Issue 138

Year 58 | 2009 Articles Virtue and Being according to Thomas Aquinas Martín Federico Echavarría Does God Play Dice? An Answer to the Neo-Darwinist Mechanicism From the Aristotelic-Thomistic Teleology Enrique Martínez Leo Strauss’s critique of positivism Weberian...

In memoriam Francisco Canals

On February 7, 2009, Professor Francisco Canals, member emeritus of the Pontifical Academy of Santo Tomás, died in Barcelona after a long and fruitful life dedicated to study and teaching, mainly of the thought of the Common Doctor of the Church.

Moral dynamics and the human condition

About the document of the International Theological Commission, “In search of a universal practice. New look on the natural law “. By extension, we observe that we have no other pretension than that of a first contact with a document that is destined to have a great repercussion in the reflection on the moral nature of our human existence.

Natural law and moral reason

The Encyclical “Humanae vitae” establishes on a definitive way the position of the Roman Church with regard to two essential concepts: ‘conjugal love’ and “responsible parenthood”. The foundation of these concepts is the natural law. It is not an external imposed code, but it is in every man’s nature, and every man is able to know it to some extent, as evidenced by the spontaneous moral sense of everybody, for instance, in the immediate conscience of a determined case of injustice. It is not a feature added to human behavior, but its essential quality and therefore unavoidable.

Charles Taylor’s authenticity as dialectic and plural freedom

In “Sources of the Self ” (1989), C. Taylor explains the human identity as something that we cannot construct in a solipsistic way. In “The Malaise of Modernity” (1991), he describes the authenticity as a freedom that we cannot reduce to self-determined freedom. We should take account of the “horizons of meaning” and of its “dialogic” component. F. Botturi, in “L’ontologia dialettica della Libertà” (2003), makes a theoretical exercise and tries to articulate dialectically the different dimensions of the freedom: “autodeterminazione”, “autorealizzazione” and “relazione”. In this article, we want to cooperate in the theoretical articulation of the “authenticity” understood as “dialectic” and “plural freedom”. We also want to understand what was Taylor talking about when he made a call for the “lotta continua”, in the chapter VII of The “Malaise of Modernity”.

The depersonalization

The sociological theory, from its origins, has been dealing with how to define its own object of study. From the begining two great tendencies appeared to affirm this problem. One of them asserted how men didn’t exist, the other one tried to prove how society didn’t exist as well. Both had the negation of natural society in commmon; both had already minimized the concept of person. The sociological theory had to reinterpret the concepts of rationality and freedom, as well as negation and a proporsal of a very different reality

Leo Strauss’s critique of positivism Weberian

Does moral blindness, unavoidable according to positivist scientist analysis, lead to nihilism? When Max Weber tries to defend, for instance, the per se value of intellectual honesty, he is falling in an inconsistency: he tangles himself in the critical moment that led Thrasymachus to his fall, knocked down by Socrates, in the first book of Plato’s Republic. Leo Strauss warned about this danger of falling into nihilism as the underlying fate of the modern social sciences. Does the principle of value-neutrality lead in practice to a vague indifference? Were this true, social science would actually turn into a mere instrument of domination serving to a certain established social order, unable to call, for instance, tyranny by its own name.

Does God Play Dice? An Answer to the Neo-Darwinist Mechanicism From the Aristotelic-Thomistic Teleology

The argument that pretends to deny the existence of God has been recently articulated on the Nietzschean assumption that “the world’s global nature is chaos for the entire eternity”, as we can see, for instance, in the Neo-Darwinist mechanicism of Richard Dawkins. This paper seeks to find an answer to this issue from the Aristotelian- Thomistic teleology. According to this perspective, acknowledging the order in a contingent universe allows us to recognise the existence of a Creator God, who, in Aquinas’ words, “produced many and diverse creatures, that what was wanting to one in the representation of the divine goodness might be supplied by another” (S.Th. I, q.47, a.1 in c.)

Virtue and Being according to Thomas Aquinas

The word “virtue” is usually associated with the domain of the moral virtues, or with other dispositions that belong to the first species of quality. However there is a broader use of the concept of
virtue in Aquinas´ work. Virtue can be regarded as pure perfection, which is fully realized in God, “Virtus virtutum”. For the correct understanding of this doctrine it is highlighted the difference between “dimensional quantity” and “virtual quantity”. Saint Thomas not only identifies in God virtue with being but also he understands being in some way through the concept of virtue: God is the being according to all the power of being. The concept of “virtus essendi” is capital to understand Aquinas’ metaphysics of participation. While God is the being according to all the power of being, in creatures whose “essentia” differs from “esse”, being is found with a certain measure or mode and not according to all its power. Hence the need for the creature to complete the likeness of God, in whom being, essence and virtue are identical, through accidental determinations added to its substance. God is Goodness “per essentiam” because in Him being and virtue are identical. The creature is good by participation,
because being is not in it according to all its virtue. That’s why the perfection of substantial being (“esse simpliciter”) is completed by the perfection added by accidents, which intensify the perfection of the finite “virtus essendi”.