Summaries & Keywords

STUDIA GILSONIANA » Issues » 2016 » 5:1 (January-March 2016) » Summaries & Keywords

Miguel Ángel Belmonte, “Auctoritas and Ratio in Saint Augustine and Newman,” Studia Gilsoniana 5:1 (January-March 2016): 17-31:

SUMMARY: This article seeks to demonstrate the influence of Saint Augustine’s thought on the work of John Henry Newman, especially on the doctrine aimed at clarifying the relations between the act of faith and the other operations of the intellect. To this end, the concepts of auctoritas and ratio are presented as they appear in De vera religione. Subsequently, certain passages in Newman’s work are discussed in which the ascendancy of this doctrine is clear, particularly as regards the subject of doubt and that of the conscience. Finally, a comparison is established between the overall thought of both authors.

KEYWORDS: auctoritas, ratio, reason, truth, faith, religion, God, conscience, Augustine of Hippo, John Henry Newman.


Robert A. Delfino, “Redpath on the Nature of Philosophy,” Studia Gilsoniana 5:1 (January-March 2016): 33-53:

SUMMARY: In this article the author discusses Peter A. Redpath’s understanding of the nature of philosophy and his account of how erroneous understandings of philosophy have led to the decline of the West and to the separation of philosophy from modern science and modern science from wisdom. Following Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas, Redpath argues that philosophy is a sense realism because it begins in wonder about real things known through the senses. Philosophy presupposes pre-philosophical knowledge, common sense, which consists of principles rooted in sensation that make human experience, sense wonder, and philosophy possible. Philosophy is certain knowledge demonstrated through causes and thus philosophy is the same as science. Redpath understands science as a habit that we acquire through repeated practice. More precisely, a scientific habit is a simple quality of the intellect that enables us to demonstrate (prove) the necessary properties of a genus through their causes or principles. In this way, science is the study of the one and the many. Redpath argues that metaphysics is the final cause of the arts and sciences, providing the foundation for all of the arts and sciences and justifying their principles. Finally, he argues that with modernity’s loss of belief in God and its rejection of metaphysics as a science, utopian socialism has become an historical/political substitute for metaphysics.

KEYWORDS: Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Peter Redpath, Armand Maurer, philosophy, science, modern science, theoretical science, practical science, wisdom, wonder, fear, hope, first principle, sense realism, common sense, faculty psychology, problem of the one and the many, cause, universals, abstraction, formal object, method, demonstration, experimentation, aim, virtue, vice, happiness, habit, substance, genus, proximate subject, necessary properties, per se effects, incidental properties, accidents, existence, metaphysics, mathematics, natural philosophy, geometry, biology, medicine, logic, nominalism, William of Ockham, René Descartes, idealism, system, universal doubt, utopian socialism, decline of the West.


Curtis L. Hancock, “Peter Redpath’s Philosophy of History,” Studia Gilsoniana 5:1 (January-March 2016): 55-93:

SUMMARY: Peter Redpath is a distinguished historian of philosophy. He believes that the best way to acquire a philosophical education is through the study of philosophy’s history. Because he is convinced that ideas have consequences, he holds that the history of philosophy illuminates important events in history. Philosophy is a necessary condition for sound education, which, in turn, is a necessary condition for cultural and political leadership. Hence, the way educators and leaders shape culture reflects the effects of philosophy on culture. In light of this background, it is possible to discern in Redpath’s account of the history of philosophy a corresponding philosophy of history. This emerges as he explains how philosophers have produced changes in thinking that have profound consequences for the culture at large. Some of these changes, many of them significant, have been positive, but others have been disastrous. Much of Redpath’s philosophy of history diagnoses what went wrong in the history of philosophy so as to indicate why modern culture suffers considerable disorder. The good news is that Redpath’s philosophy of history prescribes ways to correct Western Civilization’s current malaise.

KEYWORDS: Peter Redpath, history, philosophy, education, culture, politics, leadership, Western Civilization, Christendom, poetry, sophistry, science, wisdom, theology, liberal arts, Thomas Aquinas, metaphysics, Petrarch, humanism, nominalism, Descartes, Rousseau, Averroes, Christian philosophy.


Rafał A. Lizut, “On the Relation Between Human and Technology,” Studia Gilsoniana 5:1 (January-March 2016): 95-108:

SUMMARY: According to the author, we live in the world which requires us to better understand the relationship between humans and technology, and especially technological artifacts. The author claims that this relationship, at least partially, can be explained in the framework of philosophy cultivated by the Lublin School of Philosophy represented by Mieczysław A. Krąpiec and his concepts of two intentionalites. However, in order to do justice to the human-artifact relationship two concepts of intentionality as elaborated by Krąpiec seem to be insufficient. The author then proposes to supplement Krąpiec’s concepts of the first intentionality present in the maker’s design and the second intentionality present in the artifact as an embodiment of that design with a concept of the third intentionality which is the inventive contribution of a user.

KEYWORDS: man, technology, aim, function, morality, value, intentionality, artifact, Krąpiec, Lublin School of Philosophy.


Eric McLuhan, “St. Thomas Aquinas, Dramatist?,” Studia Gilsoniana 5:1 (January-March 2016): 109-133:

SUMMARY: The article begins with the statement that there is one aspect of St Thomas’s work that has not received due scrutiny as a literary form, one with solid dramatic qualities and structure: the Article. The Article is as Thomistic as the syllogism is Aristotelian. This particular mode of argument was evidently original with St. Thomas: he did not derive it from the work of any other writer, yet its inner movement is of the essence of dialectic, from the opening proposition to opposing objections, then “to the contrary” position as found in orthodoxy, and then the writer’s resolution, and so on. It is a variation on the classic sic-et-non, a reasonable, balanced to and fro of the sort beloved by disputants. No parallel or even parody of this Article is to be found in any known literature before or since the thirteenth century. The author aims to show that part of the sheer power of the Article resides in the fact that it has two levels of operation. The surface is composed of the dialectical to-and-fro adumbrated above. But under that surface lies a rhetorical structure constructed along the lines of the five divisions of the rhetorical logos as laid out by Cicero and Horace.

KEYWORDS: St. Thomas Aquinas, article, rhetoric, invention, disposition, elocution, memory, delivery.


A. William McVey, “A Spiritual Philosophy of Recovery: Aquinas and Alcoholics Anonymous,” Studia Gilsoniana 5:1 (January-March 2016): 135-162:

SUMMARY: The article is an attempt to formulate a Thomistic spiritual philosophy of recovery. The author faces two issues. One, what do recovering alcoholics mean when they say: “I am spiritual, but not religious?” He comes to the conclusion that it means recovering alcoholics are experiencing spiritual healing in their willingness to trust a loving God who has performed a miracle of recovery from alcoholism in their life. As a result of this experience, they are prepared to live a life of virtuous habit. Two, recovering alcoholics have discovered a spiritual second nature of moral character. The author explains why there are many in A.A. who discover that as God comes into their life and they turn to the path of virtue they rediscover religious worship and devotion is essential to the one day at a time journey.

KEYWORDS: alcoholism, anonymous alcoholic, A.A., spirituality, religion, morality, virtue, recovery, God, philosophy, Aquinas, nature, prudence, miracle.


Thomas A. Michaud, “The Missing Person in Catholic Spirituality,” Studia Gilsoniana 5:1 (January-March 2016): 163-177:

SUMMARY: Peter Redpath and Gabriel Marcel warn that the West is engulfed in a crisis. From their various philosophical perspectives, they identify the source of the crisis as a distortion of traditional Christian metaphysics of the human person as a free individual capable of pursuing truth and entering into relations of community with others. The distortion is caused by an abstract humanism that rightly denounces individualism, but as an alternative promotes a socialistic collectivism. This essay argues that this distortion is further causing the emergence of a collectivist spirituality which loses the individual, free human person. This spirituality is shown to be particularly manifest in various Catholic approaches to socioeconomics and environmentalism.

KEYWORDS: Peter Redpath, Gabriel Marcel, West, crisis, Christianity, metaphysics, person, society, humanism, individualism, collectivism, spirituality, culture, socioeconomics, environmentalism.


Melina G. Mouzala, “Διαλεκτική, Δραματουργία, και Αυτογνωσία στον Χαρμίδη του Πλάτωνος [Dialectic, Drama and Self-Knowledge in Plato’s Charmides],” Studia Gilsoniana 5:1 (January-March 2016): 179-194:

SUMMARY: Charmides is a dialogue highly indicative of the importance that the prologues to Plato’s works have for our understanding of the whole spirit and philosophical content of each dialogue as a whole. It is representative of the Platonic tendency to always combine philosophical content with dramatic form through narrative and drama, in order to enhance the reader’s and audience’s insight into the inquiries of his philosophical work. Following this line of presentation, the prologue of Charmides prefigures the understanding of the central themes of the dialogue; focusing on the depiction of Socrates as a therapist and of Dialectic as a therapy or a kind of remedy, which through the process of dialectical engagement and interaction reestablishes the relation of each interlocutor to his own self.

The narrative about the Thracian doctors of the king and god Zalmoxis and their special medical knowledge, foreshadows the major philosophical issues which are examined in the sequence of the dialogue. Socrates’ reference to the good doctors and his criticism of the Greek doctors who ignore the whole that needs to be cured, reveals the central demand for the psychosomatic unity of man and the priority of the healing of the soul over the healing of the body. The holistic Zalmoxian medicine and theory of health corresponds to the first step of the Socratic Dialectic. Through the narrative about the Thracian doctors of Zalmoxis, Socratic-Platonic Dialectic has already begun to evolve, following a movement with clearly defined direction, namely from the part to the whole, where the part denotes and signifies the body and the whole denotes the psychosomatic unity of the human being. Sōphrosunē is already involved in this narrative since the incantations invoked by Socrates, which are identified with the “beautiful speeches,” induce sōphrosunē on which the well being of the soul depends. This raises the question as to whether these doctors apply medical knowledge which has a specified epistemological content, or knowledge equipped with a universal character—in the sense of being also prior to all other kinds of knowledge—which transcends the usual confines of the medical art.

Charmides is invited by Socrates to look deep within himself in order to discover if he possesses sōphrosunē, and what sōphrosunē really is. That’s what Charmides is doing by formulating his first two definitions of sōphrosunē. Dialectic now follows a movement from without to within. Charmides’ first and second definitions reflect the social status to which he belongs, the corresponding behavior, and the inner psychic qualities (e.g., youthful shyness) of a person or persona who represents the system of values surrounding traditional virtue and the aristocratic conception of the ideal of “kalos kagathos.” It is probable that the dramatic time of the dialogue, which coincided with the outbreak of the Peloponnesian war, was associated with a criticism of the traditional view and model of virtue.

When sōphrosunē is defined as “doing one’s own things,” Dialectic still has the tendency to move from without inwards, but this movement now is implemented in the field of praxis (action). Platonic Dialectic uses the device of change of interlocutor in order to signify the transition to a more demanding level of inquiry and thought. This definition of sōphrosunē, “doing one’s own things,” on the basis of a proleptic reading, stimulates us to trace the relation between sōphrosunē in Charmides and dikaiosunē (justice) in the Republic. What is important in the Socratic elenchus of this definition is that it highlights the connection between prattein (doing) and pratteintagatha (doing the good), between prattein and works (erga), and between the beneficial and the good. It is clarified that only the makings of good things are praxeis (doings) and that what is of harm must be avoided as “alien.” The definition of sōphrosunē as “doing good things” re-orientates Dialectic, which now starts moving from praxis to theōria, because “doing good things” presupposes knowing what is good. But if agathon (good) is what is kindred to oneself and one’s own, doing good things, or doing simpliciter, i.e., praxis, presupposes self-knowledge. Any practitioner of good must be a self-knowing agent.

The Apollonian ideal of self-knowledge (know thyself) is construed as a “greeting” of the god to worshipers who enter the temple, not as a moral counsel or as a piece of advice. This distinction implies the difference between a knowledge conveyed from without and a knowledge discovered by insightful inner search of one’s self. Within the passages 165c to 175a, sōphrosunē is presented and examined as “the knowledge of what one knows and what one does not know.” It has been claimed that in this part of the dialogue, the Socratic model of self-knowledge is subjected by Plato to the Socratic elenchus, where he attempts to make a criticism of it.

I believe that this section of the dialogue is an extended excursus, aimed towards introducing and examining a model of self-knowledge different from that of Socrates, Critias’ model of self-knowledge. This model of self-knowledge poses a whole series of philosophical problems; the relation between the subject and the object of knowledge, the possibility of their identification or the distinction between them, the possibility of the existence of an internal and external object of knowledge, the relation of this model of self-knowledge with other kinds or domains of knowledge, and the question whether external knowledge or knowledge of other knowledges is a constituent of knowledge of knowledge. The question of the possibility of knowledge of knowledge is not definitely rejected, especially if we consider that in all of this discussion there is a hint towards the way in which philosophy works and relates to other kinds of knowledge.

I believe, however, that in the last part of the dialogue, where the knowledge of good and bad emerges, Plato again meets Socrates and becomes reconciled with him. The only knowledge that is useful and beneficial is knowledge of good and bad. In this way Plato chooses to put forward a self-conscious model of self-knowledge, which does not presuppose, as Critias’ model does, the critical examination of knowledge or the critical distance from knowledge. This self-conscious model of self-knowledge is connected with the knowledge of good and bad. On the one hand doing of good presupposes knowledge of good and bad and on the other, “doing one’s own things” presupposes self-knowledge. The possibility of knowing good and bad is ensured by each person, either through looking deep within himself or by orientating towards the Idea of the Good itself.

KEYWORDS: dialectic, drama, self-knowledge, Plato, Charmides, Socrates.


Corina Yoris-Villasana, “A Need for Dialogue to Develop Tolerance,” Studia Gilsoniana 5:1 (January-March 2016): 195-204:

SUMMARY: The authoress claims that civic education must be grounded in a deep sense of belonging, which, in turn, involves values such as freedom, equality, civility, justice, pluralism and, above all, ensures the development of dialogue and tolerance in the individual, dialogue and tolerance which are essential attributes of a democratic attitude. Tolerance and dialogue are the pivots of citizenship in a society which is to function peacefully. She concludes that by developing these values individuals can better participate in the pursuit of social ideals.

KEYWORDS: tolerance, dialogue, values, society, education, citizenship.


Piotr Jaroszyński, “What Is Europe? The Greek Beginnings,” Studia Gilsoniana 5:1 (January-March 2016): 205-215:

SUMMARY: The article begins with the statement that there are three concepts of Europe historically significant. The first concept of Europe looms out in the context of the clash between the ancient Greeks and the Persians, the second one is induced by Christianity and Islam meeting head-on whereas the third concept results from the European civilization confronting the cultures of the newly discovered peoples inhabiting other continents. It is just in the context of the indicated clashes that the concept of Europe is shaped as a phenomenon diversified not only geographically but also in terms of civilization as regards other cultures or civilizations. The article then concerns with the concept of Europeanism which in the cultural sense was crystallized in Greece at the turn of the fifth and fourth centuries before Christ. It emerged on the background of the opposition between the Greeks and Asians as well as other peoples, which were referred to as barbarians by the Greeks. The article concludes that it was culture and freedom which constituted two arms of Europeanness shaped by the ancient Greeks.

KEYWORDS: Europe, Greece, Persia, culture, civilization, freedom, barbarian.


Andrzej Maryniarczyk, S.D.B., “Philosophical Creationism: Thomas Aquinas’ Metaphysics of Creatio ex Nihilo,” Studia Gilsoniana 5:1 (January-March 2016): 217-268:

SUMMARY: All philosophers, beginning with the pre-Socratics, through Plato and Aristotle, and up to Thomas Aquinas, accepted as a certain that the world as a whole existed eternally. The foundation for the eternity of the world was the indestructible and eternal primal building material of the world, a material that existed in the form of primordial material elements (the Ionians), in the form of ideas (Plato), or in the form of matter, eternal motion, and the first heavens (Aristotle).

The article outlines the main structure of the philosophical theory of creation ex nihilo developed by St. Thomas Aquinas and indebted to his metaphysical thought. It shows the wisdom-based and ratiocinative foundation of the rational cognition of reality—reality that comes from the personal creative act of God. It concludes that the perception that the beings called to existence by the personal act of God the Creator are intelligible is the ultimate rational justification for the fact that our human cognition, love, and spiritual creativity are rational.

KEYWORDS: creatio ex nihilo, Thomas Aquinas, philosophical creationism, creationism, creation, God, production, universe, world.


Fr. Paweł Tarasiewicz, “Recovering Philosophy as the Love of Wisdom: A Contribution of St. John Paul II,” Studia Gilsoniana 5:1 (January-March 2016): 269-281:

SUMMARY: The article aims at demonstrating that, by his teaching on human person and his action, St. John Paul II (also known as Karol Wojtyła) implicitly contributed to a resolution of the most serious problem of contemporary philosophy, which consists in separating wisdom from love and substituting wisdom with understanding or knowledge. The author concludes that John Paul II makes a persuasive contribution to recover philosophy as the love of wisdom by (1) identifying truth in the area of freedom, self-fulfillment and conscience, and (2) appealing to man’s honesty and happiness.

KEYWORDS: person, action, John Paul II, Karol Wojtyła, philosophy, wisdom, love, freedom, self-fulfillment, conscience, honesty, happiness.


Zofia J. Zdybicka, U.S.J.K., “Human Experience: A Ground for the Affirmation of God,” trans. Fr. Artur Wojtowicz, Studia Gilsoniana 5:1 (January-March 2016): 283-296:

SUMMARY: The authoress claims that the experience of the man’s own existence is genetically earlier than all other types of cognition. It can be called the man’s primordial, basic, radical, fundamental experience: the experience of human existence immersed in the world. It constitutes a foundation and place wherein the problem of God arises in the most natural and spontaneous way, and where the very roots of the problem are to be sought. She emphasizes that it is extremely important that the affirmation of the man’s existence is achieved along with cognitional contact with extra-subjective reality whose affirmation allows for man to more deeply penetrate the affirmation of his own existence, to know his existence as connected with other personal and non-personal beings—and ultimately connected with the existence of a higher and stronger reality, the reality of God. These are not man’s impressions or desires, but facts stated by man. The authoress concludes that it is human experience which reveals man as a correlate of a higher, stronger and transcendent reality. Man thus turns out to be a religious being—homo religiosus.

KEYWORDS: experience, existence, cognition, world, God, affirmation, reality, person, transcendence, man, religious being, homo religiosus.