Charles De Koninck
Charles De Koninck (1906–1965) is one of the great philosophers of the last century. He taught and influenced many of the most consequential Catholic thinkers, teachers, and authors of our time. His published works span topics from natural philosophy and the philosophy of science to politics and Catholic theology. His untimely death and a remarkable variety of largely untranslated writings have helped obscure his legacy and contributions.
At left: De Koninck in 1961, after giving the commencement address at St. Mary’s (South Bend, IN); from the frontispiece of Gagné (ed.), Mélanges à la mémoire de Charles De Koninck.
Why Is De Koninck’s Thought Significant?
“More than ever before, we have need today of the sapiential outlook, a point of view from which we can judge the gains and retrogressions of contemporary thought. That point of view is to be found in the writings of De Koninck. . . . We would do well to seek them out.”
— Ralph McInerny (1929–2010), Professor of Philosophy at The University of Notre Dame & student of De Koninck
“Charles De Koninck, perhaps because of his untimely death, is not as well known to English-speaking readers as Étienne Gilson and Jacques Maritain, but his work belongs to that same world-class scholarship as his notable contemporaries. It is almost an understatement to say that his contribution to the philosophy of science remains timely.”
— Jude Dougherty, editor of The Review of Metaphysics and Dean Emeritus of the School of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America
“Founder of the Laval school of Thomism, a school known for highlighting the importance of Aristotle for the thought of Thomas Aquinas, Charles De Koninck (1906–1965) is perhaps the least known scholar of the great twentieth-century revival of Thomism. His only notoriety came with his decisive intervention in the mid-century debates among Thomists over the nature of the common good, but much more of his writing is devoted to what used to be called the philosophy of nature. While many Thomists addressed questions about modern science only in passing, De Koninck devoted much of his career to a rearticulation of Aristotelian and Thomistic thought in relation to modern science.”
— Thomas Hibbs, Dean of the Honors College and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Baylor University