Cariño discusses Aristotelian-Thomistic Philosophy, Scholasticism

The Department of Philosophy pushed through with the second session of the Noche reading group on December 19, 2020, the beginning of the Christmas break. Originally scheduled for November 15 to coincide with St. Albert the Great’s feast, it was rescheduled for December 19, due to suspensions brought by typhoon Ulysses.

For the month of December, the focus was Aristotelian-Thomistic Philosophy and Scholasticism through Thérèse Bonin’s essay “The Emanative Psychology of Albertus Magnus.”

The session discussant was UST Department of Philosophy Chair Dr. Jovito V. Cariño, who teaches at the Faculty of Arts and Letters, Graduate School, and Ecclesiastical Faculties. He is also a Faculty Researcher of the Research Center for Culture, Arts and Humanities. The session facilitator was faculty member Mr. Anton Heinrich Rennesland.

In the discussion, the text that presented the import of Neoplatonic philosophy on St. Albert the Great’s own thoughts — emanation as a form of epistemology, which was then considered as psychology with an emphasis on psyche or soul — was analyzed. St. Albert the Great holds a special place in the hearts of Thomasians as he was the teacher and even friend of the University’s patron, St. Thomas Aquinas. However, between St. Albert and St. Thomas, there were differences in their ways of thinking.

This was a point that Cariño, who delves into Ancient and Medieval Philosophies, was critical to underscore. Whereas Albert sought to contend with secular philosophizing during his time, the goal of Thomas was to theologize. Present in Albert’s thoughts were heavily secular influences of Roman, Jewish, and even Arab thinkers, namely, Macrobius, Israeli, and Avicenna as pointed out by Bonin.

What made the discussion interesting was the further elaboration on the difference between the philosophies of Albert and Thomas: Albert prized emanation while Thomas, creation. Albert was primarily influenced by Plotinus, a Neoplatonic philosopher that had a wider grasp of the populace during the time. Though a religious, Albert was one of those members of the academe who did not shy away from secular philosophy and was one of those who really lectured on them, inadvertently influencing Thomas’ later way of philosophizing.

The session lasted for an hour and a half and the succeeding session will be held on the last week of January featuring the Japanese philosopher, Masahiro Morioka that will focus on East-West Comparative philosophy.

All sessions are open to the public requiring pre-registration, which is usually made available at the beginning of the month to provide ample time for all interested individuals to go over the material provided. More information about the Noche reading group may be found on the UST Graduate School’s website at graduateschool.ust.edu.ph and the UST Department of Philosophy’s Facebook page.Noche is part of the Department of Philosophy’s 10th anniversary celebration that seeks to widen the research interests of the department’s graduate and undergraduate students by focusing on various thinkers who are representatives of the five research thrusts of the department

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