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Aquinas, Ethics, and Philosophy of Religion: Metaphysics and Practice (Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion) Hardcover – May 31, 2007
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"... This is a heady mixture of philosophy, theology, and aesthetics.... Highly recommended." ―Choice
"[This book] is an extremely broad-minded engagement―and this must surely be very welcome―with the basic contours of contemporary philosophy as practiced in the U.S. today." ―Graham McAleer, Loyola College in Maryland
"A remarkable teacher takes us on an exciting journey to recover Aquinas, following
the contours of a graduate course to engage contemporary philosophers who might
seem unlikely protagonists. Yet they become salient foils for unveiling the secret of
Aquinas’ metaphysical inquiry: a 'distinctive sort of intellectual activity closely allied
to the imagination and always including appropriate emotional response' (p. 161).
This daring venture both demands and displays a formidable familiarity with contemporary philosophy―from ethics to epistemology, metaphysics to theology, incorporating analytic with continental modes of reflection. With a judiciously critical eye
given deft and gracious expression, we are moved gracefully among worlds of discourse,
as we acquire the skills needed to compare them. Yet that is precisely what
good teachers can do." ―David Burrell, C.S.C., Uganda Martyrs University
Kampala, UGANDA, MODERN THEOLOGY, April 2009
"... this book suggests and models a new direction for the methodology of contemporary philosophical discourse." ―Janine Marie Idziak, Intnl Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 64 1/16/2008 (online)
"Hibbs... convincingly argues that the practice of seeking the good―both moral and intellectual―leads to and requires metaphysics, and not the reverse.... The book will help those who want
to (1) revisit Aquinas’s epistemology, metaphysics, and virtue ethic, especially in light of [Hibbs's] substantial previous work on these questions; (2) investigate [Hibbs's] broader theses about metaphysics; (3) generate a more convincing philosophical foundation and a more robust description of social accountability for virtue theory and narrative ethics; or (4) engage one or more of [Hibbs's] admirably diverse interlocutors (Plantinga, MacDonald, Murdoch, Joyce, Turner,
Marion, Zagzebski, Pieper, Gadamer, MacIntyre, Nietzsche, and others)." ―CRISTINA L. H. TRAINA, Northwestern University, Theological Studies, March 2009
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Also an analysis of literary practice underscores the difference between seeing and knowing - in the sense that seeing and a general understanding of a thing (e.g. that Pretty girl) don't in themselves bring love in its fullness especially if you are in Ireland undertaking an Odyssey.
The evidence for this can be found in fact in a very interesting video from a recent Conference called "Stuck on Virtue" held at Berry University in Georgia. There Hibbs gives a quite brilliant paper on Descartes, showing a really masterful grasp of issues in relation to the critique of Socrates. There are two things I want to emphasize in relation to this video. First, that Hibbs is clearly one of the Catholic intellectuals who is still capable of reasonable history of ideas. Many Catholic types now seem engaged in an utter propagandistic twisting of that history for dogmatic purposes. Peter Kreeft in his perverse nonsense about Kant comes to mind, as archetypal in this regard. Also another book I recently "reviewed" here by a real Catholic mountebank named Father Barron, in which he tries to portray the entire modern era as some "Heraclitean" protest against the sureties of the past. This lecture by Hibbs on Descartes showed the more reasonable and necessarily complex picture of this quintessential modern philosopher in knowledgeable engagement with the past, even if "ironic", which itself can be seen as a form of reverence. Second, that Hibbs' desire to see the whole question raised by Descartes as just one more thing to help us understand the "Athens-Jerusalem" polarity, shows he is committed to an essentially limited and one might say blinkered ambit of conceptual parsing, even with all his evident intellectual, historical clarity. This somewhat ironically was made even clearer by the very clever and even brilliant response by Daniel Maher that followed .To my surprise Maher raised the possibility that Descartes philosophical position had, as I would take his words, a certain occult meaning. He was hiding behind a "mask" of his philosophical approach. (Perhaps because his noted fear of Galileo's specific fate, which got a mention somewhere in the discussion) Dan Maher's occult explanation was really closely reasoned and fascinating. (And Dan still looks hotly cute as he did when I lived across from the hall from him for several semesters at Catholic University.) But Hibbs ultimate theological ambition in all this was a lot more obvious than Maher's occult one. Thus when Hibbs was introduced as someone who had "published widely on Thomas Aquinas and popular culture" the unwitting funniness of that description did not hide a further insight for the approach. It is an approach which wants to trade in some of the hackneyed elements of "popular culture" and "current thought" and yet through some Goldilocks approach somehow escape the "comic anachronism" which is intoned as a danger for others who might criticize the whole endeavor even with more serious "current" bases, far beyond the "popular culture" that Hibbs seems taken with. It is a shame to see such smart people engaged in such intellectual chicanery. No one is against Catholics having as part of their personal belief a belief in the method of a medieval Dominican friar. But that they ask people of goodwill to pretend along with them that they are doing serious thinking in relation to what they have already committed to believe reagrdless for personal reasons is more than anachronism. It is just an ancient tragedy of humankind writ anew.