Alfred J. Freddoso
Professor Emeritus of Philosophy
John and Jean Oesterle Professor Emeritus of Thomistic Studies
University of Notre Dame


By Me
By My Betters

Acceptance Address for the Aquinas Medal of the American Catholic Philosophical Association (2020). This short talk was given by Zoom on November 21, 2020 at the annual meeting of the American Catholic Philosophical Association. The meeting was orginally scheduled to take place in New Orleans, but was moved on line because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The outgoing president of the Association was Tom Cavanaugh and the incoming President Joshua Hochschild, both former students of mine. I was introduced by Angela McKay Knobel, another former student, who was very generous in her praise of me. Luckily, I was currently working on the translation of Summa Theologiae 2-2, qq. 112 and 113, on the sins of boasting and self-depreciation and so was prepared for the onslaught of praise and consequent feelings of inadequacy. Deo omnis gloria!

St. Thomas on Prudence and the Moral Virtues  (2019).  This is the long version (including two appendices) of my contribution to the 2019 Thomistic Philosophy Workshop at Mt. St. Mary College in Newburgh, NY.  The theme for the workshop was action and virtue, and the speakers included Fr. James Brent OP, Fr. Michael Sherwin OP, Fr. Stephen Brock, Ed Feser, John O'Callaghan, Steve Long, and yours truly.

Causality and Ontotheology: Some Thomistic Reflections on Hume, Kant, and their Empiricist Progeny (2017).  This is the long version of my contribution to the 2017 Aquinas Philosophy Workshop at Mt. St. Mary College in Newburgh, NY.  After an introduction on the epistemic pessimism of Hume and Kant, the text follows in large measure Part 4  of "Suarez on Metaphysical Inquiry,  Efficient Causality and Divine Action." The theme of this year's workshop was metaphysics, and the speakers included Fr. James Brent, OP, Jeff Brower, Ed Feser, Mike Gorman, Candace Vogler, John O'Callaghan, Steve Long, and yours truly.

Actus and Potentia: From Philosophy of Nature to Metaphysics (2015). This is my contribution to the 2015 Aquinas Philosophy Workshop at Mt. St. Mary College in Newburgh, NY. The theme of the workshop was philosophy of nature, and it was chock full of good presentations -- by Fr. James Brent, OP, Bill Carroll, Ed Feser, Mike Gorman, Fr. Michael Dodds, OP, Chris and Jennifer Frey, Candace Vogler, and John O'Callaghan, along with three excellent graduate-student presentations.  Frank Beckwith and Rob Koons made excellent contributions to the open discussions. This was the fifth of these annual workshops, and attendance this year was the most ever. We may have reached our limit. I also got to see briefly Carson Daly, a junior faculty member with me at Notre Dame in the 1980's and at the time president of Mt. St. Mary College.

Charlie Rice: an Un-eulogy (2015). This is a short piece for the March 19, 2015 edition of the Irish Rover commemorating a truly great man and a truly great family. With my mentors Ralph and Charlie gone, it occurred to me that it really was time for me to retire.

The Vindication of St. Thomas: Thomism and Contemporary Anglo-American Philosophy (2014). This is my contribution to a July 2014 conference called 'A Dialogue between Philosophy and Theology', sponsored by the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley. My commentator was my good friend Fr. Thomas Joseph White, OP, who is also 'featured' in the paper, along with Ed Feser (who was also there), David Oderberg, and Lawrence Feingold. A less technical version of this paper, adapted for an audience  consisting mainly of Catholic undergraduates and more sensitive to curricular matters, was delivered as the Scherer Lecture at the University of Dallas in March 2016.  That version opened by quoting the last paragraph of the first chapter of  Chesterton's Heretics. It's the story of the lampost and is especially worth pondering today.

St. Thomas on the Philosophical Intelligibility and Plausibility of the Doctrine of Divine Providence: Situating Summa Contra Gentiles 3, chap. 64 (2014).  This is a cleaned-up version of a presentation I made at the 2014 Aquinas Philosophy Workshop  at Mt. St. Mary College in Newburgh, NY.  It was preceded (conceptually) by (a) presentations by Fr. James Brent, OP and Ed Feser on what I call herein the first stage of St. Thomas's natural theology, i.e., arguments for God's existence, (b) presentations by Fr. Thomas Joseph White, OP and Fr. Michael Dodds, OP on aspects of the second stage of the natural theology, viz., divine simplicity and immutability, and (c) presentations by Candace Vogler, Bill Carroll, and Reinhard Huetter on aspects of the third stage of the natural theology, viz., God's goodness, the act of creation, and God as final cause of the universe and of each human being. A good time was had by all.

Introduction to the Problem of Free Will and Divine Causality (2013).  This is an outline of a presentation I made at the 2013 Aquinas Philosophy Workshop in Newburgh, NY.  It's been a long time since I worked on this material, and I don't break any new ground -- except perhaps for an indication that in my past work on these topics I wasn't sensitive enough to something that I have since come to appreciate more fully, viz., the manifold ramifications of the doctrine of divine transcendence.

Oh, My Soul, There's Animals and Animals:  Some Thomistic Reflections on Contemporary Philosophy of Mind (2012, 2014). Note of introduction:  The intended audience for this paper is mainly Catholic graduate students and young Ph.D.’s in philosophy and theology, though everyone is of course welcome to read it.  The paper was written in three stages.  The first version was delivered in October, 2010 at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C.  The revised version was delivered at the inaugural Thomistic workshop at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, NY in June 2011.  The workshop was co-sponsored by the Catholic and Dominican Institute at Mount Saint Mary College and by The Thomistic Institute of the Dominican House of Studies in Washington.  Finally, a new section on reductionism was added for the second Thomistic workshop at Mount Saint Mary College in June 2012, and the whole paper was revised again.  In August 2014 I made some changes to the first  part, which was published as "No Room at the Inn: Contemporary Philosophy of Mind Meets Thomistic Philosophical Anthropology" by the journal Acta Philosophica (UniversitÓ Santa Croce, Roma).

Father Thomas Joseph White on Wisdom in the Face of Modernity (2011). This is a brief comment on Thomas Joseph White, OP's Wisdom in the Face of Modernity (Sapientia Press of Ave Maria University, 2009).  I gave it at the annual meeting of  the American Maritain Society in October, 2011.

A Public School in a Catholic Neighborhood:  The Core Curriculum at Notre Dame (2010).  This is a talk that I gave at the Sycamore Trust Breakfast on June 5, 2010 during the annual Notre Dame Alumni Weekend.  (Also available on YouTube)

Notre Dame and the Future of Catholic Higher Education (2010).  Written version of a shorter lecture given at the University of St. Thomas, Houston, under the sponsorship of the John Paul II Forum -- June 9, 2010.

Letter to Today's Catholic, sent Feb. 6, 2010, never published.  This letter was written in the hopes of correcting a certain mistaken interpretation of the events of Spring 2009 by the president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.

Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant, a tribute to Ralph McInerny, The Irish Rover 7, no. 10, February 8, 2010.  (Reprinted as "The Undergraduate Teacher," in O Rare Ralph McInerny:  Stories and Reflections on a Legendary Notre Dame Professor, edited and with an introduction by Christopher Kaczor  (South Bend, IN:  St. Augustine's Press, 2010).)

Introduction, pp. xiii-xxxi in What Happened to Notre Dame? by Charles E. Rice (Author), Alfred J. Freddoso (Introduction) (South Bend, IN: St. Augustine's Press, 2009).  (This file contains my Introduction along with the front material and first chapter of Charlie's book.  The title link is to the page for the book.)

Letter to Today's Catholic (May 31, 2009).  This letter was written to the newspaper of the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese in the wake of the 2009 Commencement mess.

Talk at the Palm Sunday Prayer Rally (April 5, 2009).  This talk was given at a prayer rally in response to the University of Notre Dame's announcement that it would honor President Obama in person at its May 2009 Commencement Ceremony.

Review of Romanus Cessario, O.P, A Short History of Thomism (Washington, D.C.:  Catholic University Press, 2005), The Thomist 72 (2008), pp. 147-154.  This review of a spiffy little book contains a few remarks at the end about the future of Thomism.

Angels and Demons (2005). Faith Essentials (Online Journal of the Association of Students at Catholic Colleges), January 2005.

Christian Faith as a Way of Life.   This essay appears in William E. Mann, ed., The Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Religion (Oxford:  Blackwell Publishing Co., 2004).

One Way to Understand the Significance of Blessed Josemaria Escriva
(2002). This short paper was delivered in June 2002 at a conference entitled "The Teaching of Blessed Josemaria Escriva:  Implications for a New Milennium," and was given as a comment on a paper entitled "Work:  A Path to Holiness" by Janne Haaland Matlary of the University of Oslo. The conference was held just three months before the canonization of the founder of Opus Dei.

The Church and Art.  This is a brief commentary on paragraphs 2, 12, and 13 of Pope John Paul II's Letter to Artists.  It appeared in the Summer 2002 issue of Logos, the journal of the Catholic Studies Program of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN.
Review of John Kavanaugh, SJ, Who Count as Persons?
-- a review that appeared in the January-February 2002 issue of the Houston Catholic Worker.

Good News, Your Soul Hasn't Died Quite Yet --A paper I read at a plenary session of the 2001 meeting of the American Catholic Philosophical Association.  I link it here because of its relevance to faith/reason issues.

Fides et Ratio: A 'Radical' Vision of Intellectual Inquiry -- a slightly revised version of a paper I read at the American Maritain Society Meetings in October 2000.  (This version was delivered as the 2002 Edith Stein lecture at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.) There is some overlap with "Whose Standards of Excellence?" in the discussion of modernism and Nietzscheanism, but this paper begins with an exposition of Pope John Paul's conception of inquiry and also includes a section on pragmatism.

Whose Standards of Excellence?  Secularity and the Mission of the University -- an earlier version of this paper was presented to a conference on "Faith and Reason and a University's Stated Purposes," sponsored by the American Public Philosophy Institute, March 1999. The paper still needs work, and so comments are welcome.

The Church in the 21st Century, Catholic Dossier (November-December 1998).

A Difference of Opinion, Notre Dame Resources (September 6-12, 1998).

Two Roles for Catholic Philosophers (1998) (revised version).

Missing the Message of Ex Corde Ecclesiae, National Catholic Register, March 15-21, 1998.

A Vision of the Church in the 21st Century (1996): On November 13, 1996 I participated in a Common Ground discussion. (Sadly and ironically, this was the very night during which Cardinal Bernadin died.) Each of the panelists prepared a brief (seven-minute) talk on the Church in the 21st century. Here's mine.

A Problem with Undergraduate Education at Notre Dame (1996).

Church Tradition and the Catholic University: A Response (1995): In the Fall of 1995 I was invited by the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars to give a reply to a paper by Fr. Robert Sokolowski entitled "Church Tradition and the Catholic University".

On Being a Catholic University: Some Thoughts on our Present Predicament (1993): In the Fall of 1993 I addressed a group known as the Conversation on the Catholic Character of Notre Dame. My remarks were a comment on a paper by Lawrence Cunningham of the Theology Department on the meanings of the term 'Catholic'.