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Intellectual Intuition in the General Metaphysics of Jacques Maritain

A Study in the History of the Methodology of Classical Metaphysics


Edmund Morawiec

The publication presents Maritain’s concept of intellectual intuition in a wide philosophical and historical context and examines its role in the construction of metaphysics. The question to be answered is largely that of whether – and in what measure – intellectual intuition, in Maritain’s view, plays a role in the discovery of an understanding of the object of metaphysics, namely the concept of being, as well as the transcendent properties of being, and in the admission of the first principles of being. In the book one can find also analyses of various kinds of intuition as well as the role played by intuition in different phases of human cognition. The book addresses metaphysics in the aspect of its development and methodology, its value is thus not only historical but also philosophical.


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1. Jacques Maritain as a philosopher The philosophical thought of Jacques Maritain spans nearly all areas of philosophy from metaphysics and cognitive theory to political philosophy and the philosophy of history. As a philosopher, Maritain is one of the greatest Christian thinkers and Thomists of the XX century. Born on November 18th, 1882, to a religiously indifferent, lay, radical and anticlerical Protestant family, he discovered the truth of Catholicism under the influence of Léon Bloy, and together with his wife Raissa turned to the service of Truth and Gospel. In 1908, led by his spiritual guide O. Clérissac, Maritain discovered philosophy, and within it, critical realism based on faith in human reason as capable of an objective knowledge of reality. The philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, positing order in the world and sense in history, became to Maritain an illumination. Maritain saw the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas as the summit of Christian thought. When its contemporary condition came under assault and the postulate of updating Thomist philosophy was put forward, while there appeared on the part of its advocates concrete attempts to bring the said philosophy up to date, namely by appealing to the empirical and formal exact sciences as well as various philosophical systems, he not only recognized the need to join in realizing this idea, but became one of the authors of a new, updated conception which may be described as are-examination of Thomist philosophy in its extant form as against the ideas contained in Aquinas' original...

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