Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Order early and often

Aquinas is finally back in stock at Amazon.com, and The Last Superstition will be out in paperback next month. Just in time for early Christmas shopping!

32 comments:

Gregory the Eremite said...

Dear Prof. Feser,

Just last week I spotted your books on Aquinas and on the philosophy of mind in the University of York bookshop. Your contribution to the re-evangelization of the West is spreading!

Anonymous said...

Dr. Feser,

Have you considered occasionally debating atheists and having someone post those debates online? I don't know that much about marketing, but it seems that this would be a good way to increase your book sales and disseminate information about classical theism.

Damien S said...

I'm a big fan of Ed's book on the philosophy of mind. I used it when teaching undergraduates recently and it is very informative.

Ed, have you got any more books in the pipeline?

Crude said...

Actually, I think if Ed is going to engage in any debates (and I'd prefer discussions rather than debates - there really is a difference) I'd rather him do so with theists of a non-classical bend. That's the contrast I find most interesting.

Christopherus said...

These two terrific books are mentioned in my review here.

Paul Symington said...

Glad to hear it. I was going to use the Aquinas text for my Thomistic Traditions course this semester but it was out of stock! Maybe next fall!

I really enjoy your blog.

Anonymous said...

Having read both of these excellent books, I am in the process of getting all of your books, and recommending Aquinas particularly to my atheist friends.

Edward Feser said...

Gregory, Paul, and Anon 2,

Thank you!

Anon 1 and Crude,

I'm always willing. I did a radio debate with David Ramsay Steele (author of Atheism Explained) some time back, but unfortunately it isn't available online.

Damien,

Thanks! I've got several projects in the works. Stay tuned.

Christopherus,

Thank you! BTW, everyone should go check out Christopherus' website (moreC.com, linked to from his article) and browse through its various sub-pages -- many useful links and articles there, from which I have profited over the years.

Bobcat said...

How did your debate with Steele go, Ed? I know him mostly from his libertarian work. Is his atheism of the new atheist or the old atheist sort?

Edward Feser said...

Hi Bobcat,

It was very gentlemanly. You could say that Steele's tone is old atheist, though his arguments are still a tad too new atheist insofar as he overestimates the force of the stock atheist moves and does not have a nuanced understanding of how a traditional theist would respond. E.g. he dismisses Aquinas in a paragraph by saying that the Five Ways were refuted in Anthony Kenny's book on the subject (which -- as Martin, Oderberg, I, and others have shown -- they were not). Still, even here he's much better than Dawkins and Co., and does make a serious attempt to grapple with at least some of the theistic arguments.

He's an interesting guy, and his book From Marx to Mises is well worth reading.

Anonymous said...

Since this is not really a "strict" topic thread, I thought I'd take the opportunity to pose a question to the people here who probably know classical theism a heck of a lot better than I do.

I just starting reading philosopher David Conway's The Rediscovery of Wisdom, and one passage in the opening chapter struck me as incisive:

"Despite the classical conception having a close affinity with Christianity, there are several respects in which the classical conception stands closer to naturalism and anti-realism than it does to Christianity. First, in marked contrast with Christianity, but like naturalism and anti-realism, the classical conception of philosophy denies that any for of divine revelation has taken place in which God communicates to man certain important, but otherwise inaccessible, truths. Second, unlike Christianity, the classical conception dispenses entirely with both the efficacy of or need for any form of petitionary prayer or devotional worship."

The first point is what concerns me at the moment. The underlying idea, as far as I can tell, is that any form of divine revelation is a miracle. Miracles are interventions in the natural order or "breaches of scientific law," and as such they are fundamentally at odds with classical theism, which denies that God intervenes in the universe like a personal agent in that way. Therefore, Christianity and any other faith claiming that God intervenes in the natural order as a personal agent is at odds with classical theism.

So my question is: what would an explicit account of miracles in the vein of classical theism look like?

Edward Feser said...

Hello Anon,

Classical theism does not deny the possibility of miracles. What it denies is that miracles are properly thought of as "interventions" in the natural order. The idea is that it is an error to think of the world as a kind of machine which hums along on its own, independently of God, until he decides to step in and tinker with its operations. That's what the expression "intervening" suggests. Rather, even the ordinary operations of the world carry on, even for an instant, only because God is sustaining them. The world is thus more like the music played by a musician, which will stop as soon as he stops playing, if he does. Hence a miracle is better thought of on the model of a musician's departure from the score while he is playing, a kind of temporary improvisation.

Classical theists thus prefer to describe miracles as "suspensions" of the natural order rather than "interventions." In Conway's case, he evidently does not himself think that miracles even in this sense occur, but that doesn't mean they are inconsistent with classical theism. Classical theism per se doesn't require believing either that they do occur or that they don't. That's a separate issue about which classical theists can disagree.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Feser,
would you mind doing a post on Act & Potency?
I'm reading your book Aquinas and the section on Act & Potency is just mind opening.
The implications of it are so profound.
I consider myself a proponent of Intelligent Design. I haven't read many of your posts criticizing ID, but reading about Act and Potency is really helping me to see how unnecessary of a position ID is.

Anonymous said...

^^^

Anon, if you're generally interested in how A-T philosophy renders ID untenable and unnecessary, Dr. Feser did an absolutely huge series of posts a while back on this very topic:

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/05/id-versus-t-roundup.html

Eric said...

TLS is being discussed in this thread on Victor Reppert's blog. The discussion was initiated by "PhysicistDave," who claims to have a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford, where they apparently sacrificed reading comprehension classes for more physics classes. Yeah, it's that bad.

Anonymous said...

My goodness. The scientism of that Dave guy is of one of the most insane varieties that I've ever seen.

Jime said...

The Last Superstition and Aquinas were an eye-opener to me, since most books on philosphy that I've read where Aquinas's ways are mentioned, present his arguments as soundly refuted. As consequence, I myself assumed such thing (sorry!)

After reading both of Dr.Feser's books, I discoveried that Aquinas' arguments (and the metaphysical concepts used in them) are logical, persuasive and rationally defensible.

So I highly recommend both of Feser's books, specially Aquinas.

Regarding Dr.Feser's future books projects, I'd like to see an "Introduction to philosophy of religion" written by him, dealing with contemporary arguments for God's existence, like the kalam argument.

Regarding debates, I would like to watch Feser debating Catholicism with some non-Catholic theist philospher like William Lane Craig, or debating God's existence with some new atheist like Harris or Hitchens.

I'd like to hear the debate with Steele, perhaps the radio station where they debated will have a record of it.

As an off-topic, philosopher Chris Carter's lastest book on near-death experience titled Science and the Near-Death Experience is already available in Amazon.

One of the top NDE researchers and scholars, Bruce Greyson, wrote that Carter's book is "the best book on NDEs in years". I'm reading the book right now, and so far I completely agree with Greyson.

I specially enjoy Carter's demolition of philospher Paul Edwards' arguments for materialism, and his critique of skeptic Susan Blackmore's Dying Brain Hypothesis.

I interviewed Carter for my blog in this link:

http://subversivethinking.blogspot.com/2010/07/interview-with-philosopher-and-writer.html

Anonymous said...

Jime, your blog is very interesting and unique.
I have to admit I haven't seen many blogs like yours that directs its focus on skeptics of the paranormal.

Thanks for the information!!

PatrickH said...

Got mine on order.

As for "PhysicistDave", he seems to write a lot like Loftus, who has recently finally shot his bolt at Reppert's with some really useless stuff, even by his standards. I wonder if "PhysicistDave" is a Loftus sock puppet.

Anonymous said...

Anyone ever see this little case of sock puppetry from Loftus?

http://atheismsucks.blogspot.com/2007/05/john-w-loftus-caught-in-huge-lie.html

Seamus said...

So does the paperback edition of The Last Superstition contain any new material (e.g., a "preface to the 2010 edition") or any revisions to the hardback version?

BenYachov said...

I love the part where Dave says he hopes both Dr. Feser & I burn in hell.

If that happens (& God forbid it does) at least I'm in good company.

BTW he has a link to PZ Myers on his home website.

That explains it.

Jime said...

Anonymous wrote: Jime, your blog is very interesting and unique.
I have to admit I haven't seen many blogs like yours that directs its focus on skeptics of the paranormal.


Thanks my friend.

Two more off-topics of interest:

-This article by Christopher Hitchens on his recent diagnosis of advanced cancer:

http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2010/09/hitchens-201009

The prognosis is very negative, it's a cancer in very advanced stage. (It seems the survival rate of people with this cancer after 5 years is around 3%, when the metastasis is distant. Hitchens has metastasis in the lungs)

-Christian philosopher Gary Habermas' recent interview on near-death experiences:

http://www.skeptiko.com/112-gary-habermas-skeptical-of-near-death-experience-spirituality/

Habermas had a small debate with the interviewer, Alex Tsakiris.

Roy IV said...

"Regarding debates, I would like to watch Feser debating Catholicism with some non-Catholic theist philospher like William Lane Craig, or debating God's existence with some new atheist like Harris or Hitchens."

An ID debate between Feser and Craig would be epic.

I'm looking forward to getting TLS in paperback, I like the hardcover but paperbacks are much more comfortable and better suited to armchair reading.

BenYachov said...

I doubt William Lane Craig would be interested in a debate over Catholicism since he doesn't seem to polemic Catholic particulars. I have yet to see an essay by his criticizing the sinlessness of Our Lady or Transubstantiation.

Roy IV said...

Craig addresses a much wider variety of topics than his debates might suggest (take a look at his website). I think Doc Feser has already answered Craig's objection to the doctrine of divine simplicity somewhere on this blog.

BenYachov said...

>I think Doc Feser has already answered Craig's objection to the doctrine of divine simplicity somewhere on this blog.

That debate I would like to see in a formal setting. But I'm not sure it's truly a Catholic particulars Debate since Protestant Classic Theists might side with Feser.

Just as I an orthodox Catholic might side with Protestant Craig vs some liberal "Catholic" who believes Jesus merely rose in our hearts and not literally from the Tome.

Cheers my friend.

Seamus said...

Just as I an orthodox Catholic might side with Protestant Craig vs some liberal "Catholic" who believes Jesus merely rose in our hearts and not literally from the Tome.

Would that be the Tome of Leo (A.D. 449)?

Anonymous said...

Catholicism seems to place too much emphasis on obtaining "worldly power" and establishing a kingdom of God on earth.

BenYachov said...

What can I say Seamus?:-)

My inability to sppell is legent accross the interned.;-)

Cheers friend.

Manuel Labor said...

Catholicism seems to place too much emphasis on obtaining "worldly power" and establishing a kingdom of God on earth.

Could you explain why you feel this way?
If you're referencing the fact that there's a physical church and that Catholics are called to regularly go to that physical church - I would take issue with your view that this is "focusing too heavily on worldly power".

D. Skinner said...

Dr. Feser,

I've read Aquinas four times and have been so grateful for its clarity. I'd love to have it on my Kindle so it's always in my pocket, as it were. Do you, as an author, have any influence on Kindlizing your books (probably not, but I thought I'd ask)?

Thank you again for the book; in many ways it's been a godsend.