Thomas Aquinas & The Mind/Body Problem

July 2, 2012

The Thomistic Institute held its second annual summer conference in conjunction with the Catholic and Dominican Institute at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, New York from June 21-24, 2012. This year’s topic was Thomas Aquinas & The Mind/Body Problem. While many modern philosophies up until the present period are influenced by various forms of dualism, physicalism, and reductive materialism, the perennial teaching of Saint Thomas Aquinas provides a unique counterpoint to modern tendencies. Saint Thomas’ teaching sees a sapiential whole that unites body and soul and allows for a deeper integration between experience and reality, reason and emotion. Distinguished presenters included: Msgr. Charles Morerod, OP, Bishop of Lausanne, Geneva & Fribourg, Switzerland; Candace Vogler, PhD, University of Chicago; William Carroll, PhD, University of Oxford; Michael Gorman, PhD, The Catholic University of America; James Brent, OP, The Catholic University of America; John O’Callaghan, PhD, University of Notre Dame; and Alfred Freddoso, PhD, University of Notre Dame. In addition, this year’s conference included a day devoted especially to graduate students who presented papers and engaged in discussion on the topic. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, celebrated the opening Mass of the conference. The placement on the majestic Hudson River valley offered a uniquely contemplative and Dominican setting. Contemplation and study are joined in the Dominican form, and so it was at this year’s conference with daily Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, and choral Divine Office. The conference on Thomas Aquinas & The Mind/Body Problem showed that Thomistic thought is involved in a lively and sophisticated exchange with modern and recent philosophical approaches.

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