HomeΦιλοσοφια: International Journal of Philosophyvol. 15 no. 2 (2014)

ST. THOMAS AND RORTY: IS CONVERSATION POSSIBLE?

Tomas Rosario Jr.

Discipline: Philosophy

 

Abstract:

Although he did not lengthily critique St. Thomas’s philosophy, Richard Rorty tagged him along with Plato as a foundationalist thinker, i.e., someone who is preoccupied with underlying principles or ultimate standards of truth. It is unfortunate; however, that Rorty’s sweeping critique is obviously based on superficial and inadequate reading of the Dominican saint. Marie- Dominique Chenu, a less known yet very serious Thomist scholar, has shown that the mode of argumentation in the thought of St. Thomas has an underlying conversational goal. In other words, St.Thomas’s method of rational inquiry is not divisive but collaborative which is highlighted by the effort to reconcile initially opposing views by means of the intellectual tool of distinction, a tool which Rorty himself employed in dealing with criticisms hurled against his apparently nihilistic neopragmatic thought. St. Thomas consistently employed the tool of distinction in disputatio, or argumentation with the goal of pursuing collaboration with different thinkers whether they are Christians or Muslims, pagans or believers, in the pursuit of truth.