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BOOK REVIEWS well to consider the importance of the influence which the super-ego exerts in matters of morality and religion (on the question of the relations of conscience to the super-ego, vd. " La Formation Integrale du sens moral," J. J. Hayden, 0. S. B., M.D., Ph. D., in Psyche, IV, nn. 30-31, avril-mai, 1949, pp. 335-350). The authors often include in their discussions some practical directions for the reader. Unfortunately, so many classes of readers have been envisaged that these counsels are too often vague and uncertain. We may welcome the publication of this volume as indicative of a more scientific and open attitude towards modern psychiatry on the part of Catholics. The work has definite merits, and the criticisms are to be taken as constructive, showing that a great deal is yet to be done in this field. With these important reservations, the book is recommended to the clergy and laity desirous of acquainting themselves with the vast and necessary field of psychiatry. St. Anselm's Priory, Washington, D. C. DoM GREGORY STEVENs, 0. S. B. Descartes and the Modern Mind. By ALBERT G. BALZ. New Haven: Yale University Press, 195!l:. Pp. 506. $10.00. Hardly a year passes but there appear several works on Descartes. Among those published during 1952, the volume of Professor Balz of the University of Virginia is striking for its impressive size and excellent presentation. The book opens with a reference to Socrates: "Socrates, in the Republic, relates that the aged Cephalus went away laughing to the sacrifices, leaving to his son the problem of justice. Perhaps Plato meant to convey that the wisdom of tradition must be supplemented, if not reevaluated as well as supplemented, by wisdom that should accrue from inquiry. Perhaps Rene Descartes is the heir of Plato as well as of Cephalus." (p. 3) The reference is made in order to discuss the problem of the separation of scientific and philosophic knowledge from theology, a separation characteristic of the modern mind but foreign to the medieval mind. On the one hand, Scientia, as Professor Balz puts it, and Theologia on the other, meet and fuse in Wisdom. In the evolution of the conception of Wisdom, Augustinism, Thomism and Cartesianism are so many stages. In order to understand well the change which thus occurs, Professor Balz proposes to distinguish between the act of faith, or the attitude towards the supernatural, and the act of Faith which involves assent to a theological doctrine; between Faith which does not presuppose any inquiry, and Theologia which represents the sacred science of the content of the Faith. ROOK REVIEWS 283 In each man the indispensable ground is the act of faith; but, Professor Balz says, the man of faith has the assurance of Faith. As to Theologia the field is wide open for controversy. With these distinctions made, the Augustinian ideal, according to Professor Balz, appears to be a single aU encompassing Wisdom directed towards a vision of the divine. The Thomistic ideal of Wisdom foresees, on the other hand, different functional moments in the quest for Wisdom which are Scientia and Theologia. They are destined to converge at infinity, hence the unity of Wisdom is not endangered. If such unity was broken, one or the other, or both, pursuits should be recognized as being illusory. The Cartesian ideal of Wisdom does not draw back before such risks. Scientia and Theologia are not only separated, but Theologia is even distinguished from Faith. The architectonic of Wisdom becomes tripartite: there is the knowledge represented by Scientia bringing together the sciences and philosophy; the knowledge constituted by Theologia, sacred science; and finally the knowledge constituted by Faith, a knowledge which is apprehensible but not comprehensible. This architectonical division might be then described as: Reason-and-Faith-in-Scientia, Reason-and-Faith-in-Theologia, and Reasonand -Faith-in-Sacred-Mystery. These last terms, Professor Balz very appropriately points out, " are however too cumbrous for constant use." (p. 50, n. 1) Because it is based on this tripartite ordering of Wisdom and the distinction of the sciences and of theology, the work of Descartes may be placed under the auspices of modernity...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 282-288
Launched on MUSE
2017-06-15
Open Access
No
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