Gaston LeNotre | Dominican University College

Gaston LeNotre

Professor, Faculty of philosophy
T 613-233-5696 x335
Office: 335

People often assume, “you are the sum of your experiences.” I don't believe that statement is true because you are a whole—not a sum—greater than your parts. Your sum of experiences is only a part of you, so you cannot be that sum. I think rather that your experiences help form your moral and intellectual character. You can decide what to do with these experiences. You can decide how to let them affect you.

My first formal contact with philosophy took place in my first semester in college in a course called, “Philosophy of Human Nature.” We discussed human nature through the writings of Plato, Thomas Aquinas, Sartre, and others. I never perfectly understood each author but always found it worth digging—something like reading in an ancient language. As an undergraduate, I took graduate courses, independent reading, and more philosophy courses than were required because I enjoyed this kind of excavation.

The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where I completed my graduate studies in 2017 covers the history of philosophy. I especially focused in my M.A. thesis and Ph.D. dissertation on the metaphysics of Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas was primarily a Theologian, but he was a Theologian who trusted that our reasoning powers could arrive at truths. So he found it useful to turn to philosophy to make insights, distinctions, and arguments about the way things are in the created world.  I think we can gain much human wisdom from Aquinas and other late medieval authors because they often took seriously the arguments of prior generations before suggesting their own.

Besides medieval philosophy, my interests include ancient philosophy, metaphysics, logic, meta-metaphysics, and the philosophy of language. My dissertation explores the intersection of language, logic, and metaphysics in Thomas Aquinas.

Past Courses:

“‘In the Human Heart’: A Premodern Philosophy of Race and Racism in Thomas Aquinas,” forthcoming in Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Philosophy, Catholicism, and Public Life.

Review of Porro, Pasquale. Thomas Aquinas: A Historical and Philosophical Profile. Translated by Joseph G. Trabbic & Roger W. Nutt. (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2016), Philosophy in Review 38.4 (2018).

Review of Panaccio, Claude. Mental Language: From Plato to William of Ockham. Translated by Joshua P. Hochschild and Meredith K. Ziebart. Series: Texts and Studies in Medieval Philosophy (New York: Fordham University Press, 2017), for Logos & Episteme 9.1 (2018).

Review of Lessius, Leonardus. On Sale, Securities, and Insurance. Translated by Wim Decock and Nicholas De Sutter. Sources in Early Modern Economics, Ethics, and Law (Grand Rapids, MI: Christian's Library Press, 2016), for American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 92.2 (2018).

Contributor to The New Catholic Encyclopedia Supplement 2012–13: Ethics and Philosophy. Eds. Robert L. Fastiggi, Joseph W. Koterski, Trevor Lipscombe, Victor Salas, Brendan Sweetman. 4 vols. Detroit: Gale, 2013.  “Esse est percipi” (II:490); “Abstract Particulars” (IV:1156); “Amphiboly” (IV:1159); “Modus Tollens” (IV:1186–1187); “Nonbeing and Nothing” (IV:1187); “Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc” (IV:1190); “Reductio ad absurdum” (IV:1198); “Square of Opposition” (IV: 1200–1201).