Academic journal article Review of Contemporary Philosophy

Scholastic Metaphysics. A Contemporary Introduction

Academic journal article Review of Contemporary Philosophy

Scholastic Metaphysics. A Contemporary Introduction

Article excerpt

Scholastic Metaphysics. A Contemporary Introduction Edward Feser (Pasadena City College) Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Books/Rutgers University, 2014, 302 pp. ISBN 978-3-86838-544-1

As Feser explains, the Scholastic holds that there are truths of a metaphysical character which are necessary and objective but which are not believably regarded as propositions either of natural sciences or of "conceptual analysis." Any robust metaphysics must comprise the principle of causality. The latter is more unequivocal than a well established inductive generalization or reasoning to the best interpretation. Accidentally ordered sets of causes can extend backward to boundlessness.

Scholastic authors differentiate the primary causality which can be associated with only that which is pure actuality from the secondary causality held by everything else. God is uncaused, being pure actuality, non-composite, non-contingent, etc. The intellect can come to know, through the generalization from particulars of universal essences and through demonstrative instead of simply probabilistic grounds, features of reality exceeding what can be perceived (the intellect is fundamentally immaterial).

Feser asserts that Scholastic authors generally distinguish between real distinctions and logical distinctions: the former indicate dissimilarities in extra-mental reality and the latter discrepancies in our manners of reasoning about extra-mental reality. Realism is inevitable if we are to be coherent of the world and our grasp of it. …

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