Mid-twentieth century neo-Thomist approaches to modern psychology

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Theology


Department of Religious Studies


Advisor: Sandra A. Yocum


This dissertation considers a spectrum of five distinct approaches that mid-twentieth century neo-Thomist Catholic thinkers utilized when engaging with the tradition of modern scientific psychology: a critical approach, a reformulation approach, a synthetic approach, a particular [Jungian] approach, and a personalist approach. This work argues that mid-twentieth century neo-Thomists were essentially united in their concerns about the metaphysical principles of many modern psychologists as well as in their worries that these same modern psychologists had a tendency to overlook the transcendent dimension of human existence. This work shows that the first four neo-Thomist thinkers failed to bring the traditions of neo-Thomism and modern psychology together to the extent that they suggested purely theoretical ways of reconciling them. Finally, this work concludes that a personalist approach to modern psychology that locates the reconciliation of these two traditions within the practice of individual human beings rather than within a theoretical dialogue between the traditions themselves has the potential to succeed where theoretical neo-Thomist accounts of these traditions failed.


Psychology and religion History 20th century, Neo-Scholasticism, Personalism, Theology, Neo-Thomist approaches to modern psychology, Neo-Thomist psychology in the 20th century, spectrum of Thomist psychology, American Thomist responses to psychology

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Copyright © 2016, author