The "chosisme" of Étienne Gilson and marie-dominique chenu
Francesca Murphy reads Étienne Gilson's and Marie-Dominique Chenu's approach to the thought of Thomas Aquinas as a kind of "chosisme", or "thingism"—a predilection for facts rather than philosophical abstraction or knowledge of essences as the basis for realism. The basis of philosophical realism, for Gilson, is the "fact" of existence, which cannot be derived from knowledge of essences. In any event, the order of Thomas' thought did not derive from an ideal logical or essential order, but from the historical fact of the incarnation. For that reason, Thomas' Summa theologiae does not begin with logic and metaphysics, but with theology, the facts of salvation history. Neither did Thomas regard Aristotelian philosophy, or Aristotle's notion of "nature", as a static ideal system, but as a still-living act of thinking capable of undergoing creative evolution once inside the mind of a Christian theologian. The philosophy of Saint Thomas, then, is not a once-and-for-all catalogue of propositions about essences, but an expression of a spirituality, a response to the fact of the incarnation. This approach on Thomas's thought both drew inspiration from, and exerted significant influence upon, the just-emerging discipline of scientific study of medieval texts. Professor Murphy narrates the confrontation of Gilson's and Chenu's retrieval of Thomas with neo-Thomism in compelling historical detail by drawing widely from Chenu and Gilson's letters and texts.
Aran Murphy, F. (2019)., The "chosisme" of Étienne Gilson and marie-dominique chenu, in B. M. Mezei & M. Z. Vale (eds.), Philosophies of christianity, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 153-167.
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