Die Thomistiese antropologie en kenteorie
? Kritiese waardering
This article investigates and questions the anthropology and epistemology of the famous Medieval theologian-philosopher, Thomas Aquinas (1224/25-1274) as explained in his Summa Contra Gentiles. The doctor angelicus was a very influential thinker – not only in Catholic circles, but also in Reformed scholastic theology (±1550-1700) and afterwards up to its present revival in our time. His ideas even partly influenced the founders of a Reformational philosophy in the thirties of the previous century.
This investigation is a follow-up on three previous research articles, which discussed Aquinas’ basic direction of thought (synthesis philosophy), his idea of law, as well as the cluster of ideas comprising his ontology or view of reality (God and cosmos). From the present (fourth) contribution in the series it becomes evident how his ontology determined his anthropology, and how his anthropological views in turn influenced his epistemology. Special attention is again given to the role of (what the author indicates as) Aquinas’ nomology or view of law (in God, in creation and conceptualised in the human intellect).
The essay develops through the following stages: (1) The origin, composition (of soul and body) of mankind is explained. (2) The nature of the intellective soul (a separate, independent, immortal, supra-temporal substance) is investigated. (3) This is followed by Aquinas’ distinc tion between a practical and speculative intellect. (4) The speculative intellect, through a long and complicated process, finally arrives at scientific knowledge of the form, essence or law of a thing. In this way cor respondence is reached between what is known outside the mind and its logical duplicate in the human intellect. (5) Apart from this natural, rational knowledge of the cosmos, Aquinas, as a Christian thinker, also accepted faith as a means to acquire knowledge of the supernatural world.
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