Thomas Instituut te Utrecht (Tilburg University)

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Try to take seriously the alternatives to your own viewpoint

Interview with Fergus Kerr o.p.
Who are you, what do you do and where do you work?

I am Fergus Kerr, Regent of Blackfriars Hall, Oxford, and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Divinity at the University of Edinburgh.

What courses are you teaching this semester?

I have given a few lectures in Oxford on modern philosophy and am giving tutorials on Thomas Aquinas and Wittgenstein.

What research on Aquinas are you doing now?

I am completing a book of about 80,000 words commissioned by Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, provisionally entitled AQUINAS: CONFLICTING VERSIONS OF THOMISM.

Whom do you consider to be your master in Aquinas?

I have no 'master in Aquinas' but am grateful for being introduced to the study of Aquinas by Cornelius Ernst and then for the years during which I studied at Le Saulchoir (1962-64), and was taught by Jean Tonneau, Claude Geffre, Jacques Pohier and Marie Joseph Le Guillou.

What is the most important thing you learned from Aquinas?

Try to take seriously the alternatives to your own viewpoint.

What works of Aquinas are you most familiar with?

The Summa Theologiae.

What is the importance of Aquinas-research for our times (especially in your discipline)?

From the beginning of my study of Aquinas with Cornelius Ernst I have been interested in the similarities with Wittgensteinian philosophical psychology (Anscombe, Kenny) and, more recently, with neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics (MacIntyre, Hauerwas, Nussbaum).

Do you know about the Thomas Instituut te Utrecht? If so, what do you think of it? To what matters should the Thomas Instituut lend priority?

I know only that the Thomas Instituut exists.

What do you expect from the Internet in the future? In what way should the Thomas Instituut anticipate these developments?

I imagine that many journals will be replaced by exchanges on the Internet but do not use it enough to have any clear expectations of developments.

Can you give the titles of some of your publications so that readers may get to know more about your work?

I have published hundreds of articles and reviews but only two books: Theology after Wittgenstein (Blackwell Publishers 1986, expanded edition SPCK 1997) and Immortal Longings: Versions of Transcending Humanity (SPCK and University of Notre Dame Press 1997).

Carlo Leget