The scientific developments of the renaissance were powerful and they stimulate new ways of thought that one can be tempted to disregard any role medieval thinking plays in the general development of both renaissance and post renaissance philosophy up till today. It would be a mistake to take it that Descartes, Locke achieved a total radical break from the past and inaugurated a completely new philosophical era. One cannot understand scholars like Descartes or Locke without having some real knowledge of medieval thinking. Thus, in this essay, I wish to show that Aquinas, a thinker of the middle ages, thought on knowledge is of permanent value and that it deserves respect and due consideration for today’s discourse of philosophy. Aquinas Theory on Knowledge: His philosophy is based on the premise that knowledge and being are correlates. “In so far a thing is, it is knowable and in this resides its ontological truth.” Thus, the Thomistic theory of knowledge is a realist theory. It plays an integral part in his metaphysics and philosophy of being. Aquinas is not interested in the problem of objective as we have it in modern thinking and today rather, he is much more interested in how we acquire our knowledge and put them to use. Simply put, he investigates the process of knowledge. He identified three levels of acquiring knowledge namely: sense-experience, imaginations or ideations and intellection. Aquinas thus made an important contribution to epistemology, recognising the central part played by sense perception in human cognition. It is through the senses that we first become acquainted with existent, material things. Sense experience is contact with material things through the senses which supplies materials for the formation of ideas in imagination upon which understanding climbs to contemplate. It is thus a misconception to suppose that the fundamental role of sense perception was a discovery of the classical British empiricist. It is a...
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