Sunday, November 26, 2023
Saturday, November 18, 2023
Thursday, November 9, 2023
In Feser’s book, Catholics, other Christians, and even non-Christians will find much to help them confront CRT and the perennial challenges of living in a racially diverse society…
Critical race theorists routinely use confusing, tough-to-pin-down logical fallacies. Feser does us the service of laying these fallacies out methodically and succinctly…
For anyone who knows nothing about CRT, All One in Christ is an excellent place to start. It has a decidedly negative perspective on the movement, but Feser takes pains to be fair to his opponents.
Saturday, November 4, 2023
Two crucial components of this picture of human knowledge are the theses that concepts are irreducible to sensations and mental images, but can nevertheless be abstracted from imagery by the intellect. As I have discussed before, a key difference between the Aristotelian-Thomistic position on the one hand and early modern forms of rationalism and empiricism on the other is that each of the latter kept one of these Aristotelian-Thomistic theses while rejecting the other. Rationalism maintained the thesis that concepts are irreducible to sensations and mental images, but concluded that many or all concepts therefore could not in any way be derived from them. Hence, rationalists concluded, many or all concepts must be innate. Modern empiricism held on to the thesis that concepts derive from mental imagery, but concluded that they must not really be distinct from them. Hence the modern empiricist tendency toward “imagism,” the view that a concept just is an image (or an image together with a general term).
Tuesday, October 24, 2023
Reductionism does not have quite the same hold in philosophy of science that it once did, having been subjected to powerful attack not only from Cartwright, but from (I discuss the anti-reductionist literature in detail in .) Still, the idea that whatever is real is somehow ultimately nothing more than what can in principle be described in the language of a completed physics exerts a powerful hold on many. Cartwright cites as adherents of this view, and is another prominent advocate. As Cartwright notes, in contemporary writing about science, the lure of reductionism is especially evident in discussions of the purported implications of neuroscience for topics like free will., , and many others.
Thursday, October 12, 2023
Tuesday, October 10, 2023
A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
Think of the person who has read one book on a subject and suddenly thinks he knows everything. Or the beginning student of philosophy whose superficial encounter with skeptical arguments leads him to deny that we can know anything. A deeper inquiry, if only it were pursued, would in each case yield a more balanced judgement.
Monday, October 2, 2023
That Mike will be remembered for his work in science fiction goes without saying. But it is worth emphasizing too that he was an irreplaceable presence in the blogosphere, who showed the potential of the medium for work of substance and lasting value. I doubt he ever posted anything that didn’t reward his readers’ attention, with writing that wore lightly Mike’s learning not only in the sciences but also in philosophy, theology, and history. He was for many years a regular and welcome contributor to the comments section of this blog, raising the tone simply by virtue of his presence. One of the things I most admired about him was the calm and patient manner with which he would respond to even the most obnoxious and ignorant interlocutors. He never had to say that he knew what he was talking about, while his opponent didn’t. He simply showed it by typing up a few sentences.
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Aquinas holds that after death, the human soul can no longer change its basic orientation either toward God or away from him. He takes this to be knowable not only from divine revelation but by purely philosophical reasoning. The heart of his position is that the basic orientation of an angelic will is fixed immediately after its creation, and that the human soul after death is relevantly like an angel. This article expounds and defends Aquinas's position, paying special attention to the action theory underlying it.
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Wednesday, September 20, 2023
In his article, Nathan Mastnjak writes, “The translation ‘by a human shall that person’s blood be shed’ is not strictly impossible, but given the norms of Classical Hebrew grammar, it should be viewed as prima facie unlikely especially since there is a much more plausible translation that is contextually appropriate and grammatically mundane.” This has it completely backward. It is Mastnjak’s claim that the ב in Genesis 9:6 be construed as expressing price or exchange that, while not strictly impossible, flies in the face of Hebrew lexicons and grammars – in contrast to the standard translations (both Jewish and Christian) which are contextually and canonically appropriate and grammatically mundane.
Sunday, September 10, 2023
denies some of the key attributes ascribed to God by classical theism, such as immutability and impassibility. Charles Hartshorne (1897-2000) was among its chief representatives. As a Thomist, I am the opposite of sympathetic to process theism. However, I’ve always found Hartshorne an interesting thinker. Many twentieth-century philosophers had a regrettable tendency toward overspecialization, and also often ignored all but a handful of thinkers of the past. Hartshorne, by contrast, was a philosopher of the old-fashioned stripe. He addressed a wide variety of philosophical problems, was deeply read in the history of philosophy, and that history informed his work on contemporary issues. He was also old-fashioned insofar as his theism (flawed though it was from my point of view) was integral to his more general metaphysics and ethics. Like the greatest thinkers of the past, Hartshorne knew that the question of God was at the very heart of philosophy, not something that could be ignored by any serious philosopher, or at best tacked on to an otherwise complete system.
Wednesday, August 30, 2023
Saturday, August 26, 2023
Wednesday, August 23, 2023
Monday, August 21, 2023
Sunday, August 13, 2023
Friday, August 4, 2023
Friday, July 28, 2023
Monday, July 24, 2023
For any readers ofwho have not been following events at Twitter and YouTube, Lofton has, over the course of the last few days, posted a series of tweets at the former and a series of videos at the latter strongly taking exception to my article. I have to say that I am mystified at the number and vehemence of these responses. But Lofton seems especially angry about my characterization of his initial video as “defamatory” and “libel.” What follows are some brief remarks that I hope will put his mind at ease and allow us to move on from this affair.
Friday, July 21, 2023
Wednesday, July 19, 2023
Tuesday, July 18, 2023
Friday, July 14, 2023
The body of the Episcopate was unfaithful to its commission, while the body of the laity was faithful to its baptism… at one time the pope, at other times a patriarchal, metropolitan, or other great see, at other times general councils, said what they should not have said, or did what obscured and compromised revealed truth; while, on the other hand, it was the Christian people, who, under Providence, were the ecclesiastical strength of Athanasius, Hilary, Eusebius of Vercellae, and other great solitary confessors, who would have failed without them.
Friday, July 7, 2023
Wednesday, June 28, 2023
my reply to his American Postliberal article. I thank him for it and am happy to post it here:
Feser's response to my piece is a welcome effort at clarification. We need such clarification if postliberalism and related thought is to move from the abstract to the concrete. Here I will address the key points, as best I can.