Title

Natural Final Causality and Providence in Aquinas

Abstract

Thomas Aquinas articulated an understanding of nature that sought to maintain together the integrity of created causality and God's providential ordering of the cosmos. Developing and combining Aristotelian and Neoplatonic approaches to nature and to final causality, Thomas formulated a horizontal or linear final causality wrapped within a larger vertical or circular final causality. This formulation balanced two seemingly opposed principles. First, that natures operate through intrinsic principles toward determinate ends. Second, that non-cognitive agents must be directed toward an end extrinsically. Aquinas balanced these two principles by situating the first within the second such that God creates and directs natures toward determinate ends through divinely bestowed principles intrinsic to those natures. In this way, Aquinas's understanding of providence underlies his approach to nature.

Publisher

Wiley

Publication Date

5-1-2014

Publication Title

New Blackfriars

Department

Religion

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1111/j.1741-2005.2012.01494.x

Keywords

Thomas, Aquinas, Saint, 1225?-1274, Providence, Nature, Teleology

Language

English

Format

text

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