Congratulations are in order for Thomas Aquinas College tutor David R. Arias — that is, Dr. David Arias — who has successfully defended his doctoral dissertation at the University of St. Thomas’ Center for Thomistic Studies. Previously Dr. Arias had earned two bachelor degrees, one in philosophy, the other in theology, from Loyola Marymount University, as well as a master’s in philosophy from the University of St. Thomas. Having defended his dissertation, he has now completed a doctorate in philosophy as well.
Dr. Arias joined the faculty of Thomas Aquinas College in 2005 after having completed his doctoral studies, but not his dissertation. Over the years, in addition to his work at the College and helping to raise nine children with his wife, Jennaya, he has spent his summers and other free moments working on his thesis, “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.”
At his defense Dr. Arias primarily answered questions pertaining his 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?” His remarks, in keeping with his dissertation, aimed to demonstrate the veracity of St. Thomas’ answers to this question over the objections of his critics, both ancient and modern.
“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,” said Dr. Arias. “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.”
Dr. Arias answers his examiners’ questions.