World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Joseph Maréchal

Joseph Maréchal
Born 1 July 1878
Charleroi, Belgium
Died 11 December 1944
Leuven, Belgium
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Christian philosophy, psychology
Main interests
Metaphysics, Philosophical theology

Joseph Maréchal (1 July 1878 – 11 December 1944) was a Belgian Jesuit priest, philosopher and psychologist at the Higher Institute of Philosophy of the University of Leuven who founded a school of thought called Transcendental Thomism, which attempted to merge the theological and philosophical thought of St. Thomas Aquinas with that of Immanuel Kant.

Life and thought

Maréchal joined the Jesuits in 1895 and after a doctorate in biology at Leuven (1905) he first specialized in experimental psychology, spending some time in Munich with Wilhelm Wundt (1911). Until the end of his life Maréchal would say that his real interest was more in psychology than in philosophy.

Prompted by the call of Pope Leo XIII to revitalize Thomist theology, he started studying in depth the works of St. Thomas Aquinas in order to understand the inner coherence of his system, along with the works of other scholastic thinkers, modern philosophers and scientists of the day. From this, and in particular from Kant’s transcendental idealism, emerged a new and more dynamic Thomism, recapturing the union of ‘act and power’ in Aquinas. The development of his thought can be grasped in the five cahiers (see bibliography) in which, after exposing the weaknesses of traditional Thomism, he evaluated Kant’s philosophy (3d cahier) with whose help he proposes a modernized Thomism in the 4th and 5th cahier. The work of Maréchal had a great influence on such contemporary theologians and philosophers as Andre Marc, Gaston Isaye, Joseph de Finance, Karl Rahner, Bernard Lonergan, Johannes Baptist Lotz, Bernard O'Brien and Richard De Smet.

In the same way, he proceeded to study the psychology of the mystics. Until his death on 11 December 1944 he taught philosophy and experimental psychology at the Jesuit House of Studies in Leuven (St Albert of Leuven's Philosophical and Theological College). He was a great friend of Pierre Scheuer, the Belgian Jesuit who has been described as a metaphysician and mystic.

Main works

  • Le point de départ de la métaphysique: leçons sur le développement historique et théorique du problème de la connaissance, 5 vols, (Bruges-Louvain, 1922–47).* Études sur le psychologie des mystiques, 2 vols, (1926, 1937) [translated as Studies in the Psychology of the Mystics, tr. A. Thorold, (New York, 1964)
  • Précis d'histoire de la philosophie moderne, (Louvain, 1933).
  • Mélanges Joseph Maréchal, 2 vols, (Brussels / Paris, 1950).
  • “The Intellectual Dynamism in Objective Knowledge.” Tr. Richard De Smet and others. [Original, 'Le dynamisme intellectual dans la conaisance objective', in Revue néoscolastique de Philosophie 28 (1927) 137-165 = Mélanges Joseph Maréchal (Brussels / Paris, 1950) 1:75-101.] Poona: De Nobili College, 1963-65. 1-37. Unpublished. Available at Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth Library, Pune, N13/M332.
  • “At the Threshold of Metaphysics: Abstraction or Intuition?” Tr. Richard De Smet and others. [Original in Revue néoscolastique de Philosophie 31(1929) 27-52, 121-147, 309-342.] Poona: De Nobili College, 1963-65. 38-149. Unpublished. Available at Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth Library, Pune, N13/M332.
  • “The Natural Desire for Perfect Happiness.” Tr. Richard De Smet and others. [Original in Mélanges Joseph Maréchal (Brussels / Paris, 1950) 2:323-337.] Poona: De Nobili College, 1963-65. 150-170. Unpublished. Available at Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth Library, Pune, N13/M332.
  • A Maréchal Reader, ed and trans Joseph Donceel, (New York: Herder & Herder, 1970)

See also


  • Casula, M, Maréchal et Kant, Rome, 1955.
  • Lonergan, B.F, "Metaphysics as Horizon", in Gregorianum 44 (1964) 307–318 = "Metaphysics as Horizon," in Collection, Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan 4, ed. F.E. Crowe and R.M. Doran (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988) 188-204.
  • Donceel, Joseph F., Philosophical Psychology (later titled Philosophical Anthropology), New York, 1961.
  • John, Helen James, The Thomist Spectrum, (1966), pp139–49
  • Kristo, J., Maréchal's approach to Mysticism, Notre-Dame, 1979.
  • Matteo, Anthony M, Quest for the Absolute: The Philosophical Vision of Joseph Maréchal, (1992)
  • McCool, Gerald A, From Unity to Pluralism, (1989), pp87–113
  • Savignano, A., Joseph Maréchal, filosofo della religione, Perugia, 1978.


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.