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Thomas Aquinas & Education
Transcript of Thomas Aquinas & Education
How does it differ from belief ?
Knowledge begins in sense and is completed in the intellect (Bourke, 1960, p. 12). Belief occurs through faith. A person may not be moved to accept an object as true, but by an act of will, he believes. Objects of belief deal with divine matters which exceed man's cognitive capabilities. The belief of such religious faith is necessary for all men if they are to achieve everlasting life with God (Bourke, 1960, p. 284).
What is a mistake?
A mistake occurs as a result of a judgment in the intellect. Truth and falsity are found primarily in its judgment as it associates and dissociates (Bourke, 1960, p. 13).
What is learning?
Learning takes place when one person teaches another, and the teacher conveys knowledge to the pupil's mind by causing him to know what he previously had the capacity to know before (Specimen Pages from the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas, p. 3).
Learning is to get scientific knowledge from another. This leads to sure knowledge, which is called science. This is most evident in the mathematical sciences (Bourke, 1960, p. 40)
Knowledge and skills worthwhile learning include the study of logic, which teaches the methods of the sciences, mathermatics, natural philosophy, moral philosophy, and divine science (Bourke, 1960, p. 44). Natural science is considered the best means of understanding man due to the method of reason. Logic is addressed first in the learning process because other sciences depend on ft. Learning is to get scientific knowledge from another. This leads to sure knowledge, which is called science. This is most evident in the mathematical sciences (Bourke, 1960, p. 40)
Mathematics is more certain than divine science because divine science studies are further from issues of sensation of which knowledge takes its origin. These objects do fall within sense experience, such as figures lines, and numbers. Mathematical thinking is considered easier and more certain than physical or theological (Bourke, 1960, p. 41). It is taken as a clear kind of knowledge which is capable of being taught to youth without great difficulty (Bourke, 1960, p.7).
Natural philosophy chiefly emphasizes the method of reasoning. The method of intellection is characteristic to divine science. The learning of metaphysics provides the opportunities for the human intellect to be used at peak capacity.
What are the goals of education?
The goals of education are to teach man issues which are worthwhile through knowledge of different subjects. The use of logic will be used to teach man scientific knowledge, mathematics, natural philosophy, and metaphysics.
The belief of religious faith is also important so that man can achieve everlasting life with God (Bourke, 1960, p.284)
What is knowledge?
There are two different types of knowledge: sense knowledge and intellectual knowledge. Sense experience is the beginning for all of man's natural knowledge. It begins in the senses, and is completed in the intellect (Bourke, 1960, p. 12). There is a dual operation to the intellect. One operation is the understanding of indivisibility, where the intellect grasps the reality of each item in itself; the other operation relates to combining and distinguishing (Bourke, 1960, p. 14). Aquinas believed that several sensations grouped together would create a memory, and that many memories grouped together equal sense experience. Sense knowledge is only understandable by the action of the intellect.
There are various types of sense knowledge: sense-memory, sense-consciousness, instinct, and imagination (DeWulf, 1959, p. 12).
Sense memory allows the individual to reproduce in one's memory an image they had seen. Sense-consciousness gives an awareness of an object through various sense perceptions. Instinct relates to a particular concrete connection such as an individual fleeing from fire. Imagination takes materials supplied through sense memory and translates them into a particular image composed of characters derived from other images.
How are skills and knowledge acquired?
Knowledge must result from the activity of the pupil's own mind. Along with acquiring knowledge with the aid of the teacher, he can also acquire knowledge by applying his mind by which he knows the first principles of all knowledge
that teachers are only for helping the student know. The student must digest the knowledge. Otherwise, it is like pouring water into a sieve (Specimen Pages from the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas, p. 3).
Theory of Transmission
Who is to teach?
Aquinas depicts three things in the character of those who are to teach: stability, clearness, and purity of intention. With stability, the teacher may never stray from the truth; with clearness, he is to teach without obscurity, and the purity of intention, he may seek God's glory and not his own (Specimen Pages from the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas, p. 2).
The second type of knowledge, intellectual knowledge, is abstract and general. This knowledge is quite different from the concrete and particular of external and internal senses. This was due to the fact that abstract knowledge was attributed to intelligence or reason (DeWulf, 1959, p. 15).
The general ability to understand covers simple apprehension, judgment, and reasoning. Simple apprehension is when the mind accepts an object without affirming or denying it. The issue of judgment is the reality that two objects are in agreement or disagreement. Reasoning is the production of new judgment by means of two others (DeWulf, 1959, p. 17).