Posts

On Aquinas's Way to God

One of the issues that continually emerges in discussions of the existence of God is His status as a primary cause. God is often described as the first, primary, fundamental cause of things. Accordingly, in attempted demonstrations of God, if it can be established that there is a first cause, then we are somewhat on the way to God. Frequently then the focus of theistic arguments for God's existence will be on the nature of causality and establishing some first cause of all things.
A typical way of doing this is known as the Kalam argument. The general form of Kalam style arguments for God's existence is to show that whatever has a beginning of existence has a cause of existence, all created things have a beginning of existence, in which case there is a cause of all created things.
I allude to the Kalam argument above not to interrogate it; the Kalam argument has numerous defenders who will rigorously seek to justify every one of their claims and will indeed dispute the rough …

On St Thomas Aquinas

Most people will know that St Thomas Aquinas is a significant thinker in the history of philosophy and theology. He is well known for his (in)famous five ways for God's existence, and those who have studied the history of thought know that he made significant contributions to philosophy and theology. But what about the man himself? One can get lost in all the arguments and abstract reasoning and forget about the man; indeed I myself have often forgotten that the Angelic Doctor was just a man subject to the same challenges, disappointments, and failings as the rest of us.

Thomas was born around 1224 at Roccasecca Aquino. At around 5 he began his education with the Benedictine monks in Monte Cassino, but owing to disagreements between Pope and the Emperor Frederick II which spilled over into the abbey, Thomas was enrolled at the recently established university of Naples around the age of 15. It was here that he was exposed to two significant influences on his life: the study of Aris…

Welcome

Welcome to the Bearded Thomist blog. My name is Gaven Kerr; I am a bearded Thomist, and I have been engaged with philosophy and theology, particularly the work of St Thomas Aquinas, for a number of years. My engagement with Thomas has always been to understand him within the contemporary philosophical and theological situation. Thus, I don't read Thomas as some historical artifact to be preserved. I do think that Aquinas was systematically correct about most issues of philosophical and theological importance, but I also understand that other philosophers and theologians have come after St Thomas, and that there are issues in these areas that for good or ill are taken to be pressing. I believe that Aquinas's thought provides us with the resources for dealing with issues not only in contemporary philosophy and theology, but also life and society.

This blog is devoted to engaging with those issues.

Accordingly, some of the posts will be of a somewhat academic nature, but others w…