I was trained as an analytic philosopher, and was an atheist for many of my undergraduate years and all through graduate school. But I was drawn to take Aristotelian ideas seriously, in large part thanks to Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue. Furthermore, while teaching introductory courses as a grad student, I got bored doing the standard shtick when covering Aquinas’s Five Ways—lining them up and shooting them down with the stock objections. So I decided to make things more interesting by trying to help myself and the students understand why anyone would ever have taken these arguments seriously. As a result, I got into the Thomistic literature while preparing lectures, and the deeper I got into it the clearer it became that the usual objections philosophers raise against Aquinas’s arguments are just laughably bad, completely missing the point and aimed at straw men. I started to see that, when read against the broader Aristotelian metaphysical background in the context of which they were first developed, the arguments made perfect sense and were hard to dismiss.
Friday, June 30, 2017
Taking Aquinas Seriously | Edward Feser | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)