Published by the Center for the Study of The Great Ideas (founded in 1990 by Mortimer J. Adler and Max Weismann)
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Thursday, April 26, 2018

What Happened to Philosophy between Aquinas and Descartes?

John Deely on John of St. Thomas (John Poinsot) at The Thomist (1994)

"At this moment, we find that a hook translated from the work of the last of the Latin commentators, the Tractatus de Signis of John Poinsot, while receiving no significant treatment within the Catholic intellectual world, is seriously discussed within the international intellectual movement that has grown up in the last quarter century around the study of signs and reviewed in such mass media as the Times of New York, Los Angeles, and London.

"Such a situation participates in improbability. My own view is that The Semiotic of John Poinsot (as the work in question is subtitled in its contemporary edition) is a harbinger of what the postmodern development may prove to be. Postmodernism, in my view, is not to be, as initially appears, a kind of literary/sophistic attempt to eviscerate rational discourse in philosophy through a forced control of signifiers made rather to dismantle (under the mantra of 'deconstruction') than to constitute some text taken precisely as severed from any vestige of authorial intention. Postmodernism in the long run will be seen rather as the term inevitably employed through juxtaposition with the internal dimensions of the classical modern paradigm so as to establish thereby a philosophical sense of a change of age and temper of thought defined historically but able to link contemporary requirements of speculative understanding with late Latin themes omitted from the repertoire of analytic tools developed by modernity." [footnotes omitted]


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