Download Maimonides and St. Thomas on the Limits of Reason by Idit Dobbs-Weinstein PDF

By Idit Dobbs-Weinstein

This e-book exhibits that Maimonides and St. Thomas reached strikingly related conclusions in regards to the limits of cause and that those limits, in flip, convey the size of philosophical knowing. via a comparative philosophical exam of the various aporiae constituting the query of "providence," the writer seeks to be certain the measure of philosophical compatibility among Maimonides and St. Thomas Aquinas, and the place war of words is clear, its foundation, nature and philosophical effects. Dobbs-Weinstein retrieves a few occluded points in their inspiration that render a greater realizing of every philosopher and supply a richer philosophical vocabulary for discussions of the bounds of "reason," the ensuing inevitable limits of language and interpretation and, notably, the relation among figuring out and performing. This examine additionally indicates how and why, although they undertake a few greatly assorted ontological ideas, Maimonides and Aquinas achieve strikingly comparable conclusions about the existential dimensions of human existence, specifically the probabilities and modes of data and the activities consequent upon them.

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Additional info for Maimonides and St. Thomas on the Limits of Reason

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70 Given these tendencies to divide Aquinas' writings, it is not surprising that Thomistic scholars generally can be distinguished into those who are predominantly Aristotelian and 'metaphysicians' who recognize Neoplatonic elements in Aquinas' thought. 71 An additional difficulty arising out of Aquinas' writings and leading to conflicting interpretations surrounds the status of the commentary. The general question raised is whether the commentator's own thought ever is evident in his expositions on the thoughts of others.

The Preface is the occasion to pose the problems, it is not the appropriate context, however, for their resolution. In a manner of speaking, the entire Guide is a preparation for the resolution of questions set out in the Preface, as well as the active acquisition of the virtue required for the continued pursuit of these and similar questions. 89 Only upon reading, and rereading the text does one become aware of the fact that the central or most difficult problem posited in the Preface is also the problem least apparent.

103 It should be noted here that some philosophical discourses, especially Neoplatonic ones, should probably be included within the category of the prophetic. In other words, at least with respect to metaphysical discourses that directly address the divinity, the real contradictions between philosophy and revelation are found in the books of the Philosopher par excellence, whom, I think, Maimonides considered to manifest the perfection of natural reason, but no more. Aristotle's status as the paradigm of natural perfection only is significant not only with respect to his Metaphysics, but also in relation to his Physics since, according to Maimonides, the impossibility of providing a clear exposition extends even to the principles of natural science.

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