Philip The Chancellor, Bonaventure Of Bagnoregio, And Thomas Aquinas On The Eternity Of The World
Some philosophers have thought that there are sound arguments proving that past time is necessarily finite in duration. In light of these arguments, I examine the positions taken on past time by Philip the Chancellor, Bonaventure, and Thomas Aquinas. Philip argues that nothing created can be eternal and that everything which is not eternal is finite in past duration; I argue that many of the insights of Philip's position can be preserved even if the world is infinite in past duration. Bonaventure also believes that a created world must be finite in past duration, but, as I show, he accepts the conceptual possibility of infinite past time in an uncreated world. Despite being more liberal about infinite past time than is often believed, Bonaventure maintains the principle that it is impossible for an infinite number of things to exist simultaneously. I discuss how this principle bears on the eternity of the world discussion in both Bonaventure's writing and Aquinas'. Aquinas holds this principle for much of his career, albeit with some hesitation, but at the end of his life, he rejects it. I suggest that material from his Physics commentary on immaterial multitudes may give some insight as to why he does so. I also argue that Aquinas offers a successful reply to the argument that infinite past time is conceptually impossible because it entails the completion of an actually infinite series.
MacDonald, Scott C
Hodes, Harold Theodore; Brittain, Charles Francis
Ph. D., Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis