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- KurzbeschreibungSuarez&8217;s De Anima is his second most important philosophical work after his celebrated Metaphysical Disputations, and like the Disputations, it is incredibly thorough. Indeed, it is the most complete treatment of the nature of living beings from an Aristotelian point of view ever penned. In it Suarez treats questions we would now ascribe to such separate disciplines as metaphysics, epistemology, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of biology.
The selections translated here, the first English translation of any part of the De anima, give the reader a good sample of some of the central metaphysical questions treated in the De anima.
The first selection, consisting of all of Disputation I, provides Suarez&8217;s solution to difficult questions concerning the nature of the soul in general; specifically it addresses the way it is first act, its quiddita-tive definition, and its relation to the body, the composite, and the essential accidents of the living organism it partially constitutes.
The second selection, consisting of question 3 of Disputation 2, reviews and defends all the philoso-phical arguments, whether metaphysical or moral, found in the Christian tradition for the conclusion that the rational soul is immaterial and immortal.
- SerieLiber Conversus
- Seiten189 Seiten
- Gewicht298 g
I: The Science of the Soul
In the medieval university psychology--&8220;the science of the soul&8221;-- occupied a pivotal place in the curriculum because it was con-ceived as forming the bridge between natural philosophy and meta-physics. This fact alone indicates that the medievals conceived of psy-chology very differently from the way we do today. In fact, for the medievals it encompassed many of the questions which are now ad-dressed in such separate disciplines as biology, the philosophy of mind, epistemology, and ethics, as well as psychology. In order to understand the medieval conception of psychology, one must first un-derstand the theological interest the medievals took in the science of the soul, as well as understanding something of the way they adopted the ontology of Aristotle to support a sophisticated intellectual super-structure for all the sciences. And understanding both is necessary for understanding Suarez&8217;s De anima since, although Suarez does not chronologically belong to the medieval period, he does intellectually-his cathedral of thought is one of the most imposing monuments of scholastic philosophy and theology, and it provided not only later Catholic but also Protestant thinkers with skillfully wrought intellec-tual weapons with which to defend central Christian doctrines against what they perceived to be threats to such doctrines arising from cer-tain currents of the Enlightenment.
The medieval wedding of Aristotle&8217;s thought with Christian Orthodoxy can perhaps best be understood if one bears in mind, both the account of creation found in Genesis, and the doctrine of the resur-rection. If we look at Genesis, we will find that, on the one hand, it makes a clear distinction in kind between different orders of being (what the medievals referred to as &8220;degrees of ontological perfection&8221;) while, on the other hand, it affirms a certain continuity between the orders of being, a continuity arising not only from the fact that all or-ders of being were created by God, but also from the fact that God created all material substances from a common matter or stuff, a stuff Genesis declares to be formless and void prior to God&8217;s fashioning of celestial and terrestrial beings out of it. God finally fashions Adam&8217;s body out of this common stuff and breathes into it a soul, a soul which the majority of Christian thinkers hold to be the ontological basis in man of his bearing God&8217;s image and likeness
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