The influence that medieval philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas has had on Western thought is difficult to fully grasp. Contemporary thinking in fields from political ethics to psychology has been shaped by his writings. But Aquinas’ model of the mind—of how we perceive and contemplate the world—has been ignored or misunderstood by contemporary scholars. Fellow Thérèse Cory, an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, is working on a new book on Aquinas’ account of the intellect and the philosophical traditions from which it emerged.
In this podcast, Cory discusses how, over the years, Aquinas has been extracted from his historical context; she advocates putting him back into conversation with his scholarly influences. By tracing the genealogy of his intellectual formation, from Aristotle to philosophers of the early Muslim world, Cory reminds us why Aquinas’ relevance extends across disciplines and centuries. Specifically, his teachings underscore the transformative power of knowing.