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Thomas Aquinas on Thinking - Dictionary of Arguments

Gadamer I 428
Thinking/Spirit/Human/Divine/Thomas Aquinas/Gadamer: If we want to grasp more precisely the processual moment in the word, which is important to us for the question of the connection between linguisticity and understanding, (...) we will have to dwell on the imperfection of the human spirit and the difference to the divine. Thomas Aquinas (...) [emphasizes] three differences:
1) The human word is potential before it is updated. It is malleable, but not formed. The process of thinking begins when something from our memory enters our minds.
Gadamer I 429
This is also an emanation, provided that the memory is not plundered and loses something. But what comes to our mind is not yet the completed and finished thought. (Cf. >Emanation). Rather, it is only now that the actual thinking movement begins, in which the spirit hurries from one to another, rolling back and forth, pondering this and that, and thus, in the manner of investigation (inquisitio) and reflection (cogitatio), seeking the perfect expression of its thoughts. The completed word is thus first formed in thought, in so far as it is a tool (...).
2) Unlike the divine word, the human word is imperfect in nature. No human word can express our spirit in a perfect way. But as the image of the mirror has already said, this is not really the imperfection of the word itself. The word completely reflects what the spirit means. Rather, it is the imperfection of the human spirit that it never possesses the complete self-presence, but is scattered in meaning by this or that. It follows from this essential imperfection of its being that
the human word is not a single word like the divine word, but must necessarily be many words.
3. While God fully expresses his nature and substance in the word in pure actuality
every thought we think, and therefore also every word in which this thinking is completed, is a mere accidental of the spirit. The word of human thinking aims at the thing, but cannot contain it as a whole in itself, so thinking continues on the way to ever new conceptions and is basically not completely complete in any one of them. Its unfinishability has the flipside that it positively constitutes true infinity
Gadamer I 430
of the spirit, which goes beyond itself in an ever new spiritual process and finds in it also the freedom for ever new designs. >Thinking/Gadamer.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Gadamer I
Hans-Georg Gadamer
Wahrheit und Methode. Grundzüge einer philosophischen Hermeneutik 7. durchgesehene Auflage Tübingen 1960/2010

Gadamer II
H. G. Gadamer
The Relevance of the Beautiful, London 1986
German Edition:
Die Aktualität des Schönen: Kunst als Spiel, Symbol und Fest Stuttgart 1977


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2022-01-19
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