previous post I examined the late Hilary Putnam’s engagement with the
Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition on a topic in the philosophy of mind. Let’s now look at what Putnam had to say
about Aristotelian-Thomistic ideas in natural theology. In his 1997 paper “Thoughts Addressed to
an Analytical Thomist” (which appeared in an issue of The Monist devoted to the topic of analytical Thomism), Putnam
tells us that while he is not an analytical Thomist, as “a practicing Jew” he
could perhaps be an “analytic Maimonidean.”
The remark is meant half in jest, but that there is some truth in it is
evident from what Putnam says about the topics of proofs of God’s existence,
divine simplicity, and theological language.
not unsympathetic to some of the traditional arguments for God’s existence,
such as those defended by Aquinas and Maimonides. He rejects the assumptions,
common among contemporary secular academic philosophers, that such arguments
are uniformly invalid, question-begging, or otherwise fallacious, and that it
is absurd even to try to prove God’s existence.
He notes the double standard such philosophers often bring to bear on