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Thomistic Perspectives "Understanding Consciousness" Series


October 22, 2019 at 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM EDT


120 Physical Science Building


Dr. Mark Barker

Thomistic Institute

The cogitative power is a comparatively little-known topic in Aquinas’s philosophical psychology. Yet it is of great importance, since it constitutes the bridge between the embodied external senses and the imagination, on the one hand, and the immaterial intellect and universal reason, on the other. Analyzing the cogitative takes us back to its origins in ancient Greek and medieval Arabic philosophy. By attributing names such as “particular reason” to the cogitative power, Aquinas elucidates its infra-intellectual nature. This talk illuminates the cogitative’s myriad functions, which range from perceiving threats to moral reasoning regarding individual actions. A reception that is free and open to all will follow the lecture.

Mark J. Barker, Ph.D.

Professor of Philosophy at Notre Dame Seminary

Dr. Barker was born and raised in New York City. He completed a doctorate in philosophy at the Center for Thomistic Studies (Houston). He holds an M.A. from the University of Paris (the Sorbonne) and a B.A. in Classical and Romance Languages from Harvard University, which included studies at the University of Seville, Spain. He studied two years of graduate-level theology while in France. While Dr. Barker has a broad range of competencies, his research focuses on philosophical psychology, notably in Aquinas, Aristotle, Avicenna, and Averroes. His research in contemporary philosophy focuses on Heidegger. He also translates Spanish, French, and Latin scholarly texts.

Dr. Barker enjoys teaching philosophy because it disposes seminarians to live holier lives and enables them to better defend truths accessible to reason such as the existence of God or the right to life.

His publications include: “Aquinas on Internal Sensory Intentions: Nature and Classification,” International Philosophical Quarterly 52.2 (2012); “Experience and Experimentation: The Meaning of Experimentum in Aquinas,” The Thomist 76.3 (2012); Review of Martin Rhonheimer, Vital Conflicts in Medical Ethics, in International Philosophical Quarterly 51.1 (2011); “Material Cooperation with Abortion: A Test-case,” Homiletic and Pastoral Review 109 (2009). He is nearing the completion of a book-length manuscript entitled Aquinas on the Cogitative Power: Sensory Knowledge of Kinds.

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