From The B.C. Catholic (May 9, 2005), page 8:
The truth about modern physics, man, and God
By C.S. MORRISSEY
Anthony Rizzi, The Science Before Science: A Guide to Thinking in the 21st Century, Institute for Advanced Physics Press, 2004.
Truth cannot contradict truth. Pope John Paul II made a special point of proclaiming how the truths known by faith and reason are not at odds.
In a new book that takes up this great papal theme, Catholic physicist Anthony Rizzi shows how all advances in modern physics, like quantum mechanics and Einstein's theory of relativity, are eminently compatible with the philosophical and theological wisdom of the Catholic Church.
Many popular writers are fond of misinterpreting modern physics in order to make extravagant claims: that nothing is real until we observe it; that nothing is ever certain; that everything is relative to the observer; that the mathematical necessity of other universes has been proved; and that we humans mostly consist of the empty space of atoms.
With the perspective of a physics insider, Rizzi shows all such claims to be nonsense. They result from science overstepping its bounds and doing bad philosophy. Moreover, as a practising Catholic, Rizzi reconciles, in the best Thomist tradition, the discoveries of modern physics with the metaphysical wisdom of St. Thomas Aquinas.
He exposes the philosophical contradictions implicit in the scientism prevalent today. As Tom Wolfe recently described this corrosive cultural prejudice, "We now live in an age in which science is a court from which there is no appeal."
Rizzi, however, has the requisite credentials to make the appeal. Rizzi's claim to physics fame is that in 1997 he gave the first satisfactory definition of angular momentum, something that Einstein's general theory of relativity lacked. Today he continues to research general relativity and gravity waves at the California Institute of Technology's Louisiana Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO).
In The Science Before Science, Rizzi explores the philosophical underpinnings of the grand enterprise of modern physics. He shows that there is more to reality than simply the physical universe. Rizzi argues that modern scientists have no adequate conception of their proper place in the order of human knowledge. Modern scientists wrongly think that their mathematical and quantitative methods can account for everything.
Rizzi reminds us of philosophy, the "science before science." His book demonstrates that modern science commits grave errors about man and his proper place in the universe when it thinks it can give no thought to the "science before science."
For example, how many scientists can admit the truth that our intellects are not material, that they are our immortal souls? Rizzi uses rational argument to establish that, contrary to scientific prejudice, we really can know that intellect is not material.
Thanks to the clarity and colloquial tone of Rizzi's presentation of St. Thomas, the general reader will find in this book answers to the questionable totalitarian claims of today's scientists.
Rizzi devotes his first three chapters to convincing the reader of the necessity of starting with first things first. Proper knowledge begins with the common sense available from our sensory experience. Rizzi shows how the Thomistic principle that we know nothing that does not originate in our senses, is the "realism" that we need today in order to counter the "idealist" errors of unchecked scientism.
In his fourth chapter, Rizzi explains Thomistic thought on being and the transcendentals (like truth, goodness, beauty) with admirable brevity and accuracy. The remaining chapters engage almost every topic that poses profound questions for the inquiring mind interested in faith and science: the big bang, time travel, evolution, relativity, animal souls, artificial intelligence, and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.
The book's argument builds up to an exposition of Aquinas's philosophical demonstrations of the existence of God, set forth in a way understandable even to sceptics trained by modern science. The book's argument also includes an explanation of how the advances of modern science only happened in history because of the Catholic faith.
Thanks to the cultural soil of Catholic Europe, modern science was able to build on the work of precursors like Aristotle and Aquinas. Modern science only came to fruition because Catholicism affirmed the intelligibility and non-necessary character of God's universe, which He freely chose to create with laws knowable by the human mind.
Like his predecessor John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI understands that we are in danger of squandering this cultural inheritance from which science was born. Our culture urgently needs St. Thomas in the age of modern science more than ever.
From Crisis Magazine, April 2005:
New Voice in the Areopagus of Science
by John Hittinger
The Science Before Science: A Guide to Thinking in the 21st Century
Anthony Rizzi, Authorhouse Press, 412 pages, $19.95
In his encyclical Redemptoris Missio, John Paul II emphasizes the necessity of bringing the gospel message to the modern world:
After preaching in a number of places, St. Paul arrived in Athens, where he went to the Areopagus and proclaimed the Gospel in language appropriate to and understandable in those surroundings (cf. Acts 17:22-31). At that time the Areopagus represented the cultural center of the learned people of Athens, and today it can be taken as a symbol of the new sectors in which the Gospel must be proclaimed...[such as] scientific research.... We would do well to be attentive to these modern areas of activity and to be involved in them.
Anthony Rizzi possesses a rare combination of gifts—as scientist, philosopher, teacher, writer, administrator—brought together in an individual who is a tireless champion of Catholic truth. With physics degrees from MIT and Princeton, he solved an 80-year-old problem in Einstein’s theory. He was the first scientist appointed to Caltech’s LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravity wave Observatory). Currently, he is the founder and full-time director of the Institute for Advanced Physics, where he continues his research in Einstein’s theory and other gravity wave–related areas. Rizzi has also thoroughly mastered the basic concepts and arguments of Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and their 20th-century disciples such as Jacques Maritain, Étienne Gilson, and Ralph McInerny. All these gifts are brilliantly displayed in The Science Before Science: A Guide to Thinking in the 21st Century. This book fulfills the hope of Pope John Paul II to equip the Catholic mind for the new evangelization, and for the Catholic voice to sound in the “Areopagus” of science.
In an age in which scientific thinking dominates academic and popular approaches to important questions about the cosmos, God, and humanity, the dangers of reductionism and scientism pose major obstacles to the fullness of truth and to hearing the gospel. There is an ever-present danger of scientists extrapolating from their limited methods and concepts and constructing claims upon the whole truth, or of simply reducing man and nature all together to the mechanistic schemes of matter in motion, a world bereft of substance, soul, and purpose—and ultimately they bequeath us a universe bereft of God. John Paul II has taken a keen interest in the Areopagus of science, as we have seen in his important statements on Galileo and Darwin. Rizzi provides a penetrating account of the compatibility of evolution and creation and the reasons for the tragic misunderstanding between Galileo and the theologians. In fact, Rizzi shows how a fuller science naturally leads to proofs for the existence of God.
The pivot for dealing with these challenging, controversial, and timely issues Rizzi finds in the recovery of a true philosophy of nature and in understanding the methodological assumptions of modern science. Rizzi develops Maritain’s great thesis that modern science proposes a mathematicization of nature, and therefore uses an abstractive schema which, although allowing a high degree of specialization and technological possibilities, must be set within the context of a holistic or general science of nature. Rizzi shows the critical need for notions such as substance and accident, fourfold causality, and truth as a correspondence with what is. The science before science is philosophy; by proceeding through the discoveries and methods of modern science, Rizzi amply demonstrates the connection of science both to commonsense experience and to the refined systems of philosophical reflection. The attempt to reduce scientific discoveries to positivist phenomenon, or to abandon its orientation to realism, commits a fundamental disservice to the actual work of scientists. In accomplishing this work in his own persuasive way, Rizzi joins the ranks of Stanley Jaki, William A. Wallace, and other great Catholic scientist/philosophers.
In addition to treating the fundamentals of science and philosophy of nature, he examines the natural law basis for an ethical practice of science and technology and explores fascinating current issues such as time travel, other forms of intelligence in the universe, artificial intelligence, and cloning. Like the wise householder commended by Our Lord in Matthew 13:52, “who brings out of his treasure things new and old,” Rizzi provides the reader with a rich compendium of the perennial philosophy, history of science, and contemporary research interests.
We would do well to recall the words of Pope Paul VI for Men of Thought and Science, presented to Maritain at the close of the Vatican Council: “If thinking is a great thing, thinking is first of all a duty; woe to whoever willingly shuts his eyes to the light! Thinking is also a responsibility: woe to those who darken the spirit by the thousand tricks that degrade it, that make it egotistical, that deceive it, that deform it. What other fundamental principle is there for men of science if not to make every effort to think rightly?” Rizzi has provided us with a great effort at thinking rightly about science and its implications. The audience for this book includes scientists and teachers of science but also anyone interested in the fascinating discoveries and projects of modern science and the philosophical issues they bear within. As the founder and director of the Institute for Advanced Physics, Rizzi has written a book that sounds a clarion call and sets a bold standard for future works.
John Hittinger is a professor of philosophy at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit and the author of Liberty, Wisdom, and Grace: Thomism and Democratic Political Theory (Lexington Press, 2003).
Benedict M. Ashley, O.P.
St. Louis University
In his great encyclical "Faith and Reason" (1998) Pope John Paul II opposes the anti-rational tendencies of our post-modern times and urges the importance for faith and theology of a sound metaphysics. By the need for a sound "metaphysics" he means "the need for a philosophy of genuinely metaphysical range, capable, that is, of transcending empirical data in order to attain something absolute, ultimate and foundational in its search for truth. He adds, 
I do not mean to speak of metaphysics in the sense of a "specific school or particular historical current of thought. I want only to state that reality and truth do transcend the factual and empirical, and to vindicate the human being's capacity to know this transcendent and metaphysical dimension in a way that is true and certain, albeit imperfect an analogical.But where is such metaphysics to be found? Perhaps the most influential philosopher of this closing century was Martin Heidegger. In his book An Introduction to Metaphysics  he also insistently raised the "question of Being." Yet he concluded, if I understand him rightly, that what has been thought of as metaphysical inquiry in the West since Aristotle wrote the first work given that title has now come decisively to an end. It must be replaced, thinks Heidegger, by a type of thinking more akin to that of the East. He argues that this is the case because what Plato and Aquinas initiated was an attempt to get a mental control over Being that has inevitably led to our technological age of physical control over things. In this technological culture the questioning of Being is inevitably stifled. Hence to use that kind of metaphysics in theology will inevitable lead, Heidgger thought, to an "onto-theology" that will certainly end in atheism. Yet one searches in vain in his writings for any answer to the question of Being except that it is the flowing truth of historical events unveiling themselves to human beings and then concealing themselves. It attains expression in some form of language such as poetry or philosophy that conceals as it reveals. This plea of Heidegger's for an anti-metaphysical metaphysics opening the way to an anti-theological theology drew only ridicule from the Logical Positivist Rudolf Carnap.  Carnap mocked Heidegger's discourse, along with any metaphysics or theology, as pretentious nonesense.
It is evident from John Paul II's commendation of Thomism  that although he insists that the Church has no philosophy of its own, he also believes that it provides at least one version of the valid metaphysics needed by theology, particularly if it incorporates the data of a personalist phenomenology. That means that as students of the thought of Aquinas it is incumbent on us to show that in fact a Thomistic metaphysics can validate itself in the face of the attack on any kind of metaphysics launched by Heidegger, Carnap, and so many of our contemporary thinkers. In this paper I want to show how I think this can be done on the basis of Aquinas' Aristotelian epistemology which I here assume to be preferable to Platonist, Empiricist, or Kantian theories of knowledge. 
Last year in this conference I argued, not to everybody's satisfaction, that Aquinas holds that no science proves the existence of its own subject Hence for metaphysics to be a valid science, we must can first establish that its proper subject, namely, "being as such" actually exists. In the twentieth century most Thomists have either assumed this, without proving it, or have given unconvincing arguments. At least this is the case if we also accept the view of Aquinas, attacked by Duns Scotus, that the "being" in question is analogous and extends to immaterial as well as material being.  Too many Thomists have assumed that the proof of the existence of God or of any kind of immaterial being is a task of metaphysics itself, thus producing a circular argument in which metaphysics proves the existence of its own subject. Aquinas provides the way out of this vicious circle. He explicitly maintains that the required proof of the existence of immaterial being is provided not by metaphysics but by physics, that is, natural science whose proper subject is not "being as such" but changeable being, ens mobile. 
For natural science itself no such proof of the existence of its subject is required, since it alone among the sciences has a proper subject whose existence is immediately and directly evident to human knowledge. This is so because is formal subject is the essence of material things that is also the proper object of human intelligence.  Although metaphysics does not depend formally on natural science (otherwise it would not be distinct from it), it does depend on it as its necessary condition, just as does mathematics, ethics and all the other special sciences. If natural science did not establish the existence of quantity, mathematics, according to Aquinas, would not be a science.  Ethics also presupposes the account of human nature supplied by natural sciences and the other practical sciences also presuppose its account of the natural materials and forces with which they have to work.
I believe we must acknowledge that classical Thomism in its search for scientific objectivity and universality sometimes paid too little attention to the subjective, individual, and historical aspects of knowledge. Modern philosophy with its Cartesian its "turn to the subject" has made its most important contributions in its exploration of precisely these topics. Karl Wojtyla in his The Acting Person  and the Lublin School of Thomism, with their use of a phenomenological method, have shown how this aspect of Aquinas' thought can be profitably developed.  Since however, a phenomenological study of the person can attain metaphysical depth only by passing through psychology and the proof of the spirituality of the human person this personalist Thomism ought to encourage rather than inhibit the approach to metaphysics through natural philosophy.
Hence, I believe that a second reason for the neglect of an approach to metaphysics through natural science has been far more significant. This is the fear that a close relation between metaphysics and natural science would imperil the certitude of metaphysics, since, it is claimed, science can only lead to probabilities.  This fear has especially troubled theologians who point out the attempts to base apologetics on scientific theories has frequently led to the ridicule of the Faith. Thus in a brilliant historical study Michael J. Buckley, S.J. The Origins of Modern  has tried to show that nineteenth century apologists such as Samuel Butler exposed the Christian Faith to mockery by his attempts to use science as an argument through design for the existence of God through design. Similarly Ernan McMullin in many publications and lectures has urged that Catholics take a positive and realistic view of modern science.  Yet he is always concerned to urge that we keep ever in mind that what theology needs from philosophy is a sound metaphysical grounding rather than put our trust in an apologetics built on the sands of current scientific hypotheses. Stanley Jaki advises a similar reliance on metaphysics rather than natural science and takes a very negative view of the Aristotelian tradition for its failure to keep science and metaphysics clearly distinguished. 
This reluctance to bring metaphysics into any sort of dependence on natural science was especially fostered in the United States by the predominating influence of the eminent Thomists Etienne Gilson and Jacques Maritain. Gilson wanted, for this and other reasons, to disconnect the thought of Aquinas from that of Aristotle, by reconstructing Aquinas' metaphysics from the Summa Theologiae without regard to his commentaries on Aristotle's works, especially his natural science treatises.  Maritain, on the contrary, was concerned to do justice to Aquinas' obvious interest in the study of sensible nature.  Yet he retained the Wolffian distinction between natural philosophy and empirical science. He argued that modern empirical science was a new species of science formally distinct from the natural philosophy of Aquinas, because the latter was a "dianoetic" science of "being", namely, ens mobile, while modern science was only "perinoetic." By "perinoetic" Maritain meant that modern science deals only with the phenomena of sensible beings and does not attain to their essences.
Maritain's defense of a natural philosophy is logically compatible with a natural science approach to metaphysics since that approach depends only on the arguments for the existence of immaterial beings contained in Aristotle's Physics and De Anima. It does depend on the more detailed and now utterly out-dated parts of his natural science. Nevertheless, Maritain remained so cautious about any entanglement with modern science that his own defense of metaphysics rests not on the physical arguments for the existence of immaterial causes just mentioned, but on a supposed metaphysical intuition of "being as such."  Gilson vigorously criticized this stance as a mere conceptualism, and Maritain had in the end to agree that what he had really intended was Gilson's grounding of metaphysics in the judgement of the act of being, the "to be" or esse.
In my opinion these valiant attempts to shield metaphysics from the threat of from modern science are in vain. They rest on the claim that since the proper subject of metaphysics is "being as being," this subject can be known to be real independently of natural science. Aquinas maintained, against the whole Platonic tradition and in contradiction to Scotus, Suarez, Descartes, Leibnitz, and Kant, that the proper object of the human intellect is indeed being, but changeable being.  Furthermore he held that metaphysical being is known only by analogy to this changeable, physical being.  It follows necessarily that a valid metaphysics cannot be independent of natural science by which these analogates are critically known. It even supposes the other special sciences that also presuppose natural science. As Aquinas says, "This science [metaphysics] that is called "wisdom", although it is first in dignity is nevertheless last to be learned." 
Joseph Owens, vigorously defended by John F.X. Knasas,  grants that metaphysics begins with ens mobile known by our senses to exist, but then proceeds to separate the ens as the subject of metaphysics from the mobile as the subject of natural philosophy. This, however, ignores that without proof that non- mobile being exists or is even possible such a merely verbal or conceptual separation has no critical value. The common error of all these positions is to suppose that it is one can make a real judgement that the subject of a supposed science of metaphysics exists before one has proved a posteriori from their sensible effects that immaterial beings really exist. If, as Aquinas repeatedly says, no immaterial beings exist then natural science would be First Philosophy. For example, 
[I]f there is no substance other than those which exist in the way that natural substances do, with which the philosophy of nature deals, the philosophy of nature will be the first science. But if there is some immobile substance, this will be prior to natural substance; and therefore the philosophy of nature, which considers this kind of substance, will be first philosophy. And since it is first, it will be universal; and it will be its function to study being as being, both what being is and what the attributes are which belong to being as being. For the science of the primary kind of being and that of being general are the same.Nor can I agree with my good friend Lawrence Dewan OP that in such texts as one just quoted 
Aristotle there in fact says nothing about discoveries made by natural science. There he says that if there were no natural entity, natural science would be first philosophy.ÉThus he saying that physics would be metaphysics if there were no separate entity. It is not said that physics discovers the existence of a separate entity. What certainly could be said is that, until they discover the existence of separate entity, the thinkers who do it, though they are metaphysicians, might not be able to distinguish themselves from physicists."While I do not deny that there can be a common sense intuition of ens in commune prior to the study of natural science, the issue is not common sense intuition, but the order of critical, scientific thinking. I would ask what kind of metaphysicians are unable distinguish themselves from physicists except persons who are thinking in a merely common sense not a scientific mode?
I would also ask Dewan, Owens, and Knasas how it is possible to have a metaphysics about being as such if we are not critically certain that there are any beings but material beings and how can we sure of this prior to metaphysics without a proof from natural science. They seem simply to assume that in the phrase ens mobile, the ens can be abstracted from the mobile. But if the only being we know exists is being that is liable to change, then the study of "being as being" is the study of that kind of being and no other. Nor would I concede with qualification that the advances made by modern science in the study of the material world add nothing to metaphysical first principles. It is true, of course, that Aquinas proves the existence of immaterial being from the foundational part of natural science the certitude of which is independent of the rest of the science that deals with the details of nature with which modern science is chiefly concerned. Indeed in any science the truth of its own first principles is independent of the conclusions in whose demonstration they are premises. Yet as conclusions are drawn from them the sense of these same principles becomes clearer and is enriched. This must be true in a special way in metaphysics where the principles are so broad and analogous as to be quite empty until we see how they apply to the analogates from which they are drawn. No wonder beginning students of metaphysics find a discussion of "being as being" so vacuous! That is why Aquinas warns against the young studying metaphysics because for those who have not acquired a fund of knowledge about reality metaphysics can only be empty words. 
Aristotle then proceeds in the course of the subsequent books, at least as I read them, to ask whether any of the recognized sciences is First Philosophy. He enumerates the theoretical sciences, namely, natural science and mathematical science with its two species arithmetic and geometry, the practical sciences of ethics, with its three species, individual, family, and political ethics, and the productive arts indefinite in number. Finally he recognizes logic, which he again divides into poetics, rhetoric, sophistics, topics or dialectics, and analytics or demonstrative logic, as well as grammar or linguistics. 
In the course of his treatise he then eliminates each of these special sciences as a candidate to First Philosophy. Logic and linguistics are eliminated because they do not deal with mind-independent reality but only mental constructs. One should note that for Aristotle each real science has its own appropriate methodology and type of demonstrative logic, since he says that while every science deserving the name arrives at certitude, one should not expect the same type of certitude in all.  Hence the questions today grouped under "epistemology" (a name only as old as 1854 ) do not pertain to a distinct science, nor even a distinct part of metaphysics. For Aquinas each science applies the principles of analytic logic to determine the proper the criteria for judging the critical value of its own hypotheses and conclusions as part of its own foundations. In metaphysics these various criteria are compared under that the analogical concept of "truth", as it is a transcendental property of being as such. The psychology of knowing, on the other hand, pertains to psychology, in the main a part of natural science, although insofar as it presupposes the existence of a spiritual soul to metaphysics.
Aristotle also quickly eliminates the various kinds of practical knowledge as candidates to be "First Philosophy" because all practical knowledge presupposes some theoretical knowledge, all "ought" presupposes an "is." He devotes special attention, in particular in the last two books of the Metaphysics (Mu and Nu), to eliminating mathematics as First Philosophy because for Plato Mathematics was superior to and independent of natural science. Thus Aristotle and Aquinas comes to the crucial question, whether natural science is First Philosophy and hence whether it is the ultimate wisdom possible to unaided human reason.
By temperament and background, his insistence that all human knowledge begins empirically, his extensive writings on natural science, and his reaction to the intuitive idealism of his teacher Plato, Aristotle was inclined to hold that natural science is the highest kind of objective, critical human knowledge. In this he was as much an empiricist as are today's scientists. Yet in his critical development of the principles of natural science in the Physics and in his analysis of human nature in the light of these principles in the De Anima,  he was forced to admit that natural science itself proves that changing material things have immaterial first causes. Hence natural science cannot be ultimate wisdom, First Philosophy.
Thus it became evident to Aristotle and Aquinas that First Philosophy is formally a science in its own right. Its subject is "being as such" in the sense that each of the recognized sciences is about a particular type of being while First Philosophy can be none of these since it studies "being" universally as including the non-material.  It must be distinct even from the science of nature that is presupposed by all these other sciences and by First Philosophy itself. First Philosophy, therefore, does not have any data of its own but derives all its data from the special sciences and ultimately from natural science. It cannot reduce these sciences to a single science; however, since the various kinds of being with which these sciences deal are only analogously one. Thus its task is to distinguish and relate the various sciences and to inquire in what way they have common principles. Thus metaphysics is an interdisciplinary science which seeks to unite all human knowledge, not by reduction to a single science, as Plato attempted by his dialectic that supposedly leads to a vision of the One,  but by preserving their autonomy and empirical grounding. Thus it coordinates them in view of their ultimate, spiritual causes.
Aristotle's own Metaphysics is a puzzling and disjointed work. Its essential unity has been well defended by Giovanni Reale in his excellent The Concept of First Philosophy and the Unity of The Metaphysics of Aquinas.  This is not the place to try to explain the order of the Metaphysics or to defend its general agreement with the account of the science that I am here proposing. In my view First Philosophy treats of being in its widest analogical scope as established by the demonstration of the existence of immaterial beings. Therefore, as for every science, the first part of metaphysics is concerned with answering the question not of the existence of the subject but of its real definition, that is, an analysis of what the subject is.  In the case of metaphysics this foundational part is an analysis of the analogical unity of being in its many senses. Because being as being is the subject of this science and hence epistemologically first, yet since in this case this subject is only analogically one, being as such cannot be strictly defined but can be described by analysis.
The second part of metaphysics, the science proper, is the causal demonstration of the properties of the subject in terms of the quasi- definition established in the first part. These properties are designated by terms that transcend the categories established in natural science and hence are called "transcendentals." They are not properties in the same way as the properties of material things that are included in the nine categories of accidents established in natural science, since they are distinguished from the analogical notion of being as such only by relations of reason. They are usually listed as unity, truth, and goodness, and some wish to add beauty. In fact there may be an indefinite number of such transcendentals, a question open for metaphysical exploration. Aristotle confined himself to the discussion of the transcendental unity, along with some remarks on truth and goodness.  "Unity" adds to the notion of being as such only a negative note, an absence of division. Thus it would seem that this second part of First Philosophy deals with three principal topics, being as such and its relation to knowing minds (truth) and to free wills (goodness).
Aquinas insists, against Avicenna, that God and, it would seem, finite created intelligences as well are not properly part of the subject of First Philosophy but pertain to it only as the principles of being as such.  This might seem contradictory. If the subject of metaphysics extends to immaterial things, why do they not fall under its subject? I suggest that what Aquinas means is that since the immaterial principles of being are known only as the causes of material things they must be studied under that formality, i.e. as principles of the subject, not part of the subject. Yet such knowledge as we can have of immaterial existents by reason must be achieved in a science of being as such, not in a theology properly speaking, that is, in a science for which they are the subject. Such a science whose subject its God is possible only through principles that are revealed by God. Thus Aristotle's use of the term "theology" for First Philosophy, while defensible, is in a sense improper. Yet it should be noted that Aristotle never denied the possibility of a superhuman revelation. Abraham Bos in his fascinating Teologia cosmica e metacosmica  shows that the surviving fragments of Aristotle's dialogues show that he pondered such questions, but did not find an appropriate way to treat of them in his scientific writings. Though metaphysics is principally about being as substance.  Hence Aquinas can deny that God is a "substance" although, as Aquinas points out, the term "being as such" applies principally to substance.  It is also why Heidegger's strictures against "onto- theology" cannot possibly apply to Aquinas' thought. Consequently, the treatment of immaterial substances in Book IX (Lambda) of the Metaphysics should be considered the third principle part of metaphysics, since it answers the fourth question of any science, namely why the subject has its properties, that is, their causes. Relative to material things their causes are immaterial things, not indeed, their material causes, but their efficient, formal, and final causes. Immaterial things, however, are only exemplary not intrinsic formal causes with respect to material things.
Thus First Philosophy has three parts corresponding to the last three of the four scientific questions. The first defines being as such analogously. The second describes how its transcendental properties are realized in the special sciences. The third shows that God and created spirits are the ultimate causes of these properties of things as they are demonstrated in the special sciences.
That Aristotle by teaching that God is the final cause of the world in the Metaphysics was claimed some ancient commentators and reasserted by many modern ones. Others have held that Aristotle only makes God the efficient cause of motion, not of the existence of the world. Surely Aquinas' opinion is defensible that these assertions fail to take into account the relation of the Metaphysics, probably an opus imperfectum,  to Aristotle's other works. Having proved God's existence in Physics VIII as the First Efficient Cause of all beings and recapitulated much of what he had written there in Metaphysics X (Kappa), Aristotle had no need to again discuss God's efficient causality in XI Metaphysics.  What remained to be shown there is that granted God is the efficient cause of all beings he must also be their final cause, because these two causes are correlative.  Aquinas explicitly rejects the often-repeated assertion that for Aristotle God is the cause of the motion of material things but not their being, their esse.  Material things exist only because their matter has been given form by their efficient causes. Hence, even if, as Aristotle hypothesized, the world is eternal, it remains true that the First Cause of its motions must also cause its total being. The First Efficient Cause of being as such, therefore, is also its Final Cause Aristotle also shows that God is the Formal Cause of all things, since he is says that God is "Thought Thinking Itself" and thus the exemplar by which it produces all things in its own likeness. Thus in saying that the proper object of God's knowledge is Himself Aristotle is not asserting, as has also often been claimed, that God does not know the world that he causes.  If God is Thought Thinking Itself he must know his own acts and in doing so the things he makes and that he causes to act.
Perhaps the reason that God's knowledge and providence over the world is not very explicit in Aristotle's works is the incompleteness of his discussion in the Metaphysics of the created spiritual intelligences. It has often been noted that Aristotle omits a discussion of the human soul although in De Anima he concluded that the human intellect by which humanity is specified is a spiritual being. Suarez was led by this fact to omit discussion of the human soul in his Disputationes Metaphysicae and leave it to the psychology in natural science.  I believe this omission by Aristotle was due to the well-known problem that if the world is eternal, as he supposed, an infinite multitude of human souls separated from their bodies would now exist. This problem Aquinas solved when he showed that the Neo-Platonized version of Aristotle presented by the Arabian philosophers who held that there is a single intelligence for all humanity is inconsistent with Aristotle's own principles.  Generally, treatises in metaphysics have not only omitted the discussion of the human soul but even more often of the created intelligences. I believe both of these omissions are serious errors, but I will not here say more on this difficult topic. 
Suarez, in the second volume of his treatise, has an elaborate discussion of the categories.  These properly belong to natural science, but of course metaphysics can reflect on them in his exploration of immaterial reality. For example, Aquinas shows that while quantity, time, place, etc. cannot be applied to immaterial things, yet substance, quality, relation, action and passion can be analogically applied to them.  Morover, one can discuss how with respect to them time and place the categories of material things can have some analogical meaning, since angels are virtually limited by place and have angelic time, while when we speak of God as loving we apply the category of quality to him analogically.
It is also customary to treat in metaphysics of the ultimate principles of reasoning, such as the principle of contradiction and to devote much attention to epistemology. It is best, I think to deal with these topics under the consideration of transcendental truth and the distinction between mind- dependent or logical truth and mind-independent or ontological truth. Again the problem of act and potency, to which is given a major part in many treatises in metaphysics, is best treated along with the quasi- definition of being as principally substance in its unity. The division of being into uncreated and created and in into its various kinds, often called "special metaphysics," should be treated first at this point, and then again in respect to truth and goodness, under those transcendentals. Hence the discussion of the principles and causes of being belongs, as we have seen, to its third part.
Thus a valid metaphysics for today that could perform the service to faith and theology that John Paul II calls for, would look rather different from the standard treatises that followed on Suarez' seminal work. It would even seem quite different than the somewhat fragmentary Metaphysics that has survived in the Aristotleian corpus and on which the medievals commented as best they could. It would be an inter-disciplinary effort to compare the various now existing disciplines without any pretense to reduce them to a single science. Instead it would protect their autonomy. It would, however, explore the foundations of each of these sciences, natural science, mathematical physics, mathematics in its branches, ethics in its branches, the arts liberal, fine, and mechanical, logic, and linguistics or semantics to see if they meet critical standards. Thus under the transcendental of truth it would critically separate the dialectical and probable from the certain and demonstrative in each field. Moreover, by comparing the foundational levels of these sciences it would expose the fallacies that have arisen from the improper intrusion of one discipline on another and yet show how they could be related in the interests of the unification of knowledge. It would serve the apologetic function of Sacred Theology by showing the credibility of revelation Under the heading of the transcendentals of goodness and of beauty it would show the harmony of the "ought" and the "is" studied respectively by ethics and natural science. It would also compare and relate morality and esthetics, and provide the instrument of that "theology of glory" that Hans Urs Van Balthasar so perceptively restored.  In all these clarifications it would not be content with the efforts of current analytic philosophy to clarify language bou go deeper into ontological questions.
Finally, it its study of God the Eternal Spirit and the created persons whose end is union with him, it would restore to us both sense of the spiritual universe that is far vaster than its material portion and supply that emphasis on personalism that John Paul II supports. I believe that metaphysics so understood would also show how much there is in common between the two great theologians of the Middle Ages, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Bonaventure. Bonaventure brought out the many ways in which the metaphysical structure of created things reflects the Triune personalism, if I may use that expression, of God as the exemplary cause of all things. This will become clear also in Thomistic terms if our metaphysics centers on unity (reflecting the Father), truth (reflecting the Son), and goodness (reflecting the Holy Spirit).
Furthermore, this type of metaphysics will seize the opportunity in our post-modern times to bridge the great gap between our Catholic tradition and the modernity of modern culture, resting as that does on the objectivity of natural science and creative subjectivity of the fine arts. Once that we have become thoroughly faithful to the Aristotelian empiricism of Aquinas we can show that a valid metaphysics can be grounded in natural science, provided that the foundations of that science are critically rethought to remedy the confusions of modernism that post-modernism is exposing but cannot remedy. Both the well-established conclusions and the working hypotheses of such a rethought natural science, as well as of the other rethought special sciences, will enrich our understanding of general metaphysical truths without imperiling a philosophia perennis.
Finally, this will make possible a reform of our universities and reunification of knowledge without loss to the autonomy of the individual disciplines. For Catholic universities it will make possible the restoration of Sacred Theology as the president, but not an autocratic queen, of the sciences. As Miguel de Beistegui has shown in his Heidegger and the Political Dystopias,  Heidegger, the herald of the end of metaphysics, in his notorious rectoral address proposed such a unification of the university, as had Kant in his essay, The Conflict of the Faculties and Fichte. Their views, however, where narrowly nationalistic and vaguely idealistic. In a far nobler and realistic Christian way John Henry Newman proposed such a view in his Idea of a University that has had, I believe, an influence on Fides et Ratio.
1 Fides et Ratio, n. 83.
2 An Introduction to Metaphysics , translated by Ralph Manheim, (Garden City, NY: Doubleday/Anchor, 1961).
3 "The Elimination of Metaphysics Through Logical Analysis of Language,' translated by Arthur Pap in A.J. Ayer, ed., Logical Positivism (New York, Free Press IL, 1966), pp. 60-81.
4 Fides et Ratio, nn.43-45.
5 Since I believe that Aquinas is generally in harmony with Aquinas, in his paper I always intend to refer to both together when I speak of Aquinas' views, unless I wish explicitly to distinguish them.
7 My arguments for this with documentation were given in this workshop in the Summer of 1998 and will be published in The Thomist. See also my article ,"The River Forest School of Natural Philosophy," in R. James Long ed ., Philosophy and the God of Abraham, Essays in Memory of James A. Weisheipl , (Toronto, Pontifical Institute of Medieval Philosophy, 1991, pp. 1-16.
8 The terms "subject" and "object" often lead to confusion. In Thomistic terminology human faculties are specified by their proper objects. Sciences, however, are specified by their proper or formal subjects because it is the task of a science to prove the properties of their generic and specific subjects which are also the logical subjects of the various propositions whose properties are proved in that science as predicates of these subjects..
9 Aristotle, XI, 1, 2162, "Now the truth of the matter is that the objects of mathematics are not separate from sensible things in being but only in their intelligible structure, as has been shown above in Book VI (n.1162) and will be considered below (in. 2185)." (This and other translations of texts from this work are from St. Thomas Aquinas: Commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysics , translated with Introduction by John P. Rowan, Preface by Ralph McInerny (Notre Dame, IN: Dumb Ox, 1995).
14 I developed this theme in an article, "The Loss of Theological Unity: Pluralism, Thomism, and Catholic Morality," in Mary Jo Weaver and R. Scott Appleby , Being Right: Conservative Catholics in America (Bloomington/Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1995), pp. 63-87.
16 On these various views including McMullin's see Ian G. Barbour, Religion and Science: Historical and Contemporary Issues, Rev. ed. (San Francisco, CA: HarperSan Francisco, 1997, pp.77-105. Barbour classifies opinions as Conflict, Independence, Dialogue, and Integration and says, Three Roman Catholic authors Ernan McMullin, Karl Rahner, and David Tracy seem to me to be advocates of Dialogue, though with varying emphases. McMullin starts with a sharp distinction between religious and scientific statements that resembles the Independence position." (p. 91) I would hold for Integration, but with the qualifications and distinctions that I have put forth.
17 On Jaki's great contribution see Paul Haffner, Creation and Scientific Creativity: A Study in the Thought of S.L. Jaki (Front Royal, VA: Christendom Press, 1991. I agree with Jaki's emphasis in his Cosmos and Creator (Chicago: Gateway Editions, 1981) and Uneasy Genius: The Life and Work of Pierre Duhem (Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff, 1984 on how the Christian doctrine of creation freed science from Greek errors. Yet as Haffner makes clear Jaki has been much influenced in his philosophical views by Gilson and Maritain and in his view of the history of science by Duhem. His view of Aristotle is, in my opinion, flawed.
18 "There is no philosophical writing of Thomas Aquinas to which we could apply for an exposition of the truths concerning God and man which he considered knowable in the natural light of human reason. His commentaries on Aristotle are so many expositions of the doctrine of Aristotle, not of what might be called his own philosophy," Gilson, History of Christian Philosophy , pp. 367. For a very different view see James A. Weisheipl, OP, Friar Thomas D'Aquino: His Life Thought, and Work (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1974), pp. 281-285.
22 See S.Th., I, q. 4, aa. 1-3 in which Aquinas makes clear that we cannot define God but can know him only as the analogical cause of the creatures that are his effects. Note that this requires us first to prove that God exists as the cause of these effects before we can infer anything positive about him. Thus an analogy of attribution (effect to cause establishing existence) must precede an analogy of proportionality by which various positive things are said of God.
25 Si non est aliqua substantia praeter eas quae consistunt secundum naturam, de quibus est physica, physica erit prima scientia. Sed si aliquis sustantia immobilis, ista erit prior substantia naturali; et per consequences philosophia considerans huiusmodi substantiam, erit philosophia prima. Et quia est prima, ideo erit universalis, et erit eius eo speculari de ente inquantum es ens, et de eo quod quid est, et de his quae sunt entis inquantum est ens: eadem enm est scientia primi entis et enti communis, ut principio quarti habitum est. Aquinas, VI, 1, 1170 on Aristotle VI, 1 1026a 31, Aquinas notes this earlier, Sicut si non essent aliae substantiae priores substantiae mobilibus corporalibus, scientia naturalis esset philosophia prima, ut dicitur infra in sexto. III, 6, 398 "Thus if if there were no other substances prior to changeable corporal substances, natural science would be First Philosophy , as is said below in Book VI. "
28 See references in Note 6 above.
29 Nicomachean Ethics X, 7, 1177a 11.
30 Aquinas, Expositio super librum Boethii De Trinitate, ed. Bruno Decker, (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1959 , translated by Armand Mauer, The Division and Methods of the Sciences (Toronto: Pontificial Institute of Medieval Studies, 1963), qq. 5 and 6.
31 Aristotle, Nicomachean. Ethics , I, 1, 1052b 18-22; Aquinas S. Th. , 1I-II q. 96 1 ad3; II-II q. 47, 9, ad 2, etc.
32 According to the article "Epistemology," Encyclopaedia Britannica, 14th ed. vol. 8., p. 660. On the inventor, the Scottish philosopher, James Frederick Ferrier, see the article by George E. Davie, The Encyclopedia of Philosophy , edited by Paul Edwards (New York: Macmillan), vol. 3, pp. 188-189, but this terminological invention is not mentioned there.
33 Aristotle, Physics VIII, 10.
34 Metaphysics IV, 1, 1003a; Aquinas, IV, 1, 530
35 Thus in the allegory of the cave, Republic Note II. 514a-518 d 1 Plato reduces all knowledge to the vision of the One symbolized by the Sun..
36 Translated by John R. Catan, Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1980.
37 Aristotle, ibid.. I, 1, 71a11. See also Aquinas, "It is not possible for everything to be demonstrated since the subject [of a science] is not demonstrated but only the properties of the subject. For it is necessary to know of the subject both that it exists and what it is, as is said in the Posterior Analytics, Book I. This is because a demonstration must be from principles which are axioms (dignitates) and must be about something that is a subject and others thing that are [its] properties. Thus it is immediately evident that one of these three, namely, the axioms, are not demonstrated, since otherwise that they would have to have others axioms prior to them, which is impossible. (My translation) Aquinas, III, lect. 5, n.390.
39 Aquinas says in the Prologue to his on the Metaphysics says. "From this it is evident that, although this science studies the three classes of things mentioned above, it does not investigate any one of them as its subject, but only being in general. For the subject of a science is the genus whose causes and properties we seek, and not the causes themselves of the particular genus studied, because a knowledge of the causes of genus is the goal to which the investigation of a science attains. Now although the subject of this science is being in general, the whole of it is predicated of those things which are separate from matter both in intelligible constitution and in being. For it is not only those things which can never in exist in matter which are said to be separate from matter in their intelligible constitution and in being, such as God and the intellectual substances, but also those things which can exist without matter, such as being in general. This could not be the case, however, if their being depended on matter.
40 Milan: Vita e Pensiero, 1990.
41 Aristotle IV 2, 1003a 33 ; Aquinas IV, 1, 534 & 546.
42 S.Th. I q.3, a.5 ad 1.
43 For the current state of research on the history of the Aristotelian Corpus and the development of Aristotle's thought see William Wians, ed., Aristotle's Philosophical Development: Problems and Prospects (Lanham, MA: Rowman & Littlefield, 1996). In one sense the Metaphysics is complete since all the questions posed in Book III (Beta) are answered in it; see William H. Kane, OP, "An Introduction to Metaphysics," in his Approach to Philosophy: Elements of Thomism: A Collection of Essays (Washington, DC: The Thomist press, 1962), pp. 121-142. See also Giovanni Reale, The Concept of First Philosophy note 36 above. Nevertheless, it is clear that it is a work put together from various originally distinct writings without final revision, that is, a work in progress.
44 Aquinas says at the very beginning of the Metaphysics I, 11, 180 that Maxime haec scientia considerat causam formalem et finalem and aliquo modo etiam moventem. "This science chiefly gives consideration to the formal and final cause and somewhat ( aliquo modo) to the efficient cause. This aliquo modo as regards the efficient cause, indicates that the conclusions of metaphysics hold both for changeable and unchangeable beings it is less concerned with efficient causality. One cannot, therefore, conclude from the fact that Aristotle hear speaks chiefly of God as formal exemplary cause and as final cause that he denies that he is the first efficient cause of the material world.
45 Aristotle, V, 2, 1013a 18; Aquinas V, 2, 775. Final causality is a predetermination of efficient causality and cannot exist unless there is something predetermined to seek that end. Created things could not desire God as their end unless he had created first them and so created them to desire him.
46 Aquinas says, "Since, as it is said in II Metaphysics [1, 280] that the disposition of things is the same in being and in truth, therefore just as some things are always true and nevertheless have a cause of their truth, so Aristotle understood that some beings, namely the celestial bodies and separated [immaterial] substances exist always, yet have a cause of their being. From which it is clear that although Aristotle assumed the world was eternal, nevertheless he did not believe that God was only the cause of the world's motion and not the cause of its being as some have asserted VIII, 3, 996.. See the similar statement in VI, 1, 1164.
47 On this see Leo Elders, S.V.D., Aristotle's Theology: A Commentary on Book Lambda of the Metaphysics (Assen: Van Gorcum and Co., 1972, pp.251-268). Elders, who is often less benign in his reading of Aristotle than I would be, says "I do not think that it is necessary to assume that Lambda 9 excludes from the First Being all knowledge of the world. According to the metaphysics of Lambda 7 and 9 the world is dependent on the First Being, if not in its being, at least in its activity. As I have pointed out in the commentary on chapter seven, the first or highest being contains the fullness of being. In so far, its self-knowledge is also a knowledge of the world. It comprises, in a sense, the changes occurring in the world, for all change is in view of a terminus, which is a formal perfection. Now the first being is the best of all things. Hence it is the telos of all process. It would follow that by knowing itself it knows whatever is really the object of episteme. This knowledge never is a knowledge turned toward the world, but remains entirely concerned with the being of the First Mover; it does not even regard its causality in as far as this produces certain effects. "Aristotle did not work out this point, yet it is his merit to have made plain the first being cannot have things outside itself as an object of its knowledge. That this supreme Mind thinks the essences of all being is also intimated by the comparison of its activity with of the productive sciences" (p. 257 f.).
48 See Frederick Copleston, SJ., A History of Philosophy (New York: Doubleday/Image Books, 195 Vol III, p. 355 who says this greatly influenced later writers.
49 De unitate intellectus contra Averroistas , dated by Weisheipl somewhat before 1270.
50 In my opinion the existence of superhuman crated intelligences can be demonstrated in natural science with the sort of certitude proper to that science. This was the opinion of the noted Thomist, Charles de Koninck, Dean of theology of Laval University and I have defendws it in my Theologies of the Body: Humanist and Christian, 2nd ed. (Boston, National Catholic Bioethics Center, 1998), pp. 650-660. I am puzzled therefore why Aristotle discusses this only in Metaphysics Lambda, where his argument clearly depends on astronomical facts that pertain to natural science but omits any discussion in his natural science works. I can only attribute this to the imperfect character of that text.
51 Francisco Suarez, Disputationes Metaphysicae (Hildesheim: George Olms, 1965 reprint of Paris 1866 ed., original 1597
52 For example, see S.Th. I, q. 52-53 on in what way spiritual beings are in place q. 54-58; and in time q. 61, 2 and 2 and q. 63, 6 ad 4; and have the faculties (active qualities) of intelligence, qq. 54-58, and will, qq. 59-69; and have action, qq. 106-107, etc..
53 Hans Urs von Balthasar. The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics (San Francisco: Ignatius Press; New York: Crossroad, 1993) 7 vols.
54 London: Routledge, 1998.