My KMLA Term Paper

Posted: October 28, 2010 in Uncategorized

A Philosophy Term Paper Concerning:

Thomas Aquinas and his reconciliation of Aristotle with Neo-Platonism

Saint Thomas Aquinas’s impact on Catholic philosophy
Saint Thomas not only “stands as a vehicle and modifier of Aristotelianism” (Wikipedia) but also as the great theologian who organized the Catholic philosophy. Although some parts of his works remain aching, the fact that he has established the identity of Catholicism cannot be denied.

Saint Thomas and propaganda
Thomas Aquinas showed his genius in establishing the Aristotelian Catholic doctrine. Nevertheless, his justification of the Catholic is more or less close to propaganda; he ignored some arguments of Neo-Platonism and Aristotle that stand against Catholicism.
Plotinus, a founder of Neo-Platonism, explained Holy Trinity as being constituted of the One, the Spirit (Nous), and the Soul and made it clear that these three are not equal. (Russell 288) Nevertheless, Thomas Aquinas ignored the claim since Catholic doctrine says the Trinity is equally same.
Not only Neo-Platonism but also Aristotle was denied by Thomas Aquinas elements. Aristotle suggested that God is an Artificer rather than a Creator. Although the two concepts are often used in the similar context, Creator has more subjective and independent connotation than Artificer. Aristotle has definitely left a hint that God can be an object of another force. Nonetheless, without any refutation or so, Thomas Aquinas ignores the part.
Although Plato and Aristotle had claimed that propaganda is needed for the maintenance of the society, Thomas Aquinas still had a duty to present the flaws of his justification of the Catholicism. Indeed, the courage of showing defects is needed:
Catholicism which, as against all tabooism, preaches, ‘Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time . . . But I say unto you . . .’ ; opposing in every case the voice of conscience to mere formal obedience and fulfillment of the law. (Popper 65)

Saint Thomas’s faithfulness to the request of the Catholicism
It is more or less doubtful whether Thomas Aquinas’s justification of Catholic doctrine was done voluntarily. The fact that he was appointed to quarrel against Averroes or requested to write for Catholicism clearly shows that at least some portions of his activities were done involuntary. In fact, in his later days, Thomas Aquinas answered, “All that I have written seems like straw to me,” to the question why he doesn’t continue on doing his work. (Davies 9)
Nevertheless, it would be too much for him to say that he “prostituted himself,” as Holden in The Catcher in the Rye puts. (Salinger 44) Thomas Aquinas was deeply attracted by Dominican Order to the extent to forsake his family’s order. He was equally obsessed with thoughts about Aristotle. Inspired by both Dominican Catholicism and Aristotle, it can be called natural for him to serve faithfully for the establishment of Aristotelian Catholicism. Plus, it cannot be denied that he had indeed established the identity of Catholicism by means of Aristotle against the invasion of Averroes and Radical Aristotelians’ overemphasis on life in this world.

Works Cited

“God’s Existence”. Medieval Sourcebook (2006)
“Unmoved Mover”. Wikipedia.
“Plato”. Britannica.
“St. Thomas Aquinas on Predestination and Invincible Ignorance”. Romancatholicism.
Gallagher, Daniel. The Platonic-Aristotelian Hybridity of Aquinas’s Aesthetic Theory. Hortulus (2006): 2. Web.
“Thomas Aquinas”. Wikipedia.
Popper, Karl. The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945): 65. Web.
Davies. The Thought: 9. Web.


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