Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Reader's Question: Why do you reject the scholastic method?

1. I should first say that I regard the philosophy of Aquinas as the most complete and perfect philosophy, qua philosophy, that there ever has been. 

IF I thought that philosophy was the most important thing, I would want my philosophy to be the most coherent and comprehensive philosophy - and I would be a Thomist. 

2. But the Roman Catholic Church began to destroy Thomism almost as soon as it had been made (e.g. William of Occam, Duns Scotus) - and this has gone on over the centuries since. Every 'improvement' to one specific part, damaged the whole to a much greater extent. When I read read Alasdair MacIntyre's God, philosophy, universities: A Selective History of the Catholic Philosophical Tradition (2009) it was profoundly disillusioning; it essentially finished me off with RCC philosophy in general and Scholasticism in particular (a catalogue of fashion-driven, pride driven change for change's sake). Since then I have never really looked-back. 

3. I do not much like the feeling I get from Scholasticism, or what it does to me - it feels cold and heartless, narrow and stultifying. If I had to be a classical philosopher, and if I had to choose a Catholic Christianity rooted within that tradition (and I lived in the right place, not England!), I would be a Platonist and Orthodox (or an old-fashioned Anglican of the type which no longer exists) since I feel that philosophical and theological tradition to be warmer, richer, sweeter.  

4. I am spontaneously a pragmatist pluralist - my heart leaps when I read William James! And when I discovered (from reading Sterling McMurrin) that Mormon Theology was located within this philosophical tradition - well, that was it: home at last!

So, that is why I reject the scholastic method!



August said...

Try Gregory Palamas.

Bruce Charlton said...

@A- I think I read some of him in the Philokalia edition I own - but I have not found any of the Church Fathers to be very memorable or edifying, I'm afraid.

(As you may imagine, this was a bit of a stumbling block when I was intending to become Orthodox!).

August said...

I have a little book which, if Amazon's cover is anything to go by, is called Gregory Palamas: The Triads.


That would provide a brief introduction as to what caught my attention.