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Doctoral Student Passes Aquinas Dissertation Defense

David Arias and Dissertation CommitteeDavid Arias, doctoral student in philosophy, passed the defense of his dissertation titled "Rediscovering the Principles of Nature: An Explication of St. Thomas Aquinas's Hylomorphic Doctrine and a Defense of this Doctrine Against Some Ancient and Modern Objections," on Aug. 13.

As a student in the Center for Thomistic Studies, Arias' public defense focused on the principal thesis question, “What are the most fundamental principles and causes from which natural substances, such as men, horses and oak trees, come to be and are?” Arias said with his thesis he attempted to show that St. Thomas Aquinas’ answer was true. 

"Based on his understanding of Aristotle’s works, St. Thomas maintains that the natural substances in the world around us come to be from first matter, substantial form and the privation of substantial form," Arias said. "In addition to explicating St. Thomas’ teaching on this matter, I attempted to address various objections made against this doctrine, both by the ancients and contemporary scholars."

As part of his defense, Arias answered two rounds questions from the examiners, Chair Dr. James Clarage, physics assistant professor, Director Dr. John Knasas, philosophy professor,  Reader Dr. John Hittinger, philosophy professor, Reader Dr. John Deely, philosophy professor, Reader Dr. Thomas Osborne, associate professor in the Center and External Reader Dr. Steven Baldner, philosophy professor at St. Francis Xavier University.  

Arias plans to continue teaching at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif. The College is a small, private, Catholic liberal arts college, where students study the original works of the world's best authors. Arias received his master’s in philosophy in from UST in 2003. He and his wife, Jennaya, have eight children, seven boys and one girl.


Photo Cutline (left to right): Dr. James Clarage, Dr. John Knasas, David Arias, Dr. John Hittinger, Dr. Steven Baldner, Dr. Thomas Osborne, Dr. John Deely

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