Truth in Aquinas by John Milbank, Catherine Pickstock

By John Milbank, Catherine Pickstock

Provocative and complicated, Truth in Aquinas is an interesting re-assessment of a key region - fact - within the paintings of Thomas Aquinas. John Milbank and Catherine Pickstock's provocative yet strongly argued place is that some of the obtained perspectives of Aquinas as thinker and theologian are fallacious. This compelling and arguable paintings builds at the remarkable reception of Radical Orthodoxy (Routledge, 1999).

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59 Such a containment of emanation, one would think, would be reserved for God alone. And yet it seems that Aquinas’s idea of the inner word in the human intellect in a certain way remotely approximates in its manner of procession to the inward emanation within God. For the mind can produce a word that is distinct from itself, and yet remains within itself; the mind is not these concepts (the inner words) and yet cannot be mind without its concepts. What all this suggests is that correspondence in Aquinas’s theory of knowledge means something far more nuanced than a mere mirroring of reality in thought.

To the contrary, it seems that within the scope of a single consideration (whether of, for example, the divine truth, or the persons of the Trinity), one passes imperceptibly from the relatively discursive to the relatively intuitive, as we more nearly approach the pure divine insight. Therefore, it is not at all here the case that reason offers certainty, and faith a clinging to uncertainties. Instead, there is one continuous passage of reason/faith from illusory relative certainty to obscurely envisaged absolute certainty.

50 The second consideration concerns Aquinas’s view of causality. Aquinas consistently takes a neoplatonic view according to which an effect is like its cause, indeed preeminently exists in its cause. 51 For this view (which entirely circumvents David Hume’s correct critique of the metaphysics and physics of causality), a cause does not really ‘precede’ an effect, since it only becomes cause in realizing itself as the event of the giving of the effect. 52 Inversely, an effect does not really come after a cause, since only the effect realizes the causal operation and defines it.

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