Summaries & Keywords

STUDIA GILSONIANA » Issues » 2021 » 10:1 (January-March 2021) » Summaries & Keywords

Michał Chaberek, “Creation Is Not Generation: A Response to Brian Carl,” Studia Gilsoniana 10, no. 1 (January–March 2021): 11–43, DOI: 10.26385/SG.100101:

SUMMARY: Dr. Brian T. Carl published a paper, “Thomas Aquinas on the Proportionate Causes of Living Species,” in which he defends a thesis that the principle of proportionate cause, as understood by Aquinas, cannot be used to contradict the modern theory of biological evolution. This rejoinder explores thoroughly Carl’s argument, specifically his idea that spontaneous generation serves as a model to explain causality in biological evolution. It is shown that Aquinas indeed accepts proportionate causes in spontaneous generation, but this fact cannot be extrapolated to modern evolutionary theories. The origin of new species after creation was completed is not a straightforward thesis in Aquinas; rather Thomas sees it as a possible exception, which contradicts the evolutionary origin of the vast majority of species. Additionally, Carl misses the major point that in Aquinas the origin of new species belongs to the work of creation rather than the natural operation of secondary causes.

KEYWORDS: Thomas Aquinas, Aristotle, evolution, creation, causality, metaphysics, species, generation.


Michał Chaberek, “Metaphysics and Evolution: A Response to Dennis F. Polis,” Studia Gilsoniana 10, no. 1 (January–March 2021): 45–69, DOI: 10.26385/SG.100102:

SUMMARY: This paper is a response to Dennis F. Polis’s article “The Compatibility of Evolution and Classical Metaphysics” (2020), which offered a critique of the author’s article “Classical Metaphysics and Theistic Evolution: Why Are They Incompatible?” (2019). In order to justify and maintain his objections to the compatibility of classical metaphysics and theistic evolution, the author concentrates on three problems: (1) the definition of evolution, (2) the Aristotelian-Thomistic understanding of substance, and (3) the clarification of why Dr. Polis’s responses to his arguments fail.

KEYWORDS: Thomism, metaphysics, evolution, evolutionism, God, creation, form, matter, substance, accident, change.


Robert A. Delfino, “The Compatibility of Evolution and Thomistic Metaphysics: A Reply to Dennis F. Polis,” Studia Gilsoniana 10, no. 1 (January–March 2021): 71–102, DOI: 10.26385/SG.100103:

SUMMARY: In this article the author discusses Dennis F. Polis’ defense of the compatibility of biological evolution and Thomistic metaphysics. Some of Polis’ methodological and metaphysical arguments are examined and it is explained why they are unfaithful to the Thomistic tradition of metaphysics. There is a discussion of why metaphysics can, within certain parameters, critique the science of evolutionary biology, as well as a discussion of the role of metaphysics in the hierarchy of the sciences. The relationship between biological species to the notion of species in philosophy, including related metaphysical topics, such as essences and Divine ideas in God, is discussed. It is determined that Polis’ view suffers from a kind of relativism and nominalism that is incompatible with the moderate realism of Aquinas. Some of Aquinas’ key existential insights in metaphysics are discussed in this context as well. In addition to being corrective, this essay helps point the way to a better defense of the compatibility of biological evolution and Thomistic metaphysics.

KEYWORDS: God, Thomism, Thomas Aquinas, Thomistic metaphysics, natural philosophy, biological evolution, theistic evolution, science, scientific methodology, relationship of the sciences, abstraction, species, nature, essence, Divine idea, exemplar cause, ens rationis, substance, accident, substantial form, nature considered absolutely, real distinction between being and essence, relativism, realism, nominalism.


Heather M. Erb, “The Perennial Wisdom of St. Thomas Aquinas and the Great Books Tradition,” Studia Gilsoniana 10, no. 1 (January–March 2021): 103–133, DOI: 10.26385/SG.100104:

SUMMARY: In this article I argue for the pedagogical complementarity of the perennial wisdom of St. Thomas and Mortimer Adler’s dialectical method of the Great Books, where the Great Books highlight the ministerial function of the imagination to the will and intellect in the order of learning. Characterized by communal inquiry, the thought of St. Thomas and the Great Books are shown to be well matched instruments of the special Providence by which we direct one another to our proper end.  A review of key Thomistic dispositions of teaching and learning, the nature of authentic conversation, and various objections and replies to the Great Books method of education and its alliance with the thought of St. Thomas focus the analysis. Several points of contact enrich the task of liberal learning. The Great Books are seen to supply students of St. Thomas with the spontaneous play of associations, rapprochements and comparisons as they strive to apply texts to the practices of virtue and truth seeking, while the perennial wisdom directs the students’ personal exegesis through the rigor of philosophical principles, logic, and distinctions.

KEYWORDS: Thomas Aquinas, Mortimer J. Adler, philosophia perennis, perennial wisdom, Thomism, The Great Books, teaching, learning, conversation, liberal education.


Piotr Jaroszyński, “Karol Wojtyła: A Thomist or a Phenomenologist?,” trans. John M. Grondelski, Studia Gilsoniana 10, no. 1 (January–March 2021): 135–152, DOI: 10.26385/SG.100105:

SUMMARY: The author seeks to answer the question of whether Karol Wojtyła was a Thomist or a phenomenologist. He lists four possible answers: 1) Wojtyła was a Thomist; 2) Wojtyła was a phenomenologist; 3) Wojtyła was both a Thomist and a phenomenologist, meaning one with an inclination toward both Thomism and phenomenology; and 4) Wojtyła was none of them, meaning one who sought to go beyond both Thomism and phenomenology. In order to determine which of these responses is most adequate, the author not only analyzes Wojtyła’s most important works, but also takes into account their publishers and dates of publication. He concludes that 1) Wojtyła was a philosopher of being, who was able to make use of the philosophy of Aristotle and of St. Thomas Aquinas along with phenomenological method, and 2) his philosophy contributed an original approach that bore fruit in a deeper understanding of man as a person.

KEYWORDS: Karol Wojtyła, Thomism, phenomenology, anthropology, person, Lublin school of philosophy, personalism, philosophy of consciousness, philosophy of being.


Tomasz Orzeł, “Człowiek i społeczność obywatelska według Antonia Rosminiego [Man and Civil Society According to Antonio Rosmini],” Studia Gilsoniana 10, no. 1 (January–March 2021): 153–180, DOI: 10.26385/SG.100106:

SUMMARY: This article is an attempt to answer the question about the social status of man in the thought of Antonio Rosmini, namely: Is, and if so then to what extent, the human person a subject of the civil society? To find the answer, it discusses the following themes: 1) the correlation between the civil society and other societies, 2) relationships that constitute the civil society, 3) the constitutive features of the civil society, and 4) particular elements in the structure of the civil society. It concludes that, according to Rosmini, it is the human person that is the proper center of all social activity: exercising the political power, choosing the political system, making the law, etc.

KEYWORDS: Antonio Rosmini, human person, man, society, civil society, family, Church, politics, political power, political system, political party, law.


Katarzyna Stępień, “Freedom and Religion: A Realistic Correlation,” Studia Gilsoniana 10, no. 1 (January–March 2021): 181–205, DOI: 10.26385/SG.100107:

SUMMARY: The article points to voluntarism as a tendency in the history of philosophy, which consists in the theoretical justification for the phenomenon of the absolutization of freedom. This phenomenon also occurs in practical life, where freedom is no longer understood as freedom to truth and goodness enjoyed within the limits of natural law, but as negative freedom, i.e., as a space of free choices made without any determination, limitation and coercion (sometimes understood as any external influence on the individual, even cultural or educational), as privacy, or ultimately as complete independence from one’s own nature, from the world and other persons. The absence of natural limitations to human freedom leads to its absolutization and permissiveness, and consequently results in attempts by the state and the law to limit it which, in turn, leads to its negation. However, the conflict between freedom and nature, nature and culture, freedom and law is illusive. The article points out: 1) the essence of human freedom, 2) a synthesis of freedom and religion in the form of the right to religious freedom, and 3) threats to freedom and religion from atheism, fideism, sentimentalism and individualism. What defends against the reductionist account of freedom and religion is a realistic philosophy that indicates the rational and objective character of freedom and religion.

KEYWORDS: Freedom, religion, human nature, person, religious freedom, human rights, fideism, sentimentalism, individualism, realistic philosophy.


Brian Welter, “Dieu existe-t-il? Les preuves de l’existence de Dieu by Frère Pierre Marie,” Studia Gilsoniana 10, no. 1 (January–March 2021): 209–216, DOI: 10.26385/SG.100108:

SUMMARY: This paper is a review of the book: Frère Pierre Marie, O.P., Dieu existe-t-il? Les preuves de l’existence de Dieu (Editions du Sel, 2020). The author highlights that Frère Pierre Marie’s book (1) describes the shortcomings of modern philosophies, and (2) can serve as both a challenging introduction to the basics of Thomistic thought and a powerful apologetic resource for well-versed Thomists.

KEYWORDS: God, modern philosophy, atheism, agnosticism, immanentism, phenomenology, idealism, philosophy of becoming, philosophy of being, Thomism.