THE FIVE WAYS by Anthony Kenny


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It has been years since anyone attempted a serious and rigid analysis of ""the five ways"" outlined by Thomas Aquinas (using Aristotle as his paradigm) for arriving at certitude concerning the existence of God. The reason for this neglect was partly the general impression that Kant had already demolished these proofs, once and for all; and partly amodern preference for an other than strictly intellectual proof. Now, Mr. Kenny once again decides that the viae fail to make their case, both logically, and cosmologically. The importance of that decision is not so much that it is a ""first"" -- it is not -- but that, for the first time, the Thomistic proofs have been subject to analysis by modern critical standards and found wanting. The advantages of this methodology are particularly evident in the treatment of the crucial via secunda, the so called ""proof from efficient causality"" which Kenny demonstrates to be founded upon what he calls an ""archaic fiction"" -- medieval astrological notions -rather than upon reality. The Five Ways should be required reading for students of philosophy, scholastic and otherwise, and for the victims of those courses in ""apologetics"" which so long plagued students in denominational universities.

Pub Date: Nov. 3rd, 1969
Publisher: Schocken