Hilary Putnam dead at 89

Hilary Putnam died of cancer on March 13. Putnam's name is infrequently found in Thomistic literature, but if you do philosophy (my profession), his work is hard to ignore. He was one of the most influential American philosophers of the past half century.

Putnam was famous for changing his mind and reversing his earlier positions. Accordingly, Christopher Norris (who, incidentally, may be the only person to have written books on both Derrida and Putnam) points out that there are three Putnams: the "strong realist" of an early period, the "internal realist" of a middle period, and the pragmatist of a last period. Although it seems to me that the middle period Putnam is better described as an anti-realist, it is true that "internal realism" was his own coinage and I get why he used it.

I said that Putnam's name is not often found in Thomistic literature. I should note some important exceptions of which I'm aware. John Haldane, John O'Callaghan, and Ed Feser have all engaged with Putnam's work. And let's not forget that Putnam himself has engaged with Thomists! His essay "Thoughts Addressed to an Analytical Thomist" was the second piece in the 1997 special issue of The Monist on analytical Thomism (edited by Haldane).

There are several obituaries for Putnam online. Here is one by Martha Nussbaum.

First ALL LATIN roundtable discussion at Kalamazoo mediaeval studies congress!

Msgr. Daniel Gallagher of the Vatican's Office of Latin Letters sends us the following announcement about the first all Latin roundtable discussion at the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo:


Quando: Idibus Maiis, ab hora X matutina ad horam XI et semihoram

Ubi: Universitas Michiganensis Occidentalis, aula "Schneider" 1274

Argumentum: De lingua Latina vivente in studiis mediaevalibus huius temporis

Nuntium de colloquio invenitur in pagina LXIV Libelli Congressus, ad quod accessum habetis in hoc situ interretial.

Sciatis etiam convivium, nullius nisi iucunditatis et humanitatis causa, habebitur eodem die, hora quinta et quadrante vesperi, Septentrionali Americano Latinitatis Vivae Instituto (SALVI) necnon Instituto "Paideia" praebendum, in aula "Fetzer" 2020.

I'm sure that this unique and excellent event will draw a crowd, so you might want to get there early to get a good seat.

Workshop at Providence College on metaphysics in the tradition of Aristotle

The Department of Philosophy of Providence College, in collaboration with the Center for Catholic and Dominican Studies, announces the first in a new series of annual workshops dedicated to philosophy in the tradition of Aristotle. The workshops are intended to provide a venue for scholars and graduate students to present ongoing research and works-in-progress.

The first workshop, Metaphysics in the Tradition of Aristotle, will take place September 23–24, 2016 at Providence College. Invited presenters are:

Thérèse-Anne Druart (CUA)
Mary-Louise Gill (Brown)
Giorgio Pini (Fordham)
Jacob Rosen (Harvard)

The organizers welcome presentations of 25 minutes on Aristotle’s metaphysics and Aristotelian metaphysics in the Greek, Arabic, and Latin traditions. Papers on the modern reception or contemporary development of Aristotelian metaphysics are also welcome. We particularly encourage submissions from graduate students and early career scholars.

Abstracts of 500 words should be submitted to Fr. Philip Neri Reese, O.P., by April 15 at: philip.neri.reese@providence.edu.

New book by R.J. Matava on Báñez and physical premotion


R.J. Matava has published a book with Brill entitled Divine Causality and Human Free Choice: Domingo Báñez, Physical Premotion and the Controversy de Auxiliis Revisited. Here's the publisher's description:

In Divine Causality and Human Free Choice, R.J. Matava explains the idea of physical premotion defended by Domingo Báñez, whose position in the Controversy de Auxiliis has been typically ignored in contemporary discussions of providence and freewill. Through a close engagement with untranslated primary texts, Matava shows Báñez’s relevance to recent debates about middle knowledge. Finding the mutual critiques of Báñez and Molina convincing, Matava argues that common presuppositions led both parties into an insoluble dilemma. However, Matava also challenges the informal consensus that Lonergan definitively resolved the controversy. Developing a position independently advanced by several recent scholars, Matava explains how the doctrine of creation entails a position that is more satisfactory both philosophically and as a reading of Aquinas.

For the book page at Brill, go here. To purchase it at Amazon, go here. No doubt this volume by Matava will be a very important contribution to, among other things, the debates over physical promotion and the Congregatio de Auxiliis and their history.

Matava, who received his Ph.D. from the University of St. Andrews, is assistant professor of theology at the Christendom Graduate School.

A trove of digitized Garrigou-Lagrange texts

Not long ago there were not (as far as I know) many of Garrigou-Lagrange's writings available electronically online. Last month I discovered that there are now over a dozen available at the Internet Archive. They are all English translations, but for those whose French or Latin is poor or non-existent, this is quite a resource. Obviously, it will also be useful for professors who would like to incorporate some of Garrigou's texts in their classes.

There are now a total of fourteen texts up. You can find them here. Also included is the hitherto hard to obtain English translation of Garrigou's famous (for some, notorious) 1946 Angelicum article "La nouvelle théologie: oú va-t-elle?" Here's what's available as of this posting:

Beatitude: A Commentary on St. Thomas' Theological summa, Ia IIae, qq. 1-54

Christian Perfection & Contemplation

God: His Existence and His Nature (vol. 1)

God: His Existence and His Nature (vol. 2)

The Love of God and the Cross of Jesus (vol. 1)

The Love of God and the Cross of Jesus (vol. 2)

The Mother of The Savior and Our Interior Life

Our Saviour and His Love for Us


The Last Writings

The Priest in Union with Christ 

The Three Ages of the Interior Life (vol. 1)

The Three Ages of the Interior Life (vol. 2)

“Where is the New Theology Leading Us?”

There were two other entries that I did not include in this list because I'm not sure what they are. They are supposed to be an index and a bibliography to The Three Ages of the Interior Life. When I clicked on the links, however, I was led to blank pages. 

We certainly owe a debt of gratitude to whoever made the effort to put all of this up.