On the lack of true philosophic spirit in Aquinas

Philosophy 76 (4):615-624 (2001)
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Mark Nelson claims that Russell's remarks—in his History of Western Philosophy—about Aquinas are ‘breathtakingly supercilious and unfair’ and ‘sniffy’. I argue that Nelson completely misrepresents Russell's criticisms of Aquinas. In particular, I argue that the silly epistemological doctrine which Nelson attributes to Russell plays no role at all in the criticism which Russell actually makes of Aquinas. Since—as Nelson himself concedes—there is no other reason to think that Russell commits himself to the epistemological doctrine in question, either in the passages under discussion or elsewhere, I conclude that there is equal justice in the claim that it is Nelson's dismissal of Russell which is ‘unfair’ and ‘sniffy’.
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