The Afterlife: A Potential Problem in Aquinas’s Psychology

Thomas Aquinas’s attempted solution to the problem of substance dualism (i.e., the mind/body connection) involved his use of Aristotelian language to define the intellectual soul as the “form” of the body. Yet, in order to account for the separated state of the soul after death Thomas was forced to stretch Aristotle’s concept of “formal substance” to explain the Christian teaching on the soul’s disembodied afterlife. He maintains that the soul is the intellectual form of the body but is also per se subsistens (existing on its own) and that the agent intellect does not make use of any bodily organ in the act of intellection. Krista Hyde, in a master’s thesis submitted to the University of Missouri at Saint Louis, makes note of Aquinas’s attempt to connect the mind and body in one substantial form but also points out the metaphysical problem that this causes:

In this way, Aquinas reframes the mind-body connection and escapes the interaction problem, but this opens him up to another, potentially fatal, flaw. The weakness of his argument is that it is not clear how such a soul could separate from the body and survive its death, despite his protestations that this act of the body is also substantial. Aquinas maintains that the human soul is an abstract form and a concrete particular thing. He has accounted for the soul as the form of the body. It is intuitive, however, that such forms would have to be Platonic (that is, an incorporeal, abstract idea, having the highest level of reality and to which humans have access only through the world of perception and sensation) if they can be said to depart from the body and remain in existence with some function until the time of the resurrection and judgment, as required by Christian doctrine. Aquinas, of course, would never accept his philosophy as Platonic, especially on this account, because he insists that matter is for the edification of the soul. Plato maintains that the soul simply “uses” matter, but that matter is unnecessary.

If the soul is a state, it must be one that can exist apart from that which bears it. Though the concept of the free radical is helpful as an illustration of the soul as form, it fails to exemplify this aspect; the free radical is not immaterial. The soul as organizing force of the body may be fatal to Aquinas’s psychology. If the soul is seen as a sort of genetic code or as software to the body’s hardware, however, it may be possible to imagine its survival in an immaterial state, to be employed (later, during the afterlife) in organizing prime matter once more.

A counter-objection might suggest that the soul survives between death and resurrection, but is “activated” again upon the resurrection. It does not seem likely that Aquinas would be willing to accept that the soul is totally incapacitated until Judgment, since he insists that the soul retains its proper operations: will, intellectual memory, and understanding.

~ Hyde, Thomas Aquinas: Soul-Body Connection and the Afterlife, pp. 29-30.)

An interesting note to add to this is that many of Aquinas’s followers did move in a more Platonic direction after his death. Fast-forward to the 15th century and one can see with Marsilio Ficino a student of Aquinas’s thought who turns to the original sources of the Platonic tradition to explain this very problem. He argues that the soul uses various vehicles (pace Proclus) and thus maintains its formal functionality even when separated from the body. Ficino’s solution is no less problematic, however, (it does not fully explain the necessity of the soul’s embodiment) and begs the question of whether the immortality of the soul can be proven philosophically without at the same time directly appealing to such doctrines as the hypostatic union of Christ’s natures as found in the Chalcedonean definition. Whether Hyde’s proposed solution with regard to the soul as “software” or “genetic code” of the body is helpful is, of course, up to the reader to decide.

Johannes Tauler (†1361), the Image of God, and the ‘Dominican’ Proclus

For those interested in the recovery of Neoplatonic texts in Late Medieval Europe and/or the Protestant Reformation, TaulerJohannes Tauler should be quite interesting. He was a Dominican student of Meister Eckhart and his works were quite influential for Martin Luther. Tauler’s concept of the imago Dei was one of the most unique of his time. In a sermon on John 3:11 Tauler explicitly distances himself from Thomas Aquinas’s concept of the imago. For Tauler the Seelengrund (ground of the soul) is the true image of the Trinity as opposed to the traditional Augustinian concept of the imago as reflected in memory, understanding, and will. One may only enter their Seelengrund, says Tauler, by shedding “all outward attachments” and “pious action” since, in one’s return to the hidden God “exterior precepts and techniques will be of no avail.” Tauler’s doctrine of the Seelengrund is unique because it is partly influenced by his readings of a quite recently translated passage from Proclus’s De Providentia. Tauler explains:

(English translation below)

Hievon sprach ein heidenscher meister Proculus: alle die wile und also lange da der mensche mit den bilden die under uns sint, umbget und mangeld do nút, so ist daz nut gelouplich daz der mensche in disen grunt iemer komen múge; das ist uns zümole ein ungloube daz das in uns si; wir múgent nút gelouben das es si und ouch in uns si, sunder – sprach er – wiltu daz bevinden das ez si, so la alle manigvaltekeit und sich dis an mit eime verstentlichen gesihte dis ein; wiltu nu noch hoher kummen, so la das vernúnftige gesihte und daz ansehen, wan die vernunft ist under dir unde wurt eins mit dem einen, und er nemmet dis eine alsus: eine stille swigende sloffende götteliche unsinnige dúnsternisse. Kinder, das ein heiden dis verstunt und darzü kam, das wir dem also verre und also ungelich sint, das ist uns laster und grosse schande. Dis bezúgete unser herre do er sprach: ‘das rich Gottes ist in úch’…

A pagan master, Proclus, has this to say on the subject [of the imago Dei]: “As long as man is occupied with images inferior to himself, and as long as he does not go beyond them, it is unlikely that he will ever reach this depth. It will appear an illusion to really believe that this groung exists within us; we doubt that it can actually exist in us. Therefore,” he continues, “if you wish to experience its existence, you must abandon all multiplicity and concentrate your attention on this one thing with the eyes of your intellect; and if you wish to rise higher, you must put aside all rational methods, for reason is now beneath you, and then you may become united with the One.” And he calls this state a divine darkness: still, silent, at rest , and above all sense perception. Beloved, it is a disgraceful thing that a pagan philosopher understood and attained this truth, while we are so far from both. Our Lord expressed the same truth when he said: “The kingdom of God is within us.” – Tauler, translated by Maria Shrady in Johannes Tauler: Sermons, The Classics of Western Spirituality, (Paulist Press, 1985), 105.

According to Loris Sturlese, Tauler does not merely quote Proclus as an authority but implies that he understands the context and some of the more intricate details of Proclus’s philosophy. Judging the content of Tauler’s few references to Proclus, Sturlese determines that he must have had full access to three whole chapters of Proclus’s De Providentia (from where the references originate) within the Tria Opuscula translated by William of Moerbeke ca. 1268. Sturlese explains the full extent of the influences on Tauler’s concept of the Seelengrund:

(English translation below)

Tauler lehnt die thomistische These ab, die Gottebenbildlichkeit der Seele bestehe in der aktuallen Entfaltung ihrer Seelenvermögen (Gedächtnis, Verstand und Wille), und betont, das Bild Gottes liege vielmehr »in dem allerverborgensten tieffesten grunde der selen«, wobei er sich ausdrücklich auf Proklos … und stillschweigend auf Dietrich und Berthold beruft […]. Die Lehre Dietrichs, die er für sich in Anspruch nimmt, ist seine bekannte Identifizierung des Bildes Gottes mit dem »abditus mentis« Augustins […]. Die Lehre des Proklos ist die des »unum animae«, in noch ausführlicherer Weise im Rahmen der Erklärung des Begriffes vom Gemüt … dargestellt wird […]. Tauler macht sich das Proklische »unum animae« zunutze, um der Interpretation des »abditum mentis« im Sinne des Intellekts, die Dietrich von Freiberg – einem Motiv Alberts des Großen folgend – vorgetragen hatte (Tauler kennt sie…), die Deutung des »abditum mentis« als transintellektuelles Prinzip gegenüberzustellen […]. Hierbei zeigt sich Tauler als vom philosophischen Denken Bertholds von Moosburg abhängig, denn er interpretiert die Proklischen Texte zum »unum« in einer Weise, die bei Berthold, und nur bei ihm, eine genaue Entsprechung findet… Unter dem Gesichtspunkt der damaligen deutschen philosophischen Debatte betrachtet, ist Taulers Übereinstimmung mit Berthold als eine Stellungnahme gegen den Thomismus anzusehen, welche die in der Dominikanerprovinz verbreitete Stimmung reflektierte, die ihre markanteste Erscheinung im Prokloskommentar des Moosburger Lektors fand… – Loris Sturlese, Homo Divinus: Philosophische Projekte in Deutschland zwischen Meister Eckhart und Heinrich Seuse, (Kohlhammer GmbH: Stuttgart, 2007), 194, 195).

Tauler rejected the thomistic position, that the image of God in the soul consists in the actual development of its faculties (memory, understanding, and will), and stresses , that the image of God lies, rather, “in the completely hidden, deepest ground of the soul,” whereby he makes explicit reference to Proclus … and by implication to Dietrich [von Freiberg] and Berthold [von Moosburg] […] Dietrich’s theory, which [Tauler] claimed for himself, is his well-known identification of the image of God with the “abditus mentis” [the hidden depth of the mind] of Augustine. Proclus’s theory is that of the “unum animae” [the one in the soul], depicted in a yet more detailed way in the context of the representation of ideas from the mind. Tauler made use of Proclus’s doctrine of the “unum animae” in order to counterpose the interpretation of the “abditum mentis” as properly intellectual – and Tauler knew that Dietrich von Freiberg followed the motive of Albert the Great in handing down this concept – with the reading of the “abditus mentis” as a trans-intellectual principle. By this Tauler shows that he is dependent upon the philosophical thought of Berthold von Moosburg, because he interpreted the text of Proclus regarding the “one” in such a way that one finds an exact equivalent [of it] in Berthold’s work and only in his work. When viewed from the perspective of the German philosophical debate of the time, Tauler’s agreement with Berthold is seen as a reaction against Thomism, which reflected a common attitude in the Dominican Order and which found its most marked appearance in the Proclus-commentary of the Moosburg lecturers.

Tauler was a fellow Dominican and resided in the same cloister as Berthold von Moosburg, the first in the European West to read and comment upon a major work of Proclus’s, i.e., the Elements of Theology – Aquinas commented on a portion of the Liber de Causis which contains selections from Proclus’s Elements translated from Arabic. So, Sturlese argues, it is most likely the case that Tauler received excerpts from Proclus’s De Providentia from his Dominican brother. Combining this new teaching of the “one in the soul” with the mysticism of Albertus Magnus mediated by Dietrich’s earlier teaching (which Eckhart also incorporated into his theology) on Augustine’s abditus mentis, Tauler was able to construct a theology of the imago Dei that challenged the hegemony of the Dominican magisterium. Tauler’s theology also functioned as an apologetic for what he saw as humanity’s absolute need of the divine mediation of Christ to enable one to lose oneself and return to the One within the Seelengrund, which, as he says, is the “Kingdom of God within us.”

“The distinction between natural and supernatural, in fact, broke down.”

Perelandra
Perelandra

We tend to think about non-human intelligences in two distinct categories which we label “scientific” and “supernatural” respectively.  We think, in one mood, of Mr. Well’s Martians (very unlike the real Malacandrians, by the bye), or his Selenites.  In quite a different mood we let our minds loose on the possibility of angels, ghosts, fairies, and the like.  But the very moment we are compelled to recognize a creature in either class as real the distinction begins to get blurred:  and when it is a creature like an eldil the distinction vanishes altogether.  These things were not animals – to that extent one had to classify them with the second group; but they had some kind of material vehicle whose presence could (in principle) be scientifically verified.  To that extent they belonged to the first group.  The distinction between natural and supernatural, in fact, broke down; and when it had done so, one realized how great a comfort it had been – how it had eased the burden of intolerable strangeness which this universe imposes on us by dividing it into two halves and encouraging the mind never to think of both in the same context. (C.S. Lewis, Perelandra, p. 11)

Philip Schaff on Aquinas’s Distinction b/twn Theology and Philosophy

Thomas made a clear distinction between philosophy and religion, reason and revelation, than had been made before by any of the Schoolmen. The reason is not competent by its own powers to discover the higher truths pertaining to God, such as the doctrine of the Trinity. The ideas which the natural mind can reach are the preambula fidei, that is, the ideas which pertain to the vestibule of faith. Theology utilizes the reason, not it is true, to prove faith, for such a process would take away the merit of faith, but to throw light on doctrines which are furnished by revelation. Theology is the higher science, both because of the certainty of its data and on account of the superior excellence of its subject-matter. There is no contradiction between philosophy and theology. Both are fountains of knowledge. Both come from the same God. (History of the Christian Church, Vol. 5: The Middle Ages 1049-1294, pp. 666, 667). 

Exodus 3:14 and God as Being

**The purpose of this post is not to give a grammatical historical interpretation of the above mentioned text nor to set up the opinion of the Reformers et al as the bastion of Truth.  The purpose is to demonstrate that certain traditions of interpretation were carried on by the Reformers et al, thus marking a plane of continuity between them and the Scholastics.  Secondly, although I disagree with particular methods and opinions of John Frame I must admit my indebtedness to his Doctrine of the Knowledge of God.  If it were not for Van Til and Van Tillians such as Frame I probably would not even be reading books. They definitely awakened me out of a fundamentalist lethargy and anti-intellectualism. Ironic, aye?

John Frame thinks Aquinas’s (and other “Scholastics”) interpretation of Exodus 3:14 (God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”) is way too old-timey (i.e. Medieval). For those who don’t know Aquinas interpreted the sum qui sum (greek: ho on) of this passage to mean that God is ipsum esse subsistens (subsistent Being). He says in his Summa:

This name HE WHO IS is most properly applied to God … because of its signification. For it does not signify form, but simply existence itself. Hence since the existence of God is His essence itself, which can be said of no other, it is clear that among other names this one specially denominates God, for everything is denominated by its form. (ST I. Q.13, a.11)  

Therefore, because God does not receive existence from a different source than himself his existence is his essence, and it is he who gives existence (i.e. being) to all of creation.  Also, “Existence” is not a univocal term, as if God exists in the same way the Statue of Liberty does.  Aquinas explains:

As we read in the book of Causes, God’s existing is individually distinguished from all other existing by the very fact that it is an existing subsistent in itself, and not one supervening on a nature other than existing itself. (Quaestiones Disputate de Potentia, Q. 7, a.2)

One could and should ask why Aquinas interprets God’s revelation of himself in this passage as ipsum esse subsistens.  Fran O’Rourke says that he does this for two reasons.  First, because God refers to himself as sum qui sum (Vulgate).  Second, because Dionysius interprets it ontologically as well.  He says, “Aquinas discovered in reliance upon Dionysius both the theological and ontological signification of this passage.” (O’Rourke, Pseudo-Dionysius and the Metaphysics of Aquinas, p. 131) Of course Aquinas was just as much an Augustinian as he was a follower of Dionysius and Aristotle.  For example, compare Aquinas’s interpretation of sum qui sum from his Summa with St. Augustine’s statement in the City of God:

… understand that which God spoke by the angel when He sent Moses to the children of Israel:  “I am that I am.”  For since God is the supreme existence, that is to say, supremely is, and is therefore unchangeable, the things that He made He empowered to be, but not to be supremely like Himself. (XII.2)

Therefore, the interpretation of the sum qui sum of Exodus 3:14 as Subsistent Being in Aquinas is just as much Augustinian as Neo-Platonic.  And guess what else.  It’s Calvinistic.  Here’s how Calvin interprets this same passage in Exodus:

The verb in the Hebrew is in the future tense, “I will be what I will be:” but it is of the same force as the present, except that it designates the perpetual duration of time.  This is very plain, that God attributes to himself alone divine glory, because he is self-existent and therefore eternal; and thus gives being and existence to every creature. (Harmony of the Four Last Books of Moses)

This interpretation of Calvin’s is almost identical with that of Augustine and Aquinas.  In fact Richard Muller points out that this position was also held by many of the later orthodox reformed theologians.  He states:

Following out the medieval tradition, Mastricht rests the doctrine of the essence and independence of God on Exodus 3:13-14, specifically on God’s answer to Moses’ question concerning his name:  Mastricht renders the answer, “ero qui ero,” “I will be who I will be,” noting that the Hebrew might also be rendered “sum qui sum.” His sensitivity to the implications of the Hebrew verb reflects the arguments of Reformers like Bullinger and Musculus and of early orthodox writers like Zanchi and Polanus, just as his doctrinal conclusions echo the results of exegesis in his time:  Diodati, for example, interpreted the text as saying “I am the only true God, truly subsisting, & not only through the opinion of men as Idols are; I am he that have an everlasting beeing, unchangeable, substisting of its self, not depending from others, infinite, most simple, the author and cause of the beeing of all things:  not a borrowed, changeable, finite, dependent, and compounded being, etc. as all other creatures have.” (Muller, PRRD, Vol. 3, The Divine Essence and Attributes, p. 233)

Muller notes that this Reformed interpretation is not a proof-texting for certain metaphysical and rationalist presuppositions.  He notes, “Here too, we are not encountering a rank proof-texting, but rather an application of the older hermeneutic whereby either direct declarations of Scripture or conclusions capable of being drawn from the text are understood as the basis of vaild [sic] teaching.” (Ibid., p. 237) John Frame, in critiquing Aquinas’s interpretation is also critiquing an Augustinian and Reformed interpretation.  Furthermore, he is not quite clear about why he believes it to be erroneous.  He says:

This text, plus a number of premises from Platonic (especially Neoplatonic) and Aristotelean philosophy, forms the basis for a rather complicated metaphysical theory of the divine being that has influenced many theological discussions of the doctrine of God.  The relationship of this theory to Scripture is rather tenuous, especially if we reject, as I think we should, Aquinas’s interpretation of Exodus 3:14. (The Doctrine of God, p. 220)

Frame then goes on to state charitably that Aquinas had a deep desire to maintain a Creator/creature distinction.  He even catalogues certain Scholastic definitions such as essence, substance, being, form, etc. in order to give his readership a greater contextual knowledge.  However, despite Frame’s statement of his opinion that Aquinas’s interpretation of Exodus 3:14 should be trashed he never offers a more thorough critique than:

… we should remember that Aquinas and his followers distinguished quite sharply between divine and human being, between Being and beings.  All the same, the structure seems rather univocal for a thinker, Aquinas, who elsewhere insists that all, or at least most of our language about God is analogical. (Ibid., p. 223)

This critique, Frame informs the reader, is based on the fact that Aquinas does not discuss the anologia entis in his De ente et essentia. (Ibid., p. 224) Firstly, I almost can’t make sense of that argument (is that even an argument?).  Secondly, the De ente et essentia, according to Jean-Pierre Torrell, was one of Aquinas’s early works in which he makes certain statements in agreement with Ibn Rushd and Ibn Sina that he would later be more cautious about (due to certain controversies).  Thirdly, Aquinas is very clear in his Summa and in the passage quoted above from Quaestiones Disputate de Potentia that God’s Being is hyperousion (beyond being). Frame’s opinion here stated is simply wrong. 

Frame continues stating, “I have no problem affirming that God is a necessary being, but on the basis of Scripture … rather than on specifically Thomistic premises.” (Ibid., p. 224) With this statement one can sense Frame’s presuppositions regarding Medieval Scholasticism – he also says that the scholastic concepts are “an unnecessary complication.”  As I shall discuss in a following post Frame presupposes that the Scholastics used terms based on autonomous reasoning to subvert the Biblical text and distort the original meaning, accepting instead the presuppositions of Greek philosophy.  I shall deal with this contention later.  For now it has been my point to demonstrate at least two points in regard to John Frame’s critique of Aquinas’s interpretation of Exodus 3:14: (1) Because Frame fails to realize and note the fact that his critique of Aquinas is also a critique of a traditionally Christian and Reformed hermeneutic his presentation of the problem as “Scholasticism” cannot be more than a caricature. (2) Because Frame’s disagreements with Aquinas on this point are never substantiated beyond mere conjecture and opinion he leaves the reader suspicious at best of a straw man fallacy.  This also makes the reader suspicious of Frame’s motive in attacking Aquinas.  Is his motive based on scholarship or a bias toward a particular apologetic method?  Stay tuned…

Aquinas’s Contra Gentiles Also Contra Autonomy

Rudi Te Velde says that Aquinas did not write the Summa contra Gentiles as a missionary manual for Dominicans to evangelize the Muslims.  This timeless work was written to refute certain errors that had come to light in the Medieval context. These errors go beyond that of the Muslim faith.

Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas

The list of errors is not restricted to contemporary thought. The errors are attributed to the ancient natural philosophers, to the “Platonists,” to Avicenna and Averroes (they are not in all respects trustworthy guides in interpreting Aristotle), to heretics like Origen and the Manichees, but most of all simply to “quidam,” to anonymous teachers who hold a more or less reasonable opinion, based on philosophical principles, that conflicts with the truth of Christian faith. (Te Velde, “Natural Reason in the Summa Contra Gentiles” in Brian Davies, ed. Thomas Aquinas: Contemporary Philosophical Perspectives, p. 127)

Aquinas must be seen in his context.  The Christian world had known the philosophy of the Neo-Platonists since the very beginning but the Medieval world experienced a rebirth of Aristotle, who was being introduced and interpreted mainly by Muslim and Jewish authors.  Aristotle’s non-Christian interpreters were leading Medieval teachers at the University of Paris and elsewhere astray with their extreme synthesis. Therefore, Aquinas saw it as his goal to rescue Aristotle from the extremists and preserve the Christian faith, all in the name of Truth.  Te Velde also affirms that Aquinas did not present arguments based on pure reason divorced from Christian Truth.  He was doing the opposite – basing his arguments for truth on the first principles claimed by his opponents:

Aquinas’s strategy is to discuss and combat the claims in the light of reason’s own criteria and rules learned from the philosophi themselves. Insofar as faith requires not only confession but also reflection and understanding in order to be a human faith, Aquinas shows the believer how ‘philosophical’ reason can be assimilated if only reason is brought to correct its errors and false pretensions and becomes aware of its human point of view in relation to the truth of faith. (Ibid)

The contra Gentiles was therefore written for Christians to consider the arguments of the philosophi and their contradictions, not only with the claims of Sacra Pagina but with those philosophi’s own first principles of knowledge.  That’s not all either. Aquinas aimed to demonstrate the foolishness of relying solely on natural reason as a foundation for claims at Truth.  Te Velde continues:

A reason that cannot tolerate our being asked to hold something on faith represents a veritable Trojan horse for the Christian community.  If reason were justified in its claim to autonomy, the only way Christianity could affirm its faith would be by rejecting reason, by excluding rational reflection based on philosophy.  Aquinas chooses not to go along that way.  It is his conviction that natural reason can be integrated in the Christian consciousness of truth, but not unless reason gives up its claim to autonomy and acknowledges its human condition in knowing the truth [emphasis added].  Not reason as such, but the presumption of reason to have an absolute hold on truth prevents a reasonable understanding of the truth of faith.  So the issue is not a defense of the ‘reasonableness’ of Christian faith before reason. Aquinas’s objective is to confirm natural reason with its own condition, to make reason aware of its limitations in order to prevent reason from unreflectively imposing its own limits on the search for truth.  We need more truth than our reason can grasp. (Ibid., p. 129) 

So, contrary to what Evangelical Christians often assume about Aquinas his was actually an argument against autonomy.  The contra Gentiles was not written to atheists nor to anyone outside the Christian community.  It was written to Christians as a guide for the perplexed in order to answer the “new” philosophical arguments that seemed to contradict Christian tradition and faith.  In the end Aquinas’s answer to the gentiles was based on the authority of scripture, pointing out the absurdity of claiming absolute Truth and certainty from an autonomous appeal to the human intellect.

Borrowed Truth

As I read it is becoming more clear to me that folks like Van Til, Schaeffer, and Bahnsen did not invent the idea that Modern Philosophy has borrowed turf from Christianity.  Van Til was critical of Medieval Philosophy for being too rationalistic but Ettiene Gilson in his The Spirit of Mediaeval Philosophy argues that Modern Philosophy borrowed just as much from Augustine as it did from Plato and Aristotle. He notes that philosophical works from the 17th and 18th centuries would be difficult to explain without taking into account the “Christian Philosophy” of the Medievals, who may have overemphasized man’s reasoning capabilities but never allowed that reason to contradict the fundamentals of faith: 

Open for example the works of Rene Descartes, the reformer of philosophy par excellence, of whom Hemelin went so far as to say that “he is in succession with the ancients, almost as if – with the exception of a few naturalists – there had been nothing but a blank between.”  What are we to make of this “almost”? Consider, to start with, the title of the Meditations sur la metaphysique, “in which are demonstrated the existence of God and the immortality of the soul.” Consider, again, the close kinship of Descartes’ proofs of God with those of St. Augustine or even those of St. Thomas.  It would not be at all difficult to show that his doctrine of liberty owes a great deal to the mediaeval speculations on the relations between grace and free-will – a Christian problem, if ever there was one. (Gilson, p. 13)

Gilson also points out that Hume, in his pronouncement against causality, borrowed heavily from Malebranche.  “Now to whom does Malebranche appeal?  To St. Augustine quite as much as to Descartes.” (Ibid., p. 15)

BTW:  Gilson wrote this in 1931.