The Revival of Scholastic Philosophy in the Nineteenth Century

Chapter X: The Neo-Scholastic Revival in Spain, Portugal, and Spanish America


Our ordinary philosophical studies in American institutions may easily lead us to the belief that there is no such a thing as a Spanish philosophy. Who, among our university students, has ever heard of a Spanish philosopher? Who could presently name one? Our complete ignorance on this point must perhaps be excused. Some years ago, Mr. Guardia wrote an article in the Revue Philosophique to prove that we are right. He gave it the attractive title of La misère philosophique en Espagne, and strongly defended the thesis that Spain possesses no philosophy.[1] The same thesis had been defended a few years before by the Mexican priest Agustin Rivera, who had extended his condemnation to the Spanish-speaking countries of the New World.[2] Few Spaniards, however, would agree with these two men. Patriotism is strong beyond the Pyrenees, and the assertions tions to which it frequently leads the fiery sons of Pelayo would sound incredible to the cool-headed Anglo-Saxon race. It seems that the distinguished writer Marcelino Menendez y Pelayo has placed Spanish philosophy on equal footing with the philosophical systems of France and Italy, and has judged it inferior only to Greek and German speculation. To most of us, this judgment would seem rather bold. It has been condemned as too timid by William Garcia, who does not hesitate to give Spanish philosophy the first place. His line of reasoning is very simple. He summarily dismisses German philosophy as a mere play of imagination and no knowledge of truth. As regards Greek philosophy, Garcia, as a genuine Scholastic, does full justice to Aristotle; but, he adds, Aristotle has been surpassed by St. Thomas, so that the Thomistic, or Italian philosophy, is really the first philosophy. Now, the Thomistic philosophy has become Spanish by right of conquest. Hence, it is clear that Spanish philosophy is the first philosophy.[3]

Our belief as to the real worth of Spanish thought may be greatly influenced by the point of view from which we study the question. A Kantian, for example, can hardly be proud of the influence the Critique of Pure Reason has exercised on the Spanish soil. If, as Mr. Latinus points out, only two Spaniards, during the nineteenth century, have judged it useful to go and study philosophy in Germany, if the physician Nieto Serrano is actually the only Kantian in Spain,[4] all who maintain that philosophy must flow from Koenigsberg, that we must go back to Kant, will be apt to be as severe to Spanish thought as Rivera and Guardia have been.

A neo-Scholastic will no doubt be more indulgent. Spain is perhaps the only country in which the Scholastic traditions have never been entirely forgotten. A long time before Sanseverino published his Philosophia Christiana and Leo XIII his encyclical, distinguished Spaniards had defended the essential principles of the Aristotelian and Thomistic philosophy. During the course of the nineteenth century, Spain, as we shall see, has produced three great philosophers who are certainly among the greatest of whom the Scholastic revival may boast. One of them, Urraburu, is still living; the other two, Balmes and Gonzalez, have departed from this world many years ago, but their works are immortal.

At the end of the eighteenth century, the sensism of Locke and Condillac was introduced into Spain and gained many disciples. Among its best known adherents may be mentioned the Jesuits Eximeno and Andres. Scholasticism, however, did not disappear altogether. It was defended by Rafael Puigcerver, O.P., in his Philosophia Sancti Thomae Aquinatis, auribus hujus temporis accommodata, which was used as a text-book in many institutions.

Not long afterwards, Francisco Alvarado, O.P. (1756-1814), generally known as "el filósofo rancio" (the rank philosopher), acquired a great celebrity by his Cartas Aristolélicas and his Cartas Criticas, in which he defended the philosophy of St. Thomas against the heterodox, political, social and philosophical theories which had been recently introduced into Spain.

But the man who gave to Spanish philosophy its greatest splendor during the first half of the nineteenth century was undoubtedly Balmes.

James Balmes was born in Vich (Catalonia) in 1810 and died in 1848. Completely unknown in 1840, he acquired in a few years an immense reputation. He alone succeeded in awakening the interest of Europe in Spanish thought. Besides numerous social productions, among which must be mentioned a comparative study of Protestantism and Catholicism with regard to their influence upon European civilization, Balmes has written the following philosophical works: El Criterio, or a study of the criteria of truth, which, in Mr. Turner's opinion, is his most valuable contribution to philosophy; Cartas á un escéptico, a collection of letters in which scepticism is most ably discussed; Filosof¡a elemental; and Filosof¡a fundamental, the work upon which his fame as a philosopher chiefly rests.

Orestes A. Brownson declares the Fundamental Philosophy to be not only Balmes's masterpiece, but the most important work published on the bases of philosophy during the nineteenth century.[5] This judgment is too eulogistic perhaps; but we must at least admit that Balmes's work has acquired the character of a philosophical classic, and will be studied as long as philosophy endures upon the face of the earth.

When Balmes wrote his works, there were as yet no signs of a return to Thomism. His philosophy, accordingly, is not directly connected with the neo-Scholastic revival. It is, however, Thomistic in its essential character and in most of its details. Thomas Aquinas was the favorite author of the Spanish thinker, who regarded the Summa Theologica as the fountain of all truth. Balmes's thought has also been influenced, although in a less degree, by Descartes and the Scottish school. Greatly sympathetic to Reid, Balmes professes the same aversion to Idealism, and, speaking of Berkeley, exclaims: "Insanity is insanity still, however sublime it may be."[6]

Unlike the early Roman Thomists, Balmes possesses a remarkable knowledge of modern philosophy. He knows thoroughly Descartes, Locke, Condillac, Hume, Lamennais, and his criticisms of Kant may be read with profit even to-day by all students of German philosophy. One of the ideals which Balmes cherished, and which a premature death did not allow him to realize, was a thorough study and a refutation of German idealism. Strange to say, Balmes is, however, less far from Kant than he supposes.

Kant teaches the subjectivity of space. Balmes says:

"The idea of extension is a primitive fact of our mind. It is not produced by sensations, but precedes them, if not in time, at least in the order of being."[7]

Kant teaches that our knowledge of the external world is nothing but a knowledge of phenomena, and that the thing-in- itself is unknowable. Balmes says:

"A pure spirit -- the existence of which we must always suppose; for, though all finite beings were annihilated, there would still remain the infinite being which is God -- a pure spirit would know the extended world just as it is in itself, and would not have the sensible representations either external or internal which we have."[8]

Kant teaches that, even with regard to our own self, our knowledge is phenomenal. Balmes says:

"The Ego does not see itself intuitively; it is offered to itself only mediately, by its acts; that is, so far as it is known, it is in the same category as all other external beings, which are all known by their effect upon us."[9]

A comparative study of the philosophies of Balmes and Kant would be of great interest. The scope of this treatise obliges us to limit ourselves to a suggestion and a few remarks. Whatever the conclusions of such a study might be, one thing is beyond doubt: Balmes's principles show a marked tendency to subjectivism. He professes that we possess certainty only with regard to internal phenomena, and that we know external objects by means of a natural instinct.

Ramon Marti de Eixala (died 1857), although lacking the depth of genius of Balmes, exercised a more direct influence upon Spanish thinking. Surrounded by a number of disciples, he gave birth to the school known as "Catalonian school." One of his disciples, Llorens, eagerly entered into the spirit of the Thomistic revival which was then taking place in Italy, and, during the last years of his life, strove to put his doctrine in perfect harmony with those of Sanseverino and Cornoldi.

Not long afterwards, the same province of Catalonia, proud of such thinkers as Marti and Balmes, produced another philosopher of real merit, Antonio Comellas.

Antonio Comellas y Cluet (1832-1884) has not enjoyed during his life the noisy celebrity in which other men delight. Even after his death, he has remained unknown for many years, and his name would probably be forgotten to-day were it not for the learned study made by the distinguished historian of philosophy, Gomez lzquierdo, in the review La Cultura Española (cf. Bibliography). Comellas's life, as Gomez lzquierdo points out, may be summed up in these two words: Solitude and study.

His greatest contribution to philosophy are his Demonstración de la armon¡a entre la religión católica y la ciencia and his Introducción á la Filosof¡a.

The man who has raised Spanish philosophy to its greatest height during the second half of the nineteenth century is Cardinal Gonzalez.

Zeferino Gonzalez y D¡az-Tufion (1831-1892), born in Villoria, entered the Dominican order at the age of thirteen and was sent, when quite a young man, to the mission of the Philippines. In Manila, he taught philosophy and theology and published his first work: Estudios sobre la Filosofia de Santo Tomas, which evinces a deep knowledge of the philosophy of the Angelic Doctor, and is regarded by many critics as the most remarkable work on the subject written during the nineteenth century.

Compelled by his health to return to Spain in 1865, Gonzalez contributed to La Ciudad de Dios and other periodicals numerous philosophical essays. His Philosophia elementaria, his Estudios religiosos, filosóficos, cient¡ficos y sociales, his most recent work, La Biblia y la Ciencia (1891), and especially his Historia de la Filosofia, in which a whole volume is devoted to Mediaeval philosophy, have given the last touch to his reputation as a philosopher and assured him a place among the greatest thinkers of his country and the most genuine defenders and propagators of neo-Scholasticism.

Cotemporaneous with Gonzalez are Orti y Lara and Pidal y Mon.

Juan Manuel Orti y Lara has written immensely. His most important philosophical works may be seen in our bibliography. Besides his Psicolog¡a, his Lógica, his Ética and other other constructive works, he deserves the gratitude of neo- Scholastics for his refutation of the pantheistic philosophy of Krause and of the work of Draper. His conception of the Thomistic movement is, however, very narrow. Orti y Lara does not take any interest in modern philosophy, which he regards as "resting upon error and sin."[10]

Alejandro Pidal y Mon, bom in Madrid in 1847, is chiefly known as a political writer. His principal contributions to philosophy are a work entitled Sistemas filosóficos (1873), and a study on St. Thomas, Santo Tomás de Aquino (1875), which has been greatly praised by Cardinal Gonzalez.

Among the, most recent Spanish neo-Scholastics, let us mention: Arnaiz, Cepeda, Daurella, Donadiu, Gonzalez y Arintero, Lemos, Hernández y Fajarnés, Miralles y Sbert, the Jesuits Urráburu and Mendive, the historian of philosophy Gómez lzquierdo.

J. Mendive, S.J. (died 1906), is the author of a course of philosophy, written at first in Spanish, and afterwards published in Latin (1886). Like many other Jesuits, he has been reproached with following Suarez too closely in his interpretations of St. Thomas.

Antonio Hernandez y Fajarnés, professor in the University of Zaragoza, is the author of a series of philosophical and scientific works in which the fundamental principles of Scholasticism are defended and opposed to the antagonistic modern theories. His first work, Psicolog¡a celular (1884), is an able refutation of Haeckel's biological theories. His Ontolog¡a (1887) is directed against positivism.

Juan Gonzalez de Arintero, O.P., published in 1904 a work entitled La Providencia y la Evolución, whose chief aim is the proof of the existence of finality in the universe. Fr. Arintero attacks the doctrine of pure chance; and, in his chapter on evolution, clearly shows that evolution without finality is contrary to reason, to experience, to science itself.

No less profound is the scientific knowledge of Placido Angel Lemos. In his work, La Vida Orgánica, published in 1902, he defends the validity of the concept of substance, proves against Haeckel the unity of the living being, studies the origin of life upon the earth, and strives to show that a perfect harmony exists between scientific discoveries and the teachings of the Bible. Mr. Alberto Gomez lzquierdo, actually professor in the seminary of Zaragoza, has contributed to the Revista de Aragón and the Cultura Española numerous articles in which he has ventilated interesting questions concerning the history of philosophy. He has also published a History of Philosophy in the XIX century, which is one of the most important and best documented works we possess on the subject. Mr. Gomez has entirely omitted Spanish philosophy from his History, but he has promised a separate volume on the subject, which all who are interested in philosophical researches expect with feverish eagerness.

John Joseph Urráburu, S.J., published in 1890 eight big Latin quarto volumes with the title Institutiones Philosophicae. The first deals with Logic, the second with Ontology, the third with Cosmology, the next three with Psychology, the last two with Natural Theology.

Some years afterwards, he exposed his teachings anew in a more concise form, and published a Compendium Philosophiae Scholasticae which, in spite of its modest title, consists of no less than five large octavo volumes.

Fr. Urráburu's works constitute a monumental production, one of the greatest treasures neo-Scholastic literature possesses. In his method, Urráburu is a pure Roman Thomist. He uses the Latin language, the syllogistic form, and proves the truth of his teachings from the authority of the Church and the Divine Revelation as often and as willingly as by human reason. He differs from many Roman Thomists by his knowledge of modern scientific results. The conclusions he derives from these results are not always justifiable, but his knowledge of the scientific facts themselves cannot be denied.

Urráburu's work -- perhaps on account of the very method they follow -- have not attracted the attention they deserve. Their author's name is not even mentioned in Mr. Blanc's Dictionnaire de Philosophie, published in 1906. The actual current of neo-Scholasticism, chiefly due to the influence of Mgr. Mercier and the Institute of Louvain, is unfavorable to Urráburu. It professes that the Latin language ought to be discarded in philosophical discussions, and that philosophy ought to be regarded as a science which must go its own way, without any predeterminate conclusion imposed by theological beliefs. To the objection that this has not been the method followed by St. Thomas, the Scholastics of Louvain would answer that St. Thomas acted in harmony with the spirit of his time, and that, if he lived now, he would likewise act in harmony with the spirit and methods of our day. This may be very true, but it proves too much. If St. Thomas lived to-day, a Positivist might ask, if he breathed in our intellectual atmosphere, would he be a Dominican? Would he be a Scholastic?

Urráburu's method is perhaps, on the whole, more consistent with the principles of Scholasticism than his opponents' view. The Scholastics of Louvain are as profoundly convinced of the truth of the doctrines of the Church as Urráburu is. They believe as strongly as the eminent Spaniard that a philosophical or a scientific conclusion opposed to the revealed truths is erroneous and must be rejected. If such be the case, and if the primary aim of philosophy be the attainment of truth, is it not illogical to abstain from taking theological doctrines as a guide in philosophical investigations?

A proof from Scripture will not appeal to the modern mind. In Protestant countries especially it will sound as profoundly unphilosophical. But we must not forget that Urráburu writes in a Catholic country and for Catholic readers. The spirit of free interpretation has led Protestant theology very far. Many Protestant ministers to-day doubt the existence of hell, and a few are inclined to transform a personal God into an ethical or metaphysical principle. The case of the Catholic clergy is quite different. All who are really Catholics flrmly believe, not only in a personal God, who sees us and watches over us, in a hell in which the reprobate will be tortured with the devils during the whole eternity, but even in the Immaculate Conception and the infallibility of the pope.

It cannot be denied that the spirit of Louvain is more in harmony with modern thought. This is the reason why the works published by the Institut Supérieur de Philosophie have been translated into various languages and have attracted the attention of all Europe, whereas Urráburu's bulky volumes have been forgotten in some dusty corner of a conventual library. The study of the works of the learned Jesuit is, however, indispensable for an adequate understanding of the spirit of Scholasticism.

Let us not leave Spain without mentioning some important reviews which have greatly helped the cause of neo-Thomism. Razón y Fé, La Ciudad de Dios, the Revista de Aragón, and the Cultura Española have published articles of great interest. Of greater interest still is the Revista Luliana, founded in Barcelona in 1901, and whose aim is the publication and the critical interpretation of the works of the Mediaeval Spanish philosopher Raymond Lully.


The march of philosophy in Portugal is closely connected with that of philosophy in Spain. Both countries have been inspired by the same masters, and have followed parallel directions in their speculation. By the end of the eigteenth century, the dominant system in Portuguese institutions was a sensism inspired by Locke and Condillac. The Jesuits of Coimbra, who alone clung to an orthodox Thomism, were severely attacked by other religious orders, especially by the Oratorians and Augustinians. Condillac's Art de Penser was translated into Portuguese and published in 1818. The Oratorian Fr. John the Baptist, the archdeacon Luiz Antonio Verney and Theodoro d'Almeida frankly introduced modern systems of thought into the Portuguese philosophical circles.

Little was done in Portugal for a restoration of Thomism before the publication of Leo XIII's encyclical. The few contributions to Scholastic literature written in Portuguese during that period, do not belong to Portugal proper, but to Asia or America.

In Macao, the Jesuit Francis X. Rondina (1827-1897), an Italian by birth, published in 1869 a course of philosophy in harmony with the Scholastic principles. The title of the work is: Compendio de Philosophia theoretica e pratica para uso da mocidade portuguesa na China. The author has been directly inspired by St. Thomas, Suarez, Goudin, Balmes, Gonzalez, and, to a certain extent, by Rosmini.

Two years later, Jose Soriano de Sousa, professor in Pernambuco (Brazil), published his Licoes de Philosophia elementar racional e moral, perfectly Thomistic in spirit, which he dedicated to Emperor Pedro II.

After the promulgation of the encyclical Aeterni Patris, the Catholics of Portugal entered without hesitation into the spirit of the Roman Pontiff. By the philosophical academics they founded, the reviews and the works they published, they have assured to their country a conspicuous place in the history of neo-Thomism.

In 1881, an Academy of St. Thomas was founded in Coimbra, and, by means of its organ, the review Insticoes christas, actively contributed to turn the attention of Portugal to the Thomistic revival. The foundation of the Academy of St. Thomas was soon followed by the publication of philosophical works inspired by Scholastic principles. Among the writers who thus served the cause of neo-Scholasticism, the best known are Sinibaldi, Pereira Gomez de Carvalho and Madureira.

Thiago Sinibaldi, professor in the seminary of Coimbra, published lished in 1889 his Praelectiones Philosophiae christianae, and three years later, his Elementos de Philosophia, which has been honored by several editions.

Clement Pereira Gomez de Carvalho, professor in the Central Lyceum of Coimbra, is also the author of a work entitled Elementos de Philosophia, which was published in 1894.

Bernardo Augusto de Madureira, professor in the Faculty of theology of the University of Coimbra, published, in 1884, a poem entitled, O sol d'Aquino, which deals with the life and the philosophy of the Angelic Doctor, and was dedicated by the author to the new-born Academy of St. Thomas. Since that time, Mr. Madureira has also published a manual of Elementary Philosophy (1896).

Another active supporter of neo-Thomism in Portugal is Mr. Manuel Jose Martins Capella, to whose initiative is due the foundation of a chair of Thomistic philosophy in the seminary of Braga (1892).

More recently, Mr. Teixera Guedes has organized in Santarem a Philosophical and Literary Academy, whose aim is the diffusion of the Thomistic doctrines among the people. The Academy has been inaugurated in 1897 by the Cardinal Archbishop of Lisbon.


By the middle of the nineteenth century, Scholastic philosophy had practically disappeared from the Mexican soil. Even Catholics regarded with the greatest disrespect a system which, in previous centuries, had been defended in Mexico by so many illustrious thinkers. From August, 1845, to May, 1847, there was published in Mexico a religious, political, scientific and literary periodical, known as El Católico. Its columns contained numerous articles dealing with History of Philosophy, especially with Scholasticism. These articles were published anonymously, but it appears from the works of the eminent historian Valverde Tellez that they were due to the pen of the Jesuit Arrillaga.[12]

Arrillaga defines Scholasticism in terms of its method of exposition, gives a cold praise to Abelard and Thomas Aquinas, calling them "rare geniuses who, in another time, could have done wonders," is particularly severe towards Duns Scotus, speaks of Lully's Ars magna as of a collection of extravagances. Similar views were current at the time. The greatest Catholic thinker Mexico has produced, Clemente de Jesus Mungu¡a, does not absolutely escape them. After exposing the Scholastic doctrine about the origin of ideas, the distinguished bishop finds himself at a loss to explain how "such an absurd theory could enjoy so great a vogue, and for so long a time, among philosophers."[13]

The philosophical system of Mungu¡a, however, agrees in the main with the principles of the School. He who has been called by his admirers "the Balmes of Mexico" may be regarded with justice as one of the forerunners of the neo-Scholastic movement in his country. Our bibliography contains the titles of his most important philosophical publications.

The first man who, by his writings and his influence, directly contributed to the revival of Thomism in Mexico is Bishop Sollano.

Jose Mar¡a de Jesus Diez de Sollano y Dávalos was born in San Miguel de Allende (Guanajuato) in 1820. After studying in his native town and in Mexico, he was ordained priest in 1844, and became successively rector of the College of San Gregorio, of the Seminary and of the University. In 1863 he was made bishop of Leon by Pius IX. He died in 1881.

The philosophical writings of Bishop Sollano are not of great importance. They are limited to an annotated edition of Roux's Logic, a pastoral letter dealing with the encyclical AEterni Patris, and a dissertation about the Immaculate Conception. Nevertheless, Sollano must be regarded as one of the best propagators of neo-Scholasticism in Mexico, on account of the influence he exercised upon the direction of philosophy in making of his seminary of Leon one of the most active centers of neo- Thomism.

From all parts of the Mexican republic there soon arose distinguished writers to defend the essential principles of Scholastic philosophy, so that the neo-Scholastic movement in Mexico can compare without too much disadvantage with the same movement in European nations.

Agustin de la Rosa (born 1824), canon of Guadalajara, defended the Scholastic doctrine of truth in his Consideraciones filosóficas sobre la Verdad y la Certidumbre (1870).

José M. de Jesús Portugal, bishop of Aguascalientes, wrote, with the titles of El Amable Jesus and La Santa voluntad de Dios, excellent commentaries on the works of St. Thomas. El Amable Jesus is a commentary on the third part of the Summa Theologica, whereas La Santa Voluntad de Dios deals with the Summa contra Gentiles.

Agustin F. Villa greatly facilitated the study of Scholastic philosophy by the publication of a Vocabulary of Scholastic Terms (1879).

Nicanor Lozada published in 1880 his Apuntes de Lógica, Cosmolog¡a y Psicolog¡a. This work is not a course of Scholastic philosophy. As its title indicates, it simply consists of notes and observations destined to give to the students a clear intelligence of some obscure points of the text-book they were using. This text-book was Grandclaude's Breviarium Philosophiae Scholasticae.

Rafael Cagigas (1864-1890), whose premature death has been a great loss to Mexican philosophical literature, manifests an enthusiastic admiration for the Thomistic doctrine, in his volume of works published in 1890. With the soul of a poet, the young writer studies the most abstruse philosophical doctrines. The theory of Matter and Form is for him a boundless harmony, which he sees reflected in the human mind. Cagigas is perhaps too severe for modern philosophy, as may be gathered from the following fragment of a speech he pronounced in the Catholic Circle of Mexico, on January 19, 1890:

"Modern philosophy, from Descartes to this day, is in a state of evident decay. She declares it herself with furious cries, appearing to the eyes of the crowd as a collection of all errors, as a sink of all filth, as the ruin of all spirits, as a labyrinth where the wisest man himself is suddenly confounded. What is morality in the cathedras, in the societies such a philosophy corrupts? The negative morality of the mule and of the ass."[14]

Secundino Briceño, besides an opuscule on the syllogism and a dissertation dealing with St. Thomas's doctrine about the Immaculate Conception, has written a comparative study of the Spencerian and Scholastic philosophy. The title of this work is Ligeros Apuntes sobre la Filosof¡a de Spencer comparada con la Filosof¡a Escolástica. Its aim is to oppose the powerful current of positivism which, due to the influence of Barreda and Porfirio Parra, has been for a long time the official philosophy in Mexico. Briceño limits his considerations to Spencer's First Principles, and skilfully points out the contradictions contained in the doctrine of the English philosopher.

An able representative of neo-Scholasticism in Mexico is the Dominican Guillermo Garcia. A Spaniard by birth, now professor of dogmatic theology in the seminary of San Luis Potosi, Fr. Garcia has written, besides a pamphlet on St. Bonaventure, a historical study entitled Tomismo y Neotomismo. The aim of this treatise is to give a full account of the works and the philosophical doctrines of Thomas Aquinas, to compare his philosophy with the modern currents of thought, to give a historical survey of the Thomistic philosophy throughout the ages. The part of the work dealing with modern philosophical systems has not much value. It is easy to see that Fr. Garcia is not precisely at home when he deals with Locke, Kant, Fichte and Hegel. His knowledge of St. Thomas, on the other hand, is certainly thorough. His admiration for the Angelic Doctor is even exaggerated. He feels proud of the rule of the Dominican order, which commands to follow St. Thomas in every point, in omnibus, omnino, under the most severe penalties, obliges to a vow of fidelity to his doctrines, and regards as impious the slightest deviation from them.[15]

Now, such a rule is not only unphilosophical, but anti- Thomistic. There is nothing more opposed to the spirit of a philosopher than a systematic and uncritical adherence to each proposition he has maintained. Philosophy is essentially a thinking study of things. We must carefully meditate the works of our predecessors, we must try to understand their meaning, to grasp their train of thought, but we are philosophers only in so far as we think with our own head. All great thinkers have studied the various philosophical systems, but they have not servilely adhered to them. They have marked their works with the seal of their own individuality. St. Thomas is no exception to this rule.

Happily for philosophy, the Dominicans do not seem to observe very strictly the rule of which Fr. Garc¡a is so proud. Strange to say, Garc¡a himself furnishes us ample proofs of this assertion. A section of Tomismo y Neotom¡smo is devoted to a defence of the Dominican order against the charge of intolerance. The author gives the names of notable members of the order who have more or less departed from St. Thomas's teaching without being molested. He speaks of Thomas de Vio Cajetanus, of Ambroso Catarino, of Thomas Campanella, and more especially of Durandus of St. Pourcain, a "powerful opponent of the philosophy of the Angelic Doctor," who lived and died in the Dominican order without ever suffering the slightest persecution.[16]

This is not the only contradiction which Tomismo y Neotomismo contains. Fr. Garc¡a's position as regards neo-Scholasticism is far from being clear. He declares that his view of the Thomistic movement is in harmony with the view of the Louvain school, and he gives an excellent program of neo-Scholasticism to which every professor of Louvain would subscribe. On the other hand, he quotes with approval Cornoldi's famous phrase describing modern philosophy as the pathology of human reason, and cannot blame Orti y Lara for regarding modern thought as resting upon error and sin.

In spite of these defects, Tomismo y Neotomismo is a valuable little work. It contains important historical data about the Thomistic movement. The five chapters dealing with the philosophy of St. Thomas in the Dominican order are particularly interesting. Fr. Garc¡a is actually preparing a treatise on St. Thomas's sociology. We sincerely hope that this new work will be, like Tomismo y Neotomismo, a precious contribution to neo- Scholastic literature.

No Mexican, however, deserves the thanks of all lovers of Scholastic philosophy so greatly as Mr. Valverde Tellez.

Emeterio Valverde Tellez, a canon of the cathedral of Mexico, has written, besides a treatise on truth, three historical works of great importance: the Apuntaciones históricos sobre la Filosof¡a en Mexico (1896); the Cr¡tica Filosófica (1904); and the Bibliograf¡a Filosófica Mexicana (1907).

In the Apuntaciones históricas, Mr. Valverde, after general considerations on the nature, of philosophy and a weak defense of Metaphysics against the attacks of Positivism, traces the great lines of Mexican speculation, gives valuable informations about the libraries and the centers of learning in Mexico, leads us through the vicissitudes of the Mexican University since its foundation in 1521 to its final suppression in 1868, and the foundation of the new Pontifical University in 1896. He then passes to a detailed and critical study of the various philosophical ical systems in his country. He analyzes the works and the doctrines of all great Mexican thinkers.

In spite of his enthusiastic admiration for St. Thomas, Mr. Valverde does full justice to the philosophers of other schools. His study of the recent positivistic movement in Mexico and of the violent discussions to which it has given rise is excellent.[17]

The Cr¡tica Filosófica completes the Apuntaciones by furnishing new data, by making us know philosophical works completely unknown, and unearthed by the patient labor of the author.

The Bibliograf¡a Filosófica Mexicana gives us, with the greatest exactitude, the list of all philosophical productions written in Mexico. Each work is preceded by a biographical sketch of its author and followed by a critical analysis, so that the Bibliograf¡a is indispensable to all who are interested in the march of philosophical speculation among the Spanish race.


Among the countries which have eagerly embraced the cause of the Scholastic revival, Colombia deserves a special attention. Thomism has become, as it were, its official philosophy, and, more than anywhere else perhaps, has identified itself with the spirit of the nation.

When, in the middle of the last century, Bentham's utilitarian ethical system was introduced into Colombia, it was opposed by some of the most eminent Colombian writers. Margallo, M. M. Mallarino, Ricardo de la Parra, Joaquin Mosquera, Mario Valenzuela, and more especially José Eusebio Caro (1817-1853) and his illustrious son, Miguel Antonio Caro, defended the Thomistic moral system with much ability and success.

Miguel Antonio Caro, born in Bogotá on November 10, 1843, is chiefly known as a politician and a man of letters. As a politician, he has exercised an immense influence upon the government of his country, and has been intrusted with the high office of president. Among his literary achievements, which have given him a conspicuous place in the history of Spanish literature, let us mention his admirable translation of Virgil into Spanish verse. His most lasting title to the gratitude of Philosophy is his Estudio sobre el Utilitarismo, which has been proclaimed worthy of Joseph de Maistre.[18]

The most important center of Thomism in Colombia is actually the College of the Rosary (Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Señora del Rosario) in Bogota.

As early as 1881, Rafael Maria Carrasquilla (born in Bogota on December 18, 1857, and president of the College of the Rosary since 1891) proclaimed his adherence to the philosophy imposed by Pope Leo XIII on the Catholic world. "To the modern errors," said he, "we must oppose the entire truth, even if we offend the pride of our century of progress, by exhibiting a monk of the thirteenth century as a model of wisdom."[19]

The program thus sketched by Mr. Carrasquilla has been faithfully carried out. All the works and essays the College has produced have been inspired by the purest Thomistic principles, so that the history of the College of the Rosary during the last fifteen years forms one of the most interesting pages of a history of neo-Scholasticism.

The adherence of the college to the principles of the Angelic Doctor does not, however, degenerate into servility. It is essentially eclectic and progressive. The new constitutions of the college strongly insist upon the fact that we must follow the Scholastics wherever their philosophy is acceptable in the light, of modern criticism, and reject their doctrines if they have proved erroneous or inadequate.[20]

The most important work of Mr. Carrasqiiilla is the volume entitled, Ensayo sobre la doctrina liberal, which has obtained him the honor of being described as a "republican Balmes."

By its title, the Ensayo sobre la Doctrina Liberal seems to belong to political science rather than to philosophy. It is as a philosophical system, however, that Mr. Carrasquilla studies liberalism, which he refutes by the Thomistic social principles. "Liberalism," says he, "is above all a philosophical school, which a priest may study and refute with the same right wherewith he would combat Descartes, Hegel or Rosmini.["21]

Among the men who have contributed to give to the College of the Rosary the Thomistic direction it has to-day, none is more conspicuous than Mr. Julian Restrepo Hernández, professor of logic and anthropology in the college since 1892.

Born in Bogotá on July 23, 1871, Julian Restrepo Hernández studied in the College of the Rosary and showed such philosophical acumen that he was placed in the chair of logic in 1890, while still a student in the college. Later on, he studied law and wrote for the Colombian government the Codificacion Cundinamarquesa, which contains the entire legislation of Colombia and forms a volume of 1208 pages folio.

Mr. Restrepo, however, has not neglected philosophy and has recently (1907) published a volume on logic (Lecciones de Lógica, in which he has embodied the lectures given to the students of the College of the Rosary.

The qualities which distinguish this work have been very skilfully pointed out by the distinguished literary critic Rufino José Cuervo, in a personal letter to the author: "The pleasure I experienced at the reading of your volume on Logic, says Mr. Cuervo, comes chiefly from the clearness, precision and rigorous method of the work, in which ancient and modern learning are combined, so that truth may appear more luminous and attractive."[22]

Mr. Restrepo's Logic, besides its intrinsic value as an exposition of the Scholastic logical principles, is worthy of attention for a theory of the modes of the hypothetical syllogism, which constitutes a direct contribution of the author to the field of logic.

Since 1905, the College of the Rosary also publishes an important review (Revista del Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Señora del Rosario) which is undoubtedly one of the most excellent South American periodical publications. Its field is not confined to philosophy. It treats likewise of literature, education, history, and seldom fails to give a delightful piece of poetry.

From a philosophical point of view, the most important contribution of the review is the essay entitled Santo Tomás ante la ciencia moderna, of Francisco Maria Rengifo, now professor in the college.

Mr. Rengifo studies the modern theories defended by mathematics and science and shows that they are in perfect harmony with the essential principles of Thomism.

Let us not leave the College of the Rosary without mentioning the interesting work entitled La Filosofia Positivista, written by Samuel Ramirez (1875-1908), as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. After giving a detailed history of the various positivistic schools, Mr. Ramirez demonstrates the superiority of the Thomistic principles over the doctrines of Comte and his disciples.

The Rev. Luis Ortiz, S.J., professor in the College of San Bartolomé, has contributed to Colombian neo-Scholastic literature a little work entitled La Vida (Life). The thesis defended by the author is the following: "The doctrine of the Angelic Doctor and of Fr. Suarez, defending the existence of a vital principle, which informs living beings and is essentially distinct from the physico-chemical forces of brute matter, is confirmed by the observations of modern science; or, more briefly, the physical and chemical forces are inadequate to explain life."

The proofs adduced by Fr. Ortiz in defence of this thesis are a development of the following argument: The essences of things are known from the operations and properties of these things. The operations and properties of inorganic matter are essentially different from those which characterize living beings. Therefore, the nature of living beings is essentially different from that of inorganic matter.

Colombia is not the only South American republic in which the spirit of the Thomistic revival has penetrated. The most important contribution of South America to the cause of neo- Scholasticism came from Chile and was due to Francisco Ginebra, of the Society of Jesus.

Ginebra's Elementos de Filosofia, published in 1887 in Santiago (Chile), has deservedly run into several editions. It is one of the most valuable text-books on Scholastic philosophy which the neo-Scholastic revival has produced. The author has been chiefly inspired by St. Thomas, Suarez, Liberatore, Kleutgen, Cornoldi and Balmes.

The Elementos de Filosofia is completed by a treatise on Natural Law (Elementos de Derecho Natural), which is also a very important work, and has been adopted as a text-book in several of the South American schools of law.

<< ======= >>