Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mind, Metaphysics, and Value

I recently acquired a book edited by John Haldane called Mind, Metaphysics, and Value in the Thomistic and Analytical Traditions at the Notre Dame $5 booksale. I thought I would post controversial quotes from the volume from time to time, to generate combox controversy/discussion. Here's one to start out:

Fergus Kerr, "Aquinas after Wittgenstein," p. 1

Anthony Kenny once suggested that 'the points on which Aquinas differed from his medieval critics are precisely the points on which Wittegenstein, in his later philosophical writing, was at variance with positivist thought.' On several important issues, 'Aquinas was opposed by Scotus in a way remarkably similar to the way in which Wittgenstein was opposed to the positivists'.


...there are, on the other hand, four topics about which Aquinas and Wittgenstein may be regarded as being on the same side against Scotists and logical positivists respectively. Aquinas favoured analogy, Scotus believed in univocity. Wittgenstein deployed 'family likeness' over against verificationism. Scotus misunderstood Aristotelian hylomorphism; Wittgenstein mocked logical atomism. For Scotus the mind had direct knowledge of particulars; Wittgenstein attacked the notion of the primacy of ostensive definition. Finally, for Aquinas intellectual knowledge was an active process, whereas Scotus regarded it as receptive, like sense-perception; logical-positivist epistemology made a similar mistake, while Wittgenstein strove to elimante sense-datum theories.


awatkins69 said...

Not sure how verificationism has anything to do at all with univocity of being, and thus I do not see how Wittgenstein's rejection of the former has anything to do with Aquinas's contradicting the latter. Similarly with hylomorphism and logical atomism; knowledge of particulars and ostensive definition; etc.

What are the connections supposed to be? Maybe I am just being dull here.

Michael Sullivan said...

I agree, if there's a case to made these quotes aren't making it.

And this: "Finally, for Aquinas intellectual knowledge was an active process, whereas Scotus regarded it as receptive, like sense-perception" is, I think, simply false.

Lee Faber said...

The Scotus quotes are part of the foil at the beginning. The article is actually about Kenny's thoughts on Aquinas and Wittgenstein. Most of the rest of the essay is about how we don't have access to our own thoughts (ie to the thomistic cognitive apparatus of species, etc., or introspection), epistemological privacy, and how Aquinas was really a theologian and so couldn't go all the way with Wittgenstein.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am from Australia.
Please find a set of references which provide a completely different Illuminated Understanding of Reality.
The first begins with a reference to the work of Wittgenstein but provides a set of resources that begin where Wittgenstein inevitably got stuck.

Anonymous said...

Note the new warning on the website concerning this book:

"Editor and Publisher’s Note: Parts of chapter 12, “Practical Reason and the Orders of Morals and Nature in Aquinas’s Theory of the Lex Naturae” by M. F. W. Stone, in the volume Mind, Metaphysics, and Value in the Thomistic and Analytical Traditions, ed. John Haldane (University of Notre Dame Press, 2002), have been subject to claims of plagiarism. The editor and publisher as a result cannot stand behind the noted material as originally contained in this volume. Interested readers can find original source material in Carlos Steele, “Natural Ends and Moral Ends According to Thomas Aquinas,” in Finalit√© et intentionnalit√©: Doctrine Thomiste et perspectives modernes, ed. J. Follon and J. McEvoy (Paris: J. Vrin, and Leuven: Peeters, 1992)."