January 28, 2014
Professor of Philosophy Therese Scarpelli Cory just published “Aquinas on Self-Knowledge” (Cambridge Press, 2013). In her book, she examines Aquinas’s views on self-knowledge, dispelling the myth that the concept of the “self” and “self-knowledge” are mainly modern topics of interest.
“The concept of self-knowledge was very much a topic of interest for medieval Latin and Islamic thinkers, long before the 16th century when Descartes wrote ‘I think, therefore I am,’” Cory said.
According to Cory, Aquinas, who lived 1225-1274, “begins his theory of self-knowledge from the claim that all our self-knowledge is dependent on our experience of the world around us.” In a blog post about her book, she shows that “like philosophers and neuroscientists today, medieval thinkers were just as curious about why the mind is so intimately familiar, and yet so inaccessible, to itself."
Cory, who received her PhD from Catholic University of America, joined the faculty in the Philosophy Department in 2010. Her research examines medieval cognition theories, with special focus on Thomas Aquinas. She is particularly interested in tracing the influence of Arabic thought on cognition theory in Aquinas and his predecessors, and is an active member of the Aquinas and 'the Arabs' International Working Group. She recently received a grant from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to conduct research at the Universität Würzburg, Germany.
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