''In The Degrees of Knowledge
, Jacques Maritain provides a panorama of human intellectual activity, first distinguishing philosophy of nature and experimental science, making clear the distinctiveness of metaphysics, writing with the authority of the mystical life as different from all of the above, and, in the very course of making these distinctions, showing how they are hierarchically related and united. It is a magnificent and sapiential achievement. It has rightly been called Maritain's Summa
'' (from the introduction). Maritain's emphasis on the necessity of the spiritual life, with its goal of sanctity, in the intellect's pursuit of knowledge make this work a fundamental corrective to Thomism's tendencies toward a barren rationalism.
An Eighth Day View:
Distinguer pour unir, ou Les degres du savoir was first published in 1932 by Jacques Maritain. In this new translation of The Degrees of Knowledge, Ralph McInerny attempts a more careful expression of Maritain's original masterpiece than previous translations. Maritain proposes a hierarchy of the forms of knowledge by discussing the degrees of rational and suprarational understanding. Nine appendices, some longer than the chapters of the book, advance Maritain's thought, often by taking on criticism of earlier editions of the work. Rightly called Maritain's cardinal work, The Degrees of Knowledge is a magnificent and sagacious achievement.