Summaries & Keywords

STUDIA GILSONIANA » Issues » 2021 » 10:3 (July-September 2021) » Summaries & Keywords

Joshua P. Hochschild, “John Paul II’s Gamble with ‘the Meaning of Life’,” Studia Gilsoniana 10, no. 3 (July–September 2021): 491–515, DOI: 10.26385/SG.100320:

SUMMARY: One of John Paul II’s remarkable innovations was his embrace of the question of “the meaning of life.” The question of “the meaning of life” was never asked before the 19th century, and it was slow to be integrated into Catholic discourse. When the question of life’s meaning emerged, it effectively replaced a prior question, about the purpose or telos of life, with a very different set of theoretical assumptions. From the traditional perspective, the question of life’s meaning is highly suspicious, and even Pope John Paul II’s unparalleled embrace of the question confirms that he framed his personalism in terms of the older question of life’s purpose or telos.

KEYWORDS: John Paul II, meaning of life, existentialism, personalism.


Mirela Oliva, “No Meaning for Believers? A Reply to Joshua Hochschild,” Studia Gilsoniana 10, no. 3 (July–September 2021): 517–544, DOI: 10.26385/SG.100321:

SUMMARY: Joshua Hochschild credits John Paul II for the success of the expression “meaning of life” among Christians, but he warns that this expression stems from a modern framework different from classical theism. Hochschild’s criticism challenges theists to clarify how the quest for meaning channels the basic questions of classic theism while advancing new ones. First, I will propose a different historical reconstruction of the “meaning of life,” tracing its origin back to the medieval sensus andits use in Biblical hermeneutics. Second, I will show that existentialism and phenomenology are the heirs of this legacy, and their use of the “meaning of life” is mostly positive. Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI adopted this expression under their influence. Finally, I will argue that the theistic quest for the “meaning of life” addresses classic questions such as happiness and the purpose of human life in the universe, and raises new questions regarding the individual purpose, the history of salvation, and the narrative of life.

KEYWORDS: John Paul II, Benedict XVI, meaning of life, sensus, happiness, purpose of life.


Elliot Polsky, “Thomas Aquinas on Grace as a Mysterious Kind of Creature,” Studia Gilsoniana 10, no. 3 (July–September 2021): 545–578, DOI: 10.26385/SG.100322:

SUMMARY: Although the question of whether, in the thought of Thomas Aquinas, sanctifying grace is “created” or “uncreated” has received considerable attention in the last several decades, many of the questions and arguments proposed by those, such as Karl Rahner, Jerome Ebacher, and Anna N. Williams, in favor of grace being uncreated have gone unanswered. Among these ancillary questions and arguments are those concerning the proper subject of grace, the categorial classification of grace, and the reason for the mystery and unconsciousness of grace. These questions appear unrelated, but, as this paper argues, they are each logically connected to each other and to the overall thesis that sanctifying grace is created, not uncreated. This paper aims to make Aquinas’s thesis that grace is created more palatable to objectors by addressing each of these previously unaddressed ancillary questions.

KEYWORDS: Thomas Aquinas, Karl Rahner, Anna N. Williams, Thomistic metaphysics, Aristotle’s categories, grace, justification, divinization.


Daniel C. Wagner, “On the Foundational Compatibility of Phenomenology and Thomism,” Studia Gilsoniana 10, no. 3 (July–September 2021): 579–607, DOI: 10.26385/SG.100323:

SUMMARY: Jacques Maritain criticized Husserl’s phenomenological method—the ἔποχή—as being incompatible with the realism of St. Thomas Aquinas. Maritain equated phenomenology with idealism, holding that it universally negates the existence of known objects as things in the world. Not surprisingly, then, a tendency has arisen in the thought of Thomists commenting on Karol Wojtyła’s phenomenological-Thomism to distance Wojtyła’s method from that of Husserl. However, since Wojtyła himself saw fit to appropriate the phenomenological method, Thomists will do well to reevaluate Husserl’s ἔποχή. This study shows that Husserl’s phenomenology is formulated as an Aristotelian science, consciously presupposing the existence of its subject matter and not universally negating the existence of known objects as things in the world. The ἔποχή, thus, is compatible with the realism of the Angelic Doctor, and the phenomenological-Thomism of Karol Wojtyła stands on firm realist ground.

KEYWORDS: Edmund Husserl, Karol Wojtyła, Thomism, phenomenology, epoche, idealism, realism.


Tomasz Duma, “Separation as the Basic Method of Realistic Metaphysics: The Approach by the Lublin Philosophical School Representatives,” Studia Gilsoniana 10, no. 3 (July–September 2021): 611–633, DOI: 10.26385/SG.100324:

SUMMARY: The author discusses the problem of separation as the base method of metaphysical cognition as approached by the Lublin Philosophical School representatives. He begins by showing the sources of the method, seeing them in St. Thomas Aquinas’s intuitions which were discovered only in the 20th century by those who developed the existential interpretation of Aquinas’s metaphysics (J. Maritain, É. Gilson, M. A. Krąpiec). In this context, the author draws attention to the achievements of the creators and co-creators of the Lublin Philosophical School. They made an exceptional contribution to high-lighting the very bases of the separation method and its significance for the entire metaphysical cognition. From the perspective of metaphysics, the foremost and crucial is the application of separation for identifying the object of metaphysical cognition. At stake here is the determination of the first cognitive apprehension—that is, the grasp of what the intellect cognizes as the first (primum cognitum) and what was called in the tradition “being as being” or “the concept of being.” The separation method allows, first of all, to consider the existential aspect of being in cognitive apprehensions, which is accomplished in the three stages that start with and are based on the analysis of existential judgments. Next, the author describes the application of the separation method in other domains of existential cognition, showing how indispensable the method is in preserving such inherent features of this type of cognition as transcendentalness, directness, realism, and analogicalness.

KEYWORDS: Lublin Philosophical School, separation, metaphysical cognition, metaphysics, primum cognitum, existential judgment, transcendentalness, directness, realism, analogicalness.


Pedro García Casas, “Un nuevo concepto de ‘persona’ en la filosofía wojtyliana desde el análisis fenomenológico y metafísico en Persona y acción [A New Concept of ‘Person’ in Wojtylian Philosophy: A Phenomenological and Metaphysical Analysis of The Acting Person],” Studia Gilsoniana 10, no. 3 (July–September 2021): 635–666, DOI: 10.26385/SG.100325:

SUMMARY: This article discusses Karol Wojtyła’s study on the concept of “person” and its anthropological foundations. It refers to his great book: The Acting Person, in which Wojtyła approaches the reality of the person from the perspective of the person’s action. The article shows that, in his book, Wojtyła goes beyond classical Thomism by following the great intuitions of Personalism and Phenomenology and putting them at the service of an adequate anthropology that does justice to the reality of the person. Then it examines Wojtyła’s claims about: (1) the person as a source of validation of moral experience, (2) experience as a source of knowledge, (3) consciousness and the efficient causality of the person, (4) the transcendence of the person in action (self-determination), (5) the integration of the person in action, and finally (5) the person’s subjectivity and irreducibility. The article is aimed at delivering a framework to elaborate a metaethics that would contribute to the human person’s happiness and fulfillment.

KEYWORDS: Karol Wojtyła, person, personalism, action, phenomenology, anthropology, experience, transcendence, integration, subjectivity, irreducibility.


Maria Joanna Gondek, "Zamoyska’s Conception of Work as a Method of Self-Fulfillment,” Studia Gilsoniana 10, no. 3 (July–September 2021): 667–689, DOI: 10.26385/SG.100326:

SUMMARY: Zamoyska presented reflections unique for the European social thought. She identified with philosophical and religious views considering work as the fundamental manner of fulfilling man’s individual and social life. However, from the standpoint of a practical human life, these ideas lacked an important factor. And namely, showing precisely the way of performing work itself. Thus, work requires employing an appropriate method, which translates directly into the practice of human life. And she did not mean a narrowly conceived method, concerning selected jobs or some kind of man’s professional activities. The suggested method referred to work which every man needs to undertake in order to fulfill his or her life. It concerned work which enables men to fulfill themselves in the most fundamental dimension as humans. This is accomplished by man undertaking systematically three kinds of work throughout their life: physical, intellectual and spiritual. They are interdependent and mutually complementary, this is why none of them may be excluded during human life. Only their parallel continuation ensures man’s harmonious development. The suggested method is universal since it concerns the way of performing work as a factor conditioning the fulfillment of human life. Thereby, her considerations on the method of work bring new meaning into the field of practical philosophy.

KEYWORDS: Hedwig Zamoyska, method of triple-work, self-realization, physical work, intellectual work, spiritual work.


Tomasz Kopiczko, “Troska o autorytet w wychowaniu do wiary wobec współczesnych wyzwań kulturowych [Caring for Authority in Education in Faith in the Face of Some Contemporary Cultural Challenges],” Studia Gilsoniana 10, no. 3 (July–September 2021): 691–710, DOI: 10.26385/SG.100327:

SUMMARY: The author tries to answer the question: What should be done in the contemporary socio-cultural context to help educators in faith retain their authority? Firstly, he presents the classical understanding of authority. Secondly, he describes contemporary cultural challenges to authority in education. Thirdly, he analyzes specific qualities of educators in religious faith.

KEYWORDS: Catholicism, religious education, catechesis, dialogue, culture, authority, faith.


Justyna Horbowska, “On the Metaphysical Cognition. O poznaniu metafizycznym by Stanisław Kamiński,” Studia Gilsoniana 10, no. 3 (July–September 2021): 713–721, DOI: 10.26385/SG.100328:

SUMMARY: This paper is a review of the book On the Metaphysical Cognition by Stanisław Kamiński, one of the founders of the Lublin School of Philosophy (Poland) which refers to the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition. The book consists of a selection of Kamiński’s five articles devoted to the specificity of metaphysical cognition. According to the author, Kamiński’s book is not only a unique contribution to the understanding of cognition in classical metaphysics, but also a valuable reading suggestion for all interested in the general methodology of sciences and philosophy.

KEYWORDS: Stanisław Kamiński, metaphysics, cognition, Lublin School of Philosophy, metaphysical cognition, methodology of philosophy.


Brian Welter, “La critica alla Rivoluzione nel pensiero di Augusto Del Noce by Roberto de Mattei,” Studia Gilsoniana 10, no. 3 (July–September 2021): 723–728, DOI: 10.26385/SG.100329:

SUMMARY: This paper is a review of Roberto de Mattei’s book, La critica alla Rivoluzione nel pensiero di Augusto Del Noce [The Criticism of the Revolution in the Thought of Augusto Del Noce]. According to the author, de Mattei’s book acquaints the reader with Del Noce’s criticism of the destructive nature of revolution as that which stems from the ideas of modern philosophy and culminates in current politics and culture.

KEYWORDS: Roberto de Mattei, Augusto Del Noce, revolution, modern philosophy, destruction, nihilism, Christianity.


Piotr Jaroszyński, “Étienne Gilson: L’idée de la beauté et sa conception de l’art [Étienne Gilson: His Idea of Beauty and Art],” Studia Gilsoniana 10, no. 3 (July–September 2021): 731–747, DOI: 10.26385/SG.100330:

SUMMARY: Two books of Étienne Gilson are especially important in the area of aesthetics: Painting and Reality and The Arts of the Beautiful. In my essay I discuss Gilson’s idea of beauty and his idea of art. To some degree, É. Gilson follows traditional Thomistic point of view, i.e., he claims that the beautiful is that which pleases when seen, or that which consists of integrity, proportion and clarity. He gives, however, a new interpretation of clarity which, for him, means not only physical lucidity, but also a metaphysical radiation and spiritualization of what is material. As for art, É. Gilson is of an opinion that it enjoys a strong metaphysical status, since the existence of the work of art comes from the artist himself. Finally, I explain why É. Gilson’s views are open to further discussion, both metaphysical and theological.

KEYWORDS: Étienne Gilson, aesthetics, beauty, art, clarity, work of art, artist.


Kaz Kukiela, “On Affirming the Unintelligible God: Examining Denys Turner’s Account of Atheism,” Studia Gilsoniana 10, no. 3 (July–September 2021): 749–761, DOI: 10.26385/SG.100331:

SUMMARY: This paper investigates Denys Turner’s article, “On Denying the Right God: Aquinas on Atheism and Idolatry.” According to the author, Denys Turner’s account contributes to theist and atheist debates by treating the issue of whether God can be intelligibly comprehended with great emphasis.

KEYWORDS: Denys Turner, Thomas Aquinas, God, theism, atheism, negative theology, idolatry, religious language, existence, intelligibility, evidence.