Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Please stand by

More problems with Blogger – as you can see, only this week’s posts are showing up on the main page, and I can’t seem to change it. (Naturally, you can still access all older posts by just clicking on “Older Posts” at the bottom of the page, or via the Blog Archive at lower right.) Evidently it has something to do with the dreaded Auto Pagination “feature” that Blogger added last year, though for some reason it’s only affecting me now. Anyway, please stand by while I work on the problem.

11 comments:

David Parker said...

A remedy for this is to use jump breaks (the "Read More" link) in lengthy articles. The AutoPagination feature was added in Feb 2010, but I've found no explanation as to why it suddenly afflicts certain blogs. Have you made any template changes lately?

This thread is helpful:

http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/blogger/thread?tid=582e344986378c18&hl=en


Cheers,
David

Anonymous said...

Switch to Wordpress, it's much superior.

Edward Feser said...

Thanks, David and Anon. I'm going to try using jump breaks for now and see how that goes.

Anonymous said...

Bit off topic, but I didn't know where to ask so here goes:
Over at EDGE, Bruce Hood (http://www.edge.org/q2011/q11_1.html#hood) argues that "Haecceity" as a scientific concept would improve everybody's cognitive toolkit (whatever that means).

I am interested to know what Thomists' views are with regards to "thissness" or as Hood put it "It is the psychological attribution of an unobservable property to an object that makes it unique among identical copies." and how it differs from Scotus?

Thanks.

Leo Mollica said...

@Anon:

Hood's definition is terribly vague and unconventional. "Unobservable property" might describe a material substance's signate matter (which woould account for the "unobservable" qualifier), in which case it is perfectly in accord with Thomism. Such an interpretation of haecceity, however, would be idiosyncratic: the term, coined by Bl. John Duns Scotus, refers to a form, not matter, that individuates members of a species. In any case, using the word "property" to describe an haecceity is bizarre: such an interpretation implies that an accident or property individuates members of a species, which is just what Scotus was trying not to say. So I really don't have a clue what Mr. Hood is driving at.

Anyway, haecceities, as traditionally (that is, Scotistically) understood (i.e. as individuating members of a species by a non-accidental form), are definitely incompatible with Thomism, which @Anon:

Hood's definition is terribly vague and unconventional. "Unobservable property" might describe a material substance's signate matter (which woould account for the "unobservable" qualifier), in which case it is perfectly in accord with Thomism. Such an interpretation of haecceity, however, would be idiosyncratic: the term, coined by Bl. John Duns Scotus, refers to a form, not matter, that individuates members of a species. In any case, using the word "property" to describe an haecceity is bizarre: such an interpretation implies that an accident or property individuates members of a species, which is just what Scotus was trying not to say. So I really don't have a clue what Mr. Hood is driving at.

Leo Mollica said...

Anyway, haecceities, as traditionally (that is, Scotistically) understood (i.e. as individuating members of a species by a non-accidental form), are definitely incompatible with Thomism, which regards substantial form as invariant across members of a species. I believe that David Oderberg discusses the matter in Real Essentialism, which see. Our friends at The Smithy also have some interesting things to say about haecceity from a Scotist point of view, so be ecumenical and check them out.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Leo,

I read both Oderberg's "real essentialism" and his article about the principle of individuation. I did not connect haecceity with form, so now I can see why it is incompatible with Thomism since from a Thomistic point of view the principle of individuation is to be found with matter and not form (materia signate IIRC, correct me if I'm wrong).

Three more things that might be of interest:
1) I just read that Darwin was a teleologist (Lennox, read the exchange between him and Ghiselin). Also read Andre Ariew's "Platonic and Aristotelian roots of teleological arguments" (http://web.missouri.edu/~ariewa/Teleology.pdf). basically Darwin's idea of natural selection echoes some of Aristotle's formal and functional (a type of final cause) teleology.

2) Sean Carrol just loves the idea of "dysteleological physicalism". Looks like he is in over his head with regards to knowledge about Aristotle and final causality though... just straw man caricatures. Never mind the fact that he does not discuss his own views about laws vis-a-vis regularity vs necessatarianism.
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/2011/01/17/dysteleological-physicalism/

3) I see a lot of people see time as some sort of entity on its own, like it can exist separately from things that change. Then there are the 3-dimensionalists vs 4-dimensionalists battling it out to get a proper understanding of change and persistence. Isn't it the other way around though?
Without change there is no time. Just like without mass there is no gravity. When you have change, you have time and not visa versa. Time is a function of change. It seems to be more compatible with general and special relativity as well as an Aristotelian view of change e.g. change = reduction of potentiality to actuality... well that is the way I see it anyway. Also, is it possible to have some sort of middle way between 3Dism and temporal parts (4Dism) by making use of the the Thomistic doctrine of materia signate as the principle of individuation? Ok, enough waffling from me, thanks again, have fun!

Leo Carton Mollica said...

@Anon:

Yes, signate matter is what accounts, on the traditional reading of Thomas Aquinas, though a few Thomists would dispute whether materia signata can really do the job.

(For those curious about this signate matter, it means, basically, matter one can point a finger at, matter within definite dimensions. It is opposed to "undesignated" matter, which means matter-in-general. Socrates and I inform different signate matter, whereas the universal "man" informs undesignated matter.)

I have read none of the articles you reference on teleology, so no comment right now.

You are, on an Aristotelian (read: correct) view absolutely right about time: it is not, pace some distinct thing, be it mental or physical, "in" which motion occurs, but rather is it either motion or an aspect of motion, which is "in" the moved.

I don't think that signate matter helps at all in making a "truce," so to speak, with four-dimensionalism: either matter is four-dimensional or it is not, and you can't really go halfway. St. Thomas Aquinas, in fact, defines (or, for you nit-pickers out there, denotes) signate matter as matter determinately extended in three dimensions, so the fur-dimensionalist will find no consolation there.

Anyway, perdurantism is just icky.

Leo Carton Mollica said...

*signate matter is what accounts... for individuation, though...

Madeleine said...

We battled away with blogger for our first two years or so of blogging at MandM and then we finally switched to Wordpress.

Wordpress is amazing compared to Blogger. You can do so much more with it and the rise in the search engines that we got and the traffic as a result was really good.

We were able to move everything over and retain all our external and internal links which was very important to us. It really is worth looking into making the change.

Edward Feser said...

Madeleine, you're forgetting one crucial factor: I'm lazy as hell.