Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 5

Search results for: J. Summa

5 Aquinas Be Damned: Tension between Nothingness and Suffering

Authors: Elizabeth Latham


Aquinas has long been revered by the Catholic Church as one of the greatest theologians of all time. His most well-known and widely respected theological work, the Summa Theologica has been referenced by countless members of the clergy in support of arguments for and about the existence of God. It is surprising, then, and important that one component in his ontological arguments seems to contradict a precept upheld by the Catechism, the Catholic Church’s comprehensive document detailing their theological positions and laws. In Summa Theologica, Thomas Aquinas argued that God’s eternal existence is both an observable and necessary quality. In the Catechism, the Catholic Church argues that souls in Hell are separated from God, and only souls in Heaven are like him. After introducing research on Philosophical Psychology and the natures of consciousness and pain, this paper comes to the conclusion that in order to reconcile the theology of the Catholic Church at large with that of Thomas Aquinas, one must somehow solve the following problem: if a soul must exist eternally to suffer eternally, it must be like God; and, if a soul is in Hell, it is completely separate from God and not like him at all. Thomas Aquinas deviates at this point from the current theological holdings of the Catholic Church, and this apparent discrepancy must be resolved if the Church hopes to use him going forward as a standard for natural theology.

Keywords: aquinas, catholic catechism, consciousness, philosophical psychology, summa theologica

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4 A Comparative Analysis of Liberation and Contemplation in Sankara and Aquinas

Authors: Zeite Shumneiyang Koireng


Liberation is the act of liberating or the state of being liberated. Indian philosophy, in general, understands liberation as moksa, which etymological is derived from the Sanskrit root muc+ktin meaning to loose, set free, to let go, discharge, release, liberate, deliver, etc. According to Indian schools of thought, moksa is the highest value on realizing which nothing remains to be realized. It is the cessation of birth and death, all kinds of pain and at the same time, it is the realization of one’s own self. Sankara’s Advaita philosophy is based on the following propositions: Brahman is the only Reality; the world has apparent reality, and the soul is not different from Brahman. According to Sankara, Brahman is the basis on which the world form appears; it is the sustaining ground of all various modification. It is the highest self and the self of all reveals himself by dividing himself [ as it was in the form of various objects] in multiple ways. The whole world is the manifestation of the Supreme Being. Brahman modifying itself into the Atman or internal self of all things is the world. Since Brahman is the Upadhana karana of the world, the sruti speaks of the world as the modification of Brahman into the Atman of the effect. Contemplation as the fulfillment of man finds a radical foundation in Aquinas teaching concerning the natural end or as he also referred to it, natural desire. The third book of the Summa Contra Gentiles begins the study of happiness with a consideration of natural desire. According to him, all creatures, even those devoid of understanding are ordered to God as an ultimate end. Intrinsically, a part of every nature is a tendency or inclination, originating in the natural form and tendency toward the end for which the possessor of nature exists. It is the study of the nature and finality of inclination that Aquinas establishes through an argument of induction man’s Contemplation of God as the fulfillment of his nature. The present paper is attempted to critically approach two important, seminal and originated thought, representing Indian and Western traditions which mark on the thinking of their respective times. Both these thoughts- Advaitic concept of Liberation in the Indian tradition and the concept of Contemplation in Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Contra Gentiles’- confront directly the question of the ultimate meaning of human existence. According to Sankara, it is knowledge and knowledge alone which is the means of moksa and the highest knowledge is moksa itself. Liberation in Sankara Vedanta is attained as a process of purification of self, which gradually and increasingly turns into purer and purer intentional construction. Man’s inner natural tendency for Aquinas is towards knowledge. The human subject is driven to know more and more about reality and in particular about the highest reality. Contemplation of this highest reality is fulfillment in the philosophy of Aquinas. Rather, Contemplation is the perfect activity in man’s present state of existence.

Keywords: liberation, Brahman, contemplation, fulfillment

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3 Non Destructive Testing for Evaluation of Defects and Interfaces in Metal Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer Hybrids

Authors: H.-G. Herrmann, M. Schwarz, J. Summa, F. Grossmann


In this work, different non-destructive testing methods for the characterization of defects and interfaces are presented. It is shown that, by means of active thermography, defects in the interface and in the carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) itself can be detected and determined. The bonding of metal and thermoplastic can be characterized very well by ultrasonic testing with electromagnetic acoustic transducers (EMAT). Mechanical testing is combined with passive thermography to correlate mechanical values with the defect-size. There is also a comparison between active and passive thermography. Mechanical testing shows the influence of different defects. Furthermore, a correlation of defect-size and loading to rupture was performed.


Keywords: defect evaluation, EMAT, mechanical testing, thermography

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2 The Internal View of the Mu'min: Natural Law Theories in Islam

Authors: Gianni Izzo


The relation of Islam to its legal precepts, reflected in the various jurisprudential 'schools of thought' (madhahib), is one expressed in a version of 'positivism' (fiqh) providing the primary theory for deducing Qurʾan rulings and those from the narrations (hadith) of the Prophet Muhammad. Scholars of Islam, including Patricia Crone (2004) and others chronicled by Anver Emon (2005), deny the influence of natural law theories as extra-scriptural indices of revelation’s content. This paper seeks to dispute these claims by reference to historical and canonical examples within Shiʿa legal thought that emphasize the salient roles of ‘aql (reason), fitrah (primordial human nature), and lutf (divine grace). These three holistic features, congenital to every human, and theophanically reflected in nature make up a mode of moral intelligibility antecedent to prophetic revelation. The debate between the 'traditionalist' Akhbaris and 'rationalist' Usulis over the nature of deriving legal edicts in Islam is well-covered academic ground. Instead, an attempt is made to define and detail the built-in assumptions of natural law revealed in the jurisprudential summa of Imami Shiʿism, whether of either dominant school, that undergird its legal prescriptions and methods of deduction.

Keywords: Islam, fiqh, natural law, legal positivism, aql

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1 Early Modern Controversies of Mobility within the Spanish Empire: Francisco De Vitoria and the Peaceful Right to Travel

Authors: Beatriz Salamanca


In his public lecture ‘On the American Indians’ given at the University of Salamanca in 1538-39, Francisco de Vitoria presented an unsettling defense of freedom of movement, arguing that the Spanish had the right to travel and dwell in the New World, since it was considered part of the law of nations [ius gentium] that men enjoyed free mutual intercourse anywhere they went. The principle of freedom of movement brought hopeful expectations, promising to bring mankind together and strengthen the ties of fraternity. However, it led to polemical situations when those whose mobility was in question represented a harmful threat or was for some reason undesired. In this context, Vitoria’s argument has been seen on multiple occasions as a justification of the expansion of the Spanish empire. In order to examine the meaning of Vitoria’s defense of free mobility, a more detailed look at Vitoria’s text is required, together with the study of some of his earliest works, among them, his commentaries on Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologiae, where he presented relevant insights on the idea of the law of nations. In addition, it is necessary to place Vitoria’s work in the context of the intellectual tradition he belonged to and the responses he obtained from some of his contemporaries who were concerned with similar issues. The claim of this research is that the Spanish right to travel advocated by Vitoria was not intended to be interpreted in absolute terms, for it had to serve the purpose of bringing peace and unity among men, and could not contradict natural law. In addition, Vitoria explicitly observed that the right to travel was only valid if the Spaniards caused no harm, a condition that has been underestimated by his critics. Therefore, Vitoria’s legacy is of enormous value as it initiated a long lasting discussion regarding the question of the grounds under which human mobility could be restricted. Again, under Vitoria’s argument it was clear that this freedom was not absolute, but the controversial nature of his defense of Spanish mobility demonstrates how difficult it was and still is to address the issue of the circulation of peoples across frontiers, and shows the significance of this discussion in today’s globalized world, where the rights and wrongs of notions like immigration, international trade or foreign intervention still lack sufficient consensus. This inquiry about Vitoria’s defense of the principle of freedom of movement is being placed here against the background of the history of political thought, political theory, international law, and international relations, following the methodological framework of contextual history of the ‘Cambridge School’.

Keywords: Francisco de Vitoria, freedom of movement, law of nations, ius gentium, Spanish empire

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