more from Thomas Aquinas

Single Idea 22169

[catalogued under 12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 3. Innate Knowledge / a. Innate knowledge]

Full Idea

For present in us by nature are certain initial truths everyone knows, in which lie potentially known conclusions our reasons can draw out and make actually known.

Gist of Idea

Initial universal truths are present within us as potential, to be drawn out by reason


Thomas Aquinas (Quodlibeta [1267], 8.2.2)

Book Reference

McDermott,Timothy: 'Aquinas: how to read' [Granta 2007], p.19

A Reaction

Note that these are truths rather than concepts, but that they have to be 'drawn out' by reason. This is Descartes' view of the matter, where the 'natural light' of reason is needed to articulate what is innate, such as geometry.