Neo-Aristotelian Metaphysics and the Theology of Nature
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This book explores the relationship between a scientifically updated Aristotelian philosophy of nature and a scientifically engaged theology of nature that cuts across interdisciplinary boundaries. It features original contributions by some of the best scholars engaging with Aristotelianism in contemporary metaphysics, philosophy of science, and philosophical theology.
Despite the growing interest in Aristotelian approaches to contemporary philosophy of science, few metaphysicians have engaged directly with the question of how a neo-Aristotelian metaphysics of nature might change the landscape for theological discussion concerning theology and naturalism, the place of human beings within nature, or the problem of divine causality. The chapters in this volume are collected into three thematic sections: Naturalism and Nature, Mind and Nature, and God and Nature. By pushing the current boundaries of neo-Aristotelian metaphysics to recover the traditional notion of substantial forms in physics, reframe the principle of proportionality in biology, and restore the hierarchy of being familiar to ancient philosophy, this book advances a metaphysically unified framework that accommodates both scientific and theological knowledge, enriching the interaction between science, philosophy and theology.
Neo-Aristotelian Metaphysics and the Theology of Nature will be of interest to scholars and advanced students working in metaphysics, philosophy of science, natural theology, philosophical theology, and analytic theology.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Reflections on science, theology and the new Aristotelianism
William M. R. Simpson, Robert C. Koons, and James Orr
Part I: Naturalism and Nature
1. From Quantum Physics to Classical Metaphysics
William M. R. Simpson
2. Essential Thermochemical Powers
Robert C. Koons
3. Restoring the Hierarchy of Being
4. Evolution and the Principle of Proportionality
Part II: Mind and Nature
5. Free Will in a Network of Powers
6. Animal Powers and Human Agency
7. The Power to Perform Experiments
Daniel De Haan
8. Logical and Mathematical Powers
9. Persons, Souls and Life After Death
10. Angels, Principalities and Powers
Part III: God and Nature
11. Grounding and Participation in God
12. God and Hylomorphism
13. Natural and Supernatural
14. God, Chance and Evolution
15. Teleology, Providence and Powers
16. Divine Lawmaking: Powers and Kinds
William M.R. Simpson is Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge and an Honorary Research Fellow in the Philosophy of Nature at the University of St Andrews. He is the author of Surprises in Theoretical Casimir Physics (2014) and the co-editor, with Robert C. Koons and Nicholas J. Teh, of Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science (Routledge, 2017).
Robert C. Koons is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. He is co-editor, with George Bealer, of The Waning of Materialism: New Essays in the Philosophy of Mind (2010) and, with William M.R. Simpson and Nicholas J. Teh, of Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science (Routledge, 2017). He is also the co-author of Metaphysics: The Fundamentals (2015).
James Orr is the University Lecturer in Philosophy of Religion at The University of Cambridge, and formerly the McDonald Postdoctoral Fellow in Theology, Ethics, and Public Life at Christ Church, Oxford. He is a Trustee of St. Paul’s Theological Centre, London, and a member of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s advisory group, the Lambeth Partnership.
"This book offers a fresh, bold, stimulating take on some of the hardest questions philosophers and theologians alike are engaged with, arguing that only a metaphysics developed on the basis of the Abrahamic-Aristotelian tradition can enable us to understand today’s world of science, the relation of God to it, and our place within it. A hugely enjoyable read – even for those who will find themselves in disagreement." -- Prof. Anna Marmodoro, Professor of Metaphysics, Durham, UK.
"Neo-Aristotelianism is one of the important movements in contemporary metaphysics: this collection provides a wide-ranging sample of the state of the art from its outstanding exponents and shows how it can also be an important force in theology." -- Prof. John Marenbon, Professor of Medieval Philosophy, Cambridge, UK.
"While scholasticism has been on the margins of Christian theology for some decades, this volume suggests the possibility of a powerful and fruitful intellectual revival. The talented authors of this conceptually well-organized volume orchestrate the use of scholastic principles to analyze some of the most important and difficult questions in contemporary theology, with both clarity and depth. In doing so they delineate a compelling vision of harmony between revealed theology, philosophy, and modern science. A wonderful book!" -- Prof. Thomas Joseph White, OP, Professor of Theology, Thomistic Institute, Angelicum, Rome, Italy.