For those interested, a draft of my forthcoming paper, “St. Thomas and Modern Natural Science: Reconsidering Abstraction from Matter,” is available over at my Academia.edu site. This is the complete version of the paper of which I will present a summary at the III Congreso Internacional de Filosofía Tomista in Santiago, Chile. The abstract follows:
The realism grounding St. Thomas Aquinas’s pre-modern natural science de- fends the reception of similitudes of the forms of things known by abstraction. Modern natural science challenges this abstractionist account by recasting “form” in the leading role of principle of intelligibility—instead of forms, modern science discovers laws. Thomistic realism is prima facie incompatible with this account. Following Charles De Koninck, this essay outlines a rapprochement between the epistemology of pre-modern, Thomistic natural science and its modern successor. I argue that natural forms are noetic limits towards which physical laws tend, and our grasp of this tendency uses a mode of knowledge comparable to what St. Thomas termed universal in repraesentando.