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Title: Avicenna, Aliqui, and Thomas Aquinas's Doctrine of Creation
Author(s): HOUSER, R.E.
Journal: Recherches de Théologie et Philosophie Médiévales
Volume: 80    Issue: 1   Date: 2013   
Pages: 17-55
DOI: 10.2143/RTPM.80.1.2988827

Abstract :
At Summa theologiae I, 44, 2, Thomas Aquinas argues that God is the cause of all things, even primary matter, by turning historian and distinguishing four stages in the history of metaphysics, where Plato and Aristotle turn up at the third stage and unnamed aliqui at the last stage. In this paper, I conclude historically that the unnamed philosopher is Avicenna, and I conclude philosophically that Aquinas drew his philosophical doctrine of creation — that creatures depend upon God as efficient cause of their existence, which is independent from the religious notion of creation at a first moment in time — from Avicenna. In this way, the history of philosophy and philosophy itself reinforce each other in helping us to understand philosophical doctrines, both in themselves and in comparison with allied religious doctrines.

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