February 13, 2017
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -
William Carroll, a theology faculty member of the
University of Oxford, discussed how the philosophy of St. Thomas
Aquinas remains relevant in modern science on Thursday, February 2
at Mount Saint Mary College.
William Carroll, a theology faculty member of the University of
Oxford, discussed “The Philosophy of Nature and Contemporary
Science: Why Thomas Aquinas Remains Relevant” on Thursday, February
2 at Mount Saint Mary College.
One might think that there’s no value for contemporary science
in what the 13th century philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas claimed as
principles for the philosophy of nature. Carroll, however,
“Thomas does offer crucial insights about the world the
empirical sciences describe, especially concerning what natural
substances are, how they differ from machines, as well as the
distinctions between living and non-living entities,” explained
Carroll. “Thomas’ philosophy of nature does not replace the
discoveries of the natural sciences, nor do these discoveries
render obsolete this philosophy of nature.”
Carroll’s research and teaching concern the reception of
Aristotelian science in mediaeval Islam, Judaism, and Christianity,
and the development of the doctrine of creation; and the encounter
between Galileo and the Inquisition. He has also written
extensively on the ways in which mediaeval discussions of the
relationship among the natural sciences, philosophy, and theology
can be useful in contemporary questions arising from developments
in biology and cosmology.
The author of “Creation and Science” (London, 2011) and several
other books, Carroll has given lectures at the Jubilee Session of
the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and at the Vatican Observatory’s
Institute on Astrophysics. During the commemorations of the Darwin
Year (2010), he was a speaker at conferences at the Lateran
University in Rome, the University of Notre Dame, and the
University of Vienna. He also recently spoke at a conference on
creation jointly organized in Moscow by the Vatican and the Russian
Carroll has a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and an M.A.
and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.
The lecture was sponsored by the Mount’s Catholic and Dominican
Institute (CDI). CDI promotes the Mount’s heritage of St. Dominic;
advances the Dominican charism of study and service; provides a
forum for discussion of contemporary ethical issues; and enhances
Catholic and Jewish dialogue. The Institute welcomes persons of
varied faiths and acknowledges different religious traditions as
essential to the college’s intellectual and spiritual life.