Originally posted by senato
It might be that i have not understood enough of your quote or that i have understood too much of what it implies. Mr. Thomas Aquinas, and yourself that quote him, apparently seem to think that philosophy is not suitable for studying the eth ...[text shortened]... ea on whether popularising brings dogma i would like to hear it.
I might have been a bit snappish in my post - I apologise.
Neither Aquinas nor I think that philosophy is not suitable for studying ethics (indeed, ethics is a branch of philosophy!) However, I do think that philosophy, in itself, is insufficient
to develop a complete, non-arbitrary, universal code of ethics. If you wish to follow this train of thought further, you can take a look at some of the onging discussions on ethics in various threads (e.g. The Bad Thing about Christians). This is IMO, one of the implications of the quote from the Summa I provided.
However, neither Aquinas nor the Church nor I have argued that philosophy is unnecessary for the development of ethics.
The object of Aquinas teaching is most definitely
not to stop you (or anyone) from searching into the basis of human existence. This is a gross misrepresentation both of the objection and of Aquinas' reply to the objection. Rather, it emphasises that human reason has limits
- especially on matters of theology. What the article actually demonstrates is that human knowledge is (actually or potentially) greater than merely the sum of philosophical knowledge.
I don't know what your Christian background is and I'm sorry it seems to have traumatised you so much. However, there is much more to Christianity (and philosophy in the Christian tradition!) than, what it seems, you were taught.
EDIT: A favourite document of mine (and ivanhoe's) is Pope John Paul II's encyclical on the relationship between faith and reason (Fides et ratio
). You might want to take a look at it some time:
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_15101998_fides-et-ratio_en.html (the text of the encyclical)
http://www.nd.edu/%7Eafreddos/papers/fides-et-ratio-notes.htm (a good set of notes on Fides et Ratio)
http://www.nd.edu/%7Eafreddos/papers/f&r-radicalvision-revised.pdf (a reflection on the manner in which contemporary philosophy actually devalues reason and how Fides et Ratio reaffirms it)
http://www.ewtn.com/library/Theology/fides2.htm (one of my favourite reflections on the encyclical)
Finally, yes - this Question does presuppose the existence of God. However the Summa, as a whole, does not. Indeed, Aquinas addresses the existence of God in the very next Question. Only once he has established that it is reasonable to believe in the existence of God, once he has determined the nature and operations of such a God, does he move on to other matters. This is a purely philosophical approach.
EDIT: I must also add that it is Aquinas (and Aristotle before him) who actually defends
your right and ability as a rational creature to inquire into the nature and causes of things and reality. You can contrast this with, for instance, Plato, Kant or Hume.