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Thomas Aquinas - Greatest Thinkers of the Medieval Era

Autor:   •  March 8, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,489 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,734 Views

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Thomas Aquinas has been labeled one of the greatest thinkers of the medieval era. Aristotle's writings were Aquinas biggest influences along with events that took place in the fifteenth centuries. At the time of his birth in 1225, his family, one of the wealthiest families of the Italian nobility, was determined to raise him to hold a high position in the Roman Catholic Church, with the hopes that this would bring political fortunes. At the age of 5, Aquinas was sent to study in a Benedictine Monastery where he remained until the age of fourteen, where he was then sent to the University of Naples. During his time at Naples, he joined some monks, the Dominican Order, in which his family was opposed to because of interference of their dreams of him obtaining the position in the church. During these times, the conditions in Europe were focused on philosophical activity and the first universities that came into existences. This is when Christianity was beginning to gear philosophy towards religion. Once this became prosperous in Europe, Aquinas thinking process was affected by this influence.

Aquinas is known for his philosophical thinking on the five proofs for the existence of God in which one is derived from the cosmological proof. The others are influences by Aristotle's views on cause. According to Aquinas, Gods existences are proven in five ways. The first way is the argument of motion, it was brought to our attention that it is evident based on our senses that things in the world are in motion. Meaning that anything that is moved must be moved by something else. As Aquinas says "Nothing can be reduced from potential to actuality except by something in the state of actuality." (stumpf and Fieser 153) For this movement to have first started it must be a first mover


that is not moved and this is what is meant by God. The second way is based on the nature of efficient cause. This is to say that where ever a change or ending first starts it has to

be from some primary source. So this first efficient cause must be God. The third way is based on contingent and necessity. Things in nature are contingent. These things can come into existence and then can cease to exist. There must be something that derives from itself and not from something else. This may cause the existence of all other necessary beings. This is what he referred to as God. He then goes into the degree of perfection that we find in things. This is his fourth way of proving Gods existence. Perfection in our world is based on the objects being seen as more or less good, true, noble and its likeness. It must be an existence that is the case of the being, goodness, and other perfection of things. This must be what we call God. His fifth way of proving Gods existence is based on the order in the universe Lack of knowledge as seen with natural objects lean towards an end. Their activity is to achieve


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