Mount talk to explore the scientific relevance of philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas

January 11, 2017

William Carroll

William Carroll, a theology faculty member of the University of Oxford, will present “The Philosophy of Nature and Contemporary Science: Why Thomas Aquinas Remains Relevant” on Thursday, February 2 at 7 p.m. at Mount Saint Mary College.

The free public talk will take place in Room 218 of the Mount’s Dominican Center, 330 Powell Ave., Newburgh, N.Y.

The lecture aims to answer a simple question: Is there any value for contemporary science in what St. Thomas Aquinas claims as principles for the philosophy of nature?

“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. In May 2007, he spoke at a symposium on the philosophy of cosmology held at the Royal Society in London. 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. In October 2010, he spoke at a conference on creation jointly organized in Moscow by the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church.

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 is 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.