Skip to main content

Abstraction, knowledge and the Sciences


       Here is an image explaining my current understanding of the relationships between a number of important elements in the Aristotelian-thomistic understanding of the sciences and how human beings come to knowledge of different beings.

        Both types of abstraction (of the whole and of the part) are happening in the first act of the intellect (and both seem to be related to the first degree of Abstraction, but, the first is only in relation to the philosophy of nature: cf. Jacques Maritain's "Philosophy of Nature"; and the second is only in relation to the natural sciences). The second type of Abstraction is going on in all 3 degrees of Abstraction: from individual sensible matter, from common sensible matter and from intelligible matter. So, in the 3-fold division of the sciences, technically, only the second type of abstraction is happening (except in the case of the philosophy of nature which seems to be primarily the first type of Abstraction).

       There is no abstraction in either judgment or reasoning. Therefore both types of abstraction are happening in the act of simple apprehension. The type of abstraction that goes on in simple apprehension will depend on the degree of abstraction that is being considered in the domain of science that is in question (in other words, on being-as-X).

       George Van Riet also discusses (in his article "La théorie thomiste de l'abstraction," in Revue Philosophique de Louvaine, 3ieme série, tome 50, no. 27 (1952), 353-393.) what he calls the abstraction of Being, which would be, supposedly, a third type of abstraction. I'm still working on figuring out what he means by that, and what to do with this idea.

Popular posts from this blog

How Kant’s Synthesis of Empiricism and Rationalism resulted in Agnosticism

Immanuel Kant, presented with the extreme empiricism of Hume and the extreme rationalism of Liebniz, which he discovered through the writings Wolff, sought to take a middle road between these two extreme philosophical positions. I would submit that Kant’s synthesis of these two views leads to an agnosticism about what Kant called “the thing-in-itself”, and ultimately to the philosophical positions known as Atheism, determinism, and nihilism.


Kant’s Sources
First of all, Kant was influenced by Hume’s empiricism and Newton’s physics. He saw that the physical sciences, in contrast to rationalistic metaphysics, were actually making advances. They were making discoveries, and building a system of knowledge that accurately described the world of our sense perceptions. Rationalistic metaphysics, on the other hand, was floundering amidst the combating systems that the philosophers were erecting. It did not provide new knowledge, and only led to unacceptable conclusions, such as the Absolute Mon…

LEISURE: THE BASIS OF CULTURE – A BOOK REVIEW

Leisure: The Basis of Culture & the Philosophical Act. Josef Pieper. Translated by Alexander Dru. 1963. Reprint, Ignatius Press, 2009. 143 pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-1-58617-256-5.
            This book is composed of two articles written by the German philosopher Josef Pieper. Though the two articles are intimately connected, they form two distinct works; as such, this book review will begin by giving a brief introduction to the works in question, followed by and exposition of each of the works individually. The two articles that are included in this book, Leisure: the Basis of Culture and The Philosophical Act, were both published in 1947, and, as such, were written during the cultural crisis in Germany that followed the Second World War. Not only did Pieper have the cultural crisis in mind when he wrote these articles, but he was also writing in light of the works of the most well-known German philosopher of the time – Martin Heidegger. As such, any reader who is familiar with Heidegg…

IDENTITY AND DIFFERENCE by Martin Heidegger

I don’t propose to attempt any sort of reply to Martin Heidegger in this article. The purpose of this article is to explain Martin Heidegger’s thoughts, as they are found in the book, Identity and Difference. Martin Heidegger is a difficult thinker to understand, and requires a lot of work to fully appreciate his arguments. My primary goal in this article is to introduce the reader to two very important articles written by Heidegger, and, I hope, to properly explain Heidegger’s views on Being and beings.
            This book is composed of two articles written by Martin Heidegger and translated with an introduction by Joan Stambaugh. The first article, The Principle of Identity, is “the unchanged text of a lecture given on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the University of Freiburg im Breisgau, for the faculty day on June 27, 1957.”[1] The second article The Onto-theo-logical Constitution of Metaphysics, is “the explication that concluded a seminar during the wint…