Jacques Maritain Center: Thomistic Institute

The Validity of Metaphysics

The Need for a Solidly Grounded Metaphysics

Benedict M. Ashley, O.P.
St. Louis University

        In his great encyclical "Faith and Reason" (1998) Pope John Paul II opposes the anti-rational tendencies of our post-modern times and urges the importance for faith and theology of a sound metaphysics. By the need for a sound "metaphysics" he means "the need for a philosophy of genuinely metaphysical range, capable, that is, of transcending empirical data in order to attain something absolute, ultimate and foundational in its search for truth. He adds, [1]

I do not mean to speak of metaphysics in the sense of a "specific school or particular historical current of thought. I want only to state that reality and truth do transcend the factual and empirical, and to vindicate the human being's capacity to know this transcendent and metaphysical dimension in a way that is true and certain, albeit imperfect an analogical.

But where is such metaphysics to be found? Perhaps the most influential philosopher of this closing century was Martin Heidegger. In his book An Introduction to Metaphysics [2] he also insistently raised the "question of Being." Yet he concluded, if I understand him rightly, that what has been thought of as metaphysical inquiry in the West since Aristotle wrote the first work given that title has now come decisively to an end. It must be replaced, thinks Heidegger, by a type of thinking more akin to that of the East. He argues that this is the case because what Plato and Aquinas initiated was an attempt to get a mental control over Being that has inevitably led to our technological age of physical control over things. In this technological culture the questioning of Being is inevitably stifled. Hence to use that kind of metaphysics in theology will inevitable lead, Heidgger thought, to an "onto-theology" that will certainly end in atheism. Yet one searches in vain in his writings for any answer to the question of Being except that it is the flowing truth of historical events unveiling themselves to human beings and then concealing themselves. It attains expression in some form of language such as poetry or philosophy that conceals as it reveals. This plea of Heidegger's for an anti-metaphysical metaphysics opening the way to an anti-theological theology drew only ridicule from the Logical Positivist Rudolf Carnap. [3] Carnap mocked Heidegger's discourse, along with any metaphysics or theology, as pretentious nonesense.

        It is evident from John Paul II's commendation of Thomism [4] that although he insists that the Church has no philosophy of its own, he also believes that it provides at least one version of the valid metaphysics needed by theology, particularly if it incorporates the data of a personalist phenomenology. That means that as students of the thought of Aquinas it is incumbent on us to show that in fact a Thomistic metaphysics can validate itself in the face of the attack on any kind of metaphysics launched by Heidegger, Carnap, and so many of our contemporary thinkers. In this paper I want to show how I think this can be done on the basis of Aquinas' Aristotelian epistemology which I here assume to be preferable to Platonist, Empiricist, or Kantian theories of knowledge. [5]

        Last year in this conference I argued, not to everybody's satisfaction, that Aquinas holds that no science proves the existence of its own subject Hence for metaphysics to be a valid science, we must can first establish that its proper subject, namely, "being as such" actually exists. In the twentieth century most Thomists have either assumed this, without proving it, or have given unconvincing arguments. At least this is the case if we also accept the view of Aquinas, attacked by Duns Scotus, that the "being" in question is analogous and extends to immaterial as well as material being. [6] Too many Thomists have assumed that the proof of the existence of God or of any kind of immaterial being is a task of metaphysics itself, thus producing a circular argument in which metaphysics proves the existence of its own subject. Aquinas provides the way out of this vicious circle. He explicitly maintains that the required proof of the existence of immaterial being is provided not by metaphysics but by physics, that is, natural science whose proper subject is not "being as such" but changeable being, ens mobile. [7]

For natural science itself no such proof of the existence of its subject is required, since it alone among the sciences has a proper subject whose existence is immediately and directly evident to human knowledge. This is so because is formal subject is the essence of material things that is also the proper object of human intelligence. [8] Although metaphysics does not depend formally on natural science (otherwise it would not be distinct from it), it does depend on it as its necessary condition, just as does mathematics, ethics and all the other special sciences. If natural science did not establish the existence of quantity, mathematics, according to Aquinas, would not be a science. [9] Ethics also presupposes the account of human nature supplied by natural sciences and the other practical sciences also presuppose its account of the natural materials and forces with which they have to work.

Why Thomists Have Avoided Aquinas' Own Approach to Metaphysics

        Why have not Thomists generally accepted this establishment and defense of metaphysics through natural science? I would suggest two reasons. One that has influenced John Paul II's own thought and left its mark on Fides et Ratio is his special concern always to maintain the dignity of the human person in the face of our "culture of death." [10] He says, "In a special way, the person constitutes a privileged locus for the encounter with being, and hence with metaphysical inquiry." [11]

I believe we must acknowledge that classical Thomism in its search for scientific objectivity and universality sometimes paid too little attention to the subjective, individual, and historical aspects of knowledge. Modern philosophy with its Cartesian its "turn to the subject" has made its most important contributions in its exploration of precisely these topics. Karl Wojtyla in his The Acting Person [12] and the Lublin School of Thomism, with their use of a phenomenological method, have shown how this aspect of Aquinas' thought can be profitably developed. [13] Since however, a phenomenological study of the person can attain metaphysical depth only by passing through psychology and the proof of the spirituality of the human person this personalist Thomism ought to encourage rather than inhibit the approach to metaphysics through natural philosophy.

Hence, I believe that a second reason for the neglect of an approach to metaphysics through natural science has been far more significant. This is the fear that a close relation between metaphysics and natural science would imperil the certitude of metaphysics, since, it is claimed, science can only lead to probabilities. [14] This fear has especially troubled theologians who point out the attempts to base apologetics on scientific theories has frequently led to the ridicule of the Faith. Thus in a brilliant historical study Michael J. Buckley, S.J. The Origins of Modern [15] has tried to show that nineteenth century apologists such as Samuel Butler exposed the Christian Faith to mockery by his attempts to use science as an argument through design for the existence of God through design. Similarly Ernan McMullin in many publications and lectures has urged that Catholics take a positive and realistic view of modern science. [16] Yet he is always concerned to urge that we keep ever in mind that what theology needs from philosophy is a sound metaphysical grounding rather than put our trust in an apologetics built on the sands of current scientific hypotheses. Stanley Jaki advises a similar reliance on metaphysics rather than natural science and takes a very negative view of the Aristotelian tradition for its failure to keep science and metaphysics clearly distinguished. [17]

This reluctance to bring metaphysics into any sort of dependence on natural science was especially fostered in the United States by the predominating influence of the eminent Thomists Etienne Gilson and Jacques Maritain. Gilson wanted, for this and other reasons, to disconnect the thought of Aquinas from that of Aristotle, by reconstructing Aquinas' metaphysics from the Summa Theologiae without regard to his commentaries on Aristotle's works, especially his natural science treatises. [18] Maritain, on the contrary, was concerned to do justice to Aquinas' obvious interest in the study of sensible nature. [19] Yet he retained the Wolffian distinction between natural philosophy and empirical science. He argued that modern empirical science was a new species of science formally distinct from the natural philosophy of Aquinas, because the latter was a "dianoetic" science of "being", namely, ens mobile, while modern science was only "perinoetic." By "perinoetic" Maritain meant that modern science deals only with the phenomena of sensible beings and does not attain to their essences.

        Maritain's defense of a natural philosophy is logically compatible with a natural science approach to metaphysics since that approach depends only on the arguments for the existence of immaterial beings contained in Aristotle's Physics and De Anima. It does depend on the more detailed and now utterly out-dated parts of his natural science. Nevertheless, Maritain remained so cautious about any entanglement with modern science that his own defense of metaphysics rests not on the physical arguments for the existence of immaterial causes just mentioned, but on a supposed metaphysical intuition of "being as such." [20] Gilson vigorously criticized this stance as a mere conceptualism, and Maritain had in the end to agree that what he had really intended was Gilson's grounding of metaphysics in the judgement of the act of being, the "to be" or esse.

        In my opinion these valiant attempts to shield metaphysics from the threat of from modern science are in vain. They rest on the claim that since the proper subject of metaphysics is "being as being," this subject can be known to be real independently of natural science. Aquinas maintained, against the whole Platonic tradition and in contradiction to Scotus, Suarez, Descartes, Leibnitz, and Kant, that the proper object of the human intellect is indeed being, but changeable being. [21] Furthermore he held that metaphysical being is known only by analogy to this changeable, physical being. [22] It follows necessarily that a valid metaphysics cannot be independent of natural science by which these analogates are critically known. It even supposes the other special sciences that also presuppose natural science. As Aquinas says, "This science [metaphysics] that is called "wisdom", although it is first in dignity is nevertheless last to be learned." [23]

Joseph Owens, vigorously defended by John F.X. Knasas, [24] grants that metaphysics begins with ens mobile known by our senses to exist, but then proceeds to separate the ens as the subject of metaphysics from the mobile as the subject of natural philosophy. This, however, ignores that without proof that non- mobile being exists or is even possible such a merely verbal or conceptual separation has no critical value. The common error of all these positions is to suppose that it is one can make a real judgement that the subject of a supposed science of metaphysics exists before one has proved a posteriori from their sensible effects that immaterial beings really exist. If, as Aquinas repeatedly says, no immaterial beings exist then natural science would be First Philosophy. For example, [25]

[I]f there is no substance other than those which exist in the way that natural substances do, with which the philosophy of nature deals, the philosophy of nature will be the first science. But if there is some immobile substance, this will be prior to natural substance; and therefore the philosophy of nature, which considers this kind of substance, will be first philosophy. And since it is first, it will be universal; and it will be its function to study being as being, both what being is and what the attributes are which belong to being as being. For the science of the primary kind of being and that of being general are the same.

Nor can I agree with my good friend Lawrence Dewan OP that in such texts as one just quoted [26]

Aristotle there in fact says nothing about discoveries made by natural science. There he says that if there were no natural entity, natural science would be first philosophy.ÉThus he saying that physics would be metaphysics if there were no separate entity. It is not said that physics discovers the existence of a separate entity. What certainly could be said is that, until they discover the existence of separate entity, the thinkers who do it, though they are metaphysicians, might not be able to distinguish themselves from physicists."

While I do not deny that there can be a common sense intuition of ens in commune prior to the study of natural science, the issue is not common sense intuition, but the order of critical, scientific thinking. I would ask what kind of metaphysicians are unable distinguish themselves from physicists except persons who are thinking in a merely common sense not a scientific mode?

I would also ask Dewan, Owens, and Knasas how it is possible to have a metaphysics about being as such if we are not critically certain that there are any beings but material beings and how can we sure of this prior to metaphysics without a proof from natural science. They seem simply to assume that in the phrase ens mobile, the ens can be abstracted from the mobile. But if the only being we know exists is being that is liable to change, then the study of "being as being" is the study of that kind of being and no other. Nor would I concede with qualification that the advances made by modern science in the study of the material world add nothing to metaphysical first principles. It is true, of course, that Aquinas proves the existence of immaterial being from the foundational part of natural science the certitude of which is independent of the rest of the science that deals with the details of nature with which modern science is chiefly concerned. Indeed in any science the truth of its own first principles is independent of the conclusions in whose demonstration they are premises. Yet as conclusions are drawn from them the sense of these same principles becomes clearer and is enriched. This must be true in a special way in metaphysics where the principles are so broad and analogous as to be quite empty until we see how they apply to the analogates from which they are drawn. No wonder beginning students of metaphysics find a discussion of "being as being" so vacuous! That is why Aquinas warns against the young studying metaphysics because for those who have not acquired a fund of knowledge about reality metaphysics can only be empty words. [27]

What Is Thomistic Metaphysics?

What then is metaphysics as Aristotle and Aquinas understood it? In the Metaphysics Book I, Aristotle describes what true wisdom would be and calls it "first philosophy." It is not "first" in the sense that it is first science knowable to us as Scotus thought, [28] but in the sense of a "supreme wisdom." Hence Aristotle also calls it "theology" since it is a participation in divine knowledge. In Book Two (Alpha Minor) he adds an argument to show that even if a First Philosophy may be difficult to attain and its results relatively minimal, the effort is eminently worthwhile. In the Nicomachean Ethics VIII [29] he had already shown that the life of contemplation, especially in its highest form humanly possible is the very goal of human living.

Aristotle then proceeds in the course of the subsequent books, at least as I read them, to ask whether any of the recognized sciences is First Philosophy. He enumerates the theoretical sciences, namely, natural science and mathematical science with its two species arithmetic and geometry, the practical sciences of ethics, with its three species, individual, family, and political ethics, and the productive arts indefinite in number. Finally he recognizes logic, which he again divides into poetics, rhetoric, sophistics, topics or dialectics, and analytics or demonstrative logic, as well as grammar or linguistics. [30]

        In the course of his treatise he then eliminates each of these special sciences as a candidate to First Philosophy. Logic and linguistics are eliminated because they do not deal with mind-independent reality but only mental constructs. One should note that for Aristotle each real science has its own appropriate methodology and type of demonstrative logic, since he says that while every science deserving the name arrives at certitude, one should not expect the same type of certitude in all. [31] Hence the questions today grouped under "epistemology" (a name only as old as 1854 [32]) do not pertain to a distinct science, nor even a distinct part of metaphysics. For Aquinas each science applies the principles of analytic logic to determine the proper the criteria for judging the critical value of its own hypotheses and conclusions as part of its own foundations. In metaphysics these various criteria are compared under that the analogical concept of "truth", as it is a transcendental property of being as such. The psychology of knowing, on the other hand, pertains to psychology, in the main a part of natural science, although insofar as it presupposes the existence of a spiritual soul to metaphysics.

        Aristotle also quickly eliminates the various kinds of practical knowledge as candidates to be "First Philosophy" because all practical knowledge presupposes some theoretical knowledge, all "ought" presupposes an "is." He devotes special attention, in particular in the last two books of the Metaphysics (Mu and Nu), to eliminating mathematics as First Philosophy because for Plato Mathematics was superior to and independent of natural science. Thus Aristotle and Aquinas comes to the crucial question, whether natural science is First Philosophy and hence whether it is the ultimate wisdom possible to unaided human reason.

By temperament and background, his insistence that all human knowledge begins empirically, his extensive writings on natural science, and his reaction to the intuitive idealism of his teacher Plato, Aristotle was inclined to hold that natural science is the highest kind of objective, critical human knowledge. In this he was as much an empiricist as are today's scientists. Yet in his critical development of the principles of natural science in the Physics and in his analysis of human nature in the light of these principles in the De Anima, [33] he was forced to admit that natural science itself proves that changing material things have immaterial first causes. Hence natural science cannot be ultimate wisdom, First Philosophy.

Thus it became evident to Aristotle and Aquinas that First Philosophy is formally a science in its own right. Its subject is "being as such" in the sense that each of the recognized sciences is about a particular type of being while First Philosophy can be none of these since it studies "being" universally as including the non-material. [34] It must be distinct even from the science of nature that is presupposed by all these other sciences and by First Philosophy itself. First Philosophy, therefore, does not have any data of its own but derives all its data from the special sciences and ultimately from natural science. It cannot reduce these sciences to a single science; however, since the various kinds of being with which these sciences deal are only analogously one. Thus its task is to distinguish and relate the various sciences and to inquire in what way they have common principles. Thus metaphysics is an interdisciplinary science which seeks to unite all human knowledge, not by reduction to a single science, as Plato attempted by his dialectic that supposedly leads to a vision of the One, [35] but by preserving their autonomy and empirical grounding. Thus it coordinates them in view of their ultimate, spiritual causes.

Aristotle's own Metaphysics is a puzzling and disjointed work. Its essential unity has been well defended by Giovanni Reale in his excellent The Concept of First Philosophy and the Unity of The Metaphysics of Aquinas. [36] This is not the place to try to explain the order of the Metaphysics or to defend its general agreement with the account of the science that I am here proposing. In my view First Philosophy treats of being in its widest analogical scope as established by the demonstration of the existence of immaterial beings. Therefore, as for every science, the first part of metaphysics is concerned with answering the question not of the existence of the subject but of its real definition, that is, an analysis of what the subject is. [37] In the case of metaphysics this foundational part is an analysis of the analogical unity of being in its many senses. Because being as being is the subject of this science and hence epistemologically first, yet since in this case this subject is only analogically one, being as such cannot be strictly defined but can be described by analysis.

The second part of metaphysics, the science proper, is the causal demonstration of the properties of the subject in terms of the quasi- definition established in the first part. These properties are designated by terms that transcend the categories established in natural science and hence are called "transcendentals." They are not properties in the same way as the properties of material things that are included in the nine categories of accidents established in natural science, since they are distinguished from the analogical notion of being as such only by relations of reason. They are usually listed as unity, truth, and goodness, and some wish to add beauty. In fact there may be an indefinite number of such transcendentals, a question open for metaphysical exploration. Aristotle confined himself to the discussion of the transcendental unity, along with some remarks on truth and goodness. [38] "Unity" adds to the notion of being as such only a negative note, an absence of division. Thus it would seem that this second part of First Philosophy deals with three principal topics, being as such and its relation to knowing minds (truth) and to free wills (goodness).

        Aquinas insists, against Avicenna, that God and, it would seem, finite created intelligences as well are not properly part of the subject of First Philosophy but pertain to it only as the principles of being as such. [39] This might seem contradictory. If the subject of metaphysics extends to immaterial things, why do they not fall under its subject? I suggest that what Aquinas means is that since the immaterial principles of being are known only as the causes of material things they must be studied under that formality, i.e. as principles of the subject, not part of the subject. Yet such knowledge as we can have of immaterial existents by reason must be achieved in a science of being as such, not in a theology properly speaking, that is, in a science for which they are the subject. Such a science whose subject its God is possible only through principles that are revealed by God. Thus Aristotle's use of the term "theology" for First Philosophy, while defensible, is in a sense improper. Yet it should be noted that Aristotle never denied the possibility of a superhuman revelation. Abraham Bos in his fascinating Teologia cosmica e metacosmica [40] shows that the surviving fragments of Aristotle's dialogues show that he pondered such questions, but did not find an appropriate way to treat of them in his scientific writings. Though metaphysics is principally about being as substance. [41] Hence Aquinas can deny that God is a "substance" although, as Aquinas points out, the term "being as such" applies principally to substance. [42] It is also why Heidegger's strictures against "onto- theology" cannot possibly apply to Aquinas' thought. Consequently, the treatment of immaterial substances in Book IX (Lambda) of the Metaphysics should be considered the third principle part of metaphysics, since it answers the fourth question of any science, namely why the subject has its properties, that is, their causes. Relative to material things their causes are immaterial things, not indeed, their material causes, but their efficient, formal, and final causes. Immaterial things, however, are only exemplary not intrinsic formal causes with respect to material things.

Thus First Philosophy has three parts corresponding to the last three of the four scientific questions. The first defines being as such analogously. The second describes how its transcendental properties are realized in the special sciences. The third shows that God and created spirits are the ultimate causes of these properties of things as they are demonstrated in the special sciences.

That Aristotle by teaching that God is the final cause of the world in the Metaphysics was claimed some ancient commentators and reasserted by many modern ones. Others have held that Aristotle only makes God the efficient cause of motion, not of the existence of the world. Surely Aquinas' opinion is defensible that these assertions fail to take into account the relation of the Metaphysics, probably an opus imperfectum, [43] to Aristotle's other works. Having proved God's existence in Physics VIII as the First Efficient Cause of all beings and recapitulated much of what he had written there in Metaphysics X (Kappa), Aristotle had no need to again discuss God's efficient causality in XI Metaphysics. [44] What remained to be shown there is that granted God is the efficient cause of all beings he must also be their final cause, because these two causes are correlative. [45] Aquinas explicitly rejects the often-repeated assertion that for Aristotle God is the cause of the motion of material things but not their being, their esse. [46] Material things exist only because their matter has been given form by their efficient causes. Hence, even if, as Aristotle hypothesized, the world is eternal, it remains true that the First Cause of its motions must also cause its total being. The First Efficient Cause of being as such, therefore, is also its Final Cause Aristotle also shows that God is the Formal Cause of all things, since he is says that God is "Thought Thinking Itself" and thus the exemplar by which it produces all things in its own likeness. Thus in saying that the proper object of God's knowledge is Himself Aristotle is not asserting, as has also often been claimed, that God does not know the world that he causes. [47] If God is Thought Thinking Itself he must know his own acts and in doing so the things he makes and that he causes to act.

        Perhaps the reason that God's knowledge and providence over the world is not very explicit in Aristotle's works is the incompleteness of his discussion in the Metaphysics of the created spiritual intelligences. It has often been noted that Aristotle omits a discussion of the human soul although in De Anima he concluded that the human intellect by which humanity is specified is a spiritual being. Suarez was led by this fact to omit discussion of the human soul in his Disputationes Metaphysicae and leave it to the psychology in natural science. [48] I believe this omission by Aristotle was due to the well-known problem that if the world is eternal, as he supposed, an infinite multitude of human souls separated from their bodies would now exist. This problem Aquinas solved when he showed that the Neo-Platonized version of Aristotle presented by the Arabian philosophers who held that there is a single intelligence for all humanity is inconsistent with Aristotle's own principles. [49] Generally, treatises in metaphysics have not only omitted the discussion of the human soul but even more often of the created intelligences. I believe both of these omissions are serious errors, but I will not here say more on this difficult topic. [50]

Suarez, in the second volume of his treatise, has an elaborate discussion of the categories. [51] These properly belong to natural science, but of course metaphysics can reflect on them in his exploration of immaterial reality. For example, Aquinas shows that while quantity, time, place, etc. cannot be applied to immaterial things, yet substance, quality, relation, action and passion can be analogically applied to them. [52] Morover, one can discuss how with respect to them time and place the categories of material things can have some analogical meaning, since angels are virtually limited by place and have angelic time, while when we speak of God as loving we apply the category of quality to him analogically.

        It is also customary to treat in metaphysics of the ultimate principles of reasoning, such as the principle of contradiction and to devote much attention to epistemology. It is best, I think to deal with these topics under the consideration of transcendental truth and the distinction between mind- dependent or logical truth and mind-independent or ontological truth. Again the problem of act and potency, to which is given a major part in many treatises in metaphysics, is best treated along with the quasi- definition of being as principally substance in its unity. The division of being into uncreated and created and in into its various kinds, often called "special metaphysics," should be treated first at this point, and then again in respect to truth and goodness, under those transcendentals. Hence the discussion of the principles and causes of being belongs, as we have seen, to its third part.

Thus a valid metaphysics for today that could perform the service to faith and theology that John Paul II calls for, would look rather different from the standard treatises that followed on Suarez' seminal work. It would even seem quite different than the somewhat fragmentary Metaphysics that has survived in the Aristotleian corpus and on which the medievals commented as best they could. It would be an inter-disciplinary effort to compare the various now existing disciplines without any pretense to reduce them to a single science. Instead it would protect their autonomy. It would, however, explore the foundations of each of these sciences, natural science, mathematical physics, mathematics in its branches, ethics in its branches, the arts liberal, fine, and mechanical, logic, and linguistics or semantics to see if they meet critical standards. Thus under the transcendental of truth it would critically separate the dialectical and probable from the certain and demonstrative in each field. Moreover, by comparing the foundational levels of these sciences it would expose the fallacies that have arisen from the improper intrusion of one discipline on another and yet show how they could be related in the interests of the unification of knowledge. It would serve the apologetic function of Sacred Theology by showing the credibility of revelation Under the heading of the transcendentals of goodness and of beauty it would show the harmony of the "ought" and the "is" studied respectively by ethics and natural science. It would also compare and relate morality and esthetics, and provide the instrument of that "theology of glory" that Hans Urs Van Balthasar so perceptively restored. [53] In all these clarifications it would not be content with the efforts of current analytic philosophy to clarify language bou go deeper into ontological questions.

Finally, it its study of God the Eternal Spirit and the created persons whose end is union with him, it would restore to us both sense of the spiritual universe that is far vaster than its material portion and supply that emphasis on personalism that John Paul II supports. I believe that metaphysics so understood would also show how much there is in common between the two great theologians of the Middle Ages, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Bonaventure. Bonaventure brought out the many ways in which the metaphysical structure of created things reflects the Triune personalism, if I may use that expression, of God as the exemplary cause of all things. This will become clear also in Thomistic terms if our metaphysics centers on unity (reflecting the Father), truth (reflecting the Son), and goodness (reflecting the Holy Spirit).

        Furthermore, this type of metaphysics will seize the opportunity in our post-modern times to bridge the great gap between our Catholic tradition and the modernity of modern culture, resting as that does on the objectivity of natural science and creative subjectivity of the fine arts. Once that we have become thoroughly faithful to the Aristotelian empiricism of Aquinas we can show that a valid metaphysics can be grounded in natural science, provided that the foundations of that science are critically rethought to remedy the confusions of modernism that post-modernism is exposing but cannot remedy. Both the well-established conclusions and the working hypotheses of such a rethought natural science, as well as of the other rethought special sciences, will enrich our understanding of general metaphysical truths without imperiling a philosophia perennis.

Finally, this will make possible a reform of our universities and reunification of knowledge without loss to the autonomy of the individual disciplines. For Catholic universities it will make possible the restoration of Sacred Theology as the president, but not an autocratic queen, of the sciences. As Miguel de Beistegui has shown in his Heidegger and the Political Dystopias, [54] Heidegger, the herald of the end of metaphysics, in his notorious rectoral address proposed such a unification of the university, as had Kant in his essay, The Conflict of the Faculties and Fichte. Their views, however, where narrowly nationalistic and vaguely idealistic. In a far nobler and realistic Christian way John Henry Newman proposed such a view in his Idea of a University that has had, I believe, an influence on Fides et Ratio.


1 Fides et Ratio, n. 83.

2 An Introduction to Metaphysics , translated by Ralph Manheim, (Garden City, NY: Doubleday/Anchor, 1961).

3 "The Elimination of Metaphysics Through Logical Analysis of Language,' translated by Arthur Pap in A.J. Ayer, ed., Logical Positivism (New York, Free Press IL, 1966), pp. 60-81.

4 Fides et Ratio, nn.43-45.

5 Since I believe that Aquinas is generally in harmony with Aquinas, in his paper I always intend to refer to both together when I speak of Aquinas' views, unless I wish explicitly to distinguish them.

6 On this see C. L. Schircel, OFM, The Univocity of the Concept of Being in the Philosophy of Duns Scotus (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America, 1942) and. Robert P. Prentice, The Basic Quiditative Metaphysics of Duns Scotus in his "De Primo Principio (Rome: Ed. Antonianum, 1970}, Ibid., pp.124-129. The view originated with Avicenna and was held by many medievals; cf. Etienne Gilson, History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages (New York Random House, 1955), p. 764, n. 59.

7 My arguments for this with documentation were given in this workshop in the Summer of 1998 and will be published in The Thomist. See also my article ,"The River Forest School of Natural Philosophy," in R. James Long ed ., Philosophy and the God of Abraham, Essays in Memory of James A. Weisheipl , (Toronto, Pontifical Institute of Medieval Philosophy, 1991, pp. 1-16.

8 The terms "subject" and "object" often lead to confusion. In Thomistic terminology human faculties are specified by their proper objects. Sciences, however, are specified by their proper or formal subjects because it is the task of a science to prove the properties of their generic and specific subjects which are also the logical subjects of the various propositions whose properties are proved in that science as predicates of these subjects..

9 Aristotle, XI, 1, 2162, "Now the truth of the matter is that the objects of mathematics are not separate from sensible things in being but only in their intelligible structure, as has been shown above in Book VI (n.1162) and will be considered below (in. 2185)." (This and other translations of texts from this work are from St. Thomas Aquinas: Commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysics , translated with Introduction by John P. Rowan, Preface by Ralph McInerny (Notre Dame, IN: Dumb Ox, 1995).

10 Evangelium Vitae, n. 12

11 Fides et Ratio , n.83.

12 The Acting Person, translated by Andrezej Potocki, ed. By Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, Anlecta Husserliana vol 10 (Dordrecht/ Boston, 1979). See also Rocco Buttiglione, Karol Wojtyla: The Thought of the Man who Became Pope John Paul II , Foreword by Michael Novak (Grand Rapids, I (W.B. Eerdmans, 1997, Chapter 5, pp.117-176.

13 See Andrew N. Woznicki, "Lublinism---A New Version of Thomism", Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 58 (1986), pp. 23-27. Also see the "Translators' Afterword" in Buttiglione, Karol Wojtyla , pp.307-351.

14 I developed this theme in an article, "The Loss of Theological Unity: Pluralism, Thomism, and Catholic Morality," in Mary Jo Weaver and R. Scott Appleby , Being Right: Conservative Catholics in America (Bloomington/Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1995), pp. 63-87.

15 New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990.

16 On these various views including McMullin's see Ian G. Barbour, Religion and Science: Historical and Contemporary Issues, Rev. ed. (San Francisco, CA: HarperSan Francisco, 1997, pp.77-105. Barbour classifies opinions as Conflict, Independence, Dialogue, and Integration and says, Three Roman Catholic authors Ernan McMullin, Karl Rahner, and David Tracy seem to me to be advocates of Dialogue, though with varying emphases. McMullin starts with a sharp distinction between religious and scientific statements that resembles the Independence position." (p. 91) I would hold for Integration, but with the qualifications and distinctions that I have put forth.

17 On Jaki's great contribution see Paul Haffner, Creation and Scientific Creativity: A Study in the Thought of S.L. Jaki (Front Royal, VA: Christendom Press, 1991. I agree with Jaki's emphasis in his Cosmos and Creator (Chicago: Gateway Editions, 1981) and Uneasy Genius: The Life and Work of Pierre Duhem (Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff, 1984 on how the Christian doctrine of creation freed science from Greek errors. Yet as Haffner makes clear Jaki has been much influenced in his philosophical views by Gilson and Maritain and in his view of the history of science by Duhem. His view of Aristotle is, in my opinion, flawed.

18 "There is no philosophical writing of Thomas Aquinas to which we could apply for an exposition of the truths concerning God and man which he considered knowable in the natural light of human reason. His commentaries on Aristotle are so many expositions of the doctrine of Aristotle, not of what might be called his own philosophy," Gilson, History of Christian Philosophy , pp. 367. For a very different view see James A. Weisheipl, OP, Friar Thomas D'Aquino: His Life Thought, and Work (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1974), pp. 281-285.

19 For a comparison of Maritain and Gilson's views see John F. X. Knasas, The Preface to Thomistic Metaphysics: A Contribution to the Neo-Thomist Debate on the Start of Metaphysics ( New York: Peter Lang, 1990). Maritain develops his view on natural philosophy and the natural sciences in his Philosophy of Nature (New York: Philosophical Library, 1951), as well as in The Degrees of Knowledge, translated by Gerald B. Phelan (New York: Charles Scriber's Sons, 1959). Matthew S. Pugh, "Maritain and Postmodern Science", in Postmodernism and Christian Philosophy , ed. by Roman T. Ciapolo, American Maritain Association, (Washington, DC, The Catholic University of America Press, 19797, pp. 168-182, in an otherwise helpful article attempts to answer criticism by me and others. Yet he does not answer the objection that a perinoetic discipline as Maritain describes it would, by Aquinas' criteria, not be related to a dianoetic discipline as a formally distinct scientia but as a dialectic that would be a purely ancillary part of the dianoetic discipline.

20 A Preface to Metaphysics (New York: Mentor, 1962 ); cf. Raymond Dennelly, "Maritain's 'Intellectual existentialism': An Introduction to His Metaphysics and Epistemology in Deal W. Hudson and M. J. Mancini, eds. Understanding Maritain: Philosopher and Friend (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1987), pp. 201-233.

21 Intellectus autem humani, qui est conjunctus corpori, proprium objectum est quidditas sive natura in materia corporali existens; et per huiusmodi naturas visibilium rerum etiam in invisibilium rerum etiam aliqualem cognitionem ascendit. S. Th. I , q. 84, a.7. "The proper object of the human intellect as it is joined to the body is the essence or nature existing in bodily matter and through this it ascends to some knowledge of the nature of invisible things."

22 See S.Th., I, q. 4, aa. 1-3 in which Aquinas makes clear that we cannot define God but can know him only as the analogical cause of the creatures that are his effects. Note that this requires us first to prove that God exists as the cause of these effects before we can infer anything positive about him. Thus an analogy of attribution (effect to cause establishing existence) must precede an analogy of proportionality by which various positive things are said of God.

23 Ista scientia, quae sapientia dicitur, quamvis prima in dignitate, est tamen ultima in addiscendo. I, 2, 46.

24 Owens writes, "If metaphysical inquiry is to proceed in the light of the being that is found in sensible things, it will try first to isolate that being and examine it as far as possible just in itself. In that manner it may well make evident a viewpoint from which all things whatsoever can be investigated, including the supersensible," An Elementary Christian Metaphysics (Houston, TX: Center for Thomistic Studies, University of St.Thomas, reprint, 1963), p. 29. He fails, however, to explain how, if only material ens mobile is known really to exist, that one can meaningfully speak of that "being" in isolation from the only way in which it is actually known to exist. For other works of Owens in which he elaborates this view see the references in Knasas Preface to Metaphysics passim. Knasas himself in great detail expounds and defends Owens view as preferable to that of Maritain and others, ibid. pp 72 sq.

25 Si non est aliqua substantia praeter eas quae consistunt secundum naturam, de quibus est physica, physica erit prima scientia. Sed si aliquis sustantia immobilis, ista erit prior substantia naturali; et per consequences philosophia considerans huiusmodi substantiam, erit philosophia prima. Et quia est prima, ideo erit universalis, et erit eius eo speculari de ente inquantum es ens, et de eo quod quid est, et de his quae sunt entis inquantum est ens: eadem enm est scientia primi entis et enti communis, ut principio quarti habitum est. Aquinas, VI, 1, 1170 on Aristotle VI, 1 1026a 31, Aquinas notes this earlier, Sicut si non essent aliae substantiae priores substantiae mobilibus corporalibus, scientia naturalis esset philosophia prima, ut dicitur infra in sexto. III, 6, 398 "Thus if if there were no other substances prior to changeable corporal substances, natural science would be First Philosophy , as is said below in Book VI. "

26 For my replies to Fr. Dewan's argument see Addendum to this paper

27 Nicomachean Ethics VI, 9 1142 a 17; Aquinas VI, l. 7, n.1210

28 See references in Note 6 above.

29 Nicomachean Ethics X, 7, 1177a 11.

30 Aquinas, Expositio super librum Boethii De Trinitate, ed. Bruno Decker, (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1959 , translated by Armand Mauer, The Division and Methods of the Sciences (Toronto: Pontificial Institute of Medieval Studies, 1963), qq. 5 and 6.

31 Aristotle, Nicomachean. Ethics , I, 1, 1052b 18-22; Aquinas S. Th. , 1I-II q. 96 1 ad3; II-II q. 47, 9, ad 2, etc.

32 According to the article "Epistemology," Encyclopaedia Britannica, 14th ed. vol. 8., p. 660. On the inventor, the Scottish philosopher, James Frederick Ferrier, see the article by George E. Davie, The Encyclopedia of Philosophy , edited by Paul Edwards (New York: Macmillan), vol. 3, pp. 188-189, but this terminological invention is not mentioned there.

33 Aristotle, Physics VIII, 10.

34 Metaphysics IV, 1, 1003a; Aquinas, IV, 1, 530

35 Thus in the allegory of the cave, Republic Note II. 514a-518 d 1 Plato reduces all knowledge to the vision of the One symbolized by the Sun..

36 Translated by John R. Catan, Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1980.

37 Aristotle, ibid.. I, 1, 71a11. See also Aquinas, "It is not possible for everything to be demonstrated since the subject [of a science] is not demonstrated but only the properties of the subject. For it is necessary to know of the subject both that it exists and what it is, as is said in the Posterior Analytics, Book I. This is because a demonstration must be from principles which are axioms (dignitates) and must be about something that is a subject and others thing that are [its] properties. Thus it is immediately evident that one of these three, namely, the axioms, are not demonstrated, since otherwise that they would have to have others axioms prior to them, which is impossible. (My translation) Aquinas, III, lect. 5, n.390.

38 In medieval thought the transcendental terms are res, aliquid, unum, verum, bonum (thing, something, one, true, good). Aristotle in the Metaphysics speaks mainly of "unity" X, 1-4 and the other transcendentals only in scattered texts. Aquinas says, "Among these four [being, one, true, good] much the first is being. Therefore it is necessary that it be positively predicated, since negation or privation can not be what is first conceived by the intellect, since always that which is negated or privated is a negation or privation of understanding. The other three, however, add something that does not limit "being," or it would not be first. This cannot be the case, however, unless what is added is something of reason only and this is either a negation which, as was said, is added by "one," or a relation that is able to be referred to ens universally. This last either pertain to the intellect to which "true" implies a relation, or to the appetite to which "good" implies a relation." De Potentia 9, 7 ad 6 (My translation)..

39 Aquinas says in the Prologue to his on the Metaphysics says. "From this it is evident that, although this science studies the three classes of things mentioned above, it does not investigate any one of them as its subject, but only being in general. For the subject of a science is the genus whose causes and properties we seek, and not the causes themselves of the particular genus studied, because a knowledge of the causes of genus is the goal to which the investigation of a science attains. Now although the subject of this science is being in general, the whole of it is predicated of those things which are separate from matter both in intelligible constitution and in being. For it is not only those things which can never in exist in matter which are said to be separate from matter in their intelligible constitution and in being, such as God and the intellectual substances, but also those things which can exist without matter, such as being in general. This could not be the case, however, if their being depended on matter.

40 Milan: Vita e Pensiero, 1990.

41 Aristotle IV 2, 1003a 33 ; Aquinas IV, 1, 534 & 546.

42 S.Th. I q.3, a.5 ad 1.

43 For the current state of research on the history of the Aristotelian Corpus and the development of Aristotle's thought see William Wians, ed., Aristotle's Philosophical Development: Problems and Prospects (Lanham, MA: Rowman & Littlefield, 1996). In one sense the Metaphysics is complete since all the questions posed in Book III (Beta) are answered in it; see William H. Kane, OP, "An Introduction to Metaphysics," in his Approach to Philosophy: Elements of Thomism: A Collection of Essays (Washington, DC: The Thomist press, 1962), pp. 121-142. See also Giovanni Reale, The Concept of First Philosophy note 36 above. Nevertheless, it is clear that it is a work put together from various originally distinct writings without final revision, that is, a work in progress.

44 Aquinas says at the very beginning of the Metaphysics I, 11, 180 that Maxime haec scientia considerat causam formalem et finalem and aliquo modo etiam moventem. "This science chiefly gives consideration to the formal and final cause and somewhat ( aliquo modo) to the efficient cause. This aliquo modo as regards the efficient cause, indicates that the conclusions of metaphysics hold both for changeable and unchangeable beings it is less concerned with efficient causality. One cannot, therefore, conclude from the fact that Aristotle hear speaks chiefly of God as formal exemplary cause and as final cause that he denies that he is the first efficient cause of the material world.

45 Aristotle, V, 2, 1013a 18; Aquinas V, 2, 775. Final causality is a predetermination of efficient causality and cannot exist unless there is something predetermined to seek that end. Created things could not desire God as their end unless he had created first them and so created them to desire him.

46 Aquinas says, "Since, as it is said in II Metaphysics [1, 280] that the disposition of things is the same in being and in truth, therefore just as some things are always true and nevertheless have a cause of their truth, so Aristotle understood that some beings, namely the celestial bodies and separated [immaterial] substances exist always, yet have a cause of their being. From which it is clear that although Aristotle assumed the world was eternal, nevertheless he did not believe that God was only the cause of the world's motion and not the cause of its being as some have asserted VIII, 3, 996.. See the similar statement in VI, 1, 1164.

47 On this see Leo Elders, S.V.D., Aristotle's Theology: A Commentary on Book Lambda of the Metaphysics (Assen: Van Gorcum and Co., 1972, pp.251-268). Elders, who is often less benign in his reading of Aristotle than I would be, says "I do not think that it is necessary to assume that Lambda 9 excludes from the First Being all knowledge of the world. According to the metaphysics of Lambda 7 and 9 the world is dependent on the First Being, if not in its being, at least in its activity. As I have pointed out in the commentary on chapter seven, the first or highest being contains the fullness of being. In so far, its self-knowledge is also a knowledge of the world. It comprises, in a sense, the changes occurring in the world, for all change is in view of a terminus, which is a formal perfection. Now the first being is the best of all things. Hence it is the telos of all process. It would follow that by knowing itself it knows whatever is really the object of episteme. This knowledge never is a knowledge turned toward the world, but remains entirely concerned with the being of the First Mover; it does not even regard its causality in as far as this produces certain effects. "Aristotle did not work out this point, yet it is his merit to have made plain the first being cannot have things outside itself as an object of its knowledge. That this supreme Mind thinks the essences of all being is also intimated by the comparison of its activity with of the productive sciences" (p. 257 f.).

48 See Frederick Copleston, SJ., A History of Philosophy (New York: Doubleday/Image Books, 195 Vol III, p. 355 who says this greatly influenced later writers.

49 De unitate intellectus contra Averroistas , dated by Weisheipl somewhat before 1270.

English translation, The Trinity and the Unicity of the Intellect , translated by Re. Breenan (St. Louis:St. Louis University, 1946) unfortunately not from the critical text.

50 In my opinion the existence of superhuman crated intelligences can be demonstrated in natural science with the sort of certitude proper to that science. This was the opinion of the noted Thomist, Charles de Koninck, Dean of theology of Laval University and I have defendws it in my Theologies of the Body: Humanist and Christian, 2nd ed. (Boston, National Catholic Bioethics Center, 1998), pp. 650-660. I am puzzled therefore why Aristotle discusses this only in Metaphysics Lambda, where his argument clearly depends on astronomical facts that pertain to natural science but omits any discussion in his natural science works. I can only attribute this to the imperfect character of that text.

51 Francisco Suarez, Disputationes Metaphysicae (Hildesheim: George Olms, 1965 reprint of Paris 1866 ed., original 1597

52 For example, see S.Th. I, q. 52-53 on in what way spiritual beings are in place q. 54-58; and in time q. 61, 2 and 2 and q. 63, 6 ad 4; and have the faculties (active qualities) of intelligence, qq. 54-58, and will, qq. 59-69; and have action, qq. 106-107, etc..

53 Hans Urs von Balthasar. The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics (San Francisco: Ignatius Press; New York: Crossroad, 1993) 7 vols.

54 London: Routledge, 1998.


Lawrence Dewan, O.P., "St. Thomas, Physics, and the Principle of Metaphysics" The Thomist 61 (1997): 549-66 has courteously criticized the thesis I am defending and my interpretation of Thomistic texts. In lieu of a more detailed reply the following indicates his main points and my replies.

1).Dewan says that as he pondered my thesis, "I think of such facts as that Thomas nowhere presents us with such a view of the formation of metaphysical concepts: he everywhere treats the metaphysicals as a domain unto themselves, even though they are objects first encountered by us in sensible reality." True, but Aquinas makes clear in IV, 15, 594 on Aristotle IV,3, 10005a 13 that Non enim omne ens est hujusmodi: cum probatum sit in octavo Physicorum, esse aliquod ens immobile. "Not all being is of this kind [ ens mobile ], because in Physics VIII it was proved that some kind of unchangeable being exists.

2). Dewan also says that "For Aquinas it is not only the concepts of physics that are encountered in sensible things." Yes in fact all valid concepts originate in our knowledge of physical things, including mathematical, ethical, and metaphysical concepts, but in each case Aristotle and Aquinas are careful to show that these other types of concepts are derived from those of natural science in a valid manner. Thus abstract mathematical concepts are grounded in the natural science proof that physical quantity is a necessary property of existing bodies. Ethical concepts are grounded in the natural science demonstration of the ends of human behavior fixed in human nature. Similarly there must be a demonstration that metaphysical concepts are grounded in natural science.

3) Dewan in footnote p. 552 n. 7 quotes S.Th I. q.85 a.1 ad 2 and says that such terms as "potency and act" and "a being" "can be abstracted from universal matter" and "can be found existent without any matter, as is clear in the case of immaterial substance." Again true enough, but why can they be so abstracted?

4) In some of these texts, Dewan says, "The Aristotelian metaphysician is presented as already on the scene, and yet not knowing if there is any separate entity." (p.552-553) this backed by Note 9 on p. 553 referring to VII Meta. 1 (1268-69) On this Aquinas says, as does Aristotle Meta 7 2 (1028b30-31) that the question of whether there are other than sensibles will be discussed until later. I grant that it would have been be more consistent if ( salve reverentia ) Aristotle and Aquinas had here referred back to the proof in Physics VIII rather than forward to that in Metaphysics Lambda but the essential point is that the proof in Lambda, as many commentators emphasize, is through final causality and thus presupposes the one in Physics VIII from efficient causality that, as Aquinas says in S.Th. I, q. 2, c. is "more evident" than the others four of the Quinque Viae . See also Quorum primum est quod procedunt ex suppositione aeternitatis motus quod apud Catholicos supponitur esse falsum. Et ad hoc dicendum quod via efficacissima ad probandum Deum esse est ex suppositione aeternitatis mundi, quo posita, minus videtur esse manifestum quod Deus sit. Nam si mundus et motus de novo incoepit, planum est quod oportet poni aliquam causam quae de novo producat mundum et motum: quia omne quod de novo fit, ab aliquo innovatore oportet sumere originem; cum nihil educat se de potentia in actum vel de non esse in esse. S.C.G. I. 13, nn. 109-110.

5) Dewan (pp. 554 555) quotes Aquinas on IV Meta lect 1,(533) concerning Aristotle at Meta 4, 1 (1003a28-32) that early philosophers were seeking the highest causes. Yes, but it is also true that Aristotle complains they went no further than sensible causes. Even Parmenides often quoted as a metaphysician for his talking about "Being" thought Being was a sphere). Aristotle commends the exception of Anaxagoras who introduced "Mind" as a principle. Anaxagoras never showed that Mind is immaterial and may well have agreed with the Stoic opinion that the Logos was a kind of fire.

6) Dewan quotes III Phys. lect 2 (285) 3)," [This] text makes clear that the very definition of motion, used in science has as its subject mobile being, uses notions intelligibly prior to that of motion. These are presented as differences of being. Obviously, being as being is meant. The notion of being that is being employed can hardly be conceived as limited to the mobile, since mobility is a posterior intelligible. We are witnesses to the role of metaphysical consideration at the very origins of physical thought." Yes, potency and act are concepts that are indeed prior to that of motion. Aristotle begins not with the concept of motion but with that of "changeable being" ens mobile and then proves that motion is the proper act of changeable being. At this point the study of "Being as being" is the study of changeable being and there is no critical certainty that "being' has any other valid sense. When Dewan says "being as being is meant" he equivocates on what "being" means at this point in the order of sciences. If we only know that material things exist, then to study them as being, i.e. as existent is to study "being as being," which in fact is what Aristotle does in the Physics. There he studies changeable being according to the mode proper of being to it. To study it as ens commune would be to claim knowledge one does not scientifically possess.

7) Dewan says "If we find, in the treatments pertaining to physical science, some approach from the viewpoint of being, this will be, not properly physical science..., but a case of the physicists taking on the role of the metaphysician. Along these lines, Thomas tells us that the geometer proves his own principles by taking on the role of the metaphysician." (p.557). In note 18 he refers to I Post Anal, 21, 177 concerning Aristotle at 77b3-5, that reads. Nulla enim scientia probat sua principia, secundum quod ostensum est supra. Dicit autem, secundum quod geometra est, quia contigit in aliqqua scientia probari principia illius scientiae, in quantum illa scientia assumit propria alterius scientiae; sicut geometra probat sua principa secundum quod assumit formam philosophiae primi, idest metaphysici . I would grant that there is a sense, and an important one, in which metaphysics (once its subject has been established by natural philosophy) is said by Aristotle and Aquinas to demonstrate the principles of the particular science, namely, that it shows whether they are or are not absolutely necessary, i.e., if to deny them would entail a contradiction. Some are necessary in this way, some are not, but for natural science are largely only hypothetically necessary, e.g., given our actual world, so and so must be true. Since, however, Aristotle and Aquinas assert that metaphysics is last in knowledge quoad nos , if these principles were not known with certitude before metaphysics natural science mathematics, and ethics would not be sciences, which is contrary to everything Aristotle and Aquinas do to show that these are true sciences. Is Dewan agreeing with Scotus that metaphysics must be known prior to the other sciences? He says that "Thomas sees the principles, precisely as known first of all and to all, as having a properly metaphysical character. This does not make the beginner a finished metaphysician, but it does mean that the principles of metaphysics are precisely those very first-known principles, not some newly constructed conception of being resulting from the study of physics. If we did not start with metaphysical principles, no particular science would ever provide them."( p. 558).

(8) Dewan denies that Aquinas thought the proper object of the intellect is the essence of material beings (Note 20 p.558). Dewan says, "Thomas never says to my knowledge, and never would say, in my judgment, that the proper object of the human intellect is ens mobile . When he needs to underline the humble beginnings of human intellection, he uses such a formula as "ens vel verum, consideratum in rebus materialibus," that is "a being" or "the true," considered in material things. (S.Th. I., q.87, a. 3 ad 1. This is a formula that, while indicating the mode of being that is the connatural object of the human intellect, preserves the metaphysical starting point from confusion with the notions proper to physical science." This ignores S. Th. I , q. 84, a.7 Intellectus autem humani, qui est conjunctus corpori, proprium objectum est quidditas sive natura in materia corporali existens; et per huiusmodi naturas visibilium rerum etiam in invisibilium rerum etiam aliqualem cognitionem ascendit. S. Th. I , q. 84, a.7. "The proper object of the human intellect as it is joined to the body is the essence or nature existing in bodily matter and through this it ascends to some knowledge of the nature of invisible things."

9) On another text he says that Aristotle says in I Post. Analyt . 5. n.50, of propositions known to all that "belong precisely to being" for " a being is the first conception of the intellect involved in such principles as that of contradiction and the whole is greater than the parts." Hence they "are received from metaphysics, to which it belongs to consider being, just in itself [ens simpliciter] and those things which belong to being. But there are other principles such as that right angles are equal that belong to particular sciences." Yet Dewan in note 22 p. 559 refers to VI Meta lect 1, 1146. "Those Principles either are more certain for us, as in natural [objects] which are closer to sensible [objects], or else they are simpler, and prior as regards their nature, as is [the case with] mathematical [objects]. Thus Dewan does not observe that ens mobile is being and hence natural science is also about being. Therefore, the principles of non-contradiction and the whole is greater than the part can be established in natural science within the scope of its proper subject and can ground the principles of mathematics and the practical sciences. However, once it is established that there are immaterial beings, it can be shown that these principles also apply to immaterial being and more profoundly. This, however, cannot be assumed but must be demonstrated.

(10) In the final section of his article Dewan uses his excellent article regarding the development of the intellectual virtues, "St.Thomas and the Ground of Metaphysics" in John B.Brough, Daniel O. Dahlstrom, and Henry B. Veatch in. Proceedings of the ACPH 54 (Washington, DC ACPA, 1980):444-54 and "St.Thomas, Jacques Maritain, and the birth of Metaphysics" in Maritain Studies (Ottawa) to show that metaphysics is the highest of the sciences and properly deserves the name of "wisdom." I heartily agree, but I do not think that this doctrine can be used to imply that it is known prior to the other sciences (the Scotistic view) but to the contrary that it comes last and defends the other sciences and their principles from contradictions.

In conclusion it seems to me that in trying to show that metaphysics can be constructed independently of the natural science proof of the existence of immaterial beings Dewan (a) relies on a merely common sense intuition that material things cannot be all that exists; (b) assumes that prior to this proof the term "being as being" has any other real referent than to "changeable being as its exists in it proper mode" and can be the subject of a real science. The metaphysical mode of being has to be critically shown to have a real referent or it will not be a real science.