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Aquinas's awareness of contingency

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Chapter Summary

To stress the importance of reason at the expense of the role of nature would entail a serious underestimation of Aquinas's views that man is naturally endowed with reason and that nature provides the examples of God's style we are supposed to adopt. This emphasis on the vital role of nature in Aquinas's theory seems to render Aquinas's position vulnerable to the attack of the legal positivist. The comparison with modern philosophy of science enables us to determine the status Aquinas accorded to the divine style grasped by synderesis. The similarities between Thomas Kuhn's concept of normal science and Aquinas's account of practical reasoning are remarkable. The treatise on prudentia testifies to Aquinas's awareness that humans are imperfect and that they therefore should be allowed a certain space for free deliberation about what should be done in contingent circumstances.

Keywords: Aquinas's awareness; God; Thomas Kuhn



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