Some of the courses that I'm teaching now, I have been teaching for almost 30 years – yet the subjects remain exciting for me and I try to communicate that excitement to my students. There is always the challenge of trying to penetrate the thought of classical authors such as Aristotle and Aquinas more deeply. There are also contemporary developments in scholarship in these areas that present new approaches and challenges. What is most exciting, however, is presenting ideas that are new to students (however old the ideas themselves might be), seeing the "light go on" as students begin to grasp them (the "aha moments"), and hearing the insightful and often challenging questions that the students raise. The whole teaching experience is ever old, yet ever new.
I am more and more convinced that the thought of Thomas Aquinas has enormous wisdom to offer to contemporary issues in philosophy and theology. In philosophy, his appropriation of Aristotle's hylomorphism can bring great insight to the impasse of dualism vs. materialism in discussions of the nature of the human person, the relation of body and soul, and the question of the mind-brain relationship. His account of causality is immediately relevant to the notion of emergence in contemporary science and its impulse to retrieve formal and final causality. His ideas of primary and secondary causality as well as principal and instrumental causality are essential to a theological understanding of divine action-- so central to the dialogue between science and theology over the last several decades.
I have become increasingly intrigued with the notion of chance. In science, it is central to accounts of biological evolution and to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. In philosophy, it remains a challenge to describe exactly what kind of cause "chance" is - if it is a cause at all. In theology, it is a conundrum for many to see how divine providence and divine action are compatible or even possible in a world characterized by chance. In all of these areas, Aquinas's thought can be extremely helpful. I addressed the issue in my Unlocking Divine Action: Contemporary Science and Thomas Aquinas.
I am a member of the Core Doctoral Faculty of the GTU, American Catholic Philosophical Association, Catholic Theological Society of America, The Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, The Society of Christian Philosophers, and Society for Thomistic Natural Philosophy.
Past courses taught by Michael Dodds, OP:
Philosophical Anthropology (PH-2040)
Issues in Divine Action (STPH-4885)
Philosophy of Nature (PH-1056)
Methods and Doctrines I (ST-5020)
The One Creator God (ST-3095)
God and Suffering (STPH-2209)
Unlocking Divine Action: Contemporary Science and Thomas Aquinas. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2012.
Philosophical Anthropology. Oakland, CA: Western Dominican Province, 2014.
The Philosophy of Nature. Oakland, CA: Western Dominican Province, 2010.
The Unchanging God of Love: Thomas Aquinas and Contemporary Theology on Divine Immutability. Second Edition. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2008.
The Seeker's Guide to Seven Life-Changing Virtues. By Bill Dodds and Michael J. Dodds, OP. Chicago: Loyola Press, 1999.
Happily Ever After Begins Here and Now: Living the Beatitudes Today. By Bill Dodds and Michael J. Dodds, OP. Chicago: Loyola Press, 1997. [Republished by Bill Dodds, lulu.com, 2010]
The Unchanging God of Love: A Study of the Teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas on Divine Immutability in View of Certain Contemporary Criticism of this Doctrine. Fribourg, Switzerland: Editions Universitaires, 1986.
Articles and Chapters
"The Doctrine of Causality in Aquinas and The Book of Causes: One Key to Understanding the Nature of Divine Action." In Aquinas's Sources. Edited by Timothy L. Smith. South Bend, IN: St. Augustine's Press, (forthcoming). [Also:http://www.nd.edu/Departments/Maritain/ti00/dodds.htm.]
"Top Down, Bottom Up or Inside Out? Retrieving Aristotelian Causality in Contemporary Science." In Science, Philosophy and Theology. Edited by John O'Callaghan. South Bend, IN: St. Augustine's Press, (forthcoming). [Also:http://www.nd.edu/Departments/Maritain/ti/dodds.htm].
"The God of Life, the Science of Life, and the Problem of Language." In God: Reason and Reality. Edited by Anselm Ramelow, O.P. Munich: Philosophia Verlag, 2014, 197-231.
"God, Proofs for the Existence of." By Raymond Carroll Smith, O.P., and Michael J. Dodds, O.P. In New Catholic Encyclopedia Supplement 2012-13: Ethics and Philosophy. 4 vols. Edited by Robert L. Fastiggi. Detroit: Gale, 2013, 2:622-30.
"Causality, Divine." By Thomas Chrysostom O'Brien, O.P., and Michael J. Dodds, O.P. In New Catholic Encyclopedia Supplement 2012-13: Ethics and Philosophy. 4 vols. Edited by Robert L. Fastiggi. Detroit: Gale, 2013, 1:225-30.
"Unlocking Divine Action: Thomas Aquinas and Contemporary Science." In Dominicans and the Challenge of Thomism. Edited by Michal Paluch and Piotr Lichacz. Warsaw: Institut Tomistyczny, 2012, 131-41.
"Scientific Vetoes and the 'Hands-off' God: Divine Immanence, Quantum Mechanics, and the Search for a Better Way." Response to Thomas Tracy, "Scientific Vetoes and the "Hands-off" God: Can We Say that God Acts in History?" Theology and Science 10 (2012): 89-94.
"Nauki empiryczne, język i Bóg życia." Translated by Mariusz Tabaczek, O.P. Teofil 31, no. 2 (2012): 222-50.
"Hylomorphism and Human Wholeness: Perspectives on the Mind-Brain Problem." Theology and Science 7 (2009): 141-62.
"Unlocking Divine Causality: Aquinas, Contemporary Science, and Divine Action." Angelicum 86 (2009): 67-86.
"The Teaching of Thomas Aquinas on the Mysteries of the Life of Christ (Summa Theologiae, Part III, Questions 27-45)." In Aquinas on Doctrine: a Critical Introduction. Edited by Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM. Cap., Daniel Keating and John Yocum. London: T&T Clark/ Continuum, 2004, 91-115.
"Science, Causality and Divine Action: Classical Principles for Contemporary Challenges." CTNS Bulletin, 21, nr.1 (Winter, 2001): 3-12.
"Of Angels, Oysters and an Unchanging God: Aquinas on Divine Immutability." Listening 30 (1995): 35-49.
"Ultimacy and Intimacy. Aquinas on the Relation between God and the World." In Ordo Sapientiae et Amoris, Image et message de Saint Thomas d'Aquin à travers les récentes études historiques, herméneutiques et doctrinales. Hommage au Professeur Jean-Pierre Torrell, OP. Edited by Carlos-Josaphat Pinto de Oliveira. Fribourg: Editiones Universitaires, 1993, pp.211-227.
"Thomas Aquinas, Human Suffering, and the Unchanging God of Love." Theological Studies 52 (1991): 330-44.
"St. Thomas Aquinas and the Motion of the Motionless God." New Blackfriars. 63(1987) 233-242. (Reprinted in J. Van der Veken, ed., God and Change: Process Thought and the Christian Doctrine of God. Leuven: Center for Metaphysics and Philosophy of God, 1987. p.233-242.)
Nicholas E. Lombardo, O.P. The Logic of Desire: Aquinas on Emotion. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2011. Pro Ecclesia (forthcoming).
D. Z. Phillips, The Problem of Evil and the Problem of God. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2004. Nova et Vetera (forthcoming)
James E. Dolezal, God Without Parts: Divine Simplicity and the Metaphysics of God’s Aboluteness. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2011. Thomist 77 (2013): 625-29.
James F. Keating and Thomas Joseph White, O.P., editors, Divine Impassibility and the Mystery of Human Suffering. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2009. Pro Ecclesia19 (2010): 460-63.
Dietrich von Hildebrand, The Heart: an Analysis of Human and Divine Affectivity. South Bend, IN: St. Augustine's Press, 2007. Review of Metaphysics 62 (2008): 164-66.
Lawrence Dewan, O.P., Form and Being: Studies in Thomistic Metaphysics. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 2006. The Thomist 71 (2007): 323-326.
Anselm K. Min, Paths to the Triune God: an Encounter Between Aquinas and Recent Theologies. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2005. Theological Studies 68 (2007): 197-199.
F. F. Centore, Theism or Atheism: the Eternal Debate. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2004. Thomist 69 (2005): 335-339.
Colin E. Gunton, Act and Being: Towards a Theology of the Divine Attributes. Grand Rapids: W. B. Eerdmans, 2003. Theological Studies 66 (2005): 935.
Oliva Blanchette, Philosophy of Being: A Reconstructive Essay in Metaphysics. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2003. Thomist 68 (2004): 469-472.
John Capreolus, On the Virtues. Translated by Kevin White and Romanus Cessario, O.P. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University or America Press, 2001. Theological Studies 64 (2003): 193-194.
F. Michael McLain and W. Mark Richardson, eds. Human and Divine Agency: Anglican, Catholic, and Lutheran Perspectives. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1999. CTNS Bulletin 20 (Spring, 2000) 30-32. (Reprinted in Homiletic and Pastoral Review 104 (October, 2003), 70-74.)
Frederick E. Crowe, Three Thomist Studies. Boston: Lonergan Workshop, 2000. Theological Studies 62 (2001): 653.
Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M. Cap., Does God Suffer? Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2000. Theological Studies 61 (2000): 769-770.
Stephen T. Davis. God, Reason and Theistic Proof. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1997; and Richard Swinburne. Is There a God? New York: Oxford , 1996. Thomist 63 (1999): 334-37.
Thomas O'Meara, O.P. Thomas Aquinas: Theologian. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1997. Horizons 25(1998): 321-22.
"Faith, Science, and the Creator." Interview on the DVD, Cosmic Origins: The Scientific Evidence for Creation, presented by Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J. San Francisco: Ignatius Press and Origin Entertainment, 2012.
"Daily Meditations for December, 2012." Our Sunday Visitor's My Daily Visitor 55, no. 6 (November/December, 2012), Huntington IN: Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 2012.
"Genesis, Science, and Thomas Aquinas." Interview by Chris Graney on the program, "Science and Catholicism," on Holy Family Radio, WLCR AM 1040, Louisville, KY, aired November 21, 2012. Available online at: http://www.wlcr.org/page.php?page=archives-sc.
"Daily Meditations for April, 2009." Our Sunday Visitor's My Daily Visitor 53, no. 2 (March/April, 2009), Huntington IN: Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 2009.
"Daily Meditations for December, 2007." Our Sunday Visitor's My Daily Visitor 51, no. 6 (November/December, 2007), Huntington IN: Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 2007.