Friday, July 20, 2012

Philosophy of Mind on audio

A couple of months ago I called attention to the recently released audio version of my book Aquinas.  My book Philosophy of Mind is now also available in an audio version of its own.

24 comments:

Crude said...

Looking forward to the audiobook version of The Last Superstition, as read by Gilbert Gottfried.

Charlie 2na said...

Anyone get a chance to read Alfred Freddoso's "Oh My Soul, There’s Animals and Animals:
Some Thomistic Reflections on Contemporary Philosophy of Mind"

BeingItself said...

In that audio interview Feser suggests that folks with a secular morality have an ever narrowing scope of whom is included in the moral circle. As usual, Feser just has his facts wrong. Seculars tend to have an ever expanding circle. Robert Wright makes a good case for this.

I do appreciate Feser not giving the simple-minded answers that mushy-headed interviewer was looking for.

Tim said...

Secularist don't have an expanding circle.
From their vantage you're damned if you adhere to tradional values.
I wouldn't say that's an expanding circle.

Frank said...

I read the print version of The Last Superstition and loved it, although it took two readthroughs for me to 'get it'. Following that I downloaded the audiobook of Aquinas and gave up on it after a couple of hours listening; maybe it's because I'm a beginner with philosophy, but audiobooks just do not do justice to these types of works.

Happily, the print versions of Philosophy of Mind and Aquinas are both currently sitting on my bedside cabinet, as is the ruler I use to help me read them.

Anonymous said...

There's a humongous gulf between secular talk and secular action. And secularity morality is an oxymoron.

Will said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe said...

It's interesting that in both audio versions a British narrator has been chosen. Thats probably a good idea. The philosophy sounds much more profound spoken in a british accent. My Okie accent doesn't do it justice when Im reading the print version!!

TimL said...

Wow.
Some atheists are real head cases.

machinephilosophy said...

Frank,

Give it a chance by using it while you're doing other things. I've listened to an audio version of my notes on The Last Superstition dozens of times now, and still learn new things on each new listen.

machinephilosophy said...

Ed,

I hope you get to the point where you can just self-publish (createspace.com etc.) and offer all works in any and all formats on demand, including plastic coil, pdf, editable text or doc file.

Glad to see you own those domains, by the way. The Last Superstition should be institutionalized as a permanent repository of Thomistic philosophical thought in relation to atheism.

Martin said...

Book Description

Publication Date: January 2, 2007 In this lively and entertaining introduction to the philospohy of the mind, Edward Feser explores the questions central to the discipline.

Philosohy?

Eduardo said...

Of mind, philosophy

MagicMarker said...

Could someone direct me to resource that bridge the gap between natural theology and specifically the Christian religion? I understand that it is possible to be a theist of scholastic natural theology, affirming all the theorems and postulates about the nature of God from a Thomistic basis but not be a Christian. Is there a wealth of argument and evidence explaining that this view is wrong, or at least misguided?

What are the best, most critical resources that construct an argument of IF Natural Theology and Classical Theism THEN Christianity?

Brandon said...

MagicMarker,

I suspect you'll probably have to be a bit more specific. Are you asking for recent resources, or resources from any period? Does it have to meet particular accessibility features (English language, pitched at beginners)? When you say 'Christian religion' do you mean Catholic in particular or any kind of Christian? Are you looking for a general guide, which would look at a number of issues, even perhaps at cost of depth, or would an in-depth look at one topic (e.g., Christian view of revelation) be adequate for your purposes?

All of these are of some importance. Many of the Reformed Scholastics or Caroline Divines, to take just an example, had a (at least very broadly) Thomistic approach to natural theology but were, of course, not Catholic but Calvinist or Anglican; since the philosophical issues that get the most attention have shifted, the most detailed looks at this particular issue will tend to be fairly old, whereas more recent resources will tend not to go into such detail on this point. Or to put it in other words: Aquinas himself discusses this matter at extraordinary length, so the question is, what beyond this are you looking for?

MagicMarker said...

To be specific: I am currently an agnostic theist moral realist who would have been a self described atheist a month ago who finds Catholic and specifically Thomistic theology compelling. However, the questions I have are of a factual sort rather than a philosophic. A general guide that is well sourced would probably be best. If I need to go in depth I'm used to using bibliographies. A few more pointed questions to show my current line of thinking:



If one starts with Thomism but is not well read on his history, what sources would convince him of the divine essence of Jesus?

Why should I regard God (who is the Ground of Being, Pure Act etc.) as having taken on human form at all? Why a Jew, and not someone steeped in Aristotelian thought?

Anonymous said...

MagicMarker

Aquinas discusses your issues at length in the Summa. Here's the link:

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/4.htm


You might also be interested in Pope Benedict's book Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration

Brandon said...

Hi, MagicMarker,

That was very helpful as a clarification. The most one can get going from natural theology to Christian theology are arguments that indicate that, given the former, the latter is plausible; that having the latter sheds light on the former. So there won't be anything demonstrative, just things that are, as we say, suggestive. And those are extremely big questions, since they actually just summarize nearly the whole of the Christian faith: the salvation history including the election of the Jews, the doctrine of the Trinity, and the Incarnation.

I'd recommend looking first at ST 3.1, just to have an idea of how Aquinas goes about it in summary -- but keep in mind that at this stage of the Summa there is a lot that is being summarized here.

The IEP article on Aquinas's Philosophical Theology, while short and selective, is also a good introduction to the very basics.

And finally, as an introduction, I would recommend reading the Compendium, questions 36-52 (they are fairly short), which is on the Trinity.

We run immediately into a problem with how to proceed, since there are two ways to do it, and which way is the best way will depend entirely on the person. The Trinity and the Incarnation go together, and one can start with the Trinity, and thence proceed to the Incarnation, or one can start with the Incarnation and thence proceed to the Trinity. Probably you can find more resources going in the Trinity-to-Incarnation direction (which, in a sense, is the direction Aquinas himself tends to go in exposition). I actually haven't had a chance to read it myself, but I've heard that Gilles Emery's The Trinitarian Theology of Saint Thomas Aquinas is quite good. Going in the opposite direction you might start with Eleonor Stump's Aquinas. Going in either direction you might read Garrigou-Lagrange's The Trinity and God the Creator and Christ the Saviour (both are available online if you can't find hardcopy).

But I confess to a certain amount of embarrassment, since these are matters that have been somewhat neglected by Thomists of late. There are institutional reasons for this -- most of the best work on Aquinas in the past century has been in philosophy departments, not theology departments -- but it does mean that there is a lack of abundance of materials on the particular issues that interest you (although fortunately that is slowly changing, as philosophers spread out in what they discuss and theologians make their discussions more rigorous). As such, you're not likely to find any knock-down brilliant discussions, but you still should be able to find something that would, even if it doesn't convince you, make clear why Thomists and other scholastics take Christianity to be intelligible and reasonable.

Ismael said...

Prof. Feser, regarding the philosophy of the mind, I'd be curious to hear your comments regarding the Blue Brain Project:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Brain_Project

DNW said...

BeingItself said...

In that audio interview Feser suggests that folks with a secular morality have an ever narrowing scope of whom is included in the moral circle. As usual, Feser just has his facts wrong. Seculars tend to have an ever expanding circle. Robert Wright makes a good case for this."

Yeah, monkeys, dogs, rats and computers in, children fit for postpartum abortions because of parental anxiety or disinterest, out.

Robert Wright is amusingly attempting to resurrect the a posteriori shade of a natural law-lite, which can't bear the weight of any moral imperatives anyway.

He probably hopes to cook up some plausible grounds - other than an emotional disposition on the part of those stronger than he is - why he should not be casually tossed in the oven for being annoying or having narrow shoulders or looking geeky.

And who knows; someday, somewhere, sometime, God, or a Reasonable Facimilie Thereof, just might emerge from all this hopeful handholding - and appear in a burst of light and transhumanist bliss.

Well, Wright's really just singing Kumbaya in a slightly different key than the run of the mill political suspects.

But, more power to him if he's having fun with it.

Crude said...

For the record, one of my favorite Robert Wright moments (if he's the same guy I remember) was when he sandbagged Dennett, getting him to admit that evolution, when viewed from a long-term perspective, looks purposeful and goal-oriented, at least in the broadest sense. Dennett had to backpedal furiously after that, and I think Wright had the better argument.

He's a materialist and an agnostic, but at least he's a fun one.

DNW said...

Blogger Crude said...

For the record, one of my favorite Robert Wright moments (if he's the same guy I remember) was when he sandbagged Dennett, getting him to admit that evolution, when viewed from a long-term perspective, looks purposeful and goal-oriented, at least in the broadest sense. Dennett had to backpedal furiously after that, and I think Wright had the better argument.

He's a materialist and an agnostic, but at least he's a fun one.July 28, 2012 5:20 PM"

I'll have to find that text or video. Sounds like one of those classic moments in philosophy.

And in general I tend to agree with you Crude. I also rather enjoy watching him pour all that effort into trying to resurrect a shadow, and to do so while competing with the droning voices of half-a-dozen or more other recent priests of evolutionary emergence who, stimulated into action by the logical implications of materialist moral nihilism, are trying to retrofit human morals with "objective" - or at least pan-cultural - but ultimately still arbitrary and meaningless foundations.

Which as they no doubt see it, is better than having your own students figure that you are giving them intellectual permission to kill you if the whim so strikes them.

Eventually, I estimate that Wright and the similarly inclined will have to either in effect join Feser (insofar as teleology), or abandon their efforts as intellectually futile in light of the ultimate naturalist conclusion.

Because saying that every member of a class has some attribute or impulse, when that attribute and the very class itself is nothing more than the arbitrary result of a meaningless dead end blip in the field of nothingness, is to assert, ultimately, nothing ...


See, http://bloggingheads.tv/videos/9376

And then too, when you come across a remark like this following one out of Wright,on a civics 101 topic; an admission so stupefying that you have to ask yourself if he isn't guilty of malpractice as a supposed public intellectual, it makes you wonder what the hell he is good for when he presumes to speak of topics related to law and morality.

With Ann Althouse @29:00 to 29:30, he says ... "Yeah ... I actually hadn't thought until now about ...just huhhuh ... this may sound surprising that I ..."

Well Bob, as they used to say back when: "No, while it's shocking, it's not really surprising ..."

"Ann sets an invisible constitutional trap for Bob 5:21" http://bloggingheads.tv/videos/9390?in=25:44&out=31:05

Brian said...

MagicMarker, that "bridge" between natural religion and supernatural religion is called Fundamental Theology. Fundamental theology is to supernatural religion as natural theology is to natural religion.

What has been helpful for me is learning what the Catholic Church teaches can be known about its supernatural origin and character. In this way, the Church provides a very important structuring component to your research and your thinking. It is immensely helpful. I recommend this essay:

http://www.ewtn.com/library/CHRIST/FTHRT.txt

Brent said...

Any chance that an audio version of The Last Superstition is in the works?