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Phelan, Gerald Bernard


Philosopher, psychologist, medievalist; b. Halifax, Nova Scotia, Aug. 26, 1892; d. Toronto, Ontario, May 30, 1965. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Halifax Dec. 27, 1914. The next year he received an S.T.B. from The Catholic University of America; in 1918, an M.A. from St. Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia; in 1924, a Ph.D. from the University of Louvain; and in 1925, an Agrégé en philosophie from the same institution. He was made a domestic prelate on Jan. 15, 1960. From 1914 to 1918 Phelan was engaged in parochial work in Nova Scotia and Bermuda. He lectured in philosophy at St. Mary's College, Halifax, from 1917 to 1922. In 1925 he was appointed professor of psychology at St. Michael's College, the University of Toronto, and from 1926 to 1946 he was professor of philosophy there. He served as librarian of the Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto, from 1929 to 1931; as codirector with Étienne Gilson; and as president from 1937 to 1946. He was the founder and director of the Mediaeval Institute at the University of Notre Dame from 1946 to 1952 and head of the department of philosophy at Notre Dame during those years. From 1952 until his retirement in 1962 he was professor of philosophy at St. Michael's College, and from 1958 professor of philosophy in the Pontifical Institute. He served as president of the American Catholic Philosophical Association in 1931. He received the Cardinal Mercier medal in 1925 and the Cardinal Spellman-Aquinas medal in 1959.

He received his training in psychology under A. Michotte. He excelled in teaching the philosophy, especially the metaphysics, of St. Thomas Aquinas. A collection of his essays was published by the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in 1966.

Bibliography: Works. Feeling, Experience and Its Modalities (Louvain 1925); Jacques Maritain (New York 1937); St. Thomas and Analogy (Milwaukee 1941); Some Illustrations of St. Thomas's Development of the Wisdom of St. Augustine (Chicago 1946); On the Governance of Rulers (Toronto 1935; New York 1939), tr. of thomas aquinas's De reg. princ.; The Wisdom of St. Anselm (Latrobe, Pa. 1960).

[a. maurer]

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