Thomistic Philosophical Terms

A reader writes:

I will be teaching a Thomistic philosophy class (starting in four days!) and was thinking it would be helpful to give my students a short list of terms with definitions to start them off (e.g. potency, act, form, matter, etc.). Do you know of such a list, or would I be best off to just make my own?

Good question. These two books should help:

  • Bernard J. Wuellner, A Dictionary of Scholastic Philosophy, 2nd ed. (Milwaukee, WI: Bruce Publishing Company, 1966).
  • William A. Wallace, O.P., The Elements of Philosophy: A Compendium for Philosophers and Theologians (New York : Alba House, 1977).

Also, definitions are present throughout Joseph Owens’s An Elementary Christian Metaphysics (Houston, TX: Center for Thomistic Studies, 1985). If you are looking for a primary text for students, there is a brief discussion of key terms in Aquinas’s short On the Principles of Nature, available here.