Classical Western Philosophy Thomas Aquinas Philosophy YouTube Lecture Handouts

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Thomas Aquinas - Essence, Existence, Faith, Reason: Classical Western Philosophy

Title: Classical Western Philosophy Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas

  • Thomas Aquinas was an influential theologian, philosopher, priest, etc.
  • He belonged to the era of medieval Philosophy.
  • Eminent figure in Scholasticism
  • Some of his works; Summa Theologiae, Summa Contra Gentiles, etc.

Faith and Reason

  • According to Aquinas, faith or revelation and reason are not opposed to one another.
  • Faith is undoubtedly higher than reason.
  • For instance, the perfect God, Incarnation of Jesus Christ, the doctrine of the Original Sin, the holy Trinity, etc. are primarily dependent on one՚s faith.
  • They are not opposed to reason.
  • Rather, they are above reason.

He avers, the separation of faith and reason is not ideal.

Essence and Existence

  • Highly influenced by Aristotle.
  • For instance, the concept of Aristotle՚s form and matter. Aquinas relates the concept of essence with forms and the concept of existence with matter.
  • Essences are universals, while existence is particular or individual.

The Concept of God

  • Thomas Aquinas believed in the existence of God.
  • Existence of God requires proof for 2 reasons;
    • Human beings learn via experience.
    • Atheism exists too
  • Being a true Aristotelian, he rejects the ontological argument for the existence of God.
  • In other words, he believed that by merely having an idea of God, God existence cannot be proved.
  • God can only be known via reflection.
  • He gave 5 proofs;
    • Motion Argument
    • Contingency Cause
    • Efficient cause
    • Graded Excellence argument
    • Teleological argument
  • Motion Argument- He is the first un-moved mover.
  • Efficient cause Argument- God is the first efficient cause of everything.
  • Contingency Argument- God alone is permanent being.
  • Graded Excellence Argument- God is the ground for all perfections
  • Teleological Argument- The purpose is designed by him.

MCQs

1. Which among the following is a wrong pair when it comes to the proofs for existence of God given by Thomas Aquinas

A. Teleological & Graded excellence argument

B. Contingency & Ontological argument

C. Motion and Efficient cause argument

D. None of the above.

Answer: B

Explanation: Thomas Aquinas rejects Ontological argument for the existence of God.

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