I’m going to be doing a few posts at the Ave Maria University philosophy department blog on Kevin Hart’s interpretation of Aquinas as an ontotheologian. Hart teaches in the religious studies department at the University of Virginia. His comments on Aquinas come from his book The Trespass of the Sign: Deconstruction, Theology, and Philosophy (1989/2000). The posts are revisions of a section of my dissertation (Fordham, 2008). I thought my reflections might be interesting to some of our readers. I put up the first post a couple days ago.
Entries in Aquinas (21)
Back in March I reported on Oxford University Press’s plans to bring out a new translation of Aquinas’s De Potentia by Richard J. Regan, SJ. I also expressed my disappointment that OUP had decided that the translation would be an abridgement rather than the full text. Here are some of my comments:
The information at the OUP site puts the page count of Fr. Regan’s abridgement at 368, which, admittedly, is still quite generous. The 1952 Newman Press unabridged single volume edition of the Shapcote translation comes to 476 pages. Is that really too much for OUP? One might guess that OUP, although they are a nonprofit, is concerned about the bottom line. That would not be an irrelevant consideration. After all, OUP would like to stay in business and we would like them to stay in business too. Their service to the academic world is invaluable. But consider the fact that in December they published — to take a random example — F.C. Beiser’s The German Historicist Tradition, a 608 page tome. While I would personally be interested in reading Beiser’s book, I cannot imagine that it would wildly outsell an unabridged version of the De Potentia. So why shortchange the latter?
I concluded thus:
No doubt there are factors of which I am unaware. Are they insurmountable? Perhaps there is still time for OUP to reconsider.
OUP did not reconsider. The volume is now out, abridged as can be. So much for the power of Thomistica.net to change hearts and minds!
Our very own Michael Dougherty wrote in the comment box of my original post that Wipf and Stock have reprinted the old unabridged Shapcote translation. You can get it directly from the Wipf and Stock site (now for $13 less than Amazon!). And he also noted that the same edition is available in html format at Joseph Kenny OP’s site.
If you want the De Potentia in English, why get the OUP version when the complete text is readily available elsewhere?
My last post on Paul Ryan and Aquinas has apparently caused something of a stir. I had only intended it as a bit of humor but some people took it more seriously. In response to that I have tried to put together some more substantive thoughts on Ryan’s relation to Aquinas at our new AMU Philosophy Department blog.
I know I probably get the award for the most silly posts on Thomistica.net. But sometimes I can’t help myself. If you despise these silly posts of mine, then, please, read no further, for this one is sure to bother you too.
We all (at least we Americans) know by now that the big news in the US presidential race is that GOP contender Mitt Romney has just named Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his vice presidential running mate. Ryan, who is Catholic, has often been connected in the past with the economic views of Russian-American author Ayn Rand (not known for her embrace of Catholic social doctrine), for whom he does appear to have some appreciation.
But not long ago Ryan publicly distanced himself from Rand and let people know that, philosophically speaking, he’s more of a Thomist than a Randian. This is what emerges in an April interview with the National Review’s Robert Costa:
“I, like millions of young people in America, read Rand’s novels when I was young. I enjoyed them,” Ryan says. “They spurred an interest in economics, in the Chicago School and Milton Friedman,” a subject he eventually studied as an undergraduate at Miami University in Ohio. “But it’s a big stretch to suggest that a person is therefore an Objectivist.”
“I reject her philosophy,” Ryan says firmly. “It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview. If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas,” who believed that man needs divine help in the pursuit of knowledge. “Don’t give me Ayn Rand,” he says.
I couldn’t agree more.
By the way, in the same interview Ryan also talks about reading Benedict XVI’s Light of the World and mentions how the Catholic principle of subsidiarity has been an influence on his thinking.
UPDATE: I’ve discovered that others have beat me to the punch on this “headline,” some by a few months. I guess the Thomistica.net news cycle is a little longer than the mainstream media’s, which makes sense, right? At any rate, there are pieces that applaud Ryan’s “Thomism,” others that claim his commitment to Randianism is deeper than he lets on, and still others that wonder about the incompatibility of Randianism and Thomism.
I don’t know whether Thomistica.net will involve itself in this debate but it is certainly a worthy one to engage.
And now for something completely different…
Well-known former LA Dodgers manager Thomas “Tommy” Lasorda is Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila’s godfather. Avila’s paternal grandfather had been vice president of the Dodgers during Lasorda’s tenure and Lasorda became a friend of the Avila family. In a recent interview Avila explained that Lasorda was named for Thomas Aquinas and that his (Avila’s) middle name is also Thomas, presumably from Lasorda and Aquinas.