Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Metaphysical Realism in the Angelic Doctor

It's not like this was original with Popper...

"[T]o make things actually intelligible precedes the act of understanding them. But there are some things within us which are rendered actually understood in a natural [a priori] way, not as a result of our effort or of the action of our will: such are the first intelligibles."

-St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles, Book 3, Part 1, 43:2.


  1. "All explanations come to an end." -- C S Lewis

    "All rational knowledge ultimately stands upon non-rational knowledge." -- Ilíon

  2. That's an interesting way of putting it. I'm guessing you don't mean so much that first principles are non-rational as much as that they are irreducible to any simpler principles?

  3. No, I meant exactly what I said ... notice, I didn't say irrational (I'm not an atheist/materialist, after all).

    I might have said "pre-rational," but that doesn't preserve an important distinction between the knowledge we discover via reason and our initial knowledge, which we know intuitively, upon which reason first operates (and frequently returns to) as we rationally discover whatever rational knowledge we can.