Saturday, January 31, 2009

Stumped

Read the chapter in Stump's Aquinas book on God's knowledge. I have to admit, I'm not convinced that fr. Shanley and Leo Elders didn't know the difference between God's knowledge ad intra and ad extra. Or maybe she was just inventing a false dilemma to ease the literary development of her argument. Some quotes:

p. 177: "That is, God not only makes composites of matter and form, as any craftsman or inventor does, but he also creates the formless matter that underlies the forms of any material object." Hmm...so humans make form and matter? Perhap she only meant that humans make composites, which is what Aquinas actually says.

My favorite quote from the book so far, p. 182: "Medievals, including Aquinas, love the matter-from distinction and tend to apply it indiscriminately to virtually anything at all; but they are speaking figuratively when they do so, not literally or strictly." Really?

7 comments:

Brandon said...

Elders explicitly distinguishes God's knowledge ad intra and ad extra; I looked into the matter when I came across Stump's discussion while writing a paper on how Malebranche modifies Aquinas's views on divine ideas. It was very weird, because several of the arguments Stump makes against Elders (divine self-knowledge and evil if I recall correctly) are cases that Elders explicitly distinguishes from the cases that he is considering in terms of productive knowledge (and for the obvious reasons).

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised she even makes a claim about "medievals." In the preface to her work, from what I recall, she remarked that she wasn't interested in the historical influences on Thomas or how he was received by later medievals. Rather, she was only interested in determining whether, in light of contemporary metaphysics, Aquinas is "right." Oh the fun of being an analytic philosopher! Next we'll be told that having a command of Latin is of no importance in doing medieval philosophy. I'm amazed you've tolerated reading through at least 180pp of that work, Lee.
V

Michael said...

The first quote seems fine. Men make statues, statues are matter-form composites, ergo, etc. The second quote is bizarre and nonsensical.

Anonymous: "Next we'll be told that having a command of Latin is of no importance in doing medieval philosophy."

You're just trying to make us angry! At least, I hope that claim isn't true, since I've read literally (or strictly, but not figuratively) thousands of pages of Latin, for which there are no translations available, for my dissertation. If I don't need to know my Latin I've wasted a *lot* of time.

Lee Faber said...

the first quote particularly incensed the thomists, though I didn't notice it as any stranger than anything else in the chapter the first tiime i read it.

It's for a thomistic reading group that also involves free pizza and a free copy of the book.

Anonymous said...

So do you go for the book and stay for the pizza, or vice versa?
-V

Anonimae said...

Dr. Faber,

"Hmm...so humans make form and matter?"

I believe you might very well be in error with respect to your particular reading of the submitted quote:

"That is, God not only makes composites of matter and form, as any craftsman or inventor does, but he also creates the formless matter that underlies the forms of any material object."

I believe (and, certainly, I am open to correction by my betters here and most assuredly yourself) the quote was saying that God "makes composites of matter and form" like "any craftsman or inventor does"; yet, in addition, he [God] "creates the formless matter" as well "that underlies the forms of any material object".

Lee Faber said...

anonymae,
sure, that's what I thought the first time I read it. The actual post was giving the reaction of the other thomists in the group.