Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth – in a word, to know himself – so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.

– Pope John Paul II, Encyclical on the Relationship between Faith and Reason Fides et Ratio, 14 September 1998

In the tradition of St. Thomas Aquinas and taking its example from the words of Pope John Paul II, the Aquinas Center for Catholic Faith and Reason seeks to enlighten the mind and feed the soul with the truths of the Catholic faith. The Catholic Church enjoys a rich history of seeing faith and reason as two mutually supporting streams flowing from the same source: Divine Revelation. As the First Vatican Council proclaimed:

There exists a twofold order of knowledge, distinct not only as regards their source, but also as regards their object. With regard to the source, because we know in one by natural reason, in the other by divine faith. With regard to the object, because besides those things which natural reason can attain, there are proposed for our belief mysteries hidden in God which, unless they are divinely revealed, cannot be known.

The Aquinas Center for Catholic Faith and Reason seeks to serve as a “bridge” between the rich intellectual tradition of orthodox Catholic academia and the non-academic laity. In loyalty to the Magisterium, we provide news, information, resources, and speakers to help our fellow Catholics gain a fuller and deeper understanding of the Faith. Through this, we believe Catholics learn not only the fullness of the truths of Catholicism, but more importantly come to better know, love, and serve the Lord.

St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor, pray for us!

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Whither the Universal?

Ayn Rand (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Below are links to my PowerPoint presentation and my paper for my natural law semester project, “Whither the Universal?”

Paper: Whither the Universal?

PowerPoint Show: Whither the Universal?

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Annotated Bibliography: Whither the Universal? A Thomistic Critique of Objectivist Morality

Ayn Rand (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Whither the Universal? A Thomistic Critique of Objectivist Morality

Annotated Bibliography

Listed below are the works consulted for the fall 2012 semester project in PHL 652: Natural Law with Holy Apostles College and Seminary. “Whither the Universal? A Thomistic Critique of Objectivist Morality” explores, in the light of a Thomistic understanding of the natural law, the basis for morality in objectivism, the philosophical system of Ayn Rand. This project specifically considers the objectivist claim that an objective moral standard exists in the complete absence of God.

Baker, James T. Ayn Rand. Boston, MA: Twayne Publishers, 1987. Baker offers a brief biographical sketch of Rand and a synopsis of her thought; important for understanding Rand’s philosophy in relation to the circumstances of her life.

Berliner, Michael S., ed. Understanding Objectivism: A Guide to Learning Ayn Rand’s Philosophy. New York: New American Library, 2012. Berliner presents the lectures on objectivism of Rand disciple Leonard Peikoff in written form. These lectures serve to take the reader deeper into understanding the philosophical basis of objectivism; particularly important for this project are the sections on morals in objectivism.

Bernstein, Andrew. Ayn Rand for Beginners. Danbury, CT: For Beginners, LLC, 2009. This book presents an introduction to Ayn Rand, her works, and her philosophy of objectivism; with this, it gives us a very good basic orientation to the subject.

Budziszewski, J. What We Can’t Not Know: Revised and Expanded Edition. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2011. Budziszewski provides a solid introduction and defense of the natural law; as such, it provides a natural law foundation through which the objectivist basis for morality will be critiqued.

—–. Written on the Heart: The Case for Natural Law. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 1997. Similar to his work above, Budziszewski presents a sound explanation and defense of the natural law which aids in a critique of objectivism.

Fagothey, Austin. Right and Reason: Second Edition. Rockford, IL: TAN Books and Publishers, 2000 reprint; orig. 1959. This work is a classic handbook on “ethics in theory and practice based on the teachings of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas.” Since Rand based some of her positions on the work of Aristotle, this work is helpful in comparing her understanding of Aristotle with the classic Thomistic understanding of Aristotle.

Hittinger, Russell. The First Grace: Rediscovering the Natural Law in a Post-Christian World. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2007 reprint; orig. 2003. As with Budziszewski, Hittinger provides an excellent defense of the natural law. In this regard, it will likewise be used to critique the objectivist position on morality.

Lewis, C. S. The Abolition of Man. New York: HarperOne, 2001. Lewis’s treatise on the natural law and its importance for humanity serves as a significant work by which to evaluate objectivism.

—–. Mere Christianity. New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001. As with The Abolition of Man, Lewis provides a strong presentation on the criticalness of the natural law to guide man to his proper end.

Mullady, Brian. Both a Servant and Free: A Primer in Fundamental Moral Theology. New Hope, NY: New Hope Publications, 2011. Mullady delivers a strong presentation and defense of classical Christian moral theology, and thus serves as an excellent standard by which to reflect on objectivist morality.

Peikoff, Leonard. Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. New York: Penguin Books, 1993. Peikoff, a longtime disciple of Rand, presents a complete overview of objectivist philosophy. This is an important work for gaining a synthesized understanding of objectivism.

Podritske, Marlene and Peter Schwart. Objectively Speaking: Ayn Rand Interviewed. New York: Lexington Books, 2009. This work contains several transcripts of Any Rand interviews from the 1930s to 1980s. Of particular interest to this project is an interview in which Rand speaks directly to the basis of morality in objectivism.

Rand, Ayn. Atlas Shrugged. According to Rand, her 1957 magnum opus provides an example of lived objectivism; as such, it is an important work for understanding Rand’s vision for a world based in objectivism.

—–. The Fountainhead: Centennial Edition. New York: Plume, 2005. Rand’s 1943 novel, The Fountainhead, serves to introduce readers to her philosophy of objectivism through the story of a modern architect “ahead of his times.” It lays the foundation for further development of objectivism in Atlas Shrugged.

—–. The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought. New York: Penguin Books, 1993. Here we find a collection of essays by Rand covering the topics of philosophy, culture, and politics. Of particular interest are those essays dealing with Rand’s arguments on objectivist morality.

Rice, Charles. 50 Questions on the Natural Law: What It Is & Why We Need It, Revised Edition. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1999. This work is Rice’s “catechism” on the classic Thomistic understanding of the natural law presented in a question and answer format. As with the other works on the natural law, it serves to provide a basis through which to evaluate objectivism.

Wiker, Benjamin. 10 Books Every Conservative Must Read: Plus Four Not to Miss and One Imposter. Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 2010. The “imposter” in Wiker’s book is Rand’s Atlas Shrugged; which Wiker uses to provide a solid summary and critique of objectivism.

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The Thomistic Realism of Étienne Gilson: Epistemology Semester Project

Etienne Gilson

Below are links to my PowerPoint presentation and my script for my epistemology semester project, “The Thomistic Realism of Étienne Gilson.”

The Thomistic Realism of Étienne Gilson Script

Thomistic Realism PowerPoint Presentation

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The Thomistic Realism of Étienne Gilson: Annotated Bibliography

The following are the works consulted for the semester project in PHL 620: Epistemology with Holy Apostles College and Seminary summer 2012 semester. This project, “The Thomistic Realism of Étienne Gilson,” explores the epistemology of one of the preeminent twentieth century Catholic philosophers.

Adler, Mortimer J. Ten Philosophical Mistakes. New York: Touchstone Books, 1985. Adler presents a Thomistic realist critique of modern philosophy, showing the strength of Thomistic realism compared to other schools of modern philosophy.

Gallagher, Kenneth T. The Philosophy of Knowledge. New York: Sheen and Ward, 1964. This general introduction to epistemology serves to provide background information on epistemological views of various modern schools of philosophical thought.

Gilson, Étienne. God and Philosophy, Second Edition. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002. Gilson here deals with the problem of God’s existence as proposed by various philosophical systems. It also contains the best autobiographical notes about Gilson and his intellectual development.

—–. Methodical Realism: A Handbook for Beginning Realists. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2011. Gilson’s short introduction to methodical realism critiques both idealism and the short comings of some realist philosophers; it serves as the foundational work of this project.

—–. Thomistic Realism and the Critique of Knowledge. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1986. In this book Gilson delves into an analysis of the realist philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas; a position which serves as the basis of Gilson’s own epistolary.

—–. The Unity of the Philosophical Experience. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1999. In Gilson’s own words, the purpose of this book is “to show that the history of philosophy makes philosophical sense, and to define its meaning in regard to the nature of philosophical knowledge itself.” This books serves to show more of Gilson’s Thomistic realism.

Maritain, Jacques. An Introduction to Philosophy. New York: Sheen and Ward, 1959. This book is a highly readable general introduction to philosophy by a contemporary of Gilson and likewise a great Thomistic Catholic philosopher of the twentieth century.

Ollivant, Douglas, ed. Jacques Maritain and the Many Ways of Knowing. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 2002. A work from the American Maritain Association focusing on the epistemology of Maritain, thought in a similar vein as that of Gilson; also includes essays with reference to Gilson.

Sullivan, Daniel J. An Introduction to Philosophy: Perennial Principles of the Classical Realist Tradition. Charlotte, NC: TAN Books, 1992. A solid introduction to philosophy in the Catholic Thomistic tradition; this work serves to provide background information in support of Gilson’s work.

Wallace, William A. The Elements of Philosophy: A Compendium for Philosophers and Theologians. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2012. A classic introduction to philosophy by a former professor of philosophy at the Catholic University of America. As with the work above, this volume serves to provide additional background information on philosophy in the Catholic tradition.

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