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Scholastic Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  146 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Scholastic Metaphysics provides an overview of Scholastic approaches to causation, substance, essence, modality, identity, persistence, teleology, and other issues in fundamental metaphysics. The book interacts heavily with the literature on these issues in contemporary analytic metaphysics, so as to facilitate the analytic reader's understanding of Scholastic ideas and th ...more
Paperback, 302 pages
Published May 31st 2014 by Editiones Scholasticae (first published April 1st 2014)
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Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosphy
While Feser does not have the ability to argue at the level of Garrigou-Lagrange or Alexander Pruss he has another quality that is often not there, especially for scholastic metaphysicians, he is able to make the argument clear and will serve both for reference and as a textbook in a way others will not and this is a must read for anyone interested in the subject on any level. All is not well only in the sense that he does not engage much with Kant, Hegel and Heidegger and spends most of his tim ...more
Wyatt Graham
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A clear yet detailed account of contemporary scholastic metaphysics. He engages with a giant amount of scholarship while also referring to Aquinas and others. A true introduction which does not dumb down the material but simply gives it to you.
Jonathan Platter
Jun 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy, theology
This is an indispensable guide to scholastic metaphysics. The main virtue which distinguishes this book from others is that it is not simply historical on the one hand nor idiosyncratic on the other. Feser is neither providing a strict account of Thomistic metaphysics (though Thomas is one of the main heroes) nor offering his own system. Rather, Feser offers an introduction to metaphysics in the scholastic mode, recommending it by defending it and contrasting it with more recent analytic metaphy ...more
Paul Barth
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
This is a very helpful introduction to metaphysics. I particularly appreciated his critiques of scientism and his use of analogies and examples to explain difficult concepts. At points, however, it is tedious when the author responds to various modern critiques.
Nov 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing introduction to the topic. I haven't read the original works, so I cannot say how "true to tradition" he is, but Feser is extremely accessible and sheds a lot of light on how Scholastic views on causality, the theory of act and potency, hylemorphism, etc are relevant to us today. He has large sections on objections and the Scholastic response, which, since often the objections mirrored my own, were very helpful. He also shows how the early moderns, Hume in particular, misinter ...more
Jan 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Alan by: Stefano Wolfe
Concise summary of refutations of modern philosophy's arguments contra Scholastic metaphysics

Considering this book is only ~260 pages, Dr. Feser covers a lot of ground. I found the beginning on causality and Dr. Feser's several arguments against Hume's "loose and separate" conception of causality very good.

Dr. Feser engages modern physics, too, quoting Heisenberg's Physics and Philosophy and briefly mentioning structural realism. His analogy that uncolored color-by-the-numbers drawings are t
A.J. Jr.
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a good book on the subject. The book had way more information than I needed, because the author deals with the many and various criticisms of scholastic metaphysics made by analytic philosophers, which I'm not that interested in, although I did find some of this information interesting. At times the text became too academic and technical for my interests and abilities but, if you're interested in that sort of thing, you will certainly enjoy this book. The author's "Aquinas: A Beginner's ...more
Gregory Weber
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy

This book has helped me to understand better some of the central concepts of scholastic metaphysics: act and potency, causation, substance, matter and form, essence and existence. It deals mainly with Thomist metaphysics, but also touches on points where John Duns Scotus, William of Ockham, and Francisco Suarez had different ideas than St. Thomas Aquinas. Occasionally this can be confusing. For example, in section 1.3, "Real distinctions?", it seems to get bogged down in the controversy of Aquin
B. Rule
This is a dense, technical, and cogent summary of Thomistic metaphysics, with a good account of its differences from the positions of Suarez and Scotus. Feser takes care to argue in a way that appeals to contemporary analytic philosophers in defending the traditional Scholastic approach. However, the book is also dry as toast. Feser's preferred style is a droning lecture full of bursts of compressed argumentation and lots of (helpful, technical) definitions. There is next to no humor, sense of b ...more
Michael Brennan
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love the book, but it feels like in the complete guide to scholasticism and Thomism. I have to say, I do love Feser's arrogance and wit, but it's sometimes a distraction and perhaps not the best representatives of the Thomists. Kreeft is correct in asserting that it is best to have an understanding of the Summa before reading about the Summa.
David Diaz
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book represents an indispensable aid to those who would attempt to fathom the depths of philosophy and theology of the middle ages. Feser can be considered one of the better expositors of the theological and philosophical positions of Thomas Aquinas. Although this book is not an easy read, it is an important source for any who would study Aquinas.
Jun 27, 2020 added it
This is a great introduction to Thomistic metaphysics. Very readable. Worth starting here before moving onto something like Garrigou-Lagrange. This is probably a better intro than Feser’s Aquinas book.
Noah Nevils
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Extremely useful introduction to understanding
Scholastics (mostly Aquinas, but also a bit of Scotus and Suarez)
on things like virtual and real existence, act and potency, accident and
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Honestly, an excellent introduction.
Tyler Holley
Jul 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Helpful introduction. But the Analytic Philosophy was too... well... Analytic.
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Although this book says it's an 'introduction', it will be a challenge for most readers. It was for me. Nevertheless, I like the books that are the most challenging, as they tend to stretch my mind. This book outlines scholastic metaphysics (the approach to philosophy that was predominant in the universities of the late medieval period), but does it in a way that engages with contemporary analytic philosophy. It also give a defense of metaphysics as a intellectual discipline, refuting various ob ...more
May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Good general overview of scholastic metaphysics, presenting the thomist position first and contrasting it, where helpful, with dissenting views of Scotus and Suarez. The book first explicates the Aristotelian doctrine of act and potency, which forms the fundamental starting point for all of the remaining doctrines: Aristotelian causation, substance and accident (including identity), and essence v. existence (including different senses of "being," i.e., univocal, equivocal, and analogical. It is ...more
Benjamin Thompson
Dec 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Feser expertly navigates the current philosophical landscape and shows decisively why Scholastic Philosophy is more relevant than ever to the modern discussion. An excellent book to use for a reference whenever you encounter a claim like; "the laws of nature exclude the possibility of a supernatural cause," or even, "quantum mechanics dispels the notion that we live in an orderly universe." A must read for any sincere academic.
I'm so jazzed this book is about to present in actu! I pre-ordered my copy!
Sep 24, 2014 rated it liked it
In a sentence, I found Feser's book to be both quite enriching as well as dissatisfying.

[Proper review to follow]
Dec 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
Prepare for a slog, simply due to the subject matter. I can't think of a better synthesis and distillation of current scholastic metaphysics, however.
Chris Zedick
Apr 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic introduction into the realist world of the Scholastics!
Robert Hensey
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Oct 30, 2015
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Edward Feser is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Pasadena City College in Pasadena, California. He has been a Visiting Assistant Professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and a Visiting Scholar at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of California at Santa Barbara, an M ...more

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