Thomist Schools FAQ
This FAQ is an attempt to facilitate communication amongst the subscribers of
the firstname.lastname@example.org list.
Thomistic philosophy is not as unified as it may seem to outsiders. Various
schools of thought (or lines of thought, if you will) have developed since the
19th century amongst Thomistic philosophers. Many Thomistic philosophers don't
fall neetly into any one school in all of their views, however most do take
sides on any one view.
If you'd like to contribute something to this FAQ or make any editorial
comments to help enhance this FAQ you are welcome to join us in our discussion
of Aquinas and
post your contributions or comments. (I especially would like some help with the
areas listed as ????)
Roman/Thomism of the Strict Observance
Represented byR. Garrigou-Lagrange, C. Boyer, J. Gredt, many others.
Characteristic positionsMakes use of act/potency distinction as
foundation for metaphysics, acceptance of 24 Thomistic Theses. Aristotelian
approach, gives priority to metaphysics over physics or indeed any other
science. Emphasis on the Dominican tradition of Commentators, esp. Cajetan, John
of St. Thomas. Emphasis on very tight logical presentation of
philosophical/theological argument and refutation of modern errors rather than
Represented byGilson, Pegis, Phelan, Owens, Knasas and to a lesser
Characteristic positionsFocus of Thomistic metaphysics upon the
individual act of existing, in response to earlier (esp. Suarezian)
essentialism, treating being as though it were another essence. Emphasis on
historical context, exegesis; because of this referred to as Paleo-thomism by
some who hold Roman/Thomism
of the Strict Observance.
Representated byMaritain, obviously, also, Phelan, Eschmann, Evans,
Characteristic positionsSynthesis of Roman/Thomism
of the Strict Observance and Thomistic
Existentialism. Emphasis upon being as the first thing known, intuition of
being, etc. In politics developed personalism, v.s. false humanisms, i.e.
whereas communism + capitalism both focus on one or another aspect of the human
good, integral (i.e. christian) humanism focuses on the good of the person as
Represented byC. De Konick, Weisheipl, Wallace, Ashley.
Characteristic positionsEmphasizes Aristotelian approach, notably
through Thomas' commentaries, v.s. Gilson.
Physics precedes metaphysics. Must prove the existence of immaterial being in
physics before metaphysics can begin.
Represented byGeiger, Fabro, Clarke, Wippel (?).
Characteristic positionsReaction against an overly Aristotelian reading
of Thomas. Emphasis upon the neo-platonic elements in Aquinas' thought. Being of
individuals as a participation in the first being, hence a relational notion of
Represented byPope John Paul II(Karol Wojtyla), Krapiec....
Characteristic positionsSynthesis of modern phenomenology, notably
Husserl with thomistic teaching. Emphasis upon the notion of person, esp. a
relational notion of person. (Personalism)
- Karol Wojtyla - Acting Person
I also need some help/info for the Louvain School, the Transcendental School
and also where to list the following philosophers(or just put them in their own
list): D. Mercier, P. Maréchal, Sertillanges, Y. Congar and M. D. Chenu,
Balthasaar, DeLubac, M.Grabmann, J. Pieper, A. F. Utz, E. Welty, S. Ramírez, F.
Canals,A. Millán, A. Lobato, O. N. Derisi, A. Caturelli, M. F. Sciacca
If you know of other important schools/philosophers that would be helpful
If you'd like some more in-depth background on the development of Thomistic
thought since the 19th century, some excellent reading would be:
- Gerald McCool - Catholic Theology in the Nineteenth Century(1977)
- Gerald McCool - From Unity to Pluralism(1989)
- Gerald McCool - Neo-Thomists(1994)