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2011 | 16 | 1 | 89-116
Article title

Bonum est causa mali: A Problem and an Opportunity for Metaphysics in the Thought of Thomas Aquinas and Hegel

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EN
Abstracts
EN
How to explain the existence of evil if being by its very nature is good? My paper examines an interesting and perhaps significant parallel between two exponents of the metaphysical tradition usually thought to stand widely apart, Thomas Aquinas and Hegel. I argue that Hegel's system shares certain features of Aquinas' convertibility thesis (S.T. 1, 5, 1), that upon closer inspection will yield a set of interesting reflections not only about the problem of evil, but also about the limits and possibilities of metaphysical method. I discuss Aquinas' thesis of the convertibility of being and good and how it determines his treatment of evil. I then construct a Hegelian version of convertibility and argue that Hegel's system fails for similar reasons to provide a satisfactory account of the problem of evil. This leads to my central question: should the inadequacy of traditional approaches to evil call for a reversal or abandonment of metaphysics, or invite a deeper reflection about reality that would not subsume the world's darkness under what Hans Blumenberg once called “metaphysics of light?”
Year
Volume
16
Issue
1
Pages
89-116
Physical description
Dates
published
2011
Contributors
  • Heythrop College, University of London
References
  • Aertsen, Jan Adrianus. “Good as Transcendental and Transcendence of the Good,” In Being and Goodness: The Concept of the Good in Metaphysics and Philosophical Theology, edited by Scott Charles MacDonald, 56–73. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991.
  • Aertsen, Jan Adrianus. “The Convertibility of Being and Good in St. Thomas Aquinas.” The New Scholasticism 59, no. 4 (1985): 449–470.
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  • Blumenberg, Hans. “Licht als Metapher der Wahrheit. Im Vorfeld der philosophischen Begriffsbildung.” In Ästhetische und metaphorologische Schriften. Auswahl und Nachwort von Anselm Haverkamp, selected and edited by Anselm Haverkamp, 139–171. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 2001.
  • Davies, Brian. The Reality of God and the Problem of Evil. London: Continuum, 2006.
  • Desmond, William. “Dialectic and Evil: On the Idiocy of the Monstrous.” In Beyond Hegel and Dialectic: Speculation, Cult, and Comedy, 189–250. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1992.
  • Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich. Enzyklopädie der philosophischen Wissenschaften. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1970.
  • Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich. Glauben und Wissen. Hamburg: Meiner, 1962.
  • Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich. Introduction to the Philosophy of History. Translated by Leo Rauch. Indianapolis, Hackett Publishing Company, 1988.
  • Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich. Phänomenologie des Geistes. Edited by Hans-Friedrich Wessels and Heinrich Clairmont. Hamburg: Meiner, 1988.
  • Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich. Phenomenology of Spirit. Translated by Arnold V. Miller. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977.
  • Horstmann, Rolf-Peter. Wahrheit aus dem Begriff: eine Einführung in Hegel. Frankfurt am Main: Hain, 1990.
  • Kant, Immanuel. Practical Philosophy. Edited and translated by Mary J. Gregor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
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  • Neiman, Susan. Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004.
  • Neiman, Susan. “Metaphysics, Philosophy: Rousseau on the Problem of Evil.” In Reclaiming the History of Ethics: Essays for John Rawls, edited by Andrews Reath, Barbara Herman, and Christine M. Korsgaard, 140–169. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
  • Neiman, Susan. “What’s the Problem of Evil?” In Rethinking Evil, edited by Maria Pia Lara, 27–45. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001.
  • Pippin, Robert. Hegel’s Practical Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
  • Stump, Eleonore. Aquinas. London: Routledge, 2003.
  • Stump, Eleonore. “The Problem of Evil and the Desires of the Heart.” In Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion, edited Jonathan Kvanvig, 1: 111–124. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.
  • Thomas Aquinas. The Disputed Questions on Truth. Vol. 3. Translated by Robert Schmidt. Chicago, IL: Henry Regnery, 1954.
  • Thomas Aquinas. Summa contra Gentiles. Book One:God. Translated by Anton Charles Pegis. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1975.
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Document Type
Publication order reference
Identifiers
URI
http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=66248445&lang=pl&site=ehost-live
URI
http://www.pdcnet.org/pdc/bvdb.nsf/purchase?openform&fp=forphil&id=forphil_2011_0016_0001_0089_0116
YADDA identifier
bwmeta1.element.desklight-cf7d66f1-d6cf-4e4a-8716-7e90e9e14b16
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