Saturday, 30 April 2011

Michael W. Tkacz, Occasionalism, the Cosmogonical Fallacy and Augustine’s Architect Analogy for Creation

Augustine is acknowledged by Malebranche as the source of his own occasionalism and appropriates the architect analogy of Augustine’s De Genesi ad Litteram (4.12). Augustine’s analogy, however, is not a move toward occasionalism, but a response to Plato’s claim in the Timaeus (41A) that the cosmos can be destroyed and is only preserved by divine providence.  As suggested by R. Sorabji, Augustine’s language here is similar to that used by the Middle Platonist Atticus to argue in support of an eternally continuous divine agency.  The heterological nature of Augustine’s architect image for creation shows that, far from arguing for occasionalism, he is concerned to avoid the cosmogonically fallacious confusion of divine agency and natural cause.

Philosophy Department                                                                                
Gonzaga University                                                                                                   
Spokane, Washington 

                                                Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D. in philosophy, The Catholic University of America, 1993.
M.A. in philosophy, The Catholic University of America, 1989.
M.M.S. (Master of Medieval Studies) University of Notre Dame, 1982.
B.A. with honors in philosophy, Valparaiso University, 1975.

Academic Appointments

1997-               Associate Professor of Philosophy, Gonzaga University.
1992-97           Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Gonzaga University.
1991-92           Visiting Instructor of Philosophy, Gonzaga Univesity.
1988-91           Lecturer in Philosophy, The Catholic University of America.
1983-87           Research Assistant, Smithsonian Institution.
1984-85           Lecturer in Classical Studies, The Catholic University of America.

Professional Service

2008-2012       Executive Council, American Catholic Philosophical Association.
1999-               Secretary, Society for Thomistic Natural Philosophy.
2000-04           Executive Council, American Catholic Philosophical Association.
1987-97           Chairman, International Committee for the History of Medieval & Renaissance
Natural Philosophy.
1986-89           Executive Council, Medieval Association of the Midwest.

Scholarly Publications

            Book Publications

Augustine:  The Political Writings.  Translated with Douglas Kries.  Indianapolis:  Hackett Publications, 1994.

The Art of Reasoning:  An Interactive Introduction to Traditional Logic.  Dubuque:  Kendall/Hunt Publishing, 1994.  Second edition, 1999.

            Scholarly Articles

“Thomistic Reflections on Teleology and Contemporary Biological Research,” New Blackfriars, forthcoming.

“Albert the Great on Logic, Knowledge, and Science,” in The Universal Doctor:  Albertus Magnus and His Contributions to Theology, Philosophy, and the Sciences, ed. Irven M. Resnick.  Leiden:  E. J. Brill, forthcoming.

“Augustine, the Timaeus, and the Cosmogonical Fallacy,” Studia Patristica 49 (2007), forthcoming.

“Albert the Great and the Aristotelian Reform of the Platonic Method of Division,” The Thomist 73 (2009):  399-435.

“Albert the Great and the Revival of Aristotle’s Zoological Research Program,” Vivarium 45 (2007): 30-68.

AScientific Reporting, Imagination, and Neo-Aristotelian Realism,@  The Thomist 68 (2004):  531-43.

AThe Retorsive Argument for Formal Cause and the Darwinian Account of Scientific Knowledge,@International Philosophical Quarterly 43 (2003): 159-66.

AFaith, Science and the Error of Fideism,@ Logos:  A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture
5.1 (Winter, 2002): 139-55.

AQuare ibex talia cornua longa habet?  A Case Study in Medieval Scholastic Causal Explanation,@ in Science, Philosophy, and Theology:  The Notre Dame Symposium 1997, ed. John P. O=Callaghan.  South Bend:  St. Augustine=s Press, 2002, 99-110.

AThomism and the Philosophy of Science at the End of the Second Millennium,@ Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly 23.4 (Fall, 2000): 24-26.

ANeo-Darwinians, Aristotelians, and Optimal Design,@  The Thomist 62 (1998):  355-72.

AThe Multicultural West:  Ethnicity and the Intellectual Foundations of Western Civilization,@ The Intercollegiate Review 33 (1997):  10-17.

AAlbert the Great and the Interpretation of Aristotle=s Historia animalium,@  Proceedings of the International Conference on Patristic, Medieval & Renaissance Studies, 18 (1993-94):  217-27.

            Articles in Reference Works

APhilosophy of Social Science,@ in Catholic Social Thought, Social Science and Social Policy:  An Encyclopedia, ed. J. Varacalli, S. Krason, R. Myers, and M. Coulter.  Lanham:  The Scarecrow Press, 2007, q.v.

AAristotle in Late Antiquity,@ AAugustine=s Knowledge of Aristotle,@ and AAugustine and the Peripatetic School,@ in Augustine Through the Ages:  An Encyclopedia, ed. Allan D. Fitzgerald, O.S.A.  Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans Publishing, 1999, q.v.

ARobert Grosseteste@ and AMichael of Ephesus@ in Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, ed. Alexander Kazhdan.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 1991, q.v.

Invited Public Lectures

“Aquinas, Teleology, and Contemporary Biological Research,” presented as part of The Aquinas Seminar, Blackfriars College, University of Oxford, February 18, 2009.

“Faith, Reason, and the Medieval Origins of Experimental Science,” an invited public lecture presented at the University of Delaware, March 1, 2008.

“Creation, Cosmology, and the Cosmogonical Fallacy,” an invited pubic lecture presented at the annual Physics & the God of Abraham Conference, Gonzaga University, March 1, 2006.

AThomas Aquinas on Chance, Design, and Cosmic Order,@ an invited lecture presented at Thomas Aquinas College, Santa Paula, California, November 11, 2005.

AFaith, Reason, and Science:  The View from the Catholic Tradition@ an invited lecture presented in the Faith and Reason Lecture Series, Gonzaga University, November 1, 2004.

AA Designer Universe:  Chance, Design, and Cosmic Order,@ an invited lecture presented at the annual Physics & the God of Abraham Conference, Gonzaga University, March 29, 2004.

AThe Medieval Scientific Accomplishment and Its Philosophical Implications,@ an invited lecture delivered at Whitworth College, Spokane, Washington, February, 2001.

ABefore Aristotle Went West:  The Multicultural Heritage of the Western Intellectual Tradition,@ an invited lecture delivered in the Classical Philosophy Series at Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa, April, 2000.

AWas the Renaissance a Hoax?  Medieval Philosophy and the Origins of the Scientific Revolution,@ an invited lecture presented at the University of Delaware, November, 1991.


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