Jacques Maritain Center

Revival of Scholasticism

1. The Revival of the Seventeenth Century. THE one hundred and fifty years from the middle of the sixteenth to the end of the seventeenth century is known in history as the period of the Counter-Reformation. During that period the Catholic Church consolidated her position in the countries that remained to her after the great revolt, and planted herself by vast missionary efforts in new lands. In Spain and Italy she quite recovered, and even improved upon, the position that had been hers in the Middle Ages. With this revival of Catholicism, the dying embers of Scholasticism were kindled into a new glow in the countries just named. Two Religious Orders, the Dominicans and the Jesuits, brought their schools to a level which recalled the brighter days of the now decadent University of Paris. We will take some note of two great Jesuit Doctors of this era.

Gabriel Vasquez, S.J., 1551-1604, taught at Rome and Aleali, mainly theology, which he has bequeathed to us in a great commentary on the Summa Theologiae of St. Thomas, with philosophy interspersed. If Suarez was the Aristotle of the Society of Jesus, Vasquez was the Plato. He and Suarez were rivals in the schools. Vasquez is always good reading, brilliant, suggestive, more lively, too, than Suarez, but less sure-footed. By this time the Summa Theologiae of St. Thomas had replaced the Sentences of Peter Lombard as the text-book in the schools. At the opening of his commentary on the Summa, Vasquez has an interesting defence of scholastic theology against the allegations brought against it in the sixteenth century. Many of his remarks may serve as an apology for scholastic philosophy in our time. 'We cannot deny that there have been in the School very many who have treated questions with frivolous reasons . . . . This is not the fault of the science, but was the misfortune of the times, in which minds were not so cultivated, nor arts so elaborated, nor books so abundant. Now that there is a better supply of books, and much greater exercise of intellect, our scholastic theology is daily enriched and treated with the consideration that it deserves . . . . Secondly, many, even Catholics, inveigh against scholastic theology in this way. There are doctors seemingly born for disputation, contentious, party men, who care less about the investigation of truth than about the defence of their own School, and of their own Master to whom they have sworn allegiance, to the no small injury of theology and truth . . . . But that is no fault of Scholasticism, it is a fault of character . . . . Francis Victoria, a disciple and keen defender of St. Thomas, used to say (and he is followed also by Melchior Canus), that the authority of St. Thomas ought so far to prevail as to suffice for us, if a better reason be not forthcoming; still, that the words and reasons of so great a Doctor were not to be accepted without discrimination and examination. Nay, if St. Thomas said anything not altogether probable, that we ought to imitate the Saint's own modesty and industry, in neither disparaging the credit of the ancient Doctors, nor adopting their opinion if reason urged to the contrary. Wherefore Victoria wishes us not to be so attached to the doctrine of St. Thomas as to think it a crime to depart a hair's-breadth from any reason, ground, opinion, or conclusion of his.' On this, Vasquez quotes St. Augustine: 'I should wish no one so to embrace my opinions as to follow me except on points in which he sees that I am not mistaken. On that very account I am now writing my Retractations, to show that I have not in all things followed myself.' Vasquez goes on: 'But you see people who of set purpose endeavour to refute St. Thomas's doctrine, and then fancy they have done gloriously when they have uttered a pronouncement against an opinion of his. These are worthy of no light reprehension, and undoubtedly are stopping their own way to the discovery of truth. The above-mentioned Thomists, then, teach that such disinterestedness and sincere desire of truth should rule our treatment of matters doubtful and probable, not belonging to dogmas of faith, that, for all our deference to the authority of Blessed Thomas, reason, nevertheless, maturely pondered, should hold the first place, wherever such reason can be found . . . Some are offended at scholastic theology for its style -- its uncultured mode of speech, its phraseology mean and vulgar, laden with barbarisms and solecisms. These are the votaries of rhetoric and eloquence; men who delight in words rather than in things; who neglect the investigation of the natures and properties of things and the enucleation of difficulties; men who hate the very name of Scholastics. Herein they are far from following the teaching of their darling Cicero, who, mentioning Epicurus in his book De Finibus, writes: " The style of this philosopher does not offend me, for he puts into words what he means, and speaks plainly within my comprehension; and yet, if a philosopher brings eloquence, I scorn it not; if he has it not, I do not much miss it." . . . This barbarism and unskilful language of the Schoolmen is to be put down rather to the fault and misfortune of the age than to their subject. The subject would not lose its force and instructiveness by being treated in a purer style. The subject, however, does not require great abundance of words and flow of eloquence, but words few and sufficient to untie the knot of the difficulty, a style plain and brief, yet not obscure.'*

Scholastic and modern philosophy differ in their orientation. Not every reference to God can be said to belong to (dogmatic or revealed) theology. God is to some extent known by reason; and to that extent He is an object, nay a principal object, of philosophy. Scholasticism, then, and the philosophy of our day differ in this, that Scholasticism is ever referring to God, modern philosophy has for its centre, man. In which particular, perhaps, it may be found that modern philosophy stands to Scholasticism as geocentrism to heliocentrism in astronomy. Here is a specimen of what we may call 'heliocentric' or 'theocentric' philosophy from Vasquez. He is inquiring whether God dwells in the great void beyond what Lucretius calls 'the flaming walls of the world,' beyond the outermost of the heavenly spheres of the Schoolmen, beyond the gigantic bean-shaped enclosure which (modern astronomers think) is the finite outline, measured in light-years, comprehending all the stars and nebulae, all the matter that is. The question involves an inquiry into the nature of Space, which surely no philosopher can neglect. Vasquez then (in Im, disp. 29) answers the question in the negative. For one thing to be in another, the thing itself must be real, and that in which it is must be real. But beyond the bounds of the universe there is no reality, but sheer nothingness. God is not in nothingness. Vasquez objects that another universe might be created beyond the bounds of the present; but not surely in nothingness; therefore that ultramundane continent, or recipient, of creation is something other than mere nothing. Also that the whole universe may possibly be in motion (a very pertinent objection); hence if God is confined to the universe, He must move with the universe. To the last allegation Vasquez replies that motion must be between two assignable points; but assign any point, and immediately God is there; therefore He cannot be said to move from point to point, not even by extrinsic denomination. For the rest, his reply is not satisfactory. He admits the possibility of the whole universe being in motion in a straight line. On such issues, he remarks, 'many of these curious questions serve to sharpen wits.' This particular discussion remains of interest to every one who, not content with the Kantian 'forms of thought,' persists in the inquiry, What is space? -- that question which weighed on the mind of Herbert Spencer in the last months of his life. Space indeed, rightly considered, is no small argument of the being of a God. The argument is proper to philosophy.

Francis Suarez, S.J., 1548-1617, 'the Excellent Doctor,' the greatest theologian of his Order, wrote copiously on nearly all subjects philosophical and theological. How far he should be regarded as a faithful exponent of St. Thomas, and how far as an original writer with views of his own, has been matter of much dispute. His great work on philosophy is the bulky volume of his Metaphysica, almost a life's work to master. Some idea of it may be formed from the following account of the thirteenth Disputation on 'the material cause of substance,' a characteristically scholastic topic. This then is the outline of Suarez's argument. According to the Aristotelian idea of generation and corruption, the generation of one thing (e.g. fire) being the corruption of another (e.g. tow), material substances are ever passing one into another. 'All sublunary things, so far as their nature and composition goes, are transmutable one into another.' The seventy or more chemical elements which are not transmutable one into another had not yet been registered. It was thought that all bodies were made up of fire, air, earth, and water, and that these were mutually interchangeable. The alchemists laboured strenuously to convert baser substances into gold. This convertibility of substance with substance supposes some common subject remaining under all conversions: otherwise I the thing that is corrupted would perish to the whole extent of its being, and the other thing that begins to be would be made to the whole extent of its being, if no common element remained underlying both. Thus the one would be annihilated and the other created, which is an impossibility to nature.' There must then be one common subject permanently underlying all natural transmutations: that underlying subject is primordial matter (materia prima). And what is that? Is it everywhere one and the same, or are there manifold varieties? Manifold, say the Atomists, Democritus, and his school. Atoms to them are primordial matter, and atoms are of all shapes and sizes, and infinite in multitude. Atomism is rejected by Suarez on two grounds; first, because an infinite multitude is impossible: secondly, because 'in that system of philosophy, the forms of natural things would be, we might say, artificial only, being figures arising from the various positions and orders of the atoms, and so there would be no true substantial generation and corruption.' The atoms in fact would be the only true substances, and they would be imperishable. But Democritus was wrong, and Suarez with him, in supposing that the building-stones of a finite world need be infinite in multitude. Primordial matter then is of one sort only. It is not one of the four elements, for they pass one into another, primordial matter remaining unchanged under the transaction. It is no corporeal, complete substance at all, atomic or otherwise. Were it a complete substance, it would have a substantial form. But nothing can have two substantial forms together. And primordial matter underlies all material substance. Its form, then, if it had one, would be the one sole form in all material substance. Thus all material substance would be permanently of the same species -- one substance could never pass into another by change of substantial form. Primordial matter is not a substance; it has neither quantity nor quality nor quiddity (essence) of its own; it is in potentiality to all substantial forms; it is ready to turn into anything. Nevertheless, 'primordial matter is not absolutely nothing,' although it is 'nearly nothing.' Were it absolutely nothing, it could have no true and real function in nature; in which case things corrupted and said to be resolved into matter would be resolved into nothing, and things produced out of matter would be produced out of nothing; and so matter would serve no purpose in processes of generation and corruption, since it would not serve for the avoiding of a perpetual creation and annihilation. Matter, therefore, is something of a reality, especially when conjoined with form and entering into the composition of a compound.' Primordial matter is no accident, it is an appurtenance of substance, it is really distinct from form, it has an essence and existence of its own, albeit in dependence on form. It is pure potentiality and something besides, as an Irishman might say: in allowing this shadowy 'something besides' Suarez inclines to Scotus rather than to the Thomists. There follows a subtle inquiry into the part played by primordial matter in causation. The heavenly spheres have primordial matter in their composition, but matter of another sort than is found in this sublunary world. The disputation ends with a lengthy disquisition on the heavens. The theory of primordial matter is fundamental in Scholasticism. All scholastic writers treat of it at length, although they differ over it. Nowhere does Scholasticism trench more upon the domain of physics than in this, its central dogma of matter and form. The brief summary given shows how much Suarez had to learn of the modern physicist. The atomic theory, as it stands to-day, will require to be handled otherwise than as he deals with Democritus. The hypothesis of there being one common mother-stuff underlying every variety of material body requires a confirmation which it has not received from Suarez. It is indeed a doubtful hypothesis. And the doubt will have to be cleared up, if ever it is cleared up, not by abstract arguments going upon the obvious phenomena of daily life, such as the burning of tow, but by all the elaborate apparatus now at the command of the chemist and the electrician: even the highest methods of mathematical calculus may be called in to aid. Verily there is work for the twentieth-century Schoolman who intends conducting a thoroughly philosophical inquiry into materia prima.

2. The Leonine Revival of 1879. Leo XIII made two great pronouncements: one on Civil Government, the Labour Question, and Socialism; the other on Scholastic Philosophy, notably the philosophy of the greatest of the Schoolmen, St. Thomas Aquinas. On this latter subject is the Encyclical Aeterni Patris, dated 4th August 1879. The Pope deplores the decay of philosophy, even in the Catholic schools, since the sixteenth century. Philosophy has become a house of confusion, every man babbling his own conceits; nothing remains fixed and certain, there is no foothold for science to climb by. His Holiness continues:

'We all see how the society of the family and of the State itself is endangered by the pest of perverse opinions. Society would be much more peaceful and far more safe if in our Universities and Schools there were taught a sounder doctrine, more in accordance with the teaching of the Church. Such a doctrine is found in the volumes of Thomas Aquinas. Thomas's arguments on the true notion of liberty, now running into license, on the divine origin of every sort of authority, on laws and their force, on the paternal and equable rule of the Sovereign Pontiffs, on obedience to higher powers, on mutual charity amongst all men, and the like subjects, all these his arguments are fraught with mighty and invincible strength for the overthrow of those principles of new-invented law, which are plainly perilous to the order of society and the public safety. All human branches of learning should anticipate and hope for advancement, and promise themselves much assistance, from the restoration of philosophical studies which We contemplate. Fact and constant experience testify that the liberal arts have been then most flourishing, while philosophy has been held in honour and her judgment maintained in wisdom; on the other hand the decline of philosophy into error or futilities has led to the neglect, almost to the obliteration, of the other parts of a liberal education. Even the physical sciences, now so prized, and held everywhere in such singular admiration for the splendid discoveries to which they have led up, far from having any injury to expect from the restoration of the philosophy of the ancients, may look to derive great good. For their profitable exercise and increase it is not enough to observe facts and study nature, but when the facts are ascertained, the student must rise higher, and make his aim the careful recognition of the natures of corporeal things, and the investigation of those laws and principles on which depends the order of phenomena, their unity in variety, and their mutual affinity in diversity. To such investigations scholastic philosophy is likely to bring a wonderful measure of power and light and aid, provided it be wisely taught. It is a calumny on that philosophy to say that it is opposed to the advance of the physical sciences. The Schoolmen, following the opinion of the holy Fathers, everywhere taught in their Anthropology that only by sensible things is the human intellect raised to the knowledge of things incorporeal and immaterial. Hence they readily concluded that nothing was more profitable for the philosopher than a diligent inquiry into the secrets of nature, and a long and profound study of physics. St. Thomas, Blessed Albertus Magnus, and other leaders of the Schoolmen, for all their study of philosophy, spent much of their energies in seeking to acquire knowledge of the facts of physics. Many of their remarks and maxims on this head have met the approval of modern authorities, and are acknowledged to be in accordance with the truth. Therefore, to this very day, many eminent professors of physical science avow openly that there is no real conflict between the certain and approved conclusions of modern Physics and the philosophical principles of the School. While, then, We pronounce that every wise saying, no matter who said it, every profitable invention or contrivance, no matter who contrived it, is to be willingly and gratefully taken up, We earnestly exhort you all, Venerable Brethren, for the defence and adornment of the Catholic faith, for the good of society, for the advancement of all sciences, to restore the golden wisdom of St. Thomas and propagate it far and wide to the best of your power. "The wisdom of St. Thomas," we say; for if there be in the scholastic Doctors any excessive subtlety of inquiry, any inconsiderate teaching, anything less consistent with the ascertained conclusions of a later generation, in a word, anything in any way improbable, we have no mind to hold that up for the imitation of our age.' The Pope concludes with a warning against pseudo-Thomism: 'But to the end that a supposititious doctrine be not imbibed instead of the true, or the adulterated for the genuine, take care that the wisdom of Thomas be drunk in from his own fountains, or at least from those streams which, in the certain and unanimous opinion of learned men, may be said to flow thence still uncontaminated and undefiled; but from streams that are said thence to flow, but really are swollen with foreign and unwholesome contributions, take care to keep your young students' minds away.'

3. The Future of Scholasticism. These wishes and commands of Leo XIII have been repeated by his successor, Pius X. Will they be ever carried out to any considerable extent? Will Scholasticism ever overleap the walls of the Seminaries? Will it remain a philosophy for the clergy only, a vestibule to dogmatic theology for those whose profession it is to be theologians, or will it largely imbue the Catholic laity also? Will it take a hold upon the universities? Will it ever colour, as Kant and Hegel at this day colour, the thought of the writers in our magazines? Any ordinary educated man who spent a week with St. Thomas, Duns Scotus, and Suarez, would come out, I fancy, crying: 'No chance; Scholastic tomes are only less archaic than Babylonian bricks; Scholasticism is as the traceable old bed of a river, which the water once filled, but to which it will never return; the current of modern thought has turned irrevocably another way.' On the other hand a great thinker has written: 'If ever there was a power on earth who has had an eye for the times, who has confined himself to the practicable, and has been happy in his anticipations, whose words have been facts and whose commands prophecies, such is he in the history of ages who sits from generation to generation in the chair of the Apostles.' Nevertheless, a little further on, the same writer adds: 'The past never returns' (Newman, The Idea of a University, Discourse I). If Newman is right, we may augur two facts for the future: (1) Scholasticism will return; (2) It will not return as it was in the Middle Ages. In other words, what will come back will be Neo- Scholasticism.

Like a thirteenth-century church, a parish church still, in daily use; an ancient monument, and something besides; a present-day house of prayer, answering to the needs of a twentieth-century congregation, and for that purpose refitted, repaired, and restored, Scholasticism must be vindicated from the ravages of time, and the still worse ravages of injudicious handling; its main plan and outline, old and true, must be retained; it must remain essentially the building that it was; but it must receive new furniture, and be enlarged to take in new discoveries. And whatever there is in it, old indeed, but proved to be inconsistent with truth, must be removed. The reader has much misread these pages, if he takes Scholastic philosophy to be one and the same with the deposit of Catholic faith. Scholasticism is not 'the faith once given to the saints' (Jude, 3). It is a product of human reason, like any other philosophy. It has not come down from heaven, but man made it, and man may change it. It is irreformable, to a Catholic, only so far as its conclusions happen to coincide with dogmas taught by the Church. Hence there is no impiety in the idea of a Neo-Scholasticism.

We are not called upon simply to re-echo St. Thomas, or any other mediaeval doctor, piling up quotations, adding nothing and altering nothing. St. Thomas himself did not go to work in that way upon his predecessors, no, not even upon Aristotle. We are called upon to follow a living, not a dead Thomas; to say now what St. Thomas would say, were he now alive.

Any pretence to tell what St. Thomas now would, say, were he alive, must be illusory unless it be grounded upon an accurate and adequate knowledge of what he actually has said in the writings which he has bequeathed to us. The one safe foundation of Neo-Thomism, then, is Thomism, by which I here mean a thorough hold on the philosophical system of St. Thomas as it appears in his works. A pioneer and founder of Neo-Thomism will not in all things remain a Thomist, but he must begin with being a Thomist in the sense just defined. He must have caught up with the Saint before he can go beyond him. His goal must be the twentieth century, but his starting-point the thirteenth. He must carry Thomas faithfully through seven centuries, and in his furthest and most daring innovation be still Thomistic.

He must unsay without reserve whatever it is certain that St. Thomas, were he now living, would unsay; and that is whatever is in manifest contradiction with the valid and firm conclusions of science, e.g. Ptolemaic astronomy, the doctrines of the four elements, the four humours, and astral influences. It will be found on trial how the metaphysics and psychology of St. Thomas stand clear of these errors, wonderfully clear, considering how rooted those errors were. He, indeed, continually refers to them, and accepts them for truths, but they serve him rather as illustrations than as arguments. Of illustrations, taken from the physics of their day, the works of all the Schoolmen are full. Those writings seem in consequence more archaic and more out of date than in substance they really are. Sometimes the illustration might be dropped; sometimes it might be replaced by another drawn from modern physics; sometimes we may retain it, remembering that it is but the first outward seeming of things that we have to regard, this especially when the illustration is from light and colour; sometimes, too, it must be confessed, the scholastic metaphysician has been led astray by the analogy of a mistaken physics, and there we have to correct him. The Neo-Thomist, however, will prefer to draw his illustration from the newer physics. When a philosopher refers to a physical phenomenon even for an illustration, we expect him to regard it rather with the eye of science than with untutored sense.

On the other hand, there are clear fixed principles which, living in no age of the world, would St. Thomas ever unsay. He would never unsay any of the dogmatic teachings of that Church which has numbered him among her Doctors. An anti-Catholic Thomist is a contradiction in terms. Nor would he consent to enter upon any line of thought, which his far-sighted intelligence discerned to be such as must by inevitable logic, sooner or later, place the thinker who followed it up in contradiction with Church teaching. Hence he would be no friend to the Kantian, the Neo-Kantian, the Hegelian synthesis. Between Hegel and St. Thomas, between Kantism and Scholasticism, there is a truceless war. They cannot amalgamate, there is no via media between them: their first principles are in mutual contradiction, they will never 'meet in a higher unity.' Neo-Thomism must, at least, be scholastic; that is to say, it must be dualist, it cannot bear any tincture of Idealism, Monism, Pantheism. Its God must be a transcendent God, 'high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.' He must be a Creator, and His creative act must be a free act. He must be one and the same, complete in Himself, whether the world exists or not. There must be no being anywhere that is not of Him. Between His Being and that of created things the resemblance must not be generic, but only analogous; He being the great Ideal, of which all things else are inadequate copies. This philosophy is extremely unpopular in the world at present. Scholasticism, however, cannot court popularity by forswearing itself. If you are a Monist, then you are not a Thomist, nor a Scotist, nor even a, Terminist. You are outside the School. Neo-Thomism must also retain the impress of Aristotelianism. St. Thomas sometimes consciously went beyond Aristotle. On the whole, he was more concerned to square Aristotle with Christian teaching than to square himself with Aristotle. On the questions of Divine Providence and the condition of the soul after death, it must remain at least doubtful whether Avicenna and Averroes or St. Thomas were better exponents of Aristotle's mind. Still less can the Neo-Thomist be in all things Aristotelian. Nevertheless, apart from theology and apart from physics, Aristotle is an author whom it is peculiarly dangerous to contradict. He has a knack of proving right upon further study. Eschewing Kant, the Neo-Thomist will stand for Aristotle. He will study 'what is,' not 'what we are compelled to think.' On the subject of matter and form, or 'hylomorphism' as it is called, the Neo-Thomist will strongly hold that in man the soul is the form, the body, the matter. He will hold it on philosophical grounds, seeing that this doctrine fits in with modern biological research far better than the 'boatman-in-boat' theory of Plato.

The extension of hylomorphism to the whole of nature, and notably to the constitution of inorganic bodies, is a much more dubious speculation. If, apart from theological issues, Scholasticism and all Scholastic writers have one common favourite notion, it is the notion of primordial matter (materia prima). On this the Neo-Thomist has the option of two courses. Either he may declare, as some have done, that the notion is founded upon obvious data of sense, and being built upon what is plain to all men is independent of scientific research, or he may endeavour to find materia prima underlying atoms resolved into electric currents, or into whatsoever other elements, extended or unexextended, the atom may finally prove resoluble. Which of these two courses the Neo-Thomist will take, and if he take the second, what will come of it, we are wholly unable to forecast. But he will have to make up his mind decidedly on materia prima.

Another choice, likewise beyond our prediction, will have to be made in psychology, on the retention or discarding of the 'active'and the 'potential' intellect. Certainly the mind does form universal ideas, and as certainly does it store them. Intellect in man, then, must be active and must be potential; but unless we get beyond this verbiage -- and the scholastics did go much further -- we are not beyond Molière's vertu soporifique. One schoolman of no mean ability, writing in a French Review, has urged the abandonment of speculations on 'active' and 'potential'; he would make the permanent self, underlying transient impressions, the first intellectual idea grasped by the mind; thence he would derive further ideas of 'being,' 'substance,' 'cause,' and the like. But we are now merely indicating questions, not solving them.

The proof of the existence of God will be a main consideration for the Neo-Thomist. Having before him Aristotle, Metaphysics xi. [al., xii]; Physics,. vii. viii., along with the Ptolemaic astronomy with its primum mobile, St. Thomas wrote: 'Aristotle proceeds to prove the existence of God from the consideration of motion as follows. Everything that is in motion is put and kept in motion by some other thing. It is evident to sense that there are beings in motion. A thing is in motion because something else puts and keeps it in motion. That mover, therefore, either is itself in motion or not. If it is not in motion, our point is gained which we proposed to prove, namely, that we must posit something which moves other things without being itself in motion, and this we call God. But if the mover is itself in motion, then it is moved by some other mover. Either then we have to go on to infinity, or we must come to some mover which is motionless; but it is impossible to go on to infinity, therefore we must posit some motionless prime mover.'*

It still remains to be proved that an immovable Prime Mover can be no other than a Personal God.

To this argument a modern physicist might object that while it is true, by the Newtonian law of inertia, that a thing is in motion because something else has put it in motion, by the same law it is untrue to say that a thing is kept in motion because something else keeps it in motion: once set going, the thing keeps in motion of itself: the intervention of an external cause is required, not to keep it in motion, but to stop or alter its motion. Secondly, it will be said, the argument supposes this principle, that nothing moves another thing except by virtue of itself being in motion. That principle is contrary to the Newtonian law of gravitation. One planet attracts or pulls at another equally well whether itself be in motion or not; and the like of repulsion. It happens, indeed, that everything in the universe is in motion, but that is an accident to the mutual attractive or repulsive powers of particles of matter one on another. If all parts of the universe had been created at rest, motion would have at once ensued among them by their mutual attractions and repulsions. Here is no need of any prime mover. Motion is like conversation: it springs up by mutual interaction. The buzz of conversation that begins as soon as grace has been said at a meal, does not necessarily start from the head of the table. We need no prime talker, nor prime mover either. If it is contended that not mere random motion is here alleged, but the movements of an orderly world, the elements of which must have been arranged in positions of advantage from the first -- if we pass from motion to the energies of the universe, and invoke the principle of the conservation of energy -- then more may be made of the argument. The discussion has been drawn out thus far, not in malevolence, but as an invitation to the Neo-Thoinist to go deep into modern physics, if he wishes to vindicate a favourite argument of his master.

The hope of Scholasticism as a philosophy for the future seems to rest on its alliance with Physical Science. Let scholastic metaphysicians be physicists, or with the physicists, and they may yet win back the sceptre from Hegel. Nor are the two families unconnected. The true ancestors of the physicists of to-day are not the Humanists of the Renaissance, but the Schoolmen of the thirteenth century. For Scholasticism did make it its endeavour, by its own method and according to its own notions and opportunities, to inquire into nature. Moreover, our physical science sadly needs the co-operation of some sound metaphysics; for though the two provinces be distinct, yet they are adjoining, and professors of physical science are continually making incursions into metaphysics, not always with the happiest results.

Neo-Scholasticism will require great leaders; or if the age of great personalities be for ever past, then the organised co-operation of many ordinary men in all seats of learning, knowing one another, and acting together. Nothing great will be done by spasmodic efforts: nothing will be achieved by second-rate minds working in isolation. The chief centres of Neo-Scholasticism at present are Louvain and Rome. Perhaps there is more of the Neo in the University of Louvain, and more of the Scholastic under the shadow of the Vatican.

Scholasticism in the Middle Ages, as we have seen, was a clerical philosophy. Dante, indeed, is an instance of an illustrious layman, highly conversant with Scholasticism; but the students who thronged the halls of mediaeval Paris and Oxford, intent upon philosophy, were chiefly clerics. Philosophy, like so many other things, has been laicised since then. Will Scholasticism ever be laicised, or will it remain a property of the Seminary?

The future of Scholasticism is an interesting study, because upon Scholasticism, to all appearance, so at least Popes have thought, depends in great measure the hopes of the Roman Catholic Church ever recovering the ascendancy which she has lost over the intellect of mankind.

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