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Aquinas’ Reality by Bishop Richard N. Williamson

Read Thomas Aquinas in the original Latin –
The greatest healer of minds one can imagine!
In one single Article of his common sense Summa Theologiae (I, 85, 2) St Thomas Aquinas refuted, some 500 years in advance, the nonsense of Kant and his numerous followers in modern times, according to which our human minds can know only the appearances of things around us. According to Kant, we human beings cannot know the reality of things as they really are behind their appearances. The thing as it is in itself, in German “das Ding an sich,” is absolutely unknowable by us. In that case, one may well ask, how do we even know that there exists any “Ding an sich” behind the appearances of things? Sure enough, Kant’s followers paid no more attention to any supposed reality in itself, or extra-mental reality, and modern “philosophy” was off into the Alice in Wonderland of the smile of the Cheshire Cat still in the tree after the cat has disappeared. Good bye, reality. Welcome, literally, any imaginable fantasy!
Aquinas has two common sense arguments to knock poor Kant out of the stadium. For instance, I see a horse in a meadow. Now the horse is obviously not inside my head, but only some representation of the horse. Now is that representation of the horse by which I know the horse, like a window on the horse itself so that the horse itself is what I know; or is that representation itself what I know, like a picture of the horse which portrays the horse but gives me no view of the horse itself? For Aquinas, representations in our mind are like windows on the reality outside our minds. For Kant they are like pictures behind or beyond which we can see nothing. For Aquinas they are whereby we know, for Kant they are what we know.

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