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  • Philosophical Abstracts


A Most Mitigated Friar: Scotus on Natural Law and Divine Freedom, THOMAM M. WARD

In his ethical writings, Duns Scotus emphasized both divine freedom and natural goodness, and these seem to conflict with each other in various ways. Ward offers an interpretation of Scotus that takes seriously these twin emphases and shows how they cohere. Ward argues that, for Scotus, all natural laws obtain just by the natures of actual things. Divine commands, such as the Ten Commandments, contingently track natural laws but do not make natural laws to be natural laws. Ward presents textual evidence for this claim. He also shows how this view of Scotus on the natural law is consistent with a number of troubling passages. Scotus's ethical theory implies that there are genuinely moral reasons for acting that are not absolutely binding (because subject to a divine command or permission otherwise) and also some moral reasons for acting that are absolutely binding (because not thus subject).

Thomism and the Formal Object of Logic, MATTHEW K. MINERD

The scientific status of logic is ambiguous within a broadly Aristotelian framework. As is well known, the Stoic position is frequently contrasted with that of the classic Peripatetic outlook on these matters. For the former, logic is a unique division of philosophy (that is, rational philosophy), whereas for the latter, logic plays a merely instrumental role. This article explores how several Dominican thinkers articulated an outlook concerning logic that granted it a robust scientific status while maintaining a generally Peripatetic philosophical outlook. Clarity in these matters required the passing of several centuries. This article presents a set of historical vignettes showing the development of an increasingly clearer definition of the nature of the subject of logic, tracing the topic in Aristotle, Avicenna, Aquinas, Hervaeus Natalis, and Antoine Goudin. [End Page 161]

What Do God and Creatures Really Do in an Evolutionary Change? MARIUSZ TABACZEK, O.P.

Many enthusiasts of theistic evolution willingly accept Aquinas's distinction between primary and secondary causes, to describe theologically "the mechanics" of evolutionary transformism. However, their description of the character of secondary causes in relation to God's creative action oftentimes lacks precision. To some extent, the situation within the Thomistic camp is similar when it comes to specifying the exact nature of secondary and instrumental causes at work in evolution. Is it right to ascribe all causation in evolution to creatures—acting as secondary and instrumental causes? Is there any space for a more direct divine action in evolutionary transitions? This article offers a new model of explaining the complexity of the causal nexus in the origin of new biological species, including the human species, analyzed in reference to both the immanent and transcendent orders of causation.

Anglo-American and European Personalism: A Dialogue on Idealism and Realism, JUAN M. BURGOS

The aim of this paper is to explore the differences between the idealist personalism present in Britain and America, and the realist personalism, proper to all the different branches of European or Continental personalism: dialogic, communitarian, phenomenological, classical ontological, and modern ontological. After making clear that not all the British personalists are idealists, but mainly those linked to personal idealism, the author discusses whether we can speak of personalism in a similar sense as idealistic and realistic personalism. Secondly, he analyzes four points in order to compare the peculiar traits of personalism in these philosophies: the phenomenality of matter; the problem of experience; metaphysics and person; and corporeality, personality, and person. Special attention is paid to A. S. Pringle-Pattison and Borden Parker Bowne, as the leaders of idealistic personalism in Britain and the United States.

The Protestant and the Pelagian: Arnauld and Malebranche on Grace and Power, JULIE WALSH and ERIC STENCIL

One of the longest and most acrimonious polemics in the history of philosophy is between Antoine Arnauld and Nicolas Malebranche. Their central disagreements are over the nature of ideas, theodicy, and—the topic of this paper—grace. The authors offer the most in-depth English-language treatment of their discussion of grace to date. Their focus is one particular aspect of the polemic: the power of finite...


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