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IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 1221: Language and Apophaticism in 13th- and 14th-Century Theology

Wednesday 8 July 2020, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Cary J. Nederman, Department of Political Science, Texas A&M University, College Station
Paper 1221-aFaith and Reason: Revisiting the Five Ways of Thomas Aquinas
(Language: English)
Inês Bolinhas, Faculdade de Ciências Humanas, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Lisboa
Index terms: Philosophy, Sermons and Preaching, Theology
Paper 1221-bThe Apophatic Theology of Bonaventure
(Language: English)
Christopher M. Cullen, Department of Philosophy, Fordham University
Index terms: Philosophy, Theology
Paper 1221-cOckham on the Division of Linguistic Labour
(Language: English)
Martin Lenz, Afdeling Geschiedenis, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Index terms: Anthropology, Philosophy, Science, Theology

Paper -a:
God is the very centre of Aquinas' speculation. But who is God for him? The widely known five ways, in which the philosopher aims to demonstrate God's existence, all have several influences, including Aristotle. Would it be fair to say that the God which existence is concluded in the five ways is exactly the same First Unmoved Mover and First Act that was affirmed by Aristotle? Or is there a border? We defend that there is. Moreover, we also highlight that the God of Thomas, the scholar, is undoubtedly the God of Thomas, the Dominican friar. There is no contradiction between the God received by faith and the God found by reason.

Paper -b:
The Fourth Lateran Council's 'dissimilarity doctrine' set definite limits to any attempt at natural theology. The purpose of this paper is to examine Bonaventure's reception of this doctrine by tracing the ways in which he remains faithful to Lateran IV's declaration insofar as God is beyond any genus of thought or predication. Along this line he develops an apophatic theology. Nevertheless, Bonaventure balances this apophaticism by a robust natural theology in which God can still be known through the created world - through a glass darkly.

Paper -c:
One fascinating feature of language is that it enables us to talk about things that we have no clue about. Although I have never seen a dinosaur, I can talk about dinosaurs. This feature is owing to what Putnam called the 'division of linguistic labour.' This social understanding of language is often portrayed as a modern idea. However, building on recent work by Sonja Schierbaum and Claude Panaccio, I shall argue that this view dates back at least to Ockham. After presenting the standard Aristotelian semantics, I will zoom in on Ockham’s reinterpretation of Aristotle and conclude by presenting the social dimension inherent in this reinterpretation.