Highlights and Resources after the 1st October Session

In the October session we reviewed the last two chapters of Guide to St Thomas. Chapter XI argued that St Thomas's most valuable and original contribution to philosophical thought was the discovery of the actus essendi, the action of being or existing, as the innermost feature of all reality, of all what exists. Actus essendi is not one more element in the description of beings, but a distinct element that is not in the essence of anything we know. This actus essendi found in every being is not, however, caused by any of them. Therefore there must be a being whose essence is actus essendi itself, and that's God who in Revelation has spoken about Himself as the one who is.

The most important conclusion from Chapter XII regarded the relationship between Philosophy,  Theology and the sciences in St Thomas's perspective. Both philosophy and theology with the whole of reality as object of study. The sciences study particular segments of reality (physical world--Physics, living beings--Biology, weather--Meteorology, numbers--Mathematics, the governing of cities and states--Politics and so on). Both Philosophy and Theology benefit from the outcomes of scientific research and must take it into account when they judge about the whole of reality. Though neither philosophy nor theology depends for its existence on, or can be proven or disproven by scientific experiments. Philosophy, which relies on reason for its enquiries, benefits from the findings of Theology in the way of a challenge. Theology shows truths from Revelation to which Philosophy must arrive through reasoning (say the existence of God, see above). At the same time Theology benefits from the rigour of philosophical reasoning to ensure it does not jump to mistaken conclusions from the initial point of departure of Revelation (an example could be the rational explanation of the Holy Trinity).



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