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HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY AND PHILOSOPHICAL
the Auspices of the Aristotelian Society
of Marquette University
History of Mediaeval Philosophy, Pontifical
Mediaeval Studies, Toronto.
MARQUETTE UNIVERSITY MILWAUKEE
Milwaukiae, die 24 Decembris, 1947
IjlMoyses E. Kiley
mensis Januarii, 1948
BY THE ARISTOTELIAN SOCIETY OF MARQUETTE UNIVERSITY
A. C. Pegis
Who Knows Why
after Dr. Academie . Thomas Aquinas. given Oct. now has the pleasure of recording that lecture. Thomas and whose duties the Greek Moralists. 26. the feast day of the are patron saint. by Etienne Gilson of the Fran^aise. these lectures called the Aquinas lectures. livered a lecture." on March 9 the Society invited another scholar. to give another It Aquinas lecture in the fall. Vernon Bourke de- "St. Customarily delivered on the Sun- day nearest March Society's 7th. In 1947. do not permit him to come to the University on the customary date.PREFATORY The Aristotelian Society of Marquette University each year invites a scholar to deliver a lecture in honor of St.
" calls whom he "the only living master in philosophy" he ever had. to St. a work which led him Thomas Aquinas and the middle ages. Gilson was bom June 1884 at Paris. At the Sorbonne he was a pupil of Lucien Levy-Bruhi who taught him historical meth- od and suggested the study of Descartes' borrowings from Scholasticism. in . was captured at Verdun and spent his time in a German prisoner of war camp writing and studying. of Henri Bergson. at the He was also a pupil. the principal concern of his scholarly career. College de France. lectures" he recently said "still re- "whose main in my memory as so many hours and of intellectual transfiguration.Etienne Henri 13. After the war. In 1913 he taught at the University of Lille. He received his Agrege in 1907 and became Docteur-es-Lettres in 1913. During the first world war he was a in machine-gunnery captain the French army.
1919, he joined the faculty of the University
In 1921 he returned to
the Sorbonne, this time to teach,
when he was
ed to the College de France.
fessor of the Philosophy of the
College de France. In 1929 he also
became Director of Studies and Professor
of the History of Mediaeval Philosophy at
the newly established Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto, Canada, of
raised to a Pontifical Institute by Pius XII.
continues in those positions now. Ordi-
he teaches in Toronto during the
to Paris at Christmas time.
Professor Gilson has held notable
tureships. In 1930
and 1931 he gave the
Gifford Lectures at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland; in 1936-37 he gave the Wil-
liam James lectures at Harvard; in 1937,
the Richards lectures at the University of
in 1940, the
lectures at the University of Indiana.
founder and director of Archives
d'Htstoire Doctrinale et Litteraire
age (with R.P.G. Thery) of which 16 vol-
umes have been published
since 1925; Etudes
Me die vale,
35 volumes since
1921; Etudes de Tbeologie et d'Histoire de
9 volumes since 1934, and
at the Pontifical
founder (with colleagues
Mediaeval Studies) of Mediaeval
which 9 volumes have been pub-
lished since 1939-
French Academy, the Royal Academy of
Holland, the British Academy, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the
of Letters (D.Litt.)
ford University; Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
from the University of Aberdeen, Harvard
University and the University of Pennsylvania; Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Rome, University of Milan and the University
president of the Franco-Canadian
of the Society of Catho-
at Paris, a
of the Se-
cours Catholique International and of Pax
Romana, before which he has
Professor Gilson entered the Conseil de
Republique, the upper house or senate
of the present French government in 1946.
technical adviser to the French dele-
gation to the San Francisco Conference that
composing the French
the Charter of the United Nations.
also a French delegate to
He was UNESCO, the
United Nations Educational,
Cultural Organization, for which he also
wrote the French
1st edi- tion 1925. xiii & Ward. 1st edition translat- ed under the title of The Philosophy of Saint Bonaventure. 1st edition. Out of La Liberte chez Descartes Paris. Alcan. 1913. lection des travaux Col- de la Faculte des lettres de Strasbourg. Vrin. Strasbourg. 2nd edition. 1913. 1921. Sheed 1938. ix and 355 pages. Vrin. 1924. v'm and La 'Philosophie de Saint Bonaventure. text 78. Out of print. 1943. Paris. . 453 pages. print. New York. Out of print. com- mentary 490 pages.Professor Gilson has published the fol- lowing volumes up to December 1947: hidex scolastico-cartesien. 420 pages. 2nd edition 1939. Alcan. Etudes de philosophie medievale. 291 pages. 483 pages. and 551 pages. Paris. et la theologie. Discours de la Methode (Descartes) edited with commentary. Paris.
329 pages. Desclee La Theologie mystique de Paris. 1930.. Paris. 1931. 1st edition. de Brouv^^er. Paris. Vrin. 484 pages. 1932. 300 pages.. 2nd edition. translated un- . 251 pages. 1934. Vrin. 1934. New York. Paris. (Les and coinmentary. Saint Bernard. 1 vol. 345 pages. 1932.Saint Thomas d'Aquin. Pour un ordre catholique. 237 pages. Chretiens) texts Ga- balda. 447 pages. Louis & London. Les Idees et les Lettres. UEsprit de la philosophie medievale (the Gifford lectures of 1930-31) Paris. Vrin. 2 vols. moralists Paris. dans la formation de systeme Vrin. Herder. Etudes sur le role de la pensee medtevale cartesien. 6th edition 1941. translat- ed under the title St. 1 vol. Scribners. 1944. 380 pages. 1936. translated under the title of The Spirit of Aiediaeval Philosophy. of Moral Values and the Moral Life..
Bernard. Saint Thomas Aquinas. Mediaeval Universalism and Value 1936) pages.der the title of The Mystical Theology of St. Sheed & Ward. Vrin. 264 pages. Christianisme et philosophie. translated un- der the title of Christianity and Philosophy. New York. Lon- don. 1940. Humphrey Milford. 1936. 331 pages. 1939. 110 pages. 22 Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages (the Richards lectures of 1937) New York. P. Paris. Paris. Its Present (Harvard Tercentenary Conference New York. 1935. Sheed & Ward. out of print. 1937. The Unity of Philosophical Experience (the William James lectures of 1937) New York. Sheed & Ward. 1936. 134 pages. 19 pages. Scribners. 1937. Scribners. Vol. from Proceed- ings of the British Academy. . 101 pages. 1938. XXI. Tequi. 168 pages. Le Realisme methodique. New York.
Vrin. La Philosophie an moyen-age. Vrin. . 239 pages. Introduction a Paris. 1944. Yale University Press. ii Vrin. soon to be translated into English. Paris. 27 pages. Dante et la philosophie. 2nd edition. Theologie et histoire de la spiritualite. Paris. Vrin. and Oxford. 252 pages. 763 pages. 1939. 352 pages. Paris. 144 pages. Vrin. 1939. Realisme thomiste et critique de la con- naissance. 1929. 2nd edition 1943. 1943. soon to be translated into English. soon to be translated into English. Paris. Oxford University 1941. God and tures of 1940) Press. Philosophy (the Powell lec- New Haven. l' etude de Saint Augustin. 1st edition. 1938. X and 341 pages. Payot. and 352 pages.Helo'ise et Abelard. Paris.
Montreal. 5th edition soon to be translated into English.tre et I'essence is in the process being published by Vrin.Le Thomisme. of L'P. in 1948. Thomas Aquinas. 1941. Philosophic et Incarnation selon Saint Augustin (Conference Albert le Grand. 362 pages. Institut D'Etudes Medievales Universite de Montreal. 3rd edition translated under the title of The Philosophy of St. Paris. 1947. 1948. New York. Herder. 55 pages. To these the Aristotelian Society takes pleasure in adding History of Philosophy and Philosophical Education. 1947). Louis. 523 pages. . Being and Some Philosophers is sched- uled to be published by MacMullen. Vrin. Paris. St. 5th edition 1945.
HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY AND PHILOSOPHICAL EDUCATION .
at one and the same both philosophize and indulge in life as are such ways of incompatible with philosophical thinking. man can. by is its very nature. a philosopher's life a constant effort to acquire wisdom. which itself definite ethical requirements. to To philoso- phize.History of Philosophy and Philosophical Education THE the entails very name of philosophy means love is of wisdom. then. pursue wisdom through a consistent effort of reflexion. Yet even suppossatis- ing that these moral conditions are fied. the fact remains that. . for indeed no time.
There are things which because we know we remember them. a wise man knows first all the rest as included in. it is knowledge on the right road fact.2 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY AND But what is wisdom? According it to its classical definition. but in so far as he is using his wisdom. as to We are not without this some experience what means. related to the first principles and the causes. not because we remember them. and there are things which we know. it to wisdom. includes the knowledge of many other things as well. is the knowledge of first the first principles it and of the causes. Of course. As a matter of has already . without burdening our memory with cumbersome and unnecessary tellect thus details. Every time our in- succeeds in substituting some principles and causes of knowledge for itself. or at least. but because some other things we know through which we can if always find them again need be.
inasmuch as. their And they are. name- wisdom. they have reached some general conclusions which they call their philosophy. This there are so why I few philosophers. by which entire lives are to mean men whose wholly task and ultimately dedicated the of achieving wisdom. a life dedicated to the pur- of a definite type of knowledge. that they too are philosophers. most are fond of saying. philosophy is less a knowledge than suit ly. It is a rather peculiar sort of is occupation and a life-long one. men from time to time. plus a certain amount of reflexion. Yet they are not philoso- . fully aware of what the absolutely truly are. first it principles and the first causes begins to see everything else in their light. 3 while await- ing the day when. in own way. through a long experience of things and men. If this be true.PHILOSOPHICAL EDUCATION found wisdom. True enough. at least in part.
the teaching of philosophy ion. say that even professors of philos- ophy are not philosophers. nor always. does something else.4 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY AND phers. if he he will do with a view to securing the I freedom he needs for I philosophizing. teaching philosophy and philosophizing are far from being one and the same If it is thing. but not all. and this sometimes for twenty years or more. whereas a philosopher's life is completely dedicated to the conquest of wis- dom. If one is a philosopher. hope will not startle you the better to I make clear what I have in mind. thinking aloud. For indeed. he can do or. precisely because their so-called phi- losophy has grown spontaneously out of their lives. but reer is it may help philosophical reflexif will not help one's teaching ca- spent in repeating by rote the very philosophical same formulas. it nothing else than philosophize. if. Some of them may be. To a .
of all positions. he is talking about philosophy. two lives are not the same. to speculate about the relations of being to becoming. in this one instance. is to to teach is whereas to philosophize contemplate. he is perhaps not philosophizing.PHILOSOPHICAL EDUCATION truly great philosopher. teaching is 5 a nui- sance. the one that enables him the slightest possible to earn a living with damage to his true is philosophical life. Such an avocation takes him away from philos- ophy as little as possible. contemplata Yet. different. at least. the active life of a man is but the these their overflowing of his contemplative life. His professorial position is to him. calls This is what aliis Thomas Aquinas tradere. to act. and it is quite another thing to prepare twenty pu- . at least. Even It is proximate objects are one thing. for instance. and though. While he teaching. but. or. when all is said and done. a lesser evil.
he may very well have lost his job. and. how- ever great a philosopher he might have been. In those of us point of who have seen copy-books of his college lectures. in accord with the requirements official and the order of the French program. Now such as it was. At the very same time when Bergfirst-year son was teaching college. they would have failed their examinations. methodology. that of any ordinary professor of philoscontained sound and well ordered ophy. It information about psychology. ethics and -metaphysics. Bergson's course v/as a very good introduc- . know that his course was pretty much the same as fact. philosophy in his cele- he was engaged in writing Essay brated on the Immediate Data of Yet. teach his pupils what he himself was perall sonally then interested in. had he attempted to Consciousness.6 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY AND pils for their final examination at the end of the year.
the captain added with a smile: "But. sort of professor I in those asked him what Bergson was. even though your professor of philosophy also a philosopher.PHILOSOPHICAL EDUCATION tion to philosophy indeed.. I once met a captain in the French army who had been a pupil of Bergson's early courses. of course. not when he is speaking to you but during those hours of solitude when he is speaking to himself meditation. had very little to do with it." That why. in the quietness of his own . we is did not know he was to Bergson. may happen as such in be you do not know him your and you do not meet him classrooms. "A wonderafter a ful one. Then. exactly the who were doing course under his losopher. but there 7 were many other teachers. It would be betraying him to publish such a since." came the answer.he same thing. He is a philosopher. as a phi- own name. Naturally. at the very same time. brief pause.
who intel- knows it through his own . but every one it. but however long takes you to realize the meaning of his words.8 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY This raises a rather AND puzzling problem for those who want still it. and that is his. the quest of wis- dom a personal affair. If wisdom its is to be your own wisdom. own knows quest. It yours exactly as his truth may be knows the same truth. how can it be learned or taught within three or four or five years? Should we not even ask: all ? how can it be learned or taught at According to what we said a is moment ago. then quest must that be your teacher it is The and fact tells your truth you what it does not mean that you it know too. to study philosophy and perhaps it is more for those is whose work the occupa- to teach If philosophy tion of a life time. you know truth exactly truth is as he does. when you do.
a work whose conelse that no one teaches any one anything. at least. which are the signs of his . all teachers jobs. Through carefully lected words. ultimately. or. at once replaced by another on the whole. Yet. he one. all over the world. so that. doing something. And what what they do can be learned from Thomas Aquinas who. as I believe. he is his own teacher. Augustine's clusion is De Magistro. is when one of them does. though they cannot think for us. If it were true.PHILOSOPHICAL EDUCATION lect. pupils bitter experience and students know from that this is too good to be at true. Such is. can yet make us think for ourselves. 9 so that. would once lose their They don't. everything in fact. or. the meaning of St. happily completing St. observes that teachers. happens as though teachers were. se- help us in so doing. at least. Augustine has said on this point.
10 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY concepts and his AND own own judgments. then. Augustine was right: no his one can know anything except through own may mind. and finally eliminated. a rise to similar competent teacher can give concepts and similar judgments in the minds of his pupils. is the teacher going to teach are not here concerned philosophy? We with the technical details of philosophical pedagogy. one or several of his own own intel- he has not substituted own lect for theirs. there are as many . corrected. but he has certainly taught some one something. rather. How. understand from what their teachers This is where St. Yet the misunderstandings that arise can be avoided. Obviously. is What pupils learn from their teachers not necessarily what it is their teachers think. what they say. When in a teacher has at his his length succeeded to making thought clear pupils.
it and for what reasons we consider as better than any other . at a time.^ be. he could still them only one and the only justification he could feel in try- ing any one of them is that it is. But. can be said that there are several good ones. the best approach to philosophy. in the end. therefore. Our question. Our main concern moment is with a much wider problem: what the best apit proach to philosophy? Here.PHILOSOPHICAL EDUCATION good ways of teaching philosophy are 11 as there good professors of philosophy. their at the ways are good. again. or at least might be. and that what is good for some students may dif- not be quite as good for students of a ferent kind. and different their however are ways may be. and even to try though a professor were successively different approaches try to philosophy. remains: what is this best approach to philosophy going to shall . if they all is good professors.
12 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY AND One of Descartes' friends once asked to him. Summa such a whatever its name. Cursus philosophiae. Elementa philosophiae. book is supposed to give us a general survey of philosophical problems as well as of their possible solutions. his him how. according own son should be taught philosophy. philosophiae. that the by taking whole course in philosophy from bevery well ginning to end. or something of the sort. becomes a Cursus philosophiae Thomisticae. Compendium philosophiae. he said: it your son learn philosophy as is being taught in the is. In all . When written from the it point of view of Thomas Aquinas. a Com- pendium philosophiae ad mentem Ihomae Aquinatis. schools of the Jesuits. He did not say: let him read my own works. tion To a this ques- the philosopher made let surprising answer. Now we know what such philosophical courses usually are.
This it is not the best ultimate answer. would be sheer first In the place. and guides the to." The striking suc- cess of this sort of philosophical literature would be unintelligible if it did not answer it a genuine need. In point of fact does.PHILOSOPHICAL EDUCATION cases. What else do they need it not to be in- formed. they are so many "Initiations to the Philosophical Life. 13 works of this kind purport to be so or. not all those will who study philosophy become if philosophers. many if "Introductions to Philosophy. When try. folly to act otherwise. about . a person asks us to describe a counis the best answer to give is to show him a map. their greatest merit is to be still is both maps of. be in a superficial way. what for beginners unknown country It of philosophy. and in so far as introductions to philosophy are concerned." they are both more clear sighted and more ambitious. first but the best one.
and nothing had ever been it. as though phi- losophy had not begun to exist twenty-four centuries ago. our problem may appear somewhat more simple if what we want to do is to teach philosit ophy ad mentem Thomae Aqutnatis. This from the thirteenth century down our own day. to writing for beginners. said or written about True enough. will feel thankful for later it having entered in the same way. he himself was very far a beginner so true that. to whom way on such an introduction will open the to the true philosophical life. and when he wrote from being is his philo- sophical treatises or commentaries.14 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY nature. innumerable commentaries on . but actually is not. No work of Thomas in Aquinas has been written for beginners philosophy. its AND their cor- its main problems and rect solution? But even those beginners. start No beginner should be asked to from scratch.
and these are the only ones in whom they to we should now be interested. prompted scholastic Descartes. a few others will wish to go on. Such similar — ones—which or. 15 Thomas have been many written which are intended as so introductions to the personal reading of his are probably the reasons at least own works. This was a very sound piece of advice. now. Where does this lead us? After receiving philosophy. if not these. some this first introduction to beginners will quit. that such advice has been wisely given and wisely accepted. and they will be by far in the majority . the sworn enemy of a philosophy to recommend complete course in scholastic philosophy as the best introduction to philosophical knowledge. it would be very wise to give even Let us suppose. and one that today. Were .PHILOSOPHICAL EDUCATION St.
until comes for the student. for those who hold such a way of learning philosophy as wholly practically self-sufiicient. identical. after a truly elementary one. we might the time a suggest a series of progressively more and more difficult introductions. For introductions are plentiful. I And the only answer can imagine is that. The only question which concerns me is. Still bet- and no two of them are ter. by now no longer beginner. to apply to those specialized books that deal with the particular problems which interest him. what notion of philosophy such a method entails. how should them? A first way to answer their question might be to suggest another introduction to philosophy. far Now I am very from finding fault with such a peda- gogical method. satisfactory and philosophy probably appears as a science .16 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY AND we answer ask us what to do.
through introits ducing beginners to ods and its its problems. if it is a science. rationally demonstrable and therefore communicable by means of teaching? Such are. And one fails to see for what son philosophy. that is to say. but even after personally check- . chemistry and rea- biology. mathematics. should not likewise be taught and learned as are the other sciences. for in- stance. You can learn physics from oral lectures or from printed text books.PHILOSOPHICAL EDUCATION essentially 17 similar to other sciences and hence capable of being taught in exactly the same way. In what sense the is such a pedagogical method teach the sciences? proper way to is: The ready answer is to the full extent to which a science made up of already acquired results. physics. meth- present conclusions. The better to answer this question. let us ask another one. Is not a science a body of cogni- tions related to the same object.
yes. no.18 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY AND ing your thus acquired learning by conducting suitable experiments in the laboratory. So. or a good professor of physics. something as radically different from what went be- fore it as being a great professor of English is literature different from being a Shake- . but a physicist. yet very few of them are historians. As with intro- ductions to the other sciences. may may well know great deal of history. But a no. they all be scholars. what are you fitted to become? Perhaps a useful engineer. at all. A learned man a conversant with science. we may come to know a great deal about the physics or the philosophy of our time without necessarily being either physicists or philosophers. introductions to philosophy should come to an end. is What then begins. so in the case of philosophy: where philosophy begins. Professors of history scientist. too. if it is to begin a really new experience.
to which it is same rela- tion as a body to its soul. what is now at stake. to 19 Not merely to learn philosophy. rather involves aim- ing at possessing philosophy in a different and more exalted way as included in wisin the dom itself. Then also does the its philosophical life truly begin.PHILOSOPHICAL EDUCATION speare. I am not here describing the self-revelagenius. but this is become a philosopher. like falling in love. It does not involve giving up phiit losophy as a science. but one can live and die a true philosopher . and begin- ning does not consist in any addition to already acquired learning. whose writings will later field be considered as a landmark in the of philosophy. One cannot create in philosophy unless he be a true philosopher. or undergoing the transform- ing experience of a conversion. like it rather looks call answering the of a vocation. nor the birth tion of some powerful of a great philosopher.
appropriation the of philosophical In mind of a man born to the philosophi- cal life. life quickened from within by a single and able spontaneously to assimilate or reject . The difference. but one that would rather say they blend into an organic whole. which to I am trying to describe is less be found in some in its exceptional quality of the mind than desire to achieve an active and personal truth. ideas do not merely follow one anin other.20 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY AND without having created anything philosophical. they are not simply associated by the process of reasoning and the demands fall of demonstration. they do not merely into place as so many pieces of a cleverly contrived puzzle. be it logical sequence. as they first do when we read them for the a time in book. "Without his creative genius. a great philosopher would remain at least a philosopher. however.
for in order to be a master. 21 according to own inner development. destined to be great or Whether he be to remain unknown within the rank and a file. and how many have been born. between Alaska and Patagonia ? his Not every Plato can hope to find own Socrates. and far from easy. not time philosophy.PHILOSOPHICAL EDUCATION the spiritual food offered to the laws of its it. Very large have never seen one. During the whole French eigh- . a philosopher should be great. and great philosophers are scarce. if And who not another philosopher who a will be for him both a master and life? is companion of during his whole all The most urgent to find such a problems. this He still needs to be taught. nor every Aristotle his own Plato. then. philosopher once born has still to grow. countries. phize. but to philosocan help him in his need. like Russia. since the discovery of America. this is man.
the so-called "century of philosophers. is infinitely harder still . a discovery abso- .22 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY AND teenth century. affinity Is not a certain spiritual required be- tween master and disciple? learn If in order to how to walk. Some persons discover a religious director cases of con- science. so much however anxiously a man may search. for him." there was not a single great philosopher. yet there are no where the thing cannot be done. at least for a time. unless both of us wish to walk find it down hard same road. such lutely impossible. we need to follow some- one. to find a guide it is useless for us who can show us how to do the to it. Finding among our contemporaries a philosophical director of conscience so that. there are many places and times is when. Nor does the problem stop here.
is there a single one which. been said that being that is it had already is and non-being not. and since we Of are dealing with philosophy. patiently waiting for . has for a single moment ceased to be true? If our fail us. at least in the past. is because without justice friendship ship justice blind. during the last twenty-four centuries. what diflfer- ence is there between past and present ? their very nature. just as without friend- is sterile. therefore. metaphysics and ethics deal with problems that wholly escape time. such advisers are many and always at hand. Twenty-four centuries ago. that the two foundations of society are justice and friendship. what undergoes becoming and change does not truly deserve to be said to be. Of these three prop- ositions.PHILOSOPHICAL EDUCATION 23 Yet. into the past for the master that we Perhaps he is there. let own contemporaries us look need. on second thought. if not in the present.
provided the professors of philoshistory to ophy allow not. him our own hesitate? Why should No it is intelligible relation between any two terms ever belongs every time ent. Many do and not without some appearance of have heard some say that the is. but what a man should think will say now. dead bury Yet there is a more . it is in the pres- This is also the point at which the his- tory of philosophy enters the picture as part and parcel of philosophical education that is. understood. that living philosophers should let the their dead. I goal of a truly philosophical education not to know what other men have thought in the past. in the past. come in. And there are others who that the history of philosophy is but the common and graveyard of dead philosophies.24 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY tell AND we us to him our own troubles and ask questions. justification.
PHILOSOPHICAL EDUCATION serious objection. whence many profes- sors of philosophy conclude that teaching the history of philosophy amounts to noth- ing more than teaching a comprehensive collection of all possible errors. or at least should be. It is 25 many centuries is now said since Cicero said that there nothing so foolish and so vain which has not been by some philosopher. why should we let the If young student read Spinoza and Hegel ? might as well feed We him poison. but why should we invite a young and inex- perienced mind to lose est of errors ? itself in such a for- we know that Spinoza and Hegel were wrong. Perhaps it might be useful to quote erroneous positions in order to refute them. it something very different. However . was fond of quoting this saying. history under all its who hated forms. to teach philosophy is. should be noth- ing less than the teaching of philosophical truth. Now. Descartes.
and that I is to give it up as a bad job. as is has already been said. whose results have to be taught. philosophy. one thing at least certain. but to all not ours. there such a science. have no intention of dismissing these objections as weak or irrelevant. much to the point. namely. They derive their strength from the same notion of philos- ophy. If a is man does not think he is knows what true and what not true in it.26 this HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY AND is may it is be. Now. he has no business to teach . and not that the history of philosophy can- but breed philosophical scepticism. the only way to do it is the way that befits any science. They are strong and very theirs. conceived as a ready-made science. the dog- matic way. a well-made mind can do but one thing with philosophy. and since it should be both learned and taught. Thus tossed without sail or wheel on a sea of conflicting opinions.
Thus did once the Alttssimo poeta. I 27 many do. we experience the uneasy is feeling that . is What we are now looking for a master. he went . But this is not at all our problem. if they do. but they should not. foolish thing indeed It would be a very introduce young to minds to philosophy through the indiscrim- inate reading of texts which they cannot un- derstand or. against which they are defenseless — as we all are in those dis- cussions in which.the last speaker always right. when seeing himself without any one who could teach him to become a poet.PHILOSOPHICAL EDUCATION As a matter of fact. so to teach philosophy to teach true philosophy. wholly ignorant of the business at hand. and suppose we would is all agree that just as to teach physics to teach is true physics. and because we fail to find one in the present we have to turn to the past. a com- panion and a guide in our cal quest of own philosophi- wisdom.
where do we find him can tory not in history? And how his- we approach ? him.28 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY AND back more than a thousand years and found Vergil. answer might be: because I "I know I am a Thomist is is am in agreement with what in written in a book which philosophy . and So far so good. He ciple of tent a Thomist. Let us consider this simplest of all cases. at Yet. We do not need to go as far back as that in order to find Thomas Aquinas. After looking for help. except through Here. as I believe. some one reaches the conclusion that the best thing to do is apply to Thomas Aquinas. But how does he know that he is a Thomist? his first Should we ask him the question. when we meet him if long last. thus becomes a disto that ex- Thomas Aquinas. is the very root of most of our misunderstandings concerning the proper approach to philosophy.
" And then. the only way to to compare such a work with himself.PHILOSOPHICAL EDUCATION taught ad 29 mentem Divi Thomae Aquinatis. history is not here your goal. but of some one else free- . is what Thomas it Aquinas actually Nor would what is do to object that. to "What you ultimately want know is truth. for this would mean that you are not a disciple of Thomas Aquinas. those of as Thomas Aquinas soon as you undertake to do you find yourself engaged in straight historical work. you don't care whether Thomas it Aquinas said simply or not. so long as is in the book true. the answer may happen to be right. what you must know says. but his how does he know that what of book describes as the philosophy Thomas Thomas' Aquinas is a faithful rendering of own thought? make sure is Obviously. But just this. True enough. is but since your immediate problem to know if what Thomas Aquinas first says is true.
that he is AND No philosopher can know a Thomist unless he also be an historian. the only his works. they seriously dis- commentaries have been written on the Thomistic texts. in agree. if we have made up our minds Thomas Aquinas found the true road wisdom. the safest readings ? Once v/e feel reasonably sure of his text. accord- ing to all probabilities. But what works has he actually written? "Where are the best manuscripts? In these best manuscripts. In order to know what he said we must read enumerate. This first conclusion it is rich in many imto plications. what does that text mean ? Many and voluminous but they do not always cases.30 ly HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY using his name. what are. we need to know where his . For indeed. which would be tedious man who can tell us exactly what Thomas Aquinas has said. is Thomas Aquinas himself. and. that to some Now. agree.
no companion. But these are minor points because. and yet always wondering where he still is.PHILOSOPHICAL EDUCATION road lies. That probis lem to is to know why. My only point that unless they resort to history. external to our problem. they have right to say they are following a guide that the no and name of their guide is Thomas Aquinas. he alone can do else in his place. no guide. and it is the historian's task. a harder one not to lose him. 31 We in a are like people following some one that crowd because they know he is going where they wish to go. after they are mainly material and. No wonder to that so many philosophers it. It is a hard task to find him. decline have anything to do with Why should is they? Perhaps they need no master. so to speak. and no one Now let us see what may actually happen when works ad mentem . if Thomas Aquinas it be our guide. all.
pro- vided only that some good philosophical library be at hand. It will not take . am not here planning to deit. I bate any issue and take sides in rather want to show that there may be very big issues involved. philosophy. and that unless we walk away carefully we may find ourselves miles from our chosen guide and ing another one actually follow- who is taking us where we do not wish to go. it is As one con- ceives being.32 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY AND are substituted for those of the I Dhi Thomae Angelic Doctor. so physics. one by one. to the chapter that deals with the relation be- tween essence and existence. If there is a fundamental notion in any that of being. one will conceive metais Now there a very simple experieasily ment which anyone can perform. All you need to do is to take off the library shelves some textbooks Divt of philosophy ad mentem Thomae. You then open these books.
is two namely. What. and essences not so is actualized. whose existence either a mode or some other determination. the world made up is of real essences. according to is some of these text books. and those which deny it. a philosopher is here bound is to make a choice. at one and the same time be essences actualized by distinct acts of existing. supreme is in reality. for indeed beings cannot. essence or existit is. then. In other words. according to the the world is made up which of essences actualized by a higher is act. ence ? is? What supreme. the only thing that is not possible to maintain that there is a phi- losophy in which both of these views are . what or that it Obviously. Here are two philo- sophically different worlds. the act of existing. those which affirm that there essence and existence in a distinction of re. while.PHILOSOPHICAL EDUCATION you very much time books fall into 33 to discover that these classes. rest.
many ophers profess publicly to follow a certain leader and then actually follow another one. which is a refreshing spectacle. Now shall not here tell you what my own choice would be. the other one is wrong. But one thing. well suited to bringing solation. but these choices contra- one another —and yet I their authors are Thomists.34 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY AND and the same time. or. Through philos- their wilful neglect of history. rather. it would be sheer it arbitrariness while to justify would involve us in endless historical demonstrations. I could not possibly do so because to state it. In point of true at one fact. poor historians some con- . at least. is sure. the authors of philosophies ad mentem Divi Thomae have no hesitation in making their dict all own choices. what my own choice is. It is this: whichis ever of the two parties to this discussion right.
In the early decades of century.PHILOSOPHICAL EDUCATION 35 This slightly ludicrous confusion. would not mean very much names which it if the mis- take about implies did not presuppose a more serious mistake about things. to a very number of professors of philosophy does make sense. the nineteenth official there existed an government program for French faculties of philosophy. his mistake has. again. strangely enough. torical A his- example will perhaps make clearer what I have in mind. ror. Whoever is here committing an is er- it is a fact that he mistaken about the very nature of philosophy itself. and. however. It was a very simple one: the doctrine to be taught by them was that of Locke.'* question very is this: does this make I am much afraid that. something to once do with the practical requirements of teaching in schools. and I almost despair of . with all suitable corrections. Now my sense large it .
The Aris- nearest approach to totle. who have work of is them- selves never written any such thing. Duns Scotus. own prob- lem. Whether the philosopher whom he is following be Thomas Aquinas. Kant or Royce does not make much difference as concerns our is that. his philosophy has been so highly prized by university professors. just as philosophy was his philosophy. As an ex- . that is is what everybody has to do he called on to give a course in phi- losophy. as a mat- of if fact. being profesto extract lec- we have ture courses in general philosophy out of the works of philosophers. For the trouble sors of philosophy. it is the whose encyclopedic nature reasons why. Yet even to Aristotle.36 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY AND clear making ter why it does not. For. at all one of all the many times and in places. Locke. to Locke philosophical truth was identical with the views laid down in his Essay on Human Understanding.
you are. which makes it dif- not to say impossible. in the early thirteenth century. you correct any one of those conse- quences which follow necessarily from his principles. with to a view to bringing up and adapting it to the requirements of If. it soon became ap- parent that they would never be corrected. which would have staggered Aristotle had . They could not be. modern classroom teaching. the teaching of Aristotle's writings was forbid- den donee corrigantur. its own. to curtail to correct or to it remodel to date it.PHILOSOPHICAL EDUCATION 37 pression of a single organic thought. in Locke's philos- ophy. in fact. a philosopher's personal philosophy enjoys an organic unity of ficult. It was then that it Thomas was pos- Aquinas did the only thing that sible to do: he created a new philosophy. to expand or it. principles and rejecting his When. denying his philosophy.
Igor Stra- vinski. no doubt." And . he known since it was no longer his phi- losophy but that of Thomas Aquinas. A text book in philosophy. does not like to be called a "com- poser. Each of them serves its own purpose. Such is. but their purposes are not the same. as I see the fundamental dis- tinction that we should always observe bein philosophy tween a text book and a philosophical treatise. is the why another musician." nor his works "compositions. it. is bound to lack that organic unity and continuity of thought which marks the works of authentic philosophical reflexion. Robert Schumann once came in all to the conclusion that is works of genius there a golden thread running throughout the whole and holding reason it together.38 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY AND it. Wondering about the difference between genius and talent in music. or even any course of lectures written as a text book. This.
PHILOSOPHICAL EDUCATION so it is 39 also with philosophy. ber if a larger num- among them would not life. whereas philosophies are born. for the personal experience which history alone can give. Even when they are not compiled. Not unlike the innumerable students who spend years in learning Latin and never use it to read Vergil. but no one can prove proof lies in a to anyone else. Of all those who have learned philosophy only in schools or I from books written only for schools am sorry to say that they have not the slightest idea of what the philosophical life really is. I cannot help wondering. textbooks are com- posed. our students in philosophy are introduced to a philosophical life which very few of them will ever enter. There is only one it way to prove this. however. enjoy living a if genuinely philosophical they were . life The proof lies in a spent in personal and intimate contact with great philosophers.
we can still help them. Let us. if What are we. pro- not students older than our own students ? We cannot be their When let is masters. us take them directly to him who our own master. and under him. is Our new task to teach them to learn from one greater to as than ourselves. henceforth.40 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY in AND warned them but a due time that what we must teach is as philosophy not yet philosophy. not with us and under us. our work with them has been completed. are the great ters in philosophy there philosophers ? For those at least among our students who have heard the call of philosophy and it. way to it. are eager to answer how could we have the slightest hesitation? fessors of philosophy. but not as before. him assimilate his thought. to read Thomas Aquinas. teach them to learn with him. and that the only true masare. True enough. since we are not masters. to think with .
" (Wis. until the time comes when the appear to its first whole body of his doctrine will them shot through with the principles. no short road it Yet come will. when it does philosophy will shine before their eyes in the purity of its essence. light of When will that time come? No to one can tell. they shall not its recognize in it the true source of intelligible beauty.PHILOSOPHICAL EDUCATION a true philosopher does. is why. . And because a greater than abled them to share in fail to we are will have en- its life. 1) That taken. for there riches in philosophy. unless I be greatly mis- the history of philosophy should be recognized everywhere as an essential part of a complete philosophical education. that is 41 with the same standard of scientific objectivity and accuracy. VIII. Wisdom that "reacheth all from end to end mightily and ordereth things sv/eetly. but certainly not before is many and years of study.
since they completely miss the point. too. companion and guide. Nor is the his- . St. rate. in their advised zeal for pure abstract speculation. away from historical Even supposing. Owing all to history. great philosophers are is still and none of them vitality showing signs of greater than our master. because in philos- ophy there are no dead. but the price that price is is worth paying. AND ultimate By mean an education whose goal not to teach philosophy but to form full-fledged philosophers. so. seek to frighten us studies. At any it is not what said to be by those ill- professors of philosophy who. And is just as in the case of everything else that is good. their reasons would still not be valid.42 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY this I is. Thomas Aquinas. dato non concesso. that all their intentions are always wholly pure. there a price that we must pay. here. The history of philosophy cannot be a graveyard for dead philosophers. alive.
they remember that God loss. and those of our students life as who carry them into dearly cherished treasures should be ready for a distressing experience. the golden thread of true philosophical thinking does not run. unbroken. so that its men through be not their meta- loss . that our introductions to the life of wisdom of are is themselves wisdom. Under the first serious shock. the roughly sown parts of their philosophical patchquilt are bound to pull asunder. I would rather look for it in the fatal illusion shared in and widely spread by us. The life wisdom not to be found in them. The very best thing despairing that can then happen is that. did not choose to save physics.PHILOSOPHICAL EDUCATION 43 tory of philosophy a school for scepticism. through their many parts. in of philosophy. the professors of philosophy. Quite the contrary. If there is a source of philosophical scepticism to be found any- where.
way of a curious illusion. it go a little far- ther and imagine as laid down in such . such were the wisdoms of Plato.44 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY AND Would it not be more simple to clear all. of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas. up. Why not. once and for the misunderstandings that are here the source of so many probis lems? Neither as science nor as wisdom philosophy to be found outside some mind of which it is a perfection. going the all flesh. Philosophy has no existence of its own outside philosophers. but which is its cause. philosophies pass away. then. and even that superhuman wisdom which transcends time is given to us in time. By Like men themselves. in itself and of which all philosophers are equally invited to partake and in which they freely share. is we like to imagine that there somewhere in this world a philosophy subsisting for itself. Such also in so far as is our own wisdom of we have one.
whereas philos- ophy not. every man is a person and through the same intellect he can see exactly the same truth as any other man can see. For each and every one of us. What makes is philosophical truth to be universal some- thing quite different. a philosopher is is a being. but phi- losophy pure and simple? We may try. but the trouble is is that phi- losophy pure and simple a pure and sim- ple essence.PHILOSOPHICAL EDUCATION books as 45 contain. Exactly. the root of what is universal in him is identical with the very core of his own personality. so that the anonymity of phi- losophy points less to its universality than to its lack of actual entity. or of Thomas Aquinas. provided they . not the philosophy of Plato. the only actual being is which philosophy may have that of the philosopher. not a being. of Aristotle. Through his intellect. that is. If ens means habens esse. not someone's philosophy.
We all have to win it the hard way. but also of a conquest. not a perennial cloud floating through the ages in some metaphysical stratosphere. in our . light of his itself is pwn And that truth not an anonymous one. consistent and consoling if reality. grant that there is no ready-made philosophy to teach and to learn. for it is. wisdom is the prize. name God. is truth in itself bears a name. lies AND both use their proper way. We should. Yet. no doubt. Once is these fantasies are dispelled. that to experience again the same truth in the intellect. there room for a solid. Here. Even taken absolute in its and self-subsisting Its form. and nowhere the foundation for the very possibility of a philosophta per- ennis. but the permanent possibility for each and every human being to actualize an essence through his is own existence. not only of a quest.46 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY intellects in the else.
friends with ber. among num- choose to himself a particularly befirst loved one because he feels and soon comes to know that the philosopher of his . nothing that cannot be of assistance including. in our provided only that we apply to them for there is help. very day. expressly observed. very What in a historian of philosophy looks for is the history not philosophy. as Thomas Aquinas their himself once failures. They are this all here. around us. being himself it an existing man.PHILOSOPHICAL EDUCATION 47 common effort. In all that they have said. and because he cannot find else than any- where where it is. ready to assist us task. He may make their them and. none of us is alone. we find very ourselves surrounded by the friendly com- pany of the philosophers. At the moment when we give up the mirage of a self-subsisting philosophy. the historian finds in the minds of other existing men. but it its source.
turies ago. A new philosophical life has been kindled by another philosophical is life. just as own small- he can help the greatest among them to achieve their own greatness. Is an example necessary ? Do but remember how . What ence ? there for us to lose in lending ourselves to such a transforming experiIt is beyond the power of any human master to add an inch to the stature of his disciples. But he can make even the smallest fulfill at least their among them ness.48 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY AND many Then cen- choice embarked before him. upon the only path that leads also its whither he himself wishes to go. There nothing here to suggest the giving of gift. some an act answers an act and an existence echoes another existence. In such a spiritual birth. does the history of philosophy reach own end and find its own philosophical reward. rather. everything is both old and new. in time is and out of time.
Aristotle was the master. Yet so little did his apprenticeship disciple. history of philosophy pure and simple. Thomas Aquinas meant Aristotle.? we would unhesitatingly answer: Thomas Aquinas. as well as the effort of a disciple asking guidance from his master. hamper the personal genius of the that were we asked today: Who is the Phi- losopher.PHILOSOPHICAL EDUCATION 49 much time and toil Thomas Aquinas has spent in commenting Aristotle. one and the same time. for every time he said The Philosopher. upon the writings of at That work was. .
St.J.. Thomas and the Greeks (1939) by Anton C. . Fr.50. Ph. Thomas and the the Problem of Evil Jacques Maritain... Toronto. president of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.D.00.D.. director of the Mediaeval Institute.D. Wisconsin St. French Ambassador to Holy See.D. (1942) by St. St. University of Notre Dame.. Thomas and Analogy (1941) by University of Notre Gerald B. Fr. of philosophy. S. Dame.D. John at McCormick. professor Yves Simon. St. Ph. Ph. Milwaukee 3. associate professor of the philos- ophy of law. professor of philosophy Loyola University. Adier. Pegis. Ph. Phelan.. University of Chicago. First in series (1937) $1. ail others $1.THE AQUINAS LECTURES Published by the Marquette University Press. Thomas and late the Life of Learning (1937) by the F. Thomas and the Gentiles (1938) by Mortimer J. The N attire and Functions of Authority (1940) by Ph.
S. St..D. History of Philosophy and Philosophical Education (1947. Jaeger.. Spring) by Vernon J. Thomas and the Greek Moralists (1947.D. Mo. St. K.L.D.. Xavier University..D. O. Ph. director of the Albert the Great Institute of Mediaeval Studies. LL. Litt. Institute of Mediaeval Studies. Thomas Aquinas late E.Humanism and Theology (1943) by Werner Ph. Louis. The Nature and Origins of Scientism (1944) by John Wellmuth..D.. director of studies and professor of Pontifical the history of mediaeval philosophy.D. Litt.. Louis University.. Pope Professor of Latin. cover and binding.. Ph. "university" professor. Harvard University. Fall) by Etienne Gilson of the Academie frangaise. St. Louis- Marie Regis. Thomas and Epistemology (1946) by Fr. . Ph. professor of philosophy. Bourke. Cicero in the (1945) by the Courtroom of St. emeritus. chairman of the Department of Philosophy.J. Uniform format.P. Fr. Th.D. St. University of Montreal.. Toronto. Harvard University. Rand.
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