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This is one heck of an article. Read this back in April in one sitting. This one cuts to the bone. Glad to see it available on line.

The Sad Story of Thomism in America

Florian Michel, La pensée catholique en Amérique du Nord: Réseaux intellectuels et échanges culturels entre l'Europe, le Canada et les Etats-Unis (Desclée de Brouwer Paris, 2010).

Reviewed by Joseph Filipowicz

Quote:See what an evil it is to commit ourselves rashly to our enemies, and to conspirators against us. On this account Christ used to say, "Give not holy things to the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before the swine, lest they turn and rend you."
St. John Chrysostom, Resisting the Temptations of the Devil, Homily III

I have to agree with you that there are practicing Catholics who even seem devout in the eyes of others and are perhaps sincerely convinced, yet are naively serving the enemies of the Church. Into their very homes, under various names, invariably wrongly used — ecumenism, pluralism, democracy — has insinuated itself the worst adversary — ignorance.
St. Josemaria Escrivá


On July 30, 1934, Wallace Filipowicz received a letter from Rev. Wilfrid Parsons, S.J., editor of America: The National Catholic Weekly. Parsons informed Filipowicz, a 21-year old seminarian from St. Mary's of Orchard Lake, Michigan, that there was a potential research project in understanding the neo-scholastics. Until the 1920s, Thomism really only existed in the libraries of religious orders in North America. But, now, Thomism was going public. The term neo-scholastic was simply the term that everyone was using to revivify old-fashioned scholastic philosophy and introduce it to the halls of public discourse in the United States. Parsons ends his letter encouraging the young Filipowicz to study the books of Coppens, Turner, and Poland so that he will be "put on the right path for your studies . . . because philosophy is an essential part of the training for the priesthood."

If we were to guess about the names of the neo-scholastics that Filipowicz asked about or would certainly soon discover, we would probably not be far off the mark if we mentioned Etienne Gilson, Jacques Maritain, and Charles DeKonnick. Florian Michel, author of La pensée catholique en Amérique du Nord, would agree with us. And, his book shows not only the influence of neo-scholastics in America beginning in the 1920s and 1930s, but also the influence that these three men had on intellectual life in North America over the next 35 years.

The book shows how American Catholics, under the leadership of Maritain, Gilson, DeKonnick, and to some degree Yves Simon, embraced Thomism. It also shows the way in which America's leading Catholic intellectual institution rejected Thomism, paving the way for Catholics in the United States to be absorbed by the dominant culture.

The story begins with Etienne Gilson's arrival at Harvard in 1926 as a visiting professor. The French Catholic philosopher's gentlemanly spirit and kindness amused professors Whitehead and Perry. And so, they tolerated him and his ideas with high-minded indifference. Allowing Gilson on their staff was an opportunity for them to show their liberality and largesse, even if they viewed him and his ideas as anti-modern, reactionary and opposed to any future development. After three years, they decided to offer him a permanent position.

Gilson thought deeply about the proposal. He had been almost completely rejected by the French Intellectuals of the 1920s and 1930s, and cultured indifference was better than hostile rejection. To be sure, coming to the United States was like coming to an "intellectual desert," a place lacking a serious intellectual tradition and a deeply rooted Christian culture. Still, tolerant indifference was a step up. It also offered interesting possibilities, for example, building up a Christian culture. And so, this man, who saw himself as being for North America what Alcuin was to Charlemagne's France, balked at the proposal. He rejected the position because at the same time he had received an offer to start an Institute for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto.

Despite thinking that Toronto was a "pur nil," Gilson thought that a nil was a better place to carry out his project than a desert. Alcuin in the 8th Century instituted a curriculum that became the foundation for the great intellectual achievements of the 12th and 13th Centuries. Toronto would be the place where Gilson would plant the seeds of what might become a flourishing intellectual culture in the next few centuries.

From its foundation through 1968, the Medieval Institute produced many good students who laid the foundation for Medieval and Thomistic studies especially at Catholic Universities in America, places like Marquette University and the University of Notre Dame. Toronto also became the conduit for other French Thomists to come to the United States. One such Thomist was Jacques Maritain. In the 1920s and 1930s he had a reputation for being a little combative and flamboyant, but also had a capacity to get himself or his friends an audience with the Pope. And so, as Gilson was having difficulties getting his institute started, an audience with the Pope would prove to be helpful, and calling on his friend to help him made sense.

When Maritain came to North America, he brought a particular attitude with him. He appreciated Gilson, but he held something between a great reserve to a hostility towards the Thomists of Quebec, led by Charles De Konninck. The problem, according to Maritain, is that the world was being led into an agony by the existentialists of France. And right at that very moment, Maritain's personalism told him, liberal democracy was the logical venue for establishing friends in this world. And yet, the intransigent Catholics of France were not directly attacking the existentialists. They were attacking the liberalism, individualism, and neo-pelagianism that were part of liberal democratic cultures. Maritain was "horrified" by this "obscurantist," and "traditionalist" approach. He carried this reserve towards anything that evoked traditionalism with him during his two stays in North America that lasted from the 1930s to the 1960s.

As an aside, Michel observes that not all French Intellectuals were as horrified by De Koninck as Maritain was. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of the The Little Prince came to Laval at De Koninck's invitation. Saint-Exupéry was so enamored with the beauty of his son, Thomas, that Thomas became the "model" for the little prince.

While Maritain could not tolerate Laval, he could tolerate Chicago, and so, in 1933, when Robert Hutchins and Mortimer Adler extended to him the invitation to him to come to Chicago and join them in the good fight, he jumped at the opportunity. Chicago in the 1930s was an early battlefield in what would become the culture wars of the 1960s to our own day. Hutchins sensed it. Adler called it a battleground of a civil war, and Maritain realized it almost as soon as he stepped onto the campus. As Michel describes it, the battle was between those who accepted Metaphysics as a science (Hutchins, Adler and Maritain), and those who did not (John Dewey, and his followers in philosophy and the social sciences). Those who did not called themselves pragmatists. Those who did called themselves Thomists.

Hutchins wanted to reform Chicago, making metaphysics the high point of the curriculum. To be sure, he realized on some level that he was opposing the foundational spirit of the place, as represented by John Dewey, whose philosophy was pragmatic, naturalist, evolutionary, relativist, and utilitarian.

Dewey and his intellectual progeny at Chicago were not the tolerant liberals of the Harvard that Gilson entered in the 1920s. They detested the initiatives of Hutchins and Adler to reinstitute a classical education at the school. And so, Maritain's arrival was like adding fuel to the fire. It is likely that if what began to emerge at Chicago in the 1930s had emerged at Harvard under Gilson, it would have lit a similar fire. Hutchins, after being appointed President of the University, began to plan for the creation of an Aristotelian curriculum in the Humanities with Mortimer Adler as his strong man.

By 1934 Adler was in open confrontation with the likes of Sidney Hook, Professor Shils, and Sociologist and social engineer Louis Wirth over the purpose of education, philosophy, the shape of the University, and the role of the United States in the upcoming war. Wirth thought that the university should do everything in its power to prevent even one Catholic from coming to campus. Thomism was the greatest threat to liberty. As a response to this threat, Wirth and company brought Rudolf Carnap and other members of the Vienna Circle to Chicago in 1935. They brought in Bertrand Russell to the philosophy department. Frank Knight joined in Chicago's anti-Catholic Crusade, eventually publishing: Natural law: Last Refuge of the Bigot. They, along with Professor Perry, saw Maritain as nothing more than an agent of Catholic Propaganda.

MARITAIN'S RESPONSE

And what was Maritain's response to this? He and Yves Simon attempted to engage Wirth, Carnap, Knight, Russell, or Hook in dialogue during the next 20 years but to no avail. Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin did engage in some dialogue with the two neoscholastics later in the 1940s and 1950s. Strauss was by no means ultimately sympathetic to their position, seeing himself as trying to create a modern version of Marsilius of Padua to rival their brand of Thomism, in addition to chiding Catholics for their adherence to the natural law consequences of birth control.

Maritain must have become convinced at Chicago that something like the Hutchins-Adler version of democratic liberalism was destined to prevail in the United States. In fact, it seems that he began to see the United States solely through that lens. His personalism would lead him to see something of the spirit inspiring it. At different points in his career, Maritain saw that pragmatism leads to despair, that it denies intelligence, and that it leads to the disarmament of liberty, but he felt nonetheless that it could work in America if it were freed from British empiricism. Rather than leading him to give up on America, Maritain's experience at Chicago in the 1930s led him to become dedicated to the American cause, which he defined as purifying the pragmatists of their empiricism. In short, Maritain tried to reconcile what by that point had become an un-resolvable contradiction between the principles of the liberalism, as established during the time of the 18th Century and the principles of classical realism. The principles of 18th Century liberalism result in revolution. The two alternatives are mutually incompatible because the principles of classical realism put one on the road to embracing Logos, and the Church that He established.

Michel's book does not flesh out completely the position of Wirth and his colleagues. It was not the focus of the book. This material is available in the archives of the University of Chicago in the form of letters, memos, and notebooks. It would be interesting in a future study to determine to what extent Maritain was aware of the "project" of Wirth and his associates, and how he dealt with it. Of course, the outlines of Wirth's project have been examined and published, and part of their project was to directly attack the Catholic faith, which, in their minds, was, ironically enough, represented in the United States by Polish neighborhoods in Chicago.

The vitriol Wirth and his colleagues harbored against Maritain and what they thought Maritain represented had its source in something other than British Empiricism. Wirth was no longer concerned about the dead Protestant denominations or the bad philosophy that helped rationalize them. He saw them as culturally harmless due to their innumerable divisions and lack of cohesion. Hutchins and Adler, so long as they were not Catholics, could also be dealt with. They were conservatives. They needed liberalism as something to react against. The real problem for Wirth was the Catholics. They were not, simply speaking, a philosophical problem. Catholics lived close to each other in urban centers, in Polish neighborhoods in Chicago. But, even more than that, they were united by the same creed and the same system of morality. They refused to use birth control, and they refused to embrace alternative lifestyles. This made Catholics "suspect."

It does not seem that Maritain was aware of Wirth's deepest concerns, but Maritain was, throughout his career, ambivalent to or indifferent towards the Catholicism as represented by the Polish ethnic neighborhoods of Chicago. He does not seem to have been aware that, as he arrived in Chicago in the 1930s and during his entire time there, Wirth and the members of the Vienna Circle were laying the foundations for what they understood to be the great culture war of the 20th Century, a war that would overwhelm the likes of Maritain and his followers in the later 20th Century.

Maritain did not seem to know that Wirth was part of the psychological warfare establishment in the United States, and that in Wirth's conception of the future of America, all Catholics would be suspect. Wirth was part of the developing science that would use propaganda in newspapers, radio, television, and film to undermine Catholic morals before the likes of Maritain got them to read his philosophical writings. Wirth hoped to get the Catholics to see themselves first and foremost as middle class suburbanites. And then, through advertizing and other media, they would be more susceptible to the dominant ideology of America than any philosophy that Maritain could teach them.

And so, Wirth thought that dialogue with the likes of Maritain was unnecessary. Wirth had probably learned the same lesson that Wilhelm Reich had learned in Vienna around the same time, One could argue with a Catholic girl until one is blue in the face about the existence of God, and she will not budge, but get her to commit an act of self abuse and her belief in God will disintegrate without any debate at all.

Maritain probably did not know that Wirth admired the ethnic cleansing policies of Stalin and the birth control policies of Hitler, thinking that they had used unfortunate means for obtaining proper goals. He probably did not know that Wirth had a deep-seated hatred for Catholics because he lost his first job in New Orleans due to Catholic opposition to Wirth's public speeches promoting birth control. He did not know that while most Protestants in the United States saw Catholics as effectively marginalized, Wirth saw them as the major threat to the proper development of the United States and the world, as the enemies of rational and enlightened man.

Maritain did not know that Wirth would employ assimilation and subversion to disrupt communication between Catholics over time and that the first step in assimilation would be the social engineering of Catholic neighborhoods in American cities, beginning with Chicago in the 1940s. He probably did not know that all of this would be done in the name of encouraging all Americans to adopt "democratic values." This would be the first step in making Catholics into first class cosmopolitans, citizens committed to spreading the American Empire.

Wirth realized that the first step in this process would be detaching Catholics from their ethnic identity and replacing it with a middle class identity. He also hoped to turn the ethnic issue into a racial issue.

Maritain did not know any of this. It seems that few, if any, Catholic intellectuals of the time knew this. Even now, few seem willing to admit it. But, knowing it now allows us to put the rest of Maritain's political project in a new light. Maritain argued from early on and maintained consistently throughout his career that American democracy was worth saving. It descended, he claimed, from the philosophy of St. Thomas himself. And so, while he seemed to be on the opposite side of the metaphysical struggle against Louis Wirth and the members of the Vienna Circle at Chicago in the 1930s, his efforts at political theory played right into their hands.

Wirth saw the ethnic neighborhoods in Chicago as being a microcosm of the various nationalities in Europe: rooted, ethnic, and Catholic. He also saw that just as World War II would allow the occasion for suppressing national identity in Europe, it would also be the occasion for suppressing Catholic ethnic identity in the United States.

At times, both Maritain and his friend Yves Simon seemed to recognize that something was up, but they could never quite put their finger on the problem. In the 1950s, Simon wrote to Maritain that Chicago "was composed of intellectuals without roots, homeless." And although they tried to treat Simon as if he were one of them, he did not think of himself that way. Instead he attributed "an imbecility to the intellectualism here, the myth of culture, that profoundly destroys any sense of life in society. ... Intellectual tongues wag more and more at Chicago, and the implicit intention is to show that the American people are illiterate and that we can only learn from them." Chicago intellectuals, Simon thought, possessed a disdainful irony that itself showed a kind of unintelligence.

Maritain agreed with Simon. He thought Hutchins had intellectual insight and courage, but that the deracinated Germans, Cassirer, Arendt, Carnap, Strauss, Tillich, and Von Hayek had all taken over Chicago and that this could prove to be problematic for those who studied under them. When Maritain had to summarize his time in the United States for the French Government, he devoted much of his summary to explaining the debates between pragmatists and Hutchins at the University. Dewey, he thought, would lead Americans away from their ideal of disinterested service. He also noted that there was a strong opposition to Dewey's pragmatism in the United States rooted in love for the humanities, the liberal arts, and humanistic education. And so, Chicago was the best place for Thomism to enter American culture.

In his summary to the French Government, Maritain also argued that if Chicago was the best place for Thomism to enter the arteries of American Culture, then Notre Dame was the best place for Thomism to mature into an excellent philosophy. By the 1940s, it had started its own Medieval Institute on the Toronto model and had ties with Ottawa-Montreal, Laval, and Chicago.

Michel observes that the growth of Thomistic thought in the United States does not follow the lines that most contemporary Catholic philosophers and theologians think it does. They typically argue that an intellectual vitality first appeared among Catholics in the United States in the 1880s and 1890s, only to be crushed by Leo XIII's and Pius X's irrational fear of Americanism and Modernism. According to this story, John Courtney Murray revitalized both Americanism and Modernism, rekindling the possibility of a vital intellectual culture among American Catholics. But this story is more myth than reality.

NO REAL THOMISM

Michel points out that there was no real Thomism in the United States until the 1920s and 1930s, suggesting that the reality is that the Americans were slow in putting the recommendations of Leo XIII and Pius X into effect. This conforms with the evidence in our letter of Parsons to the eventual Msgr. Filipowicz in 1934, that he could find no real evidence of Thomism unless he looked for it in the libraries of some religious orders in the late 19th Century. In addition, the so-called time of intellectual sterility was in fact the time when Americans experienced the first stirrings of an intellectual culture. In the light of Michel's evidence, the 1930s and the 1940s was precisely the time that a combination of a commitment to classical realism and an awareness of the attack on the Church could have led to a fruitful maturation of traditional ethnic Catholic neighborhoods. But, in the upcoming culture wars, Catholic ethnics would be treated by their own intellectual leaders with attitudes ranging from ambivalence to hostility. Rather than any sort of philosophical engagement that might lead to their protection, they were abandoned by their intellectual leaders.

But, we are getting ahead of ourselves. Notre Dame established its philosophy department in 1921. In the 1930s it established its own Medieval Institute with the approval of Gilson. On 4-5 November 1938, the department had its first ever philosophical symposium, during which "the shock of Totalitarian Doctrines and the principles of Democracy will be examined." Maritain, Simon, Carl Friedrich, Jerome Kerwin, Waldemar Gurian, and Mortimer Adler all spoke. When the bishops of the United States called on all Catholics to defend democratic institutions in January 1939, Notre Dame responded by starting the Review of Politics. Philosophy seems to have taken an early political turn at Notre Dame.

Maritain and Simon did what they could at Notre Dame to inculcate a love for America. Maritain called for a renewal of religious conscience, a confidence in the creative forces of liberty, and a hope in the earthly efficacy of the Gospel and Reason.

According to Michel, it is not the case that there was no philosophy at Notre Dame until the late 1950s. Instead, philosophy began in the 1930s and it developed and grew. By the early 1950s it had grown into a place that expressed genuine Catholic pluralism. It had a number of philosophers who were trained in and aware of all the modern methods.

While there was a general agreement on following the principles of St. Thomas, there was genuine disagreements between the followers of DeKoninck, Maritain, Gilson and others. Simon, for example, did not think that Notre Dame should have a Medieval Institute. Guerian started a controversy over Gilson's position that France should remain neutral during the Cold War because Russia was not really a military threat to France and that by adopting so strong an anti-communist position, France risked her Catholic identity. Simon did not like Fr. Mullahy, whom he saw as being insolent and aggressive after returning to Notre Dame from Laval, being subsequently named chairman of the philosophy department.

Maritain also had his strong dislikes. He warned who he could against the obscurantism of the Thomists in Laval and anyone who cast a sympathetic glance at Franco's Spain. He would not visit Laval or Fordham for these reasons. They had too many Franco sympathizers. He pressed President O'Hara of Notre Dame to clarify his position because O'Hara balked at inviting Alfredo Mendizabal, a suspected communist, to speak on campus.

Both Maritain and Simon discovered "Religion and Democracy" in America, and those two words became for them their "sole temporal refuge against despair." In America, "life can be beautiful. The word happiness still has a meaning. They do not mock industrial progress and democracy. ... They seek to promote the good. In America they call this the pursuit of happiness. This is a formula that could very well be egoist or materialist, but it is not necessarily egoist or materialist. ... We will see much later if there will be a reason to take the oath of Hannibal" (letter of Simon to Maritain, July 1940).

Perhaps the high point of Maritain's political career was to be one of the two Frenchmen invited to Senator John F. Kennedy's inaugural address on the cold snowy day of January 21st 1946. This was the democracy that Maritain loved, the democracy that somehow was the expression of the vitalist energies of the times. Somehow, JFK had come across and publicly showed a deep respect for Martain's writings, as manifested in Kennedy's address at Assumption College in 1955: "Too often, in our foreign policy, in order to compete with the power doctrines of the Bolsheviks, we ourselves practice what Jacques Maritain called 'moderate machiavellianism.' But, as Maritain pointed out in the showdown, this pale and attenuated version 'is inevitably destined to be vanquished by absolute and virulent machiavellianism' as practiced by the communists. We cannot separate our lives into compartments, either as individuals or as a nation. We cannot, on the one hand, run with the tide, and on the other, hold fast to Catholic principles" (June 3, 1955).

Perhaps a young Theodore Hesburgh at Notre Dame, who also became a friend of JFK, admired Maritain's general approach and hoped to see it implemented at Notre Dame? And just what was this approach?

After he returned to the United States following his time as French Ambassador to the Vatican during the mid-1940s, Maritain gave the impression that he was on a one-man crusade in the USA. He seemed to combine philosophical celebrity, diplomacy and an aura of sanctity. He prided himself on the dialogues he carried out with the likes of Cocteau, Chagall, Hugo, and Julien Green. Daniel Sargent told him that at Columbia he was well known by both the professors and the potentially rebellious students: "Jews desirous of knowledge, Protestants discontent with their heritage, and poets seeking to vindicate their rights." Sargent thought that Maritain could be a modern-day St. Stephen, bringing Christ to those lost intellectuals. Several other intellectuals expressed their hopes that Maritain would become the key figure for preserving the intellectual heritage of the West in the United States. He would lead the charge at Catholic Universities, enabling them to make deep in-roads in the areas of Medieval and Patristic studies. By doing this, they could make a lasting contribution to the development of American Culture.

Imagine Maritain's joy in the early 1960s when he attended the inauguration of now President Kennedy, and the University of Notre Dame established the Jacques Maritain Center to continue and refine his project in the United States.

But strange winds were blowing at Notre Dame in 1960 and 1961, winds that Martitain was probably also not aware of. Ironically, they were winds of a similar nature to those emanating from the Windy City in the 1930s, perhaps even some of the first effects of the winds emanating from the Chicago boys of the 1930s at Chicago. For example, Notre Dame in the early 1960s began holding secret conferences on campus to theorize possible ways to change the Church's teaching on birth control.

On the philosophical front, another battle in the culture war was taking shape. A young professor, Ernan McMullin, arrived at the University of Notre Dame in 1957, and he brought with him an animus against Thomism. Like John Dewey and Louis Wirth at the University of Chicago, McMullin thought that the real game was either to defend or demolish St. Thomas. Almost immediately after arriving on campus, he started rabble rousing for the latter of the two options. He sent off two letters, one of which was made public, advocating a philosophy department that did away with the Thomist pluralism that it had established.

He kept up the pressure so effectively that in 1960 President Hesburgh ordered an outside organization to evaluate the philosophy department. Phi Betta Kappa did so and refused to include the department on its list of great university philosophy departments. Not enough professors at Notre Dame knew the secret handshake. Initially, Hesburgh defended the department. It had professors who were trained at all the major research universities in the United States and around the world as well as places associated with Thomism such as Laval, Louvain, and Notre Dame. There were a variety of methods and opinions, healthy conflict, and an abundance of good research and teaching

Right at this moment, John Evans tried to make the Maritain Center the heart of the philosophy department because the Center represented everything good about America. But in 1962 more fuel was thrown on the fire that McMullin had started. Edward Manier instigated a debate about the Catholic heritage at Notre Dame in the light of its status with respect to great American secular universities. On the surface, this debate, like the one which had taken place in Chicago in the 1930s, was a debate over the place of philosophy and theology in the curriculum. Under the surface, it was a debate about sexual revolution. Manier questioned the close links between philosophy and theology. He claimed that docility to the Church would ruin good pedagogy. He also critiqued Notre Dame for failing to allow deviant subcultures a presence and influence on campus.

As this second fire was brewing, we also know now that, beneath the surface, Manier and the administration were getting involved in birth control politics. They, in fact, were leading the charge in what would become a capitulation that Louis Wirth or John D. Rockefeller would never in their wildest fantasies have thought possible from their offices in Chicago in the early 20th Century, that Catholics from a Catholic school would be working with them in implementing the birth control regime on American Catholics. While Wirth could only have fantasized this happening in the 1930s, it was a sign that his method of social engineering was much more effective than even he could imagine.

If you read this far, might as well read the rest at the link above. Or even print it out. It's worth the 14 sheets of paper.

Enjoy.

I really think you guys ought to read this. It is reference material. A veritable White Paper.

Forget Alex Jones. Oh, yeah, he's OK for getting the latest news as to what is currently happening. The effects.

This explains cause and strategy and how Notre Dame, which is the Church in America has played its role.

It is broad and sweeping and highly detailed.

It's worth the effort.
Interesting. Thanks for this.
Marked for later reading. Thanks!
(07-11-2012, 06:54 PM)rbjmartin Wrote: [ -> ]Marked for later reading. Thanks!

Same here.
Interesting history lesson. This should be told to all Thomists on how to engage the intellectual circles in this new century in America, what expect from the enemy and be more cunning in our tactics to overthrow the Vienna school. Also to not adopt any compromising doctrine and adhere to strict observance of Thomism. What is going to save America is to destroy this eugenic social engineering philosophy that is funded by organizations such the Rockefeller Foundation and founded on Marxism and the so called Malthusian dilemma with classical philosophy. An analytical/neo-scholastic Thomistic approach is what has been winning battles, let's hope this comes to fruition in the near future.
Which battles exactly? I don't really see the point of a Thomism that accepts all the fundamental premises of Modernity. Anyway, the interesting work being done on Thomism today is not happening within the confines of analytic philosophy.
(07-12-2012, 04:00 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: [ -> ]Which battles exactly? I don't really see the point of a Thomism that accepts all the fundamental premises of Modernity. Anyway, the interesting work being done on Thomism today is not happening within the confines of analytic philosophy.

Why do you think analytic philosophy is not producing the best work on Thomism today? Where do you think better work is being done? Do you have some names?

(07-12-2012, 04:00 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: [ -> ]Which battles exactly? I don't really see the point of a Thomism that accepts all the fundamental premises of Modernity. Anyway, the interesting work being done on Thomism today is not happening within the confines of analytic philosophy.

Philosophy of mind to name one. Materialism is being abandoned for the dualism of Thomas Nagel, property dualism, which is paving the road back to Aristotelian metaphysics of form/matter. Arguing the problem of that dualism with the premise of epiphenomenalim has forced it to adopt a bi-directional faith based accidental exchange between phenomenal and physical, the study of Form is what is closing this gap. Teleology is another, some are embracing an atheistic teleological position which is a very small push into full blown theism. Shifts are happening, twenty years from now I predict that Thomism will have enough ground to dominate in the scholastic community of America.
(07-12-2012, 04:09 PM)Resurrexi Wrote: [ -> ]
(07-12-2012, 04:00 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: [ -> ]Which battles exactly? I don't really see the point of a Thomism that accepts all the fundamental premises of Modernity. Anyway, the interesting work being done on Thomism today is not happening within the confines of analytic philosophy.

Why do you think analytic philosophy is not producing the best work on Thomism today? Where do you think better work is being done? Do you have some names?

I'm curious to, since the most prominent names, such as Brian Davis,  David Oderberg, Edward Feser, etc... are all arguing from the third camp of analytical Thomism, which is nothing more then analytical Thomism with a Neo-Scholastic (strict observance) direction.
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