IMC 2012: Sessions

Session 1533: Thomas Aquinas and His Medieval Reception

Thursday 12 July 2012, 09.00-10.30

Moderator/Chair:Alexander Baumgarten, Catedra de Istoria Filosofiei Antice şi Medievale, Universitatea Babeş-Bolyai, Cluj-Napoca
Paper 1533-aAquinas on Rules and Virtues
(Language: English)
Jeffrey Hause, Department of Philosophy, Creighton University, Nebraska
Index terms: Philosophy, Theology
Paper 1533-bPeter Olivi as Critic of Thomas Aquinas on the Will
(Language: English)
Dominic Whitehouse, Institut für Historische Theologie, Universität Wien
Index terms: Anthropology, Philosophy
Paper 1533-cPossible New Echoes Today of Thomas Aquinas' Contribution to the Medieval Terminological Specialisation
(Language: English)
Wilhelm Tauwinkl, Universitatea Babeş-Bolyai, Cluj-Napoca

Paper -a:
According to Thomas Aquinas, reason gives human beings access to the fundamental rules of morality that constitute a system of natural law. However, these fundamental rules are vague and general, and therefore useless, unless we can interpret them well and apply them with both acuity and creativity. These are tasks we cannot consistently carry out without moral virtue. Hence, moral virtue is crucial not simply as an instrument that inclines us to follow the relevant moral rules; it also enables us to deepen our understanding of the rules and to apply them ingeniously.

Paper -b:
Despite the far greater attention that has been paid to the writings of the Franciscan thinker, Peter of John Olivi (1248/49-1298) since the groundbreaking studies of the American historian, David Burr, in the 1970s, much research still remains to be done. This applies even that have been relatively well covered by scholars, such as Olivi’s ideas upon freedom and the pre-eminence of the will. My intent in this paper will be to focus far more narrowly upon the allusions to the texts of Thomas Aquinas that Olivi makes in the questions in ‘Quaestiones in secundum librum sententiarum’ that he devotes primarily to the faculty of the will; in particular questions LVI through to LVIX. Through a close study of intertextual relationships between the writings of Olivi and Aquinas on the will, I will divide the allusions that I identify into three categories: 1. those that are, or are in all likelihood, critical allusions to Aquinas’s writings; 2. those that are rather to other thinkers that have made Aristotle the ground of their philosophies; 3. Those that could be either/or or both. In following this procedure, I will show firstly the truly crucial points where Olivi’s philosophy of the will diverges from that of Aquinas; secondly, the attentiveness with which Olivi read Aquinas and entered into critical dialogue with him; and thirdly, the inflections within allusions that point to an intertextual debate that had already taken form a good time before the Condemnations of 1277 while Olivi was still living in the intellectual milieu of the Franciscan ‘studium generale’ and the University of Paris.

Paper -c:
The works of Thomas Aquinas contributed to the philosophical and theological specialisation of many common terms of classical Latin; at the same time, the emerging European languages adopted the medieval Latin terms already with their new meaning. When Thomas Aquinas is today translated for the first time in a contemporary language, the latter can no longer be conformed to Latin as it happened in the Middle Ages.
However, in a contemporary language, which already has a history of development, it is still possible to orient common terms into philosophical (and theological) specialisation. By way of several examples, we will raise the question whether a step of this kind – which could be common in the work of a thinker proposing a new theory – is legitimate when founded on the translation of a medieval work, and also assess the consequences this might have on the philosophical language.