Working from a realist Thomistic epistemology, Ashley asserts that we must begin our search for wisdom in the natural sciences; only then, he believes, can we ensure that our claims about immaterial and invisible things are rooted in reliable experience of the material. Any attempt to share wisdom, he insists, must derive from a context that is both interdisciplinary and intercultural.
Ashley offers an ambitious analysis and synthesis of major historical contributions to the unification of knowledge, including non-Western traditions. Beginning with the question "Metaphysics: Nonsense or Wisdom?" Ashley moves from a critical examination of the foundations of modern science to quantum physics and the Big Bang; from Aristotle's theory of being and change, through Aquinas's five ways, to a critical analysis of modern and postmodern thought. Ashley is able to interweave the approaches of the great philosophers by demonstrating their contributions to philosophical thought in a concrete, specific manner. In the process, he accounts for a contemporary culture overwhelmed by the fragmentation of data and thirsting for an utterly transcendent yet personal God.
"This is an impressive, well-researched book, of great value. It offers the wider philosophical community a point of entrance, by a proponent of a certain type of Thomism, into a domain that all philosophers think they already understand. The result is the creation of a 'big picture' of human knowledge." -- Mark Johnson, Marquette University
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Benedict M. Ashley, O.P., is emeritus professor of moral theology at Aquinas Institute of Theology, St. Louis. Among his publications are Health Care Ethics, with Kevin O'Rourke, O.P., Justice in the Church,Truth in Love, and Theologies of the Body.Review:
"In The Way toward Wisdom: An Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Introduction to Metaphysics . . . Father Ashley explains why only metaphysics has a legitimate claim to being the university's unifying academic discipline. Without it, universities have no 'way toward wisdom'. . . . Father Ashley's book is a gift, a patient exposition of human wisdom, proceeding from the best of the Catholic intellectual tradition." —The British Columbia Catholic
“In summarizing and synthesizing the best of Neothomism and the range of developments of modern scientific and cultural studies, Ashley’s work brings to a close the late modern involvement of Thomism as ‘Neothomism’ by opening the way to a postmodern era for philosophy and intellectual culture as a whole, an era within which we may expect to see yet another epoch of Thomistic development . . .” —American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly
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