References

Saint Thomas Aquinas
Excellent article from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Summa Theologica
A well organized translation of the entire work. 

Thomistic Philosophy
An extensive resource of texts and commentaries maintained by Dr. Joseph Magee

On the Proofs for the Existence of God
Articles examining the proofs in detail.

 

Aquinas: the five ways

Early in the first parts of Summa Theologica Aquinas takes up questions about whether and how we might know that there is a God.  Under the heading, The Existence of God, he provides three articles based on the questions:
(1) Is the proposition "God exists" self-evident?
(2) Is it demonstrable?
(3) Does God exist

Using his method of inquiry, Aquinas considers two objections against the thesis that "God exists" and five arguments for that thesis, as well as his replies to the objections.  This section of that vast book is one of the most widely read parts of Aquinas. In truth, the basic arguments are not original to Aquinas, but the relations that he sets up between them, by virtue of his method, and the clarity of his exposition is distinct. This portion of Aquinas has come to be known as The Five Ways.

Whether issues about the existence of God interest you or not, please be aware that in the hands of a great philosopher these are not isolated matters that are internal to a particular religion.  Aquinas is exploring the human understanding of the origins and possible structure of existence.  The issues of first cause and design are relevant to believers and atheists alike.  Strive to be as open in your inquiry as Aquinas is in his method. 

Here is a picture of the structure of the The Five Ways:

I hope you can see the elegance of this structure of thinking (despite my clunking drawing).  By addressing the objections as well as his supporting arguments, Aquinas covers most of the full range on this topic.  Of course, the discourse is not complete at this.  The invitation is to add on sections of your own thinking (e.g. new objections, arguments, or replies).  In a way, that may be what the intellectual conversation throughout the ages is like -- ideas and arguments connected together.  Aquinas provides an excellent image of how such a mapping of human thought may be like.


Next - read Aquinas' article on the Five ways Go to Aristotle's Logic page

 

IQ Home

Aquinas
Aristotle
Augustine
Berkeley
Confucius
Descartes

Douglass

Foucault
Hobbes
Hume
Hypatia
Kant
Kierkegaard
Lao Tzu
Leibniz
Locke
Marx
Mill
Montaigne
Pascal
Plato
Protagoras
Rand
Russell
Schopenhauer
Socrates
Spinoza
Thales

 
2002