Domenic D’Ettore Earns Doctorate in Philosophy
Domenic D’Ettore, a doctoral candidate in the University of St. Thomas Center for Thomistic Studies program, publicly defended his dissertation on April 23 before the University community and his dissertation board.
D’Ettore’s dissertation was accepted by the Center for Thomistic Studies and in May he will be the 21st recipient of a doctorate in philosophy from the University of St. Thomas.
The purpose of D’Ettore’s dissertation, titled “Early Thomists on Demonstration with Analogous Terms,” is to defend the demonstration through analogical terms given by early Thomists, such as Thomas of Sutton (1250-1315/20) and John Capreolus (1380-1444), in the face of objections that such demonstration is fallacious from John Duns Scotus (c.1265-1308) and those influenced by Scotus, such as Henry of Harclay (ca. 1270-1317) and Peter of Auriol (ca. 1280-1322).
The virtue of the Scotist position is its preservation of the apparent integrity of arguments from perfections in creatures to those same perfections in God. The weakness of this position is that it blurs the distinction between God and creatures. The strength of the Thomist position is the preservation of the distinction of God from creatures.
D’Ettore’s dissertation considers whether or not the early Thomist tradition provides the contemporary Thomist with an adequate answer as to how Thomas’s doctrine of analogy avoids the problems Scotus and his early successors find in it and what aspects these Thomists left for future Thomists to develop.
D’Ettore’s dissertation committee included Dr. Jeremy Wilkins, associate professor in the School of Theology; Dr. Thomas Osborne, Jr., associate professor of philosophy; Dr. John F.X. Knasas, professor and Bishop Nold Chair in graduate philosophy; Dr. Mirela Oliva, assistant professor of philosophy; Dr. Mary Catherine Sommers, professor of philosophy and director of the Center for Thomistic Studies; and external reader Dr. Joshua Hochschild, dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Mount St. Mary’s University.
Hochschild stated in the summary of his examination of the dissertation that he felt “confident that Mr. D’Ettore’s dissertation represents a genuine contribution to the field.”