian faith. To take a single example, Huyssteen insists that postfoundationalism implies a fallibilism which tempers all claims to truth. Yet, it is by no means obvious that falliblilism is compatible with a serious act of Christian faith and the authority inherent in church teaching. Perhaps it is, but showing this would entail a thorough analysis of the biblical, theological, and experiential resources of Christian tradition. Indeed, demonstrating the appropriateness of Huyssteen's proposal for relating Christian faith and reason requires a systematic exposition of Christian doctrine in a postfoundationalist key.Hit happens, it will be worth the wait, but wait we must. JAMES KEATING Providence College Providence, Rhode Island Recovering Nature: Essays in Natural Philosophy, Ethics, and Metaphysics in Honor ofRalph Mcinerny. Edited byJOHNP. O'CALLAGHAN and THOMAS S. HIBBS. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1999. Pp. 271. $35.00 (cloth). ISBN 0-268-01666-6. Ralph Mcinerny has for four decades been a leader in Thomistic philosophy and Catholic culture in English-speaking lands. Consider but a partial list of his scholarly contribution: the authoritative works on analogy (The Logic of Analogy; Studies in Analogy; Aquinas and Analogy), studies in ethics (Ethica Thomistica; Aquinas on Human Action), works on the role of the Catholic philosopher and on faith and reason (Thomism in an Age of Renewal; The Question of Christian Ethics), aesthetics and poetry (Rhyme and Reason), the Gifford Lectures, 1999-2000 (Characters in Search ofTheirAuthor), translations and expositions for undergraduates or non-specialists (A First Glance at St. Thomas Aquinas; Thomas Aquinas' Selected Writings; St. Thomas Aquinas; Aquinas Against the Averroists), editorial and exegetical work on Maritain-not to mention journalistic writing for educated Catholics (Crisis; Fellowship of Catholic Scholars) and mystery novels. The volume under consideration here contains fourteen articles by Thomists or by sympathetic critics of Thomism. This excellent collection, with the helpful introduction from the editors, brings out well some of the themes in Mclnerny's very productive scholarly life. Four of the articles are grouped under the heading, "Natural Philosophy," a field of philosophy to which Mcinerny did not make extensive scholarly contribution. He rightly understands, however, that ethics and metaphysics are impossible without natural philosophy and he has always insisted that Thomism be grounded in the study of nature. William A. Wallace ("Quantification in BOOK REVIEWS 321 Sixteenth-Century Natural Philosophy") adds evidence to support his already well-established thesis: that the new mathematical physics of the seventeenth century does not represent a decisive break with the Aristotelian and Thomistic traditions in natural philosophy. Wallace shows that sixteenth-century scholars such as Domingo de Soto, Christopher Clavius, Giovan Battista Benedetti, and Andreas Eudaemon-Joannes did much to further the understanding of space, motion, force, and light in quantitative terms. Their work was rooted in traditional natural philosophy andwas propaedeuticto Galileo, who was himself in some crucial ways a faithful student of Aristotelian scientific methodology. Jude Dougherty ("The FailureofPositivism and the Enduring Legacy ofComte") gives a forceful recommendation for realism in scientific knowledge. He does this by rebutting the Comtean and positivistic rejection ofcausalityand ofsubstance. John Haldane ("The Philosophies of Mind and Nature") and Thomas de Koninck ("Persons and Things") each give a defense ofthe hylomorphic account of human nature. Haldane argues that contemporary (analytic) accounts in the philosophy of mind result either in reductionism or in epiphenomenalism. In either case, philosophers reach an impasse, for they wish to assert that psychic states are causal, and yet they cannot admit the reality of such states. De Koninck, likewise, shows (contra Michael Tooley) that human life is a natural continuum from conception until death. Both Haldane and de Koninck stress the need of correctly understanding the formal causality of the soul and Aristotle's two senses in which a soul is actual. As Mclnerny has given so much attention in his work to ethics, it is fitting that the largest section in this book include six essays under the heading "Ethics." In fact, a seventh (Laura Garcia's) also deals with ethics. Alasdair Macintyre and David Solomon bring out the same point, but in complementaryways. Macintyre ("John Case: An Example ofAristotelianism...