Essay in forthcoming AMA volume


Soon to appear from the American Maritain Association, in conjunction with the Catholic University of America Press, is a collected volume of the contributions of the Association’s 2018 meeting. Edited by Matthew Minerd, it is entitled Facts are Stubborn Things: Thomistic Perspectives in the Philosophies of Nature and Science. The publisher’s blurb is below. My contribution to the volume is an essay comparing Grünbaum’s critique of Jacques Maritain on the nature of physical space with Charles De Koninck’s critique.

In his The Degrees of Knowledge, Science and Wisdom, Philosophy of Nature, and a number of other texts, the Thomist philosopher Jacques Maritain engaged in lively reflection on the light which Thomism can shed on the nature of the sciences, both in their methodologies as well as in the metaphysical presuppositions on which they are based. Such considerations were part of his larger desire to reinvigorate contemporary Catholic philosophical thought, applying the wisdom of the Thomist school to topics of burning contemporary relevance. Some of his positions concerning such matters related to the “philosophy of science” placed him in opposition to other Thomist schools of thought, in particular the so-called “Laval” school of Thomism as well as that emanating from the Dominican River Forest studium in Illinois. Nonetheless, on further reflection, one can see that these various sub-branches of the larger Thomist tree all have much in common as regards their desire to remain rigorously Thomist while being in active dialogue with the methodologies and discoveries of contemporary scientific culture.

This volume, comprised of original essays written by sixteen scholars, seeks to continue this vein of reflection. Written from a generally, though not exclusively, Thomist perspective, these essays are dedicated to the topics of scientific methodology, specific topics in natural philosophy, the question of evolution, the relationship between natural philosophy and moral knowledge, and topics pertinent to the broader domain of the social sciences. Approaching these various issues from a number of different angles, this volume carries into the present the dialogue and debate concerning the philosophy of science which was of such great importance to Maritain and to many Thomists of his era.

The contributors to this volume are: Mary Prudence Allen, RSM, Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco, OP, John G. Brungardt, John C. Cahalan, Stephen Chamberlain, Megan Furman, Marie I. George, Heidi Giebel, James G. Hanink, Timothy Kearns, Gregory Kerr, James Murdoch, Jessica Murdoch, Thomas K. Nelson, Catherine Peters, Michael D. Torre.

Categories: Current Writing

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