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Aquinas' Five Ways

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

King's Authors


The famous ?five ways? to demonstrate the existence of God, which Aquinas presents at the outset of his magisterial Summa Theologiae, represent one of the most revisited and researched topics in the history of philosophy and theology. Yet the question as to how to interpret them remains heavily contested. In this article, I will shed some new light on the purpose and significance of the five ways, by interpreting them with reference to some other key articles in the Summa on the nature of knowledge of God, and indeed, with reference to the broader context of this text. This interpretation will draw attention to the pastoral or pedagogical function the proofs can be understood to perform, a function which has not been highlighted sufficiently in the past.

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