Monday, October 23, 2006

Wolfson Notes III

Please comment, if you read, I'd like to know if I'm getting it more or less right. I sometimes include a {?} when I'm not sure of something; if someone has a better idea what it might be, please chime in.

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Averroes (cont.)

Philosophical Faith consists of 1st premises and demonstrables

Religious Faith consists of both demonstrables and undemonstrables.

The two kinds of faith are found in two kinds of people in that the pastor can demonstrate what smiple people cannot.

Boht kinds are equally good for the kind of man for whom it is adapted

(!) – Each kind of man ought to have and stick to the kind of faith suited to him.

Therefore, the Philosopher must be able to demonstrate, while the Simpleton must not try to demonstrate. It would lead to abuses (like popularized medicine) to do otherwise. [Note political reasons (causes).]


Double Faith, like Averroes, but it is better to demonstrate and it is every man’s duty to try to prove. Therefore, the Philosopher is the best type of man.

St. Thomas (#2 {II-II}, question 2)

Faith is an assent but is not identical with it. Faith is a species of assent.

Assent may applie to syllogisms, prime premises or whatever, while Faith is a voluntary choice of one side of a moot point, and then belief in its certainty.

As a religious term, Faith applies onlyt to what isn’t demonstrated. Faith implies that one believes before getting proof.

One can study demonstrations, but when proved, it is no longer an object of faith for hime. Though for others it remains an object of Faith.

Demonstration (and thus demonstration of faith) does not lessen merit, and may increase it,provided that faith precedes science (i.e., demonstration)

There is a problem: why are some demonstrables revealed? [Note: this implies that God (and nature) does nothing in vain.]


[held that Greek Philosophy was a kind of revelation] à why two revelations? Philosophy as revealed is a short-cut to salvation. But why a short-cut?


God could not leave Man to his own (intellectual) devices because of the ”necessities of life” (people canpt spend the time) and the “weakness of man” (inadequacy of some at reasoning).

Maimonides (Guide I:34-6)

1) Study of Metaphysics is difficult

2) Some people are inadequate

3) Metaphysics (study of religion) has prerequisites

4) Some people are not “the philosophical type”

5) Metaphysics must be free of financial troubles.

{marginal note – “cf. Summa Contra Gentiles”}

St. Thomas

Because if we use human reason alone

· The ideas are only known to a few

· Only after a long time,

· And are mixed with errors

Question 1: Is the Sacred Doctrine a science, one science, or the noblest science? (cf Aristotle, Nic. Ethics VI ch. 3-6)

It’s a science, vs. Art, Wisdom or Prudence

Science à object of science is a necessary truth

Which can be taught and learned

The scientific faculty is that of demonstrating the less-known from that which is better-known and/or self-evident.

Its Principles come from the Nous (intuition, reason. Therefore science comes from Reason.

Since religious knowledge comes from revelation, is it science?

1) rational


1) science

2) revealed

2) revelation


General line of argument:

Though here Aristotle defined science so, elsewhere he indicate that primary premises may come from:

1) Intuitive, direct knowledge; or

2) Conclusions of another science; or

3) Popular probabilistic assent

Therefore, it’s also legitimate to posit that one’s primary premises come from revelation.

Therefore: Sacred Doctrine is a species (revealed) of science.

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