Belgian Jesuit philosopher; b. Charleroi, July 1, 1878; d. Louvain, Dec. 11, 1944. He entered the society in 1895, received a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Louvain in 1905, and was ordained in 1908. He taught biology, experimental psychology, and philosophy in the Jesuit house of studies, Louvain. Maréchal's main work is Le Point de départ de la métaphysique, essentially a vindication of Thomistic realism in five volumes— Maréchal called them cahiers (notebooks). The first three volumes were published together (Bruges-Paris 1922–23; 3d ed. Brussels-Paris 1944). The first two volumes try to show that some of the main inconsistencies of modern philosophy derive from a breakdown of the Thomistic synthesis under william of ockham. The third is a remarkable reevaluation of I. kant. Volume four was published posthumously (Brussels 1947). The famous fifth cahier is a study of thomism in the light of critical philosophy. Its leading idea is that, although Kant's objections are unanswerable if the human intellect is conceived as a static power, they can be overcome if that faculty is conceived dynamically, as St. thomas aquinas conceived it. Maréchal has influenced such philosophers as A. Marc, J. de Finance, G. Isaye, K. Rahner, J. B. Lotz, E. Coreth, and B. F. Lonergan.
Bibliography: Work in Eng. Studies in the Psychology of the Mystics, tr. a. thorold (pa. New York 1964). Studies. Mélanges Joseph Maréchal, 2 v. (Brussels 1950), biog. and bibliog. b. f. lonergan, "Metaphysics as Horizon," Grey 44 (1963) 307–318. j. f. donceel, Philosophical Psychology (2d ed. New York 1961) ch. 16; Natural Theology (New York 1962) pt. 1.
[j. f. donceel]