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Lessons from Aquinas: A Resolution of the Problem of Faith and Reason

By author: Creighton Rosental
Product Code: H829
ISBN: 9780881462531
Product Format: Hardback
Publisher: Mercer University Press
Availability: In stock
Price: $45.00

Thomas Aquinas has long been understood to have reconciled faith and reason. Typically, he is understood as having provided justification for faith by means of proof, particularly, that the Five Ways prove the existence of God. Under this interpretation, faith is merely a species of justified belief, and the justification for faith rests fully upon the success of the Five Ways (or, alternatively, on the success of other justificatory evidence). In this book, Rosental argues that Aquinas’s account of faith is not simply an account of justified belief, at least as it is typically considered in contemporary philosophy. Instead, Rosental explains, faith has its own basis for epistemic “reasonableness”—a reasonableness that does not derive from ordinary evidence or proof. Rather than requiring evidence accessible to the natural light of reason, Aquinas holds that faith has its own sort of “evidence”—that which results from the light of faith. Aquinas “Aristotelianizes” faith and argues that faith has the Aristotelian epistemic virtue of certitude, and in so doing reconciles faith and Aristotelian reason, at least as Aristotle was understood by medieval philosophers. This reconciliation resolves important tensions between Aristotelian science and Christian doctrine. Further, Rosental examines three contemporary accounts of what qualifies as an epistemically “responsible” belief (namely, justified belief, practical rationality, and warrant) and argues that under Aquinas’s account, faith should be counted as rational, and in an important, though modified sense, as justified. Rosental’s book is an erudite and accessible reading of this most fundamental issue in Thomistic studies.
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Review by: Lynne Rudder Baker, Distinguished Professor, University of Massachusetts - November 1, 2011
This is an excellent book: clear, detailed, and comprehensive. Rosental offers a neat account of Aquinas’s reconciliation of faith with Aristotelian reason. With his philosophical orientation, he brings out the relevance of Aquinas for contemporary epistemology. Lessons from Aquinas should be widely read—by scholars, students, and other serious readers with an interest in Christian doctrine or in the history of philosophy. —Lynne Rudder Baker, Distinguished Professor University of Massachusetts
Review by: Robert Pasnau, University of Colorado - November 1, 2011
Questions about faith and reason lie at the heart of all philosophy. Rosental provides a clear and comprehensive account of how the greatest of all philosophertheologians, Thomas Aquinas, resolves these issues. —Robert Pasnau, University of Colorado

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