In the discussion between James and Anthony I wonder if a distinction
might be helpful here that I haven't seen raised yet.
My understanding of the discussion is that James claims priority of
Metaphysics to Physics and Anthony claims the priority of Physics to
Maybe you are both correct but in different orders. Is it possible that
Anthony is correct in the order of "Learning" and James is correct in
the order of "Logic"?
In other words, if we didn't know any philosophy how would be go about
instructing ourselves? Here I think Anthony is correct in that we would
first learn about what is easier for us to understand (Physics) and then
after mastering that subject we would go on to more difficult material
for us to understand(Metaphysics).
However, James is correct in that once we master Metaphyics we come to
know that the topics treated in Metaphysics are logically prior to those
I also believe this explains Thomas' beginning with Metaphysics in his
Summa Theologiae because he assumed his theology students had already
mastered Physics in preparation for their theological studies and
possibly also Metaphysics and thus he would begin with what they already
knew in order to lead them into the new science of theology.
I am not a philosopher by training (only by avocation) so I'm probably
not expressing this distinction in the proper technical terms (ie. Latin
Scholastic terminology) but if someone who is such could help here,
maybe we could move this discussion along more fruitful paths?
Hoping this Helps,